CPAP therapy can make a huge difference in the lives of sleep apnea sufferers. Using a CPAP is the primary treatment method for most sleep apnea patients, and proper use and care of these machines is vital to their performance. Cleaning CPAP equipment regularly is very important, but many people simply don’t know much about proper CPAP cleaning. In this guide, we’ll go over how to clean a CPAP machine and give you all the info you need to know.
CPAP Cleaning Basics
- All CPAP equipment should be kept as clean as possible
- It’s best to use mild soaps and warm water
- You’ll want to clean components in the morning, to give ample time for them to dry
- You can also use a white vinegar solution to soak CPAP equipment for a deeper clean
- CPAP cleaning is important, but does not end the need to regularly replace CPAP components
How to Clean a CPAP Mask
CPAP masks are made of a soft, flexible material called silicone. Silicone allows for optimal comfort, but the softness of the material means that it breaks down pretty quickly – especially if it’s not cared for properly. If you’re wondering how to clean a CPAP mask, here are some tips:
- The mask pillow should be washed daily/every other day, using a mild soap and warm water
- You can also purchase CPAP mask wipes to make this easier
- After cleaning, rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry completely before use
- Once a week, prepare a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts warm water, and soak your CPAP mask in the solution
- CPAP headgear/straps can be washed as needed (every 1-2 weeks, generally). Wash by hand and air dry
- Avoid using facial moisturizers on your nose, as the oil can cause your mask to break down faster.
- Follow manufacturer recommendations for component replacement
How to Clean a CPAP Hose
The hose is made of a more durable material than the mask, but is nonetheless subject to wear and tear and should be cleaned regularly. Follow the tips below for CPAP hose cleaning:
- CPAP tubing should be washed weekly
- Submerge the tubing in a sink full of warm water and mild soap, and allow to soak for a few minutes
- Rinse very well, shaking off the excess water
- Allow to air dry before use
- Hint: if there is some water left in your hose and you need to use it, you may be able to dry it out by attaching it to your CPAP and turning on the air flow. If it automatically turns off, try activating the “mask fit” setting to keep the air flowing through the tube.
How to Clean a CPAP Machine & Other Parts
The CPAP machine itself is significantly more durable and should last for many years if properly cared for. That said, you still need to clean certain components regularly.
- The CPAP humidifier water chamber should be emptied and cleaned daily with mild soapy water
- Once a week, soak the water chamber in a vinegar solution
- CPAP air filters should be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis. Check your machine owners manual for details, as cleaning recommendations vary based on the type of filter used.
- The CPAP machine itself does not typically need to be cleaned, but you can dust it with a damp cloth as needed.
- Never use bleach or harsh chemicals to wash CPAP components.
- Read more general tips for CPAP cleaning here.
How to Make CPAP Cleaning Easier: SoClean!
CPAP cleaning can be a pain, but it gets a lot easier with the help of the SoClean 2 CPAP Cleaner. This device helps automate the cleaning process by eliminating germs and bacteria from CPAP components. It does not completely replace the need to hand-wash components, but it will allow you to spend significantly less time on CPAP maintenance.
If you have any questions about cleaning CPAP equipment, don’t hesitate to ask!
Chris was a psychiatrist and neurologist with board certification in sleep medicine Clinical Associate Professor at the University of California. For over 10 years, he served and helped patients at Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital with their sleeping disorders.
After suffered from sleep disorders for years, Chris has been passionate about sleep health ever since. He wants to help others sleep better and wanted to make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people.