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Ultimate How To Guide: Best Ways To Clean Your CPAP

Table of Contents

Cleaning your CPAP the right way keeps you and your CPAP machine in tip-top shape! A good CPAP cleaning routine doesn’t just kill germs. It also removes built-up dirt and debris that can damage your equipment and impact the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy.

To keep your CPAP clean, you’ll need to focus on four specific areas– your CPAP mask, tubing, humidifier tank, and CPAP filter. That may sound like a lot, but we’re here to break it down with easy-to-follow instructions!

In this simple guide, we’ll cover:

  • List of CPAP cleaning supplies you’ll need.
  • CPAP cleaning schedule that works for you and your equipment.
  • Step-by-step routine for cleaning your CPAP machine and mask.
  • List of benefits of keeping your CPAP clean.

CPAP Cleaning Supplies You Need

Before you get started, there are a few CPAP cleaning supplies you’ll need for your equipment. We’ll go over what works and the best practices for cleaning that can help make your CPAP cleaning even easier.


CPAP Mask Frame(Daily)CPAP Mask Cushion(Daily)CPAP Humidifier Chamber(Weekly)CPAP Reusable Filters(Weekly)CPAP Hose and Tubing(Weekly)
Mild Soap
Warm Water
Distilled Cleaning Vinegar
CPAP Wipes√*√*√*
CPAP Sanitizing Machine√*√*√*√*√*
CPAP Drying Machine√*√*√*√*√*

* Optional

The Basic Supplies to Clean Your CPAP

Keep in mind that keeping your CPAP clean doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. In fact, many people already have access to the basics in their own homes!

Technically, all you need is mild soap and warm water, but most experts also recommend cleaning your CPAP with mixed vinegar and water.

  • Mild Soap: Stay away from harsh soaps, especially anti-bacterial soaps. The best soap to clean your CPAP is natural dish soap, baby shampoo, or special CPAP soap.
  • Warm Water: When washing your CPAP equipment, be sure to use warm water to help kill germs. Make sure it isn’t too hot, or it can damage your cushion.
  • Cleaning Vinegar: Diluted cleaning vinegar is very effective at killing germs. To dilute, mix 2 parts vinegar and 3 parts water. Do not wash your CPAP cushion or filter with vinegar.
  • Soft Towel: It’s good to keep a microfiber towel around to help dry your equipment after each wash. You can also use a paper towel. Be very gentle when drying your cushion.

Nice-to-Have Supplies for CPAP Cleaning

Once you have the basics down, there are a lot of awesome CPAP accessories that make cleaning your CPAP so much easier.

  • CPAP Wipes: Most manufacturers state that you can use CPAP wipes to clean your CPAP mask after each use. But, if you choose to do this, you will still need to wash all of your equipment every week.
  • CPAP Cleaner: While mild household soaps do a good job, some people prefer to use soaps and cleaning solutions that are specifically made for CPAP machines, such as Snugell’s CPAP Wash.
  • CPAP Disinfectant Solution: Instead of distilled cleaning vinegar, you can use a CPAP Control III Disinfectant, which is a CPAP cleaning solution that you can mix with water to target germs on your CPAP.
  • CPAP Sanitizing Machine: The best CPAP sanitizers, such as the Liviliti Paptizer, use UV light to kill 99.9% of germs. But they don’t actually remove the dirt and debris on your equipment. While they cannot replace regular cleaning, they’re great for peace of mind.
  • CPAP Dryers: It is safe to let your CPAP equipment air dry. However, if you forget to wash your equipment and want to do so before bed, a CPAP dryer can speed up your drying time to just a few minutes.

What to Avoid While Cleaning Your CPAP

When it comes to taking care of your CPAP equipment, there’s one rule that you must always keep in mind. Avoid harsh chemicals!

Cleaning your CPAP equipment with abrasive cleansers or chemicals will damage your equipment. It can also leave behind residue that can irritate your skin or even make you sick.

