Your CPAP machine plays a vital role in mitigating sleep apnea by keeping your airways open throughout the night. However, the moist, humid environment of your face mask, tubing, and the CPAP machine’s humidifier chamber can also become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Because of this, every CPAP owner should follow the cleaning guidelines for their device. Adding device cleaning to your daily to-do list may not be the most fun, but it is essential for helping you stay healthy as you continue to use your device.
Why Does CPAP Equipment Need to Be Cleaned?
When you think about it, the reasons why you should clean your CPAP equipment are fairly obvious. You are breathing into a mask all night long. The moisture and germs from your own breath — as well as the moisture from your device, if your CPAP uses a humidifier — creates the ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
In addition, each time you wear your CPAP mask, oils and sweat from your skin, as well as dead skin cells, will accumulate on the plastic. These particulates can degrade the mask plastic over time, as well as provide “food” bacteria use to grow. By not cleaning your equipment like you should, it will wear down and need to be replaced much sooner.
Left unchecked, these factors also make you far more likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses. In fact, one study found that CPAP users who didn’t properly maintain their device were 32 percent more likely to contract pneumonia.
You don’t want the air you breathe all night to be filled with germs, bacteria, and dead skin cells! Consistent cleaning is essential for enjoying pure air.
The Cleaning Process
Daily CPAP cleaning is primarily focused on the mask and tubing, though the humidifier water chamber should also be cleaned regularly. To start the standard cleaning process, you must first disassemble your CPAP setup by disconnecting the hose, mask, and humidifier from the CPAP machine.
Typically, these parts should be washed with a mixture of warm water and dish soap, with careful scrubbing to ensure you reach every nook and cranny of these parts. Most people use a specialty scrub brush to reach the inside of the hose. Alternatively, you could place these components to soak in a mixture of water and vinegar for 20 minutes. Rinse the parts with warm water after they are done soaking.
After you have washed out your CPAP equipment, let it air dry. Hang the CPAP hose so that both open ends are pointed to the ground. This will allow any lingering water that is trapped inside the tube to drain out. This daily cleaning should typically occur in the morning so that your equipment has enough time to fully dry during the day.
When cleaning your equipment using these methods, be mindful of your home’s water quality. Standard tap water could contain high mineral content or other contaminants that harm the plastics that make up your CPAP equipment. Worse still, contaminated water could introduce new bacteria.
Because of this, many CPAP owners use specially-made wipes to reduce cleaning time. Wipes can be a great solution for cleaning your face mask and humidifier water chamber; however, you can’t really reach inside the tubing with the wipe.
Easier Cleaning Solutions
CPAP cleaning can understandably feel like a chore because of how time-consuming it can be — and this is a major reason why so many people fail to follow their device cleaning recommendations. Unfortunately, this puts them at a much greater risk of illness.
Fortunately, automated CPAP cleaning devices have been introduced to make it easier than ever to maintain your equipment. Devices like the SoClean 2 Automated CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizer and the VirtuClean CPAP Mask Automatic Cleaner let you take a true “set it and forget it” approach to CPAP cleaning.
These devices use activated oxygen, also known as ozone, to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. This is the same method used for sanitizing in hospitals and food handling facilities!
Rather than taking apart your CPAP machine, you simply connect the mask and tubing to the cleaning device. Turning on the device begins the ozone cleaning process, which doesn’t require any extra chemicals or water. In as little as half an hour, the cleaning process is complete, and your device is free of potentially harmful bacteria.
Better yet, you don’t need to prewash your equipment before connecting it to these sanitizing devices. However, it may still be beneficial to use CPAP cleaning wipes to remove dead skin cells from the mask prior to running an ozone cleaning cycle.
If you’re not sure you want to invest in another device, CPAP cleaner sprays can also be an effective alternative cleaning solution. While these sprays help clean and deodorize your mask, they do so without the use of alcohol and latex to prevent skin irritation. Though not as effective as ozone cleaners, this is still faster than standard soap and water cleaning.
Get the Supplies You Need From No Insurance Medical Supplies
From handheld cleaning kits to automated cleaning devices, you can find everything you need to care for your CPAP equipment at No Insurance Medical Supplies. You can enjoy discounted prices on a wide range of products to make managing your sleep apnea more affordable than ever — especially when you take advantage of available financing on select purchases.
Keeping your CPAP equipment clean doesn’t have to be an obnoxious chore. By getting your cleaning accessories from us, it will be easier than ever to keep your equipment sanitary.