Cleaning CPAP Equipment.
How to clean your CPAP Mask, Machine, and tubing is a very common question. There is also quite a bit of misinformation about this subject in my opinion. Here is our opinion on the subject.
First let’s identify the problem. Is CPAP Equipment actually dirty? That all depends on what piece of CPAP Equipment that we’re talking about.
The machine itself doesn’t need cleaning at all. You want to make sure that you are putting in clean filters in the air intake just as you would the air intake for your home HVAC system. When it gets dirty it can clog up the intake and put unneeded stress on the blower. It can also cause a high pitched whining sound. You need to fully replace the white (fine) filter. The spongy dark filter can be rinsed off, left out to dry, and then put back in your machine.
This does need daily cleaning in our opinion. Moisture can condense on the inside of the mask with each breath. This can provide an environment for “stuff” to grow if there is moisture on the mask when you take it off in the morning. The cushion has another issue that requires cleaning. Your face oils will be left on the silicone cushion if not cleaned off daily. Your face oils can degrade the cushion over time. This can make it warp in the worst case scenario, though this is rare. The more common problem is that face oils left on the mask create an easy way for air to escape since the tackiness of the seal is compromised. You may also notice that you develop skin irritation if the mask isn’t cleaned daily. Putting on a dirty oily mask is a little like putting on the same pair of underwear several days in a row.
How to clean CPAP Equipment (mask): A good cheap way to to just use hot soapy water. Dawn dish soap is great and usually readily available. Fill up a plastic basin with warm water and dawn dish soap. Drop in your Mask and rub the surface of the mask and cushion with your hand. Pull out and allow to dry on a hand towel. If this is done after waking, it is typically dry by bedtime. You can put a fan on it if you find it doesn’t dry by the time you go to bed.
Another way to clean your mask and get the oils off faster are mask wipes and mask sprays. In full disclosure I make and sell one of these products. Mine is called “Mask Bright”. I will be the first to tell you that they’re not necessary. Soap and water work just fine. My product is designed to cut through the oils and clean the mask with a quick spray and rinse. No need to fill up a water basin or dunk your mask. It’s only used as as a convenient time-saver.
I would follow the same instructions as above with (masks) for cleaning your CPAP tubing. Moisture from your humidifier will get into the tubing and can get a “stank” between uses. If you’re washing your mask daily, you might as well get the tubing sparkly clean too.
Absolutely clean this daily and start with fresh water between uses. This is the number one cause of upper respiratory tract infections when using CPAP. I cannot stress this enough….fresh water in the humidifier every time you sleep.
Few products to make cleaning your equipment easier and faster.
Mask Bright CPAP Mask Spray: My (highly biased) Mask Bright Daily CPAP Mask Spray. It works and it lasts a long time. This makes cleaning your tubing, humidifier chamber, and mask very quick and easy. You’ll also be supporting our website.
Hurricane Dryer: This dryer is perfect for drying out your tubing, mask, and humidifier chamber. Set the timer for 60 minutes after cleaning CPAP equipment and you’ll come home to your CPAP Equipment that is ready for use.