To have a successful CPAP, BI-LEVEL or APAP therapy, you have to make your treatment a priority in your life, and that includes regularly cleaning, maintaining and, when needed, replacing your CPAP equipment. To utilize and appreciate all the proper functions of your CPAP machine, daily, weekly and monthly care is a must. The good news—it’s relatively easy and quick. Yes, your regular morning routine will need a slight adjustment, but that’s a small price to pay in order to have your device and accessories working at 100% efficiency. Remember, when your CPAP treatment works, you stay healthier by getting a good night’s sleep.
Why do a CPAP, APAP or Bi-Level machine, mask and supplies need regular cleaning?
Proper upkeep of your CPAP machine ensures the device functions properly. As beneficial and life changing as the CPAP treatment is, the machinery that makes it happen comes with a characteristic that runs counter to its healthful purpose. Almost all the CPAP supplies and parts are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.
Other conditions such as a cold, flu or virus (you or your sleeping partner) only add opportunities for bacteria in the air to enter your CPAP machine and parts. Tubes and hoses not properly dried invite mold—creating a most unhealthy condition to breathe through. CPAP mask cushions are made of silicone. This material can break down more quickly than expected. Regular cleaning helps prolong its lifespan.
CPAP daily hygiene—a routine to embrace for your health and the health of your machine.
Just as a shower is a great way to start your day, your CPAP machine appreciates a good cleaning, too.
Though you were probably taught how to clean and maintain your CPAP machine and parts when you first got them, it’s easy to overlook or forget a step or two. For those brand new to a sleep apnea treatment, any CPAP, BI-LEVEL or APAP system might be a little overwhelming. Though it’s best to read and follow cleaning, maintenance and replacement instructions from each machine or part manufacturer, there are some general guidelines and best practices that can be shared.
General tips on cleaning, care and maintenance:
- Unplug your machine before you start cleaning
- Establish a morning cleaning schedule, allowing the equipment time to air dry before evening
- Keep machine and accessories out of direct sunlight
- Use distilled or sterile water for cleaning components
- Never use bleach or cleaning solutions to clean accessories
- Keep machine away from objects such as curtains that may interfere with the air intake
- Don’t use facial moisturizers when wearing the mask—oils and moisturizers break down the silicone faster
- Keep track of your replacement schedule for parts for your mask and supplies
of the disposable
filter (if applicable)
CPAP Mask Cleaning and Replacement
Your mask should be cleaned on a daily basis. Cleaning the mask of facial oils regularly will minimize skin irritations, avoid excessive leaks from mask movement during sleep, and may also extend the life of your CPAP or BI-LEVEL mask. You will need to remove the headgear, seal, and cushion from the mask’s frame before cleaning. Once it is disassembled, wipe the silicone or gel cushion with a wet cloth. Do not submerge this piece in water. Use warm, soapy water to clean the silicone seal and mask frame.
Wash the mask with warm water and mild, non-fragrant soap or purchase CPAP mask-specific wipes and detergents. Rinse with water and allow to air dry on a clean cloth or paper towel out of direct sunlight.
Once a week, soak the mask in a solution of 1 part white vinegar, 3 parts water before rinsing in distilled water. Safe Solutions or Wipes, specifically designed to clean masks can also be purchased. Manufacturers recommend replacement of your mask every six months for maximum performance.
CPAP Headgear and Chinstrap Cleaning
The headgear and chinstraps should be washed with warm, soapy water once a week. Rinse well and air dry; ensure the pieces are dry before reassembling. CPAP headgear and chinstraps should never be placed in a washing machine or dryer.
CPAP Tubing Cleaning
Unhook the tubing from the mask and machine and rinse it with warm, soapy water. By doing this in the morning, the tubing will have ample time to air dry before bedtime. Make sure not to expose to direct sunlight as it will cause hardening of the tube. Tubing should be replaced every 3 months.
CPAP Filters Cleaning
Each device has an air filter to keep the air you breathe clean. CPAP and BI-LEVEL filters need to be changed regularly. Always reference your User Guide to locate and change your air filter. Clean the non-disposable (sometimes referred to as “reusable”) filters by washing them in warm, soapy water. To make sure you’re removing the dust, you might squeeze the filter under the warm water. Make sure filters are completely dry before placing back into the unit.
But don’t wash the CPAP machine’s white filter (also referred to as “Ultra-Fine”), if one is present—those are disposable and should be replaced once a month. If you notice your disposable filters are dirty, they should be replaced sooner.
Another item for daily cleaning is the humidification chamber of your CPAP machine. Regular cleaning helps prevent bacteria buildup and calcification. Remove the chamber carefully so water doesn't enter your CPAP machine. The water chamber needs to be rinsed with warm, soapy water and then with clean water. After rinsing, allow to dry on a clean surface out of direct sunlight. Fill with distilled or sterile water. Tap water may contain minerals that can damage the machine.
Once a week the humidifier chamber should be soaked in a solution of 1 part white vinegar, 3 parts water. Let the solution sit in the chamber for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with distilled water.
Humidifier chambers should be replaced every 6 months or as needed.
With daily, weekly and monthly cleaning, your CPAP or BI-LEVEL system can continue to help you breathe better for a long time. Just a few minutes a day can help keep your CPAP running efficiently for years to come.
Finding the time to disassemble and clean each of these parts separately can be difficult. SoClean CPAP & BiPAP cleaning systems are automated and clean all parts of your machine and accessories without disassembling. SoClean cleaning systems are designed to save you time and keep your CPAP or BiPAP machine clean and running properly.