By Bryant Belin
Making sure your CPAP supplies are in working order is an essential requirement to help support your sleep therapy. In addition to this, it is important to disinfect your equipment to prevent bacteria and mold build up, which can lead to infections in the body. Cleaning also helps remove any dirt and oil that may become trapped on your skin. Oil and dirt will cause the supplies to break down much quicker than normal.
Unwanted moisture is an issue to consider when maintaining your CPAP supplies. Regardless if it is from the equipment, humidity in the air or from your body, bacteria is more likely to grow where there is an excess of moisture. For this reason it is important to clean and air-dry your supplies regularly. We have included instructions, first starting with what not to use when cleaning your materials:
Thing to avoid when cleaning your supplies:
• Antibacterial wipes
• Antibacterial soaps
• Clorox bleach
• Scented soaps
• Moisturizers and lotions
• Hand sanitizers
• Oil based products
Do not use any of the above items to clean any part of the supplies. Not only will these products shorten the life of the supplies but may also cause allergic reactions when the CPAP system is in operation. In addition to this, be sure to avoid direct sunlight to prevent further damage, discoloration and distortion of the supplies.
CPAP Tube Cleaning:
• Be sure to remove the cpap tubing from the PAP machine and mask before cleaning
• Use a specialized cleaner or mild soap and warm water to clean the tubing. Avoid scented soaps.
• Rinse and hang to air-dry.
• Clean your tubing on a weekly basis
Mask and Cushion Cleaning:
• Use a mild soap and warm water to clean the mask and cushions. Ivory or even Dove brands of soap (unscented) should be used. You can also use baby shampoo.
• Use a cloth to wipe well.
• Rinse and place in a location where it can air-dry.
• Avoid direct sunlight. Sunlight will damage and discolor the mask and cushions.
• You will want to do this on a daily basis
Clean the mask on a weekly basis:
• You will want to separate all components of the mask at least once a week and wash each individual piece.
• Rinse and air-dry as with other instances.
• *Note: The headgear does not have to be removed from the rest of the mask for cleaning purposes. This is an option left to the user. However, it is important to be aware that the dye in the headgear may run during the first few cleanings. This is normal.
Non-disposable (gray) filters:
• Be sure to clean this filter at least once a week using warm soapy water (a mild soap of course). You can simply use your hand to create a nice lather then rinse well and air-dry.
• Make sure the filter is completely dry before inserting in the machine. Remember, unwanted moisture leads to bacteria and mold build up.
Disposable filters (white or white and blue):
• DO NOT wash these filters and place back in the machine. These filters are to be discarded because their filtration breaks down with use much faster than the non-disposable filters.
A few things to consider:
If your filters are not changed regularly (if disposable) or washed regularly (non-disposable), the build up of dirt and other debris can cause the machine to overcompensate for the lack of airflow. This extra work is similar to a central air unit that operates with a dirty filter. The flow of air is less and the operating temperature of the unit rises. The possibility of machine or unit failure is much greater as a result.