When cleaning your CPAP mask, tubing, and other machine parts, the best soap to use is a gentle, mild soap. Using a mild soap to clean your CPAP will help you avoid any damage to your equipment or irritation to your face and lungs.
There are many types of soaps that can be used to clean CPAP equipment. While niche products like CPAP soaps are ideal, many people have success using regular dish soaps and even baby shampoo, too! As long as the soap is mild and doesn’t contain ingredients like bleach, parabens, dyes, ammonia, or any moisturizing agents, it should be safe to clean your CPAP equipment with. You’ll also want it to be unscented, have a near-neutral pH, and leave behind little-to-no residue.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll be breathing in particulate matter from any soap residue that gets left behind, which is why it’s important to be familiar with your soap’s ingredients as well as your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance. The best soaps to clean your CPAP equipment will never leave residue behind, so if yours does, you should stop using it immediately.
Not all soaps are created equal, and in this article, we’ll explain what to look for, what to avoid, and provide you with a list of our top choices when it comes to the best soap to use when cleaning your CPAP mask and equipment.
- Best Overall: Purdoux CPAP Mask & Hose Soap
- Best Dish Soap: Ivory Concentrated Dishwashing Detergent
- Best for Sensitive Skin and Allergies: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
Why Is Cleaning Your CPAP Mask and Machine Parts So Important?
An unclean CPAP can expose you and your device to harmful bacteria, viruses, and mold which may lead to:
- Sinus Infections
- Increased Allergy Symptoms
- Facial Irritation/Rashes
- Mineralization of the Equipment That Can Lead to Premature Breakdown
Not only is cleaning your CPAP important for your health, but it can also save you money on replacement parts and supplies by keeping your equipment in better condition for longer.
Choosing the Best Soap to Clean Your CPAP Mask, Hose, and Humidifier Chamber
There are many soaps that work just fine, but you need to ensure that they do not contain any ingredients that could be potentially harmful to your health or break down your machine parts. Using harsh soaps and chemicals have the potential to void your machine warranty, as they typically do not align with the manufacturer’s care instructions.
Using a harsh soap will not inherently void your warranty, but regularly using harsh, chemical-heavy products to clean your CPAP equipment can degrade, warp, and compromise the materials more quickly. If a warranty claim is then made and there is evidence of improper cleaning practices, a manufacturer could make the case that the care instructions were not followed properly which caused damage to the equipment, giving them grounds to deny your warranty claim.
The absolute best advice we can give you for peace of mind if you’re unsure about the soap you’ve been using is to just make sure that you thoroughly rinse your equipment after cleaning. So long as you remember this step, your equipment should hold up alright even if you accidentally use the wrong CPAP soap from time to time.
What To Look For in a CPAP Soap
The best soaps for cleaning your CPAP mask, hose, and machine components are unscented, free of synthetic additives, and have a near-neutral pH. Ideally, look for soaps that are plant-based or naturally derived and leave no residue after drying.
Always opt for a mild, gentle soap. Ivory or a natural liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronners are good choices. Soaps made with plant-based ingredients are an excellent choice as well. Dawn soap is also safe to use but some have raised concern about it potentially leading to premature breakdown of the mask silicone.
A quick mention about ivory: Ivory soap is also a popular choice for cleaning CPAP masks and tubing, as it is gentle and does not contain any harsh chemicals. But, some people may be allergic to pure ivory soap, so if you experience any kind of skin reaction after using it, it is best to avoid this soap as a cleaning option.
What You Should Avoid:
You should avoid harsh soaps that contain strong chemicals, synthetic preservatives, parabens, sulfates, and dyes. These will leave residue and could dry out important components like your mask cushion, headgear, humidifier chamber, and tubing, causing them to warp or crack.
Many soaps contain strong fragrances and can irritate skin and mucous membranes such as the nose and sinuses. Many people with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD find that strong fragrances trigger breathing problems.
Best Soaps to Clean CPAP Masks and Equipment in 2022
How Did We Choose the Best Soaps To Clean Your CPAP?
The CPAP community was an invaluable resource in creating this guide, as they are quite vocal about what their favorite soaps are to clean masks and equipment. After also reviewing manufacturer recommendations and scouring our online inventory, we’ve found the best soaps to clean your CPAP equipment in 2022.
The best overall soap to use is one that is specifically formulated for CPAP use. However, if you’re looking for a safe dish soap to use, there are many options available. We’ve listed some of the most popular soaps below.
