When it comes to keeping your CPAP equipment clean, many users understand that this task is important, but feel like they don’t have the time or know-how to get the job done right. Others may be apathetic to the idea of daily CPAP cleaning, while others might simply forget.
While this may not seem like a big deal initially, over time, it can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your sleep apnea therapy and even put you at risk of more serious respiratory issues.
The good news is that there are several CPAP cleaning devices available to ensure that you keep your equipment properly sanitized at all times. And few devices compare to the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner.
Why is CPAP Cleaning So Important, Anyway?
Your CPAP machine delivers a pressurized flow of air to your breathing passages via specialized tubing and a mask. When properly fitted, these devices allow for comfortable breathing throughout the night. The sealed mask delivers the needed air pressure to avoid sleep apnea incidents, while exhalation vents in the mask system allow for normal breathing.
While these systems can be quite efficient at preventing the interruptions in breathing that characterize sleep apnea, they are also prone to bacterial buildup. The moist, humid air that is released when you exhale gets trapped inside the mask and tubing, where it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast colonies. This is especially true when you are using a humidifier, which supplies humid air for more comfortable breathing.
As your CPAP mask comes in contact with your face, it is also exposed to dead skin cells, sweat, and oils. These contaminants not only contribute to unsanitary conditions, but they can actually accelerate the breakdown of the silicone components used for your mask. This can also lead to skin irritation where the mask comes in contact with your face.
The potential for bacterial growth is greater than most people would expect. In a pilot study from the Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, cultures were taken from CPAP masks after use to evaluate bacterial and fungal growth. Within 48 hours, 21 percent of the swabs had between 100 and 500 colony growths, while 48 percent had over 2000 growths. It was generally found that older masks were more likely to experience a higher number of bacterial growths, despite patients’ cleaning efforts.
Many of these bacteria aren’t necessarily harmful because they are the bacteria that were already present in your body. However, mold and yeast growths, as well as bacteria from when you were sick pose a more serious threat.
Without regular cleaning to address these issues, CPAP users are more likely to experience sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses. A musty, mildewy smell may also be present in your mask, tubing, and humidifier water chamber. If you don’t want to deal with foul smells and a higher risk for getting sick, the only solution is to regularly clean your CPAP equipment.
The Inefficiencies of Manual CPAP Cleaning
While CPAP cleaning is relatively straightforward, it can be somewhat time-consuming, especially for those with a busier schedule. It is recommended that users clean their CPAP mask every day. Most manufacturers recommend that the CPAP tubing and humidifier chamber be cleaned on a weekly basis, though tubing often needs to be cleaned more frequently.
Cleaning these components requires disconnecting them from the CPAP machine. The mask should be washed with warm distilled water that has been mixed with either a mild detergent or white vinegar. The mask is typically left to soak for 30 minutes, and then rinsed with distilled water and wiped with a clean lint-free cloth before being left to air dry. Chin straps and supports need to be washed separately, and cannot be placed in a washing machine or dryer because of the rough action of these appliances.
Like the mask, CPAP tubes should be soaked in a mixture of distilled warm water and white vinegar or mild detergent. It is also a good idea to use a fine-bristled brush with a long, flexible shaft to remove any buildup from inside the tube. After washing and rinsing the tube, it must be left to air dry with both ends hanging down so that any remaining water can drain out of the hose.
Even though the humidifier chamber doesn’t necessarily need to be washed daily, it should still be emptied and air dried to prevent mold growth. The chamber should be sanitized on a weekly basis following similar guidelines to the tube and mask.
Though not particularly complex, most CPAP users don’t have the half hour or more that is required each morning to properly clean their equipment. It’s also not very convenient to leave these CPAP components drying on top of towels or draped over the shower rod in your bathroom so they can dry during the day — especially since the bathroom is hardly a bacteria-free zone.
The time-consuming nature of this daily chore causes many CPAP users to skip needed cleaning, putting themselves at greater risk of respiratory infections. This is where using the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner can make such a big difference.
How the VirtuCLEAN Works
The VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner takes the work out of cleaning your CPAP equipment, making it easier than ever to stay on top of this important task. This portable cleaning device uses activated oxygen or ozone to clean your mask, hose, and water chamber in 30 minutes.
