Well, I'll weigh in with rested gal, but also have a question. I don't take my mask apart either, for the same reasons she indicates. And I'm like our lazy guest, I don't clean the equipment anywhere near as often as a lot of you seem to, or probably as often as recommended.
I also agree with whomever said different masks are probably made with lots of different materials, so it's hard to imagine that 1 cleaning procedure &/or detergent could be appropriate for all masks. My RT guru, who knows my mask (ResMed Mirage) well, suggested the most important thing is to wipe off the surfaces that make up the seal against your face with alcohol every day - wipe off your face where the mask hits, too, before you put the mask on. I just use an alcohol wipe like those used to clean an injection site. You're right, JB, this is mainly to get rid of the skin oils to enhance the seal, not particularly a sanitation issue; although it'll obviously keep the skin oils from building up. I'm the only one who wears the mask or uses any of the equipment so I'm not as concerned with transference of bacteria as I would be if it was a shared type of thing.
And JB, what were those arm exercises again?
Also, from the comments I'm reading about cleaning with vinegar, which is a classic way to get rid of mineral deposit, and less than pristine water going into humidifiers, it sounds like everyone's using tap water in their humidifiers. The instructions that came with mine stated pretty emphatically that only distilled water should be used. Am I the only one doing that? Also, I always have to fill the water chamber every day. It's a Fisher & Paykel HC150 heated passover humidifier - don't know the capacity of the water chamber. In fact, if I get up during the night, I top it off as it's often been completely dry by the time I wake up. Is that normal?