Regularly cleaning your CPAP equipment can help keep you healthy and prevent the spread of germs.
From illnesses such as colds, infections, flu, and COVID-19, proper CPAP cleaning techniques can help reduce the likelihood of you getting sick while ensuring you breathe cleaner air. Keeping your CPAP machine, mask, and supplies clean is an essential part of your health, wellness, and the longevity of your CPAP equipment.
Let’s dive into just how keeping your CPAP equipment in tip-top shape benefits your overall wellbeing.
Benefits of CPAP Cleaning
Cleaning your CPAP equipment is crucial in fending off unwanted germs and bacteria. But did you know that proper sanitation after suffering from an illness could prevent you from getting sick once again? Or that properly cleaning your CPAP equipment could help avoid the spread of germs in the first place? Not only can you disinfect your CPAP equipment but you can also, in turn, experience better CPAP therapy as a result.
Decreased Risk for Catching Colds and Infections
Your CPAP mask’s proximity to your mouth and nose makes it a breeding ground for germs. What doesn’t get you sick today could quickly make you ill tomorrow if you don’t clean your mask regularly. By implementing a cleaning regimen, you’ll be eliminating the germs that can get you sick. Your equipment will smell better, look better, and be more effective if cleaned regularly.
Reduced Risk of Getting Sick Again
We understand—nothing’s worse than being sick. But if you don’t clean your CPAP mask and accessories effectively, you’ll run the risk of re-infection even if you’re just starting to feel better. For nasal pillow mask users, the problem is especially difficult. Nasal pillows seal around the nostrils, which harbor bacteria from your sinuses during a cold. Due to the nasal pillows proximity to your nose, the germs from your mask have a direct path to making you feel sick again. Without proper CPAP cleaning, you breathe in germs while wearing your mask, which makes good hygiene especially important during cold and flu season.
Clean air is critical to your CPAP success. Since your lungs process the air that comes from your machine, you don’t want germs, dust, bacteria, or allergens entering your therapy air. There are two surefire ways to ensure you’re limiting the number of harmful irritants in your therapy air:
- Change your filters regularly.
- Clean your CPAP mask, hose, and humidifier chamber correctly, which we detail below.
How Often to Clean Your CPAP Equipment
Let’s take a look at when to clean the most critical parts of your CPAP therapy equipment.
|CPAP Equipment||Amount of Necessary Cleaning|
|CPAP Mask||Clean Every Day|
|CPAP Mask Cushion or Pillows||Clean Every Day|
|Humidifier Chamber||Clean Once a Week; Empty and Dry Daily|
|CPAP Reusable Filters||Clean Once a Week|
|CPAP Hose||Clean Once a Week; Hang to Dry Daily|
The CPAP Cleaning Supplies You Need
There are a few essential CPAP cleaning supplies that you’ll need to clean your CPAP equipment. We’ll go over what works as well as offer you pro tips that can help make your CPAP cleaning even easier.
|CPAP Mask & CPAP Mask Cushion||CPAP Humidifier Chamber||CPAP Reusable Filters||CPAP Hose|
Mild soap is colorless, odorless, and uses no harsh chemicals. You would want to use mild soap so that it doesn’t damage the silicone on your mask. Mild soap is not toxic for you to breathe. You don’t want the soap to be colored or have an odor because the color can transfer to your equipment, and the odor may linger.
When it comes to cleaning your CPAP hose, reusable filters, humidifier, and mask, water paired with mild soap is an important part of any cleaning regimen. Washing your CPAP equipment in warm, soapy water helps to sanitize and actively disinfect.
Say hello to vinegar; an essential household product for cleaning the inside of your CPAP hose and humidifier chamber. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can kill germs and bacteria on contact. Vinegar is also helpful for cleaning the calcified deposits at the bottom of your CPAP humidifier chamber quickly and easily. It’s a must-have for any CPAP cleaning routine.
When it comes to cleaning, you can either use a towel or CPAP mask wipes to aid in your cleaning routine. In order to clear away pesky deposits, you’ll need an instrument to scrub your equipment with. A towel works, but many CPAP users prefer CPAP mask wipes to disinfect further.
Pro Tip: Avoid Harsh Chemicals
It can be dangerous to clean your CPAP equipment with abrasive cleansers or chemicals like household or bathroom cleaning products. These often leave behind a residue that pollutes your therapy air and can be toxic to breathe in.
Instead, use a cleaning product designed with your CPAP equipment in mind. Not only will your equipment be clean but you won’t be exposed to toxins and harmful chemicals in the process.
CPAP Sanitizing Machine: The Lumin CPAP Cleaner
The Lumin CPAP Cleaner and Lumin Bullet are the CPAP sanitizing tools that are the talk of the town! The Lumin uses powerful UV light to sanitize your CPAP mask and humidifier water chamber by killing 99% of bacteria. It will disinfect thoroughly in a quick five-minute cycle while allowing you to use your equipment right away after sanitation is complete. We recommend still washing your equipment as detailed below, but the Lumin is the perfect tool to sanitize!
The Lumin Bullet works using the same UV light to sanitize the Lumin’s missing piece: your CPAP hose. The Lumin Bullet doesn’t use any harsh chemicals, sanitizes in under two minutes, and is safe to use immediately after sanitation.
CPAP Cleaning Best Practices
When cleaning your CPAP machine, it’s important to observe a few important best practices:
- Make sure you provide adequate time for drying before your next use. Damp equipment can be a breeding ground for mold.
- Never use bleach or harsh chemicals on your CPAP equipment.
- Never boil your mask cushion.