Because this system uses activated oxygen, you don’t need to prewash any of your equipment before hooking it up to the device. Instead, you place your mask and emptied humidifier chamber in the VirtuCLEAN’s bag, and then disconnect the tube from your CPAP device. Using your CPAP tube, you can then connect the VirtuCLEAN bag to the device. No special adapter is required to connect your CPAP tubing to the VirtuCLEAN unless you are using the ResMed AirMini AutoSet Travel CPAP, as this machine uses its own proprietary masks and tubing.
Once everything is hooked up, simply press the power button to start the cleaning cycle and you’re good to go. The VirtuCLEAN device will send ozone through the tubing to the bag to ensure that all three components are thoroughly disinfected. In fact, by using activated oxygen, the VirtuCLEAN kills up to 99.9 percent of the bacteria and viruses that may be present inside your CPAP equipment.
The system operates extremely quietly, while the screen displays a countdown timer so you know how much time is left in the cleaning cycle. Once the cycle is complete, all you have to do is disconnect the tube, take the mask and water chamber out of the bag, and reattach them to your CPAP machine.
With this simplified cleaning solution, you can take a more relaxed approach to caring for your CPAP equipment. You no longer have to dedicate a significant chunk of your morning to cleaning your mask and tubing. Instead, you can let the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner do all the work for you, leaving everything ready for your nightly therapy. Better still, the device utilizes a compliance reminder feature to remind you to clean your CPAP equipment each day.
By offering an easier, more effective cleaning routine and ensuring that you won’t forget to care for your equipment, this device will dramatically reduce your risk of bacterial exposure from your CPAP equipment.
Caring For & Using Your VirtuCLEAN Device
The VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner comes backed by a 24-month warranty, and doesn’t require any maintenance beyond replacing the bag’s filter every 6 months. At only $9.99, the filter replacement is an easy and inexpensive way to help you continue to enjoy maximum performance from your cleaning device.
The VirtuCLEAN’s portability and battery-powered operation also ensure that you can easily take it with you during travel. The rechargeable battery provides as much as 10 hours of power on a single charge, allowing you to potentially get more than a full week of cleaning before you need to plug it in to recharge. The device can recharge in as little as 2 hours when plugged into a USB port or USB adapter.
With a 4.5 inch diameter and 1.7 inch thickness, the cleaning device itself is also remarkably compact, so it could easily fit on your nightstand or into a carry-on for your next trip. At only half a pound, you won’t have to worry about it weighing down your suitcase, either.
While the VirtuCLEAN itself is extremely easy to use and care for, this doesn’t mean you can ignore the guidelines for replacing your CPAP equipment. Mask components, tubing, and the water chamber should all be replaced in accordance with the schedule recommended by the device manufacturer.
Even though the VirtuCLEAN will help keep these components free of bacteria, continued use and normal wear and tear will result in gradual deterioration, such as small cracks that make it easier for bacteria to grow. This often invisible damage can also reduce the effectiveness of your sleep apnea therapy by allowing pressurized air to escape before it reaches your breathing passages.
The VirtuCLEAN is ultimately meant to serve as a complement to other CPAP maintenance best practices — not a total replacement. As you follow through on the essential care recommendations offered by device manufacturers and your physician, you will be able to maximize the effectiveness of your treatment.
CPAP cleaning doesn’t have to be a burden. With the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner, you can enjoy a true “set it and forget it” system for keeping your mask, tubing, and humidifier water chamber free of bacteria and other contaminants. By consistently using this handy device, you will be able to take full advantage of the benefits of sleep apnea therapy while greatly reducing your risk for potential respiratory side effects.
Of course, CPAP equipment isn’t cheap, and purchasing another device to go along with your primary CPAP or BiPAP machine can feel like a significant added expense.
The good news is that No Insurance Medical Supplies is ready to help you be better able to afford everything you need to get the most out of your sleep apnea therapy. We sell a wide range of CPAP and BiPAP machines from top brands like ResMed and Philips Respironics at discounted prices so you can better afford your therapy — even when you don’t have insurance.
We also offer great prices on masks and accessories like the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner, providing you with a one stop shop for all your treatment needs. With free shipping on orders over $89 and available financing on qualifying purchases, we’ll help you get the care you need without breaking the bank.
With No Insurance Medical Supplies and the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner, higher quality sleep that doesn’t create complications for your respiratory health is possible. Place your order today or contact our friendly team if you’d like to learn more about this exciting advancement in sleep apnea therapy.