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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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Pugsy
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby Pugsy on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:16 am

AMK wrote:I dunno, is the alcohol in hand sanitizer ok for silicone? The wipe solution is glycerin based.


It used to be (years ago) that alcohol was listed as forbidden for mask cleaning but I haven't seen it all that much lately and I always wondered if the forbidden part was more for those people who wanted to soak the silicone in alcohol as opposed to wiping it down briefly.
I think originally the thought was alcohol in large quantities (like soaking) could potentially dry out the silicone....we were never really told what it might do. So I don't really know what they were thinking.

But I don't think that the relatively small amount in hand sanitizers or even some wipes is going to make that much difference. It's not like we are spending an hour scrubbing the silicone with this stuff. Most of the time it's a brief millisecond wipe down. I can't see it doing much harm (if any) from very brief and limited contact.

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PaulKTF
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby PaulKTF on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:32 am

I use the Amazon brand wipes to clean my mask and it hasn't hurt the silicone at all.

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby chunkyfrog on Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:17 am

Maybe the concern is that alcohol is volatile, and is quickly absorbed into the body by breathing the fumes, either intentionally or not. For this reason, hand sanitizer in schools is non alcohol-based. Alcohol in the cpap mask is not a legally accepted form of intake, and the (legal department) is only doing "their job".

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby weroberts75 on Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:03 pm

I empty my humidifier chamber every morning, shake it out well, and reattach it to my CPAP machine so that the cool down cycle helps the few drops left to evaporate.
I wash the short tube or elbow (depending on the mask) once a week. It's part of my Sunday morning routine.

I do not wash my humidifier or long tube unless I am replacing them and storing the old ones away.
I use distilled water only and replace the humidifier chamber whenever it fails to heat, which is about every 7 or 8 months.
I use a ClimateLine heated tube, and it also conks out after 7 or 8 months and needs to be replaced, so I don't worry about long term issues with it either.

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palerider
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby palerider on Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 am

AMK wrote:
palerider wrote:
AMK wrote:I got some unscented cpap wipes from Amazon and I am finding that my pillows seem to stay put better if I wipe them off every day. I empty my humidifier chamber almost every day and let it dry out. I never clean the big hose.

One way or another, cleaning facial oils off the silicone is a good thing to do nightly. I usually use a squirt of plain hand sanitizer and a kleenex cleans it nicely, and cheaply :)

I dunno, is the alcohol in hand sanitizer ok for silicone? The wipe solution is glycerin based.

Yes, according to multiple chemical supplier sites on the net, silicone is not adversely affected by alcohol. And the alcohol helps remove oils really well.

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gravyv
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby gravyv on Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:44 am

I try to clean the tube once a week. For the water holder I try to only put enough water for 2-3days. My nasal mask I try to do everyday but sometimes I might go a few days without washing it. But I've used alcohol prep pads or a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol to clean it.

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Gryphon
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby Gryphon on Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:29 am

One last thing to consider also. Is if we're you live/sleep has a mold problem. In the house I lived in before I had to take my mask apart and clean it really well and clean all the crevices I could get to with a Qtip or I would start to see black mold or mildew growing in my mask. I would also scrub my hose at least once a month with a mild antimicrobial dish soap and one of those cpap hose brushes. As well as my water chamber.

In my new house I've gone back to just wiping my mask with a baby wipe off and on and replacing other things if when they break. I'll give my water chamber a quick scrub if it feels slimy other wise I leave it alone.

Just keep in mind the environment were your cpap is stored and operated will determine how often and what steps should be taken to keep it clean. Only experience and time will tell you were you fall in that category. Also be observant of your mask and hoses and inspect them for any visual build up of nasty stuff. If your lucky you won't have to clean very much. If not you will need to clean more and maybe also get your house tested for mold.

Good luck and rest well.

Gryphon

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby D.H. on Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:39 pm

What I suggest is to use only distilled water, empty the tank every morning, and blow-dry the unit (by running it) for half an hour. You can do this while you eat breakfast, shower, and/or get dressed.

This will insure that strange things can't grow in your unit.

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby nicholasjh1 on Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:11 pm

Mileage my also vary depending on humidity. In florida for instance with a 95% humidity there is a much higher chance of mold overgrowth etc. Here in sunny denver with an average humidity of 20% I'm not too worried.
Instead of Sleep apnea it should be called "Sleep starving of oxygen, being poisoned by high CO2 levels, damaging the body and brain while it's supposed to be healing so that you constantly get worse day over day and can never get healthy Apnea"

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby dumborat on Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:09 pm

I live in a humid area and I still haven't noticed anything icky looking or smelling in my humidifier or equipment at all. I only use distilled water. I've gone months just topping my humidifier up every night (or couple nights) and not cleaning it. And when I have cleaned it, it's just because I felt like I ought to, not because it had started growing mold.

