Ultimate How-To Guide: Best Ways To Clean Your CPAP

Written by
Jason Smith RPSGT
Published on
April 4, 2022 9:03:05 PM PDT April 4, 2022 9:03:05 PM PDTth, April 4, 2022 9:03:05 PM PDT

It's Spring Cleaning time! That special period that comes once a year. The perfect time to take a deep dive into your home and the things you use on a regular basis and give everything a good deep cleaning.


CPAP machines come in various types, from automatic to fixed pressure and even travel-sized. Each one has its own unique features and comes with specific maintenance instructions.


Cleaning your CPAP machine is a big part of making sure it's running as it should and will last as long as possible.


The following cleaning tips will teach you to form good hygiene habits surrounding your CPAP machine.


Why You Need To Clean Your CPAP Device Regularly


Everything can collect dust, mold, and other forms of bacteria and will need cleaning eventually.Your CPAP device is no different and should be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid health risks. If you avoid cleaning your CPAP equipment, not only will it collect dust but also dead skin cells and oils from your face.


Keep in mind the mask sits on your face and comes in contact with bacteria and oils on the skin, making your CPAP machine a breeding ground for germs, mold, bacteria, and other pathogens that can cause illnesses like pneumonia and sinus infection.


Continuing to wear a dirty mask harboring oils and bacteria can also cause infection or a rash on your skin.


Another risk involves breathing in bugs from the air pump’s dirty water reservoir. Water is required to put the moisture in the air that you breathe through the mask. Without the water, the air would be very dry. However, when water stands in a reservoir too long, mold and bacteria will grow that you could be breathing in.


When you breathe in such organisms, you can get sick or increase issues related to other illnesses such as asthma or other lung conditions. Cleaning your equipment allows your CPAP machine to work at peak performance.


Keeping your CPAP machine clean will help it last longer so you won’t have the added cost of replacing it anytime soon.


Tip: If your CPAP device smells moldy or you frequently get sick, it may be a sign that your device needs cleaning.


Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment

Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about getting sick as long as you keep your CPAP machine clean, and here is how to do that.


Clean Your CPAP Mask

Because your CPAP mask or pillow touches your face, you should clean it weekly by taking the following steps:


1.Disassemble all the parts from your CPAP machine. This includes disconnecting your mask from the tubing and removing the headgear.


2.Place all the parts in a bowl of warm soapy water, then swirl them around for roughly five minutes.


3.Rinse each piece thoroughly when done and set them on a dry towel to air dry before you reassemble the mask.


4.Once dry, reassemble the parts and your CPAP machine is ready for use.


Tip: You should clean your mask as often as possible because it's coming into direct contact with your face. For this, you can use special mask cleaning wipes and other special cleaning products.


Clean Your CPAP Filters


The filter of your CPAP machine is something that you won't need to change every week, so this is a good opportunity to tackle this task.


Disposable filters should be thrown away and replaced regularly (depending on how much your machine is used).


Reusable air filters should be washed weekly depending on the amount of pollen, dust, and animal dander it collects, or, if your filters turn grey, white, or become discolored. When this happens, you should also consider replacing them.  


1.Remove the filters and rinse under warm water for several minutes.


2.Squeeze excess moisture out.Blot dry with a dry clean towel, then let them air dry fully before putting them back.


Clean Your CPAP Machine

You should always refer to the manufacturers' recommended CPAP cleaning instructions. To give it a general cleaning, follow these steps:


1.Make sure you unplug the CPAP machine from the wall outlet.


2.Wipe down the outside of the machine with a damp, clean cloth to remove dust.Use a clean dry towel to dry it off.


3.After it is completely dry, you can plug it back in.


Tip:When it comes to your water tub you'll want to be washing it once a week with mild soap and warm water.


Clean Your CPAP Humidifier

If your CPAP system has a humidifier, it should be cleaned every other week using the following steps:


1.Start by emptying all the remaining water out from the water chamber.


2.Pour into the reservoir five parts distilled water to avoid mineral build-up and one part white vinegar and let it soak for a half-hour.


3.Thoroughly rinse it out with plain water and let it dry.


Tip:Depending on the type of humidifier, you may be able to wash it in your dishwasher.


Things to Consider:

Not cleaning your CPAP mask can develop a leak from all the face oil build-ups.


Using strong alkaline and acidic sanitizing products can damage and compromise the integrity of breathing aid supplies and equipment, reducing the efficacy of your CPAP device.


You shouldn’t use solutions that contain bleach, vinegar, oils, moisturizers, or alcohol, nor should you use baby wipes as they are not like CPAP wipes.


The wipes made for a CPAP device contain effective compounds that kill microorganisms safely.


Take Care of Your CPAP Machine


We hope these cleaning tips are useful and allow you to get the most out of your CPAP machine. Take care of your CPAP machine so it can take care of you.