Do not use:

  • Anti-Bacterial Soap
  • Household Sanitizers
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaners
  • Dishwashers
  • Boiling Water
  • Alcohol

How to Clean Your CPAP Equipment

Let’s go over how to clean the rest of your equipment– including your CPAP hose, water chamber, tube, and CPAP filter– during weekly cleanings! As a reminder, always check your CPAP mask and machine manual to be sure you are following all manufacturer instructions.

How to Clean Your CPAP Mask

Daily CPAP mask cleaning is pretty simple! After each use, wipe down or wash your cushion in mild soap and water before letting it air dry.

  1. Disassemble: Once a week, disassemble your mask by separating the headgear, mask cushion, nasal pillows, frame, and elbow.
  2. Wash: Gently wash your mask parts in mild soap and water.
  3. Soak: For a deep clean, soak your CPAP mask frame and elbow in a 2:3 vinegar water mix or CPAP disinfectant solution for 30 minutes or follow the instructions on the bottle.
  4. Rinse: Rinse your CPAP mask in warm water.
  5. Dry: Allow your CPAP equipment to fully dry before reassembling. Do not sit in direct sunlight.
  6. Sanitize: Place your CPAP mask parts in your CPAP cleaning machine to sanitize.
  7. Reassemble: Once your equipment is dry, you’re ready to reassemble all the parts so that your CPAP machine is ready to use again!

How to Clean Your CPAP Hose

Be sure to let your CPAP hose drain and air dry after each use.

  1. Disassemble: Once a week, disassemble your CPAP tube from your CPAP machine and mask.
  2. Wash: Gently wash your CPAP hose in mild soap and warm water.
  3. Scrub: Use a soft cloth to scrub each surface. You can use a CPAP tube cleaning brush to clean your tubing. Make sure there are no colored spots, which could be a sign of mold or bacteria.
  4. Soak: For a deep clean, soak your tube in a 2:3 vinegar water mix or CPAP disinfectant solution for 30 minutes or follow the instructions on the bottle.
  5. Rinse: Rinse your hose in warm water.
  6. Dry: Allow your CPAP equipment to fully dry before reassembling. Do not sit in direct sunlight. Be sure to hang your CPAP tube so it can fully drain and dry.
  7. Sanitize: Place your hose in your CPAP cleaning machine to sanitize.
  8. Reassemble: Once your equipment is dry, you’re ready to reassemble all the parts so that your CPAP machine is ready to use again!

How to Clean Your CPAP Water Chamber

After using your CPAP machine, be sure to empty and dry your CPAP humidifier each day.

  1. Disassemble: Once a week, disassemble your CPAP humidifier tank from your CPAP machine.
  2. Wash: Gently wash your water tank in mild soap and warm water.
  3. Scrub: Use a soft cloth to scrub each surface. You can use a CPAP tube cleaning brush to clean your tubing. Make sure there are no colored spots, which could be a sign of mold or bacteria.
  4. Soak: For a deep clean, soak your CPAP water tank in a 2:3 vinegar water mix or CPAP disinfectant solution for 30 minutes or follow the instructions on the bottle.
  5. Rinse: Rinse your water chamber in warm water.
  6. Dry: Allow your CPAP equipment to fully dry before reassembling. Do not sit in direct sunlight.
  7. Sanitize: Place your humidifier chamber in your CPAP cleaning machine to sanitize.
  8. Reassemble: Once your equipment is dry, you’re ready to reassemble all the parts so that your CPAP machine is ready to use again!

How to Clean Your CPAP Filter

Like your CPAP mask cushion, your CPAP filter should be washed gently and with care!

  1. Disassemble: Once a week, remove your CPAP filter from your CPAP machine.
  2. Wash: Gently wash your filter in mild soap and warm water.
  3. Rinse: Rinse your filter in warm water.
  4. Dry: Allow your filter to fully dry before reassembling. Do not sit in direct sunlight. Reassemble: Once your equipment is dry, you’re ready to reassemble all the parts so that your CPAP machine is ready to use again!

