Please welcome Dr. Anthony DiMarco, MD, Medical Director and Professor of Physiology at Case Western Reserve University
A CPAP device for treating sleep apnea with mask and hose.

Easy Guide to Cleaning Your CPAP Mask & Hose

Easy Guide to Cleaning Your CPAP Mask & Hose

Getting used to wearing your new CPAP device while sleeping and utilizing it correctly every night are the first important steps to successfully managing sleep apnea. The next step that you should take is learning how to properly clean and maintain the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask and hose.

Why CPAP Parts Need to Be Washed

Effectively managing the dangerous symptoms and health effects of obstructive sleep apnea depends on using reliable equipment. Keeping the CPAP device hygienic is key. In general, it is beneficial for getting rid of bad smells, musty odors, extending its life, and maintaining the warranty. Washing out the mask and hose are important because it helps:

  • Prevent the growth of mold and bacteria,
  • Decrease the presence of allergens,
  • Clear away mineral deposits,
  • Reduce the risk of contracting a sinus infection, upper respiratory infection, or pneumonia,
  • Maintain the equipment in good working order.

How Often You Should Clean CPAP Parts

CPAP equipment manufacturers recommend regular cleanings. They advise washing out the mask, tubing and CPAP humidifier chamber at least once a week. Rinsing the mask and hose daily is also a good practice that helps keep them clean in the interim. Experts also recommend washing the parts out daily if you are sick.

Tips for Success with CPAP Therapy

How to Clean CPAP Parts

Cleaning the CPAP equipment well does not require expensive equipment or an excessive amount of time. You need less than 30 minutes to take good care of it.

CPAP cleaners, like those made by the SoClean and Lumin brands, as well as specialized detergents, are available for purchase, but they are not necessary. These types of products are also not usually covered by health insurance.

What You Will Need

  • CPAP mask, headgear, hose, humidifier water chamber,
  • A cloth or small sponge,
  • Warm water,
  • Mild, ammonia-free, antibacterial soap,
  • A clean towel or paper towels for drying.

Steps to Cleaning CPAP Equipment

  1. First, unplug the device and take off the parts to be cleaned. Each CPAP device is slightly different, so you may want to review the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the CPAP tubing from the device output valve and the water chamber from the device. Take the mask off the headgear. Disassemble any of the other pieces which can be easily reassembled later.
  2. Next, make sure the CPAP device is unplugged before wiping off the outside with a damp cloth.
  3. Then, make a soapy solution using warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Instead of using soap, you can also make a 1:1 solution with white vinegar.
  4. Place the parts in the solution. Allow each part to soak for a few minutes and make sure that the water and soap (or vinegar) is allowed to flow through the entire length of the hose.
  5. Use the cloth or sponge to wipe off all the external surfaces of the CPAP components.
  6. Rinse each part with clean water.
  7. Use a clean towel to remove any excess water and pat each piece dry.
  8. Then, let them air dry for about an hour.
  9. Once the parts are fully dry, carefully put them back together. Refer to the instruction manual if you are unsure how to reassemble the CPAP pieces correctly.
  10. Quickly turn on the device machine to make sure that it runs and that there are not any air leaks.

How to Maintain Clean CPAP Equipment

Help your device work well for longer by following a few simple maintenance tips.

Avoid Harsh Detergents & Cleaning Processes

Do not use any concentrated or overly harsh cleaning products. Also, avoid products with a strong scent or perfume. We recommend using Dawn dish soap.

You should never place the CPAP device or its parts in the dishwasher or washing machine as it could cause damage.

Refill with Distilled Water

Regular tap water has minerals that will deposit and build up in the equipment over time. That is why it is important to only use clear, distilled water when refilling the humidifier tank. It can also be helpful to dump out any access water in the tank each morning, then fill it up with distilled water before nightly use.

Wash and Replace Filters Regularly

Some CPAP device models rely on filters to purify the air. Review the instruction manual to find out how often these filters need to be cleaned and replaced. It is good to rinse them regularly, blot them dry, then allow them time to air dry completely. Some models require replacement filters as often as once or twice per month.

Have It Serviced as Needed

If your sleep apnea symptoms seem to worsen or it seems that the CPAP device is not running well, take it to your equipment provider to be checked out.

Replace Parts as Needed

CPAP components are not made to last forever. If you see signs of cracking or wear, change out the headgear, mask, and tube. Even without visible damage, most manufacturers advise replacing these parts yearly.

Get more information on alternative treatment options for OSA, including overnight dental devices and Inspire sleep therapy.

Successful Sleep Apnea Diagnosis & Treatment

You have a reliable local resource for at-home and clinical sleep testing, sleep disorder diagnosis, and treatment. Contact the professionals at Sleep Health Solutions today; call (330) 923-0228 or fill out the contact form below to request a consultation.

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