Best Overall: Purdoux CPAP Mask & Hose Soap
If you’re looking for the best soap to clean your CPAP mask and hose, Purdoux CPAP Mask & Hose Soap is a great choice. This unscented soap is designed specifically for cleaning silicone surfaces, and it’s gentle enough for daily use. It also contains no harsh chemicals, so it’s safe for your skin and your equipment.
Purdoux soap is designed specifically for cleaning CPAP equipment and doesn’t include alcohol, bleach, conditioners, latex, or moisturizers that may lead to skin irritation or machine damage. While any of the soaps on this list are a great option for cleaning your CPAP equipment, Purdoux CPAP Mask & Hose Soap is the only one that was formulated specifically with your sensitive equipment in mind.
- Mild Soap Designed for CPAP Cleaning
- Contains No Harsh Chemicals
- Pleasant Green Tea and Mint or Grapefruit and Lemon Scent
- Apply and Rinse: Cleaning Solution Formulated for Easy Cleanup
Best Dish Soap: Ivory Concentrated Dishwashing Detergent
Ivory Concentrated Dishwashing Detergent is a great soap for cleaning your CPAP mask and hose and is often mentioned by many people in the CPAP community. It’s phosphate-free, has a light scent, and is kind to the skin while still removing dirt and grime from your equipment.
- Mild Scent
- Very Gentle on Skin
- Accessible and Easy to Find Locally
Best for Sensitive Skin and Allergies (Hypoallergenic): Johnson’s Baby Shampoo with Tear-Free Formula
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is a great choice because it is gentle and non-irritating. It is made with hypoallergenic materials and free from parabens, sulfates, and dyes that plenty of soaps include, making it a great soap to use for cleaning your CPAP mask. It is packaged in a convenient pump-style bottle and comes at a great price.
An advantage of choosing this soap is that it is subject to much greater scrutiny because it’s specifically made for infants. You’ll be able to find a comprehensive list of the ingredients under the ‘Ingredients’ tab, as well as where each ingredient is derived from—a level of transparency that is difficult to find with other soaps.
- Gentle and Non-Irritating
- Made With Hypoallergenic Materials
- Free of Parabens, Sulfates, and Dyes
The Best Natural Dish Soaps to Clean CPAP Equipment
While the dishwashing detergents we’ve recommended are perfectly safe to use, some people might feel safer using plant-derived products, so we wanted to offer some more natural CPAP soap alternatives to consider.
These are the best plant-based soaps you can use to clean your CPAP equipment and may be better for those with sensitive skin or respiratory tracts, or severe allergies.
Seventh Generation Liquid Soap
Seventh Generation liquid soap is a great choice because it is plant-based, unscented, and tough on dirt and grease. Plus, it’s a 95% USDA biobased certified product! Like the other dish soaps on this list, Seventh Generation will clear your CPAP equipment of grime and buildup without damaging it.
Seventh Generation is a great choice for the eco-conscious, as they’re dedicated to reducing our global reliance on non-renewable petroleum by focusing on naturally-derived, sustainable cleaning products.
Those with allergies and sensitivities to some harsher soaps will also find Seventh Generation’s ingredient glossary helpful.
- Natural, Sustainable Ingredients
- The Formula Is Gentle on Skin, Tough on Facial Oils
- Affordable and Unscented
Pure Castile Liquid Soap by Dr. Bronner
Looking for a gentle, eco-friendly dish soap to clean your CPAP equipment? Look no further than Pure Castile Liquid Soap by Dr. Bronner. This soap is made with organic oils and doesn’t contain any foaming agents or synthetic preservatives—perfect for keeping your CPAP parts looking new. Plus, it comes in a recycled bottle, making it even more environmentally friendly.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are totally biodegradable and vegetable-based, gentle enough for washing your face or body but tough on facial oils and dirt. These soaps can be used for just about any cleaning task around the house, plus they’re nontoxic and safe for people and animals too! There are many different scents to choose from as well.
- Made With Organic Oils
- Free From Synthetic Preservatives
- Bottle Made From 100% Recycled Materials
Unscented Castile Soap Bars
If you prefer something simple like Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps, there is also an unscented version that contains no extra chemicals or artificial ingredients, just the all-natural castile soap. If you prefer bar soap, Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is one of the best options for cleaning your CPAP equipment.
Do I Need To Use a CPAP Mask Disinfectant?