- Be sure to double-check your User’s Manual for any product-specific warnings that may impact your cleaning process before you start cleaning.
- Never clean your CPAP equipment while it’s still plugged in.
How to Clean Your CPAP Equipment
Cleaning Your CPAP Machine
Cleaning the body of your CPAP machine is simple and easy.
- Use a damp cloth to gently wipe the outside of your machine to remove any dust or debris that may have collected on the outside casing.
- Gently dry with a paper towel.
Cleaning Your CPAP Mask
When cleaning your CPAP mask, it’s a good idea to disassemble the mask before starting the cleaning process. Dissembling your mask can make cleaning mask parts such as the cushion and elbow much easier.
Here are the steps you should follow when cleaning your mask daily.
- Remove the headgear from the mask.
- Gently wash the headgear with mild soap and water.
- Allow the headgear to air dry.
- Use mild soap and water or mask wipes to clean the inside of the cushion, making sure to remove any debris or film.
- Wipe down the surfaces of the mask with mask wipes.
- Allow to air dry.
Alternatively, implement the steps above when using the Control III Disinfectant – CPAP Cleaning Solution, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant. The Control III Disinfectant is added to water for a 100% effective cleaning solution.
- First, wash your mask using the steps found above.
- Mix one ounce of Control III Disinfectant per gallon of water and place the mixture in a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture over all surfaces of the mask cushion, frame, and elbow.
- Use a towel or mask wipe to remove any debris or residue.
- Allow to air dry.
Use the Lumin CPAP Cleaner to kill 99% of bacteria that may thrive in untreated CPAP masks.
- Wash the headgear using the initial steps above.
- Use mask wipes or mild soap and water to remove all debris or residue.
- When dry, put the mask components in the Lumin.
- Close the door completely before starting.
- Turn on and allow your mask to run for 5 minutes.
- When finished, remove your items from the Lumin. They are sanitized and ready to use immediately.
It’s important to note that the Lumin isn’t like a dishwasher and uses no water, soap, or scrubbing. That’s why we recommend washing your mask prior to sanitizing and disinfecting in the Lumin.
Lastly, CPAP Mask Wipes provide a clean that’s less harsh than the Control III. The wipes are able to remove debris and deposits while at the same time disinfecting.
Cleaning Your CPAP Hose (Tubing)
Cleaning your CPAP hose is simple and easy and can be done using the following process.
- Create a solution made up of vinegar and water or a solution of mild soap and water.
- Run this solution through the length of the hose, making sure that the water rinses back and forth several times. Do this by holding the hose so that both ends of the hose point straight up. Gently swish the hose back and forth.
- Empty the solution out of the hose.
- If you have a tube brush, you may use it to clean the inside of the hose and remove any debris or deposits that may be trapped inside your hose. Slide the length of the tube brush back and forth along the sidewalls of the hose.
- Hang on a towel rack to dry.
Pro Tips: Cleaning your CPAP hose is a lot different from cleaning other CPAP accessories (mostly due to its length). Here are some additional supplies that can make the process easier.
- Control III Disinfectant – CPAP Cleaning Solution can be used by soaking your hose in a tub that has a mixture of the disinfectant and water in it.
- To use the Lumin Bullet, insert the sanitizing probe into your CPAP hose and collapse the Bullet casing around the probe. The magnets in the Bullet will pick up the sanitizing probe, and you will guide it through the Lumin Bullet. Hose twists and turns are no problem for the Bullet. The Bullet effortlessly sanitizes your CPAP hose in under two minutes, and there’s also no waiting period, which means you can use your hose right away.
Cleaning Your CPAP Humidifier Water Chamber
Sanitizing and cleaning your humidifier water chamber is a must. Let’s jump into cleaning it quickly!
- Remove the humidifier chamber from the humidifier.
- Empty out the water.
- Use mild soap and water or a mixture of vinegar and water to scrub all surfaces on the inside of the chamber, removing any film that may have collected at the bottom.
- Continue scrubbing until all the residue has been removed.
- Carefully refill the humidifier chamber using distilled water. Distilled water prevents the buildup of mineral deposits at the bottom of the humidifier chamber, making it easier to clean. Empty and dry the chamber daily to make sure fresh water is being used.
- Carefully place the water chamber back into the humidifier.
The Lumin can also be used to disinfect your water chamber to kill 99% of lurking bacteria in a quick five-minute cycle.
Changing and Cleaning Your CPAP Reusable Filters
Your CPAP filters work just like the air filters in your car and home. They remove dust, pollen, and dirt while giving you cleaner air that’s better for your lungs.
Inspect your reusable CPAP filter to make sure there isn’t any dirt or debris present. Reuseable filters can be reused for up to six months, and rinsing them once weekly with warm water and mild soap can help to extend the life of the filters. Allow them to dry completely before use.
Changing your filters on time as set by the manufacturer is an important piece in improving the air you breathe.
By following these best practices, you’re setting yourself up for success by safely cleaning your CPAP therapy equipment and keeping your therapy air clean.
CPAP cleaning is an essential part of your CPAP maintenance routine. With such a wide range of cleaning options, keeping your equipment sanitized doesn’t have to be a chore. Once you establish a regular cleaning schedule as part of your nighttime routine, you’ll find you’ll feel healthier overall. You’re then one step closer to keeping sickness away while having a greater experience with your CPAP equipment.
David Repasky has been using CPAP treatment since 2017 and has first-hand experience with what it’s like to live with Sleep Apnea. He brings the patient’s perspective to the CPAP.com blog and has received formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment.