CPAP machines are a necessity for people suffering from sleep apnea. A CPAP machine increases the air pressure inside your throat so that it does not collapse on itself, and you sleep undisturbed. In our previous articles, we have reviewed many types of CPAP machines that are fit for your specific purpose.
But it is not enough to choose a suitable machine. You also need to ensure that it is maintained well. It warrants regular cleaning and if required replacing any part of the device.
Why is it necessary to clean your CPAP?
Before we enlist the steps, it is essential to point out exactly how your CPAP gets dirty while you sleep. No matter how clean your home is, it cannot be free from germs and bacteria. And if something finds its way into the machine, it will find a way inside you. Germs thrive in a warm and humid atmosphere, and that is precisely how the inside of the humidifier is.
This condition is also ideal for the growth of mold. Exposure to mold has many side effects like shortness of breath, development of asthma, and lower respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing in healthy adults. Apart from health risks, molds also decrease the efficiency of CPAP as it deposits inside the tube. The debris reduces the life cycle of the machine and also hinders its therapeutic purpose.
Can you really clean a CPAP using vinegar?
We are sure you must have considered to clean your CPAP machine after reading about the health risks. But you are afraid to mess up its mechanics. Well, you do not have to worry anymore. Our team has learned of and tested several ways to clean your device and are here to advise.
We recommend that you clean your CPAP regularly to ensure its maintenance. Yes, make it a daily habit, incorporate it in your schedule. But it is not necessary to dismantle the CPAP supplies. You can clean some parts with warm soapy water without having to separate the parts. Make time for thorough CPAP cleaning once every week, and you are good to go.
Everything you need
- Warm and distilled water
- Non-corrosive cleaning agent or mild soap (Dawn or ivory)
- Towels or cloth for wiping
- White vinegar
- Space to dry off the cleaned parts
It is crucial to keep in mind that different components of CPAP have to be cleaned separately and in different ways.
How to Clean the CPAP Hose with Vinegar
The hose is perhaps the dirtiest part of the device because of its functions and structure.
To clean the CPAP hose with vinegar – Mix one part of vinegar with three parts of warm water to dilute it and submerge the tube into the mixture. Then thoroughly rinse the hose, so that the mixture reaches the tricky parts. Wash it again with clean water and hang it on a rack for drying.
The tube might be a little challenging to dry off, so lay off washing it more frequently.
Cleaning CPAP Mask and Headgear
The CPAP mask and headgear can be cleaned more frequently as it is in direct contact with your face when you sleep. First, disconnect the mask from the tube and the headgear. Soak it in the mixture of vinegar and water as mentioned before. Scrub it gently, then rinse to remove any trace of soap or vinegar and leave it for drying.
You can also clean the mask with unscented wipes. It will get rid of oil, grease and will fit on your face better.
Similarly, clean the headgear. The headgear might take longer to dry off so you can use a towel to soak off the extra water. Do not try to wash or dry it in a washing machine.
Cleaning CPAP Filters
The nature and way of cleaning the filters depend a lot on the design and model of the CPAP.
Disposable filters need to be replaced on a timely basis or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Reusable filters can be cleaned weekly or more frequently in case of pollen season and if you have a pet. Wash the reusable filter in the soapy water and then thoroughly rinse in warm water. You know that the filters are clean when they are white. Squeeze extra water and blot on a clean towel. Later, air it until it is completely dry.
Check the filter throughout the week and clean if its color has changed.
Cleaning CPAP Humidifier
Every model of CPAP does not necessarily have a humidifier, and if you are not clear, then check with your manufacturer such as ResMed. In case you want to clean the humidifier, then first dispose of off the remaining water. Mix one part of white vinegar with five parts of water and let the humidifier soak for 30 minutes in it.
Only use distilled water for cleaning the water chamber of the humidifier to prevent any mineral depositing on it. Then clean off the chamber and rinse with clean water. Depending on the structure and quality of the CPAP humidifier, it can also be rinsed and dried in a dishwasher.
Cleaning the CPAP machine
CPAP cleaners are great, but the first thing to take note of when cleaning the machine is to switch off the power and remove the plug from the socket. Leave it for some time so that the energy is completely discharged.
You cannot clean the machine like other CPAP accessories. It cannot be soaked into the water or exposed to vinegar.
In order to clean the body of the device, take a clean and damp piece of cloth and rub it on the surface to remove dust. Then rub with a clean towel to absorb any liquid and ensure it is completely dry before use.
In the above section, we have specified what you should do to clean CPAP and its accessories. Here is a comprehensive list of what you should not do. The CPAP machine does not come cheap; we ask you to be careful while cleaning your CPAP and handle it with care. Consider these tips as warning and pledge to never subject your CPAP to these.
- Do not put the CPAP machine, mask, headgear, or CPAP tubing into the dishwasher. The temperature inside the dishwasher can get very high, which will ruin the seal and equipment inside. It is preferable to hand rinse, and air dry most CPAP equipment to avoid any complication. For further details, read the user manual and consult with the manufacturer such as Resmed on cleaning practices.
- Never put the headgear or any other parts into the washing machine for cleaning. It may stretch out the parts, and it will not fit your face perfectly.
- Do not use any other chemicals than what has been specified in the guide above. Lay off any alcohol solution or bleach for cleaning your CPAP.
- Do not expose the humidifier to tap water and only use distilled water for cleaning it.
- Do not let the parts soak in vinegar and water solution for more than 30 minutes.
- Do not try to make your own cleaner for CPAP by mixing different chemicals like vinegar, hydrogen-peroxide or sanitizer.
Can You Clean CPAP and its hose with Vinegar? We hope you now know!
We hope you keep our safe and easy tips in mind when cleaning your CPAP. It is vital for the maintenance of the device and if you want to claim insurance in case of a mishap. Do it so that you don’t fall sick, catch any infection. Your CPAP machine is your savior from sleep apnea, so make it a point to clean it properly promptly.