While mild, warm soapy water should be enough to maintain your regular CPAP cleaning schedule, you can use hospital-grade disinfectants such as Control III if you are concerned about viruses and bacteria.
To be clear, though, sanitizing your equipment is NOT a replacement for a thorough cleaning—its purpose is to kill surface germs and bacteria. You’ll still need to clean your equipment with soap and water to remove the buildup of dust, dead skin cells, and saliva.
It’s also a good idea to disinfect any equipment you haven’t used in a while, such as a travel CPAP or backup machine, before using it again. Since the point of cleaning is to remove buildup, you can disinfect your equipment daily after usage to prevent buildup and reduce the workload of regular cleaning.
What Happens if I Don’t Clean My CPAP Mask?
If you don’t clean your CPAP mask regularly, it will become contaminated with bacteria and you may develop a skin rash or infection. Allowing facial oils and dead skin cells to accumulate will also lead to faster degradation of your mask cushion and may negatively impact the quality of your seal.
If you are recovering from a sickness but do not clean your CPAP equipment regularly during that time, it may take longer for you to fully recover.
How Do I Disinfect My CPAP Mask?
When cleaning with soap and warm water, you’ll also be disinfecting your equipment in the process. You can more directly disinfect your supplies by submerging them for half an hour in a mixture of three parts water and one part vinegar.
If you are looking for a quicker way to disinfect your CPAP mask, you may also try hospital-grade disinfectants such as Control III. Perhaps the most cost-effective solution, Control III comes concentrated in a 16 oz. bottle that makes one gallon per ounce of concentrate for a total of 16 gallons of cleaning solution per bottle!
Taking only 10 minutes to disinfect, Control III is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that is effective against 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mycobacteria.
It is best used on hard surfaces and can be used on equipment such as CPAP masks, tubing, humidifiers, and water chambers. When using Control III, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
Finally, if you prefer a more modern solution without chemicals or cleanup, you can opt for a CPAP cleaner such as the 3B Medical Lumin which uses germicidal UV-C light to disinfect your equipment in just five minutes!
How Often Should I Clean My CPAP Mask?
You should clean or disinfect your CPAP mask after every use. Per industry standards, you should thoroughly wash your equipment with soap and water after every single use to maintain a high quality of air.
CPAP wipes are a great way to quickly clean your mask cushion and frame, though you’ll still want to thoroughly clean your mask parts (including your headgear) once a week.
If you use a humidifier, you’ll also need to empty and rinse it out daily because of the moist environment that is created by the humidifier. Be sure to let it air dry out of direct sunlight.
How Often Should I Clean My CPAP Hose?
Just like your CPAP mask, your CPAP hose should be washed or disinfected after every use and thoroughly washed at least once a week. If you’re sick or were recently sick, you’ll want to stick to a thorough, daily cleaning regimen. Keeping a clean CPAP hose is especially important to decrease your risk of a respiratory infection when you already aren’t feeling your best.
Cleaning Your CPAP Mask Headgear and Straps:
You can wash your mask’s headgear with the same soap you use on your other equipment. In the same way that you’d clean your CPAP equipment, you can hand-wash your headgear in warm water with gentle soap, rinse well with water, then allow to air-dry out of direct sunlight. You should avoid tossing your headgear in with the laundry, as this can wear out the elastic in your headgear much more quickly.
Not only is your CPAP equipment expensive and worth maintaining, your health is priceless. Cleaning your CPAP equipment regularly is necessary to protect yourself from illness. Using a mild soap to clean your CPAP mask, cushion, and tubing daily will help you avoid irritation to your face and lungs when using your device.
Even if you don’t go with one of our recommendations, remember to avoid harsh soaps with additives like parabens, sulfates, dyes, detergents, or synthetic preservatives which can leave residue on your machine parts and dry them out over time causing cracks and other problems. Purdoux CPAP Mask and Hose Soap is the clear winner in our eyes, but there are many other great options on the market that can help you stay on top of your cleaning regimen.
Mild soapy water should be enough to maintain regular maintenance but if you want an extra layer of protection against harmful bacteria we recommend hospital-grade disinfectants for more thorough cleanings every couple of weeks. You may also consider a CPAP machine cleaner to clean and disinfect your equipment.
We hope the information in this article helps you make an informed decision that will not only keep both you and your equipment in proper, working order.
Nate aims to make learning about sleep apnea and CPAP products as enjoyable as possible. When he’s not spending time working, you’ll find him volunteering at the local animal shelter or cultivating his vegetable garden.