The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Your CPAP Machine and Mask

DoDon’t
Wash Your CPAP With Mild Soap Use Harsh Chemicals or Anti-Bacterial Soaps
Use Warm WaterUse Boiling Water
Give Your CPAP Plenty of Time to DrySet It in Direct Sunlight to Dry
Use CPAP Wipes for Daily CleaningOnly Use CPAP Wipes for Weekly Cleanings
Sanitize Your Equipment With a CPAP Cleaning MachineSanitize Your Equipment With Bleach
Let Your Hard Plastic CPAP Equipment Soak in Vinegar Each WeekUse Vinegar on Your CPAP Cushion or Filter
Unplug Your CPAP Before Cleaning ItClean Your CPAP While Plugged In
Hang Your CPAP Hose and Mask Headgear to Dry Dry Your CPAP Equipment in a Clothing Dryer

CPAP Cleaning Schedule

Let’s take a look at how often you should clean your CPAP! Having to clean your CPAP mask every day may sound daunting. Just remember, you can use CPAP wipes on your mask and cushion each day, as long as you still wash them in soap and water at least once a week.

CPAP EquipmentAmount of Necessary Cleaning 
CPAP Mask FrameClean Daily With Wipes
Wash Weekly With Soap and Water
CPAP Mask Cushion or PillowsClean Daily With Wipes
Wash Weekly With Soap and Water
CPAP HeadgearWash Weekly With Soap and Water
Humidifier ChamberEmpty and Dry Daily
Wash Weekly With Soap and Water
CPAP Reusable FiltersWash Weekly With Soap and Water
CPAP HoseHang to Dry Daily
Wash Weekly With Soap and Water

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get Sick if I Don’t Clean My CPAP Equipment?

While getting sick from CPAP is rare, it can happen on some occasions. Usually, CPAP sickness is mild, but it can cause cold-like symptoms and even a cough. The good news is that regular cleaning keeps you safe and healthy!

What Are the Symptoms of a Dirty CPAP Machine?

Common symptoms associated with a dirty CPAP machine include nasal congestion and irritation at first. If you don’t clean your CPAP regularly, it can become a more serious issue, leading to congestion, irritation, dryness, nosebleeds, burning, and a pesky runny nose.

Can I Use Dawn Dish Soap To Clean My CPAP?

You can use Dawn Dish Soap to clean your CPAP machine, but most CPAP manufacturers suggest using a natural dish soap or a free and clear product.

Can I Use Alcohol Wipes To Clean My CPAP Mask?

No. If using wipes, it’s best to use wipes that do not contain alcohol to prevent you from accidentally inhaling alcohol fumes. Some popular CPAP cleaning wipes for cleaning your CPAP mask include:

How Long Does Vinegar Take To Disinfect?

It usually takes about 30 minutes for vinegar to disinfect your equipment. If your humidifier chamber has been empty for a while, you may want to soak it in the water and vinegar mixture for longer than 30 minutes but no more than 60.

How Often Should CPAP Supplies Be Replaced?

First, consult with your respective parts’ manuals to ensure you are following the right upkeep regimen, but typically, you should clean your CPAP mask, mask cushions, or pillows daily. Your humidifier chamber, reusable filters, and hose should be cleaned weekly, but do make sure you empty and dry your humidifier chamber daily and refill it only with distilled water before going to sleep.

If you wash your CPAP hose daily, you should also let it hang dry before using it again, so do allow enough time for it to dry before going to

Final Thoughts

CPAP cleaning is an essential part of your CPAP maintenance routine. With such a wide range of cleaning options, cleaning your CPAP doesn’t have to be a chore.

A regular cleaning routine keeps you and your CPAP running better than ever! You’re one step closer to keeping CPAP sickness away while having a greater experience with your CPAP equipment.

32 Responses

  1. I clean the mask with a wipe daily, and then do a full sosk and rinse, along with the air tube and humidifier tank once a week. Essential, as the VA only supplies a new mask and air tube every 4-5 months, and a water tank only if it leaks.

    1. I use ResMed AirSense 10 and full face mask. I get severe mouth dryness after only 45 minutes use. Can you give me any advice on how to alleviate this problem?

      1. Hi Ana,
        I’m sorry to hear about the dryness you’re experiencing. Are you currently using your humidifier? If not please do so. If so, please try increasing the humidity level. You may consider adding the climateline heated hose, if you aren’t already using it.

        Also, have you confirmed your leak rate under your therapy data? If your leak rate is more than 24L/m, this could be causing you to experience dryness.

        If you’re using a humidifier, heated hose and have a low leak rate, please give us a call while you’re near your machine and mask at: 1-800-356-5221, so that we may better assist you.

        Have a wonderful day!

  2. Does the Link clean tubing? It didn’t she that in the video. You Ave a description of washing CPAP equipment with soap and water. Does that mean I must do that before using the Limit? Thank you very much for sending me this information. I really appreciate CPAP.com. You guy help me a lot

    .

  3. After having CPAP most of the patients forgets to maintain that, which is necessary. So as you said “CPAP cleaning is a chore”, is it is a regular tusk for those who are using CPAP. Without having cleaned CPAP one must have several problems like, breathing problems, skin rashes, bacterial or fungal contamination. Many thanks for the blog. Just have a question, does soclean really work?

    1. Hey Kate, yes. Keeping all of the CPAP supplies and equipment free from bacteria should be top priority. CPAP.com does not sell the So Clean, or any of their products therefore we are not able to assure you that the machine will work to your standards. We have however received quite a bit of feedback from our customers that are very happy with the results from the So Clean. You may be able to read some reviews on the So Clean by visiting https://www.soclean.com/.

      I hope this helps, have a great day!

    1. Hi Carla, there isn’t a for certain answer to your question. If you remove your hose in the morning and hang in a dry area, low humidity, it usually dries within a few hours. However, I have spoken with some customers who advise that it can take 2-3 days for their hose to dry, so they resort to purchasing a spare hose, just in case.

      If you are experiencing problems with your hose drying out completely in a timely fashion, you may see the link below to view a product that may assist with drying your hose and other supplies also.

      https://grabby.cpap.com/2019-09-10_151115921-zt155i-1518.png

      Please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, with further question, or concerns.

      Enjoy your day!

  4. I have your c-pap machine. Recently I see a notice asking to service . Please advise what to do. We in Mombasa Kenya do not have a service centre.

    1. Hi Dodhia, i’m sorry that you are having some trouble with your CPAP machine. If you would like, you are most welcome to contact our customer service department at: 1-800-356-5221, to do over the phone troubleshooting, as further information on your machine is required to determine if the problem can be resolved, or if a replacement machine is warranted.

      We hope to hear from you soon!

  5. They get you into buy this machine (for you health) then expect you to spend the rest of your day caring for the machine…not worth it!!

    1. Hi Barbara, i’m sure there are other cleaning devices available such as, So Clean (reach out to soclean.com for details about the product), but we don’t sell them therefore, we don’t have enough information on their quality to necessarily recommend them.

      The cleaning device that we currently have available, is the Lumin and Lumin Bullet. We do however, sell a travel sized bottle of Control III cleaning solution and travel sized mask wipes. Please see the links below for information on these products.

      https://www.cpap.com/productpage/controll-iii-disinfectant-travel-2-oz

      https://www.cpap.com/productpage/beaumont-products-citrus-II-cpap-mask-travel-wipes

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a great day!

  6. These recommendations are total overkill. Cleaning the mask once a day is ridiculous. Those fancy $400 machines advertised on TV are a total waste of money. Do some research (avoiding any source that sells something), and you will find that there is no evidence that a cpap machine has ever made anyone sick, ever. In fact, multiple studies failed to show any connection between cpap use and respiratory illness even when the humidifier chamber is seeded with bacteria.

