Cleaning CPAP Equipment

General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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Cleaning CPAP Equipment

Post by forumadmin » Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:49 pm

To clean a CPAP mask, take the mask apart and apply a small amount of baby shampoo to your fingers. Allow the mask parts to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash thoroughly with water to remove all soap. Place the wet mask parts on a towel and allow to air dry. This should be done daily.

To disinfect hoses, and humidifier water chambers, use one part vinegar, to three parts water. Let the mask soak for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse with warm water, and place on a towel or over the shower rod to dry. These methods do not require any special chemicals.

The only care the machines require is that you clean or change the filters in the back of the machines to keep the internal parts from accumulating dust.

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Post by rested gal » Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:17 pm

Far be it from me to post advice contrary to what a forumadmin posts....but...oh well....

I never take a mask apart to clean it. Just my little notion that the parts might not fit back together as snugly as they do straight from the manufacturer. Especially if one takes it apart on a daily basis.

I think the most important part of a cleaning regimen is to simply gently clean skin oils off the surface of the mask cushion with mild soap and lukewarm water.

Maybe occasionally slosh the entire mask around in mild soapy water, rinse and let dry. But I wouldn't even do that daily, and I wouldn't take it apart.

Just my thoughts - not a doctor; not in the health care field. But my masks last a long, long time and haven't made me sick yet.

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Post by Night Owl » Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:38 pm

Never thought of baby shampoo -- using a soap that was very gentle was the biggest boost for me to getting used to the Infinity and Swift nasal pillows. The DME suggested mild dish soap -- but even w thorough rinsing, that did not work for me....

Have the same reservation as rested gal on taking apart the masks daily -- however, does anyone have any suggestions on what to use