By Kim Wetmore
If you have been issued a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, you may soon realize that this machine requires maintenance and cleaning. The nurse who issued it to you probably gave you instructions on how to properly care for your machine, but we all know a lot of information was given to you at that time. Here are some helpful hints on how to best clean and maintain your CPAP machine.
The first thing to note is that whatever may be growing inside the CPAP equipment is being breathed in, so it is vital to keep the machine and its accessories clean at all times, and equally significant to use very gentle cleansers, such as Dial Anti-Bacterial for example. This gentle soap should be applied because any added perfumes of a stronger cleaner could be left behind in the equipment, and inhaled to a point of making the user sick.
To clean the CPAP itself, first make sure the unit is unplugged. This will avoid any chance of electrical shock. Remove the tubing, humidifier and mask from the machine and use a soft cloth with warm water and the gentle cleanser chosen to wipe down the outside of the device. Remember to make sure the machine is unplugged.
Fill the sink with warm water and gentle cleanser. Place the mask and tubing in the water and allow them to soak for about thirty minutes. Follow up with wiping out the mask with a soft cloth and warm water and let the warm water run through the tubing to insure any residue has been removed. Let the mask and tubing air dry on a towel. It is recommended this be done daily.
The humidifier should be cleaned much in the same way the CPAP machine is, with a soft cloth with warm water and gentle soap. It is also very important to remember that when the humidifier is in use, it should only be filled with distilled water to prevent the build up of mineral deposits and bacteria. Keep in mind, the moisture it creates is being inhaled and it is so important to keep it as clean as possible. Allow the humidifier to air dry as well, and try to clean this item weekly.
The filters can vary in different CPAP machines. Some filters are disposed of, yet others are not thrown away, and need to be rinsed and air dried just like the tubing and mask. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s information on this and be aware of the maintenance schedule that coincides with the way your particular machine is being used. Aeroflow Healthcare is always available to answer questions concerning the use and maintenance of the CPAP machine provided as well.
Once the separate parts of the machine are clean and dry, reassemble them and the CPAP is ready for another use, free of contaminants that can get in the way of successful treatment of sleep apnea.