When I thought about it mathematically, it made sense. Let's assume 1/3rd (roughly 33%) of the water is used every night, and that it's used evenly. Physics is not my strong point, so I don't know if some water would tend to just sit on the bottom and not be used? But the water does get jostled around when I take the humidifier out to refill it. And if it was just sitting on the bottom, not being exposed to anything, I don't know if bacteria or fungi would grow there to begin with?

Anyway:

On night 1, I fill the machine. So it's 100% of this "night 0" original water. I sleep, I use up 33% of the water.
On night 2, I top it off, so it's 66% "night 0" water and 33% new water.
Night 3 has about 43% of the night 0 water (0.33^2 * 100 = 43.56)
Night 4 has 29%.

... and so on. In a week, there's only about 5.5% of the oldest water.
In two weeks, 0.3%. Obviously it only gets more and more diluted from there.

So even when I went months without completely emptying my humidifier, there probably wasn't any months-old water in there. The vast majority of it would be less than a week old. Exponential decay is a powerful thing. (Of course, there will also be some amount of the "intermediate" water, that isn't the oldest or the newest. But all of that is also being diluted every night. You won't have much of the water from night 2 by then either.)

And again, this is distilled water, mostly not in contact with the air, and in a container that I thoroughly cleaned before filling.

I don't wash my tubing, I just replace it. I tried washing my tubing once, and I felt like I had probably exposed it to more bacteria (+ etc) in the process than if I'd just left it. Like it's not getting tap water near it, which is good... and now I'm putting tap water in it? Tap water that doesn't feel like it's dry even if I have my machine blow 20 cm H2O air pressure through it for an hour?

I should clean my mask more, but I'm concerned about the seal more than anything. And acne.

I've been using CPAP for 3 years and I still rarely get sick. I did have one cold that I went to a doctor about because I was coughing for awhile. From what I/they could tell, it was just bad luck with a virus. They didn't give me antibiotics, which was the right decision, because I got better on my own not long after. Anecdotes are not data and all that, but still...

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AMK
 
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby AMK on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:43 pm

Dumborat, discussions about water crop up regularly here. It seems that different brands of distilled water are "cleaner" than others, meaning some brands do seem to promote bacterial growth. My own experience has been that if I just "top off" my humidifier every night then in short order a reddish biofilm will start to form inside the humidifier. I've been assured that that particular bacteria is one normally found in the air, but I have no interest at all in seeing it build up in the unit. It's not that much of an expense or effort to dump out the humidifier and let it air dry every day since I only fill it about 1/4 full anyway.

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby nanwilson on Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:11 pm

I have been at this for over seven years and I just top off my water chamber at night and have never had mold or pink slime in it. For pete's sake, what can get into your hose ... only filtered air, you breathe indoor and outdoor air all day long and have not suffered any ill effects. I never wash it, but I do have a hose cover on it and I put a sock on it every morning to keep out those creepy crawling things that would like to find a nice hidey hole to have a snooze in or to start a whole new colony :wink: .
Common sense rules the world here, and "less" work is my motto... and it has worked just fine for this old lady.
Cheers
Nan

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby SunnyBeBe on Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:45 am

Oh my....I've never thought about a bug crawling into my hose! I'll have to start covering it, but, actually, I doubt a sock would prevent s spider from crawling inside if they really wanted to. I'll try not to think about that.

Since carrying distilled water is not convenient for traveling, I generally don't use distilled water then. I just use whatever is available, whether tap or bottled. I haven't seen any problems, but, it doesn't happen that often. I've never been able to find distilled water in any size other than a gallon jug. What's up with that?
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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby nightnight on Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:50 am

First, be sure to use distilled water. When I travel, I will just use the tap water, and yes you can smell the difference.

I also place a couple of silver coins in the tub. In the old days they used to put a coin in the rain barrel to help kill germs. And, yes today they use silver impregnated seals on refrigerators to do the same - at least they do it and use it as a marketing tool too!

Oh, and if you use regular water vs distilled, you will see the "junk" that precipitates into the holding tub. And, if you sue regular water, you will find that the junk on the coins will react with the tap water...........you end up with clean coins! lol

Remember, you are putting the output air of your system DIRECTLY into your lungs. If there is any mold, you could be in big trouble.

For the hose and mask, I clean every 6 weeks or so. If I notice any smell, I will do it earlier. I have used the same mask for about 2 years now. The hose, I seem to replace every 6 months or so.

Yes, you should clean your equipment, but don't go nuts. I use dish detergent and vinegar. Then I am sure to wash out very very well.

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Re: How often do I really need to clean tube and water chamber?

Postby bwexler on Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:18 pm

I am on a strict cleaning schedule of once every two to three years. I reset the clock if I have replaced an item sooner, which is a common occurrence.
I have caught myself swishing some water in the water chamber on rare occasions. And I think I actually put a water chamber in the dishwasher once, I was unhappy with the results.
I use a cloth mask so no silicon to keep clean and I would never use hand sanitizer for anything.

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