If a CPAP machine, mask, and tubing are not cleaned regularly, contact with harmful germs will counteract the benefits. Use of a CPAP machine requires a mask or nasal pillows to create the needed back pressure. The mask or nasal pillows regularly come in contact with bodily germs. CPAP machine tubing also contacts exhaled air from patients, which contain bacteria and other germs. In addition, humidifier units attached to a CPAP machine develop germs and bacteria over time, when not consistently cleaned. CPAP helps improve the lives of many patients by allowing them to sleep well, but patients must know how to clean their CPAP to stay healthy.
Clean soft plastic scrub brush
Clean spray bottle
Mild detergent (dial anti-bacterial or equivalent)
Vinegar-based mixture for cleaning CPAP
Since a CPAP machine requires daily cleaning, prepare a cleaning mixture in a spray bottle. Vinegar is one of the best natural, non-toxic sanitizing solutions available.
Mix 50% vinegar and 50% distilled water into a clean spray bottle.
Cleaning the humidifer tray
- Remove the humidifier insert tray from the CPAP machine. Discard any water that is in the tray.
- Spray down the inside and outside of the humidifier tray. Allow the mixture to sit a few minutes. Scrub the humidifier tray with the plastic brush.
- Rinse off the humidifier tray with clean water.
- Set the tray out to completely dry before inserting the piece back into the CPAP machine.
Cleaning the CPAP tubing
- Remove the tubing from the machine and extension tubing from the CPAP mask.
- Spray a few squirts of the cleaning mixture down each tube.
- Run clean water to thoroughly rinse the inside of each piece of tubing.
- Bend each piece of tubing over the top of a shower door or towel rack to allow all the water to escape. Allow the tubing to dry in this position for several hours. It works well to clean the tubing in the morning after use, then allow it to dry all day. The tubing is then ready for use the next evening.
Clean CPAP mask and nasal pillow parts
Completely disassemble the mask or nasal pillow parts. Most CPAP masks and nasal pillows are made with neoprene. Doctors prefer neoprene to avoid patient problems with latex. The vinegar will actually break down the neoprene over time. It is best to use a mild detergent instead of vinegar to clean the mask and nasal pillow parts. Use a small amount of detergent daily to clean the mask or nasal pillow components. Completely rinse the mask and nasal pillow pieces and allow them to dry.
Cleaning CPAP headgear straps
Clean the CPAP headgear straps at least once a week. For patients who have frequent skin irritations or skin infections, clean the straps more frequently. Use a mild detergent to wipe the entire surface area of the headgear straps. Do not immerse in water or place too much water on the straps because they typically take time to dry. Since these parts are needed for use everyday and are not designed for a dryer, keep the amount of moisture to a minimum. First wipe with a little detergent diluted in water, then wipe with pure distilled water.