    Clean your filter and hoses every week to 10 days with either warm soapy water or white vinegar. Clean (or swap out) your nasal pillows every three or four days. The rest of the mask can be cleaned once a month or so (if you wore a blindfold to sleep, would you clean it every day?). Anything more than that is wasting time and wearing out your equipment. I’ve had a cpap for eight years.

    1. Wow, Tom. I’ve had my CPAP (Dreamstation with humidifier) for about 6 weeks and have had one bad upper respiratory infection — antibiotics needed — within the first 2 weeks, and another cold started this week, for which my MD prescribed prednisone to knock down the inflammation. I can’t imagine not keeping my hose and mask really clean. ‘wish I had your iron constitution.

  7. Hi,

    I have a resmed elite. Where can i find a filter in the machine. Also, is there any alternative filter i can use if i can’t find an OEM replacement.ty.

    1. Hi Rodelet, i’m happy to provide information on the filter for your machine, but please provide the actual name of the machine in question. Are you using a ResMed AirSense 10 Elite, or a ResMed S8 Elite?

      You can provide additional information at: cpap@cpap.com, or you may reach us at: 1-800-356-5221.

      Best Wishes!

  8. Use a heated hose from ResMed humidifier / F&P Simplus full face mask / So Clean machine. Finding the hose end separates from the of the plastic connector to the face mask easily during use. Does the So Clean cause deterioration of the rubber end?? Or normal wear?

    1. Hi Eric, I haven’t received any complaints about the So Clean machine causing deterioration to the rubber end, but it is possible. How long has it been since you changed your hose?

      Over time your hose can stretch out and will cause the connector to easily come apart. If it has been longer than a year since you changed your hose, please change it to see if this resolves the issue.

      For further questions, or concerns, please reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

  9. After washing my hose and rinsing it I take it outside and twirl it around in my hand (like a cowboy rope) along my side vertically. I take the end of the nose piece hose and twirl it around separately from each end.
    The longer hose I double it up and then spinning it first so that the openings throw the moisture out. Then reverse holding both opened ends and spin it to get the moisture on the outside off of the hose. I then take inside and dry the outside of the hoses with a clean dry cloth.
    Then once all the tubes are hooked up to the CPAP, I turn on the machine with the humidifier off for 20 minutes and let the tubes air dry (set a timer so you don’t forget your CPAP is on). Then turn it off and reset your humidifier.
    Works like a charm and I have been doing this for 12 years.

  10. Do you actually need to clean the insides of the machine? I have the ResMed CPAP Machine. Do I need to go inside, say where the humidifier connects into the machine, and disinfect that area also?

    1. Hi David, no. The inside of your machine does not need to be cleaned. You simply need to make sure you’re changing your disposable filter every 30 days and/or washing your reusable filter weekly and changing it at least every 6 months.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi John, soaking your hose in a 2:1 solution of white vinegar to water for about 20 minutes and washing it off with a mild detergent to remove the vinegar is a excellent cleaning method.

      For further questions, or concerns, please reach us at: 1-800-356-5221.

      Have a great day!

  11. I have been using my cpap for some 20 years now it has changed my life
    As of two weeks ago my Dr recomented I use oxegen . I have conected the oxegen on the cpap side of the pipe not on the mask side for more comfort. Is that ok?
    Can you please also reply on the e mail as l am not sure I am going to find this site again Thank you
    Walter

    1. Hi Walter,
      It doesn’t matter if you connect the Oxygen near the machine, or near the mask. As long as the Oxygen Enrichment Adapter is connected, the Oxygen will bleed through the CPAP.

      Also, some manufacturers have designed a special heated hose to allow heated hose availability with Oxygen to improve comfort.

      For further questions, or concerns, please reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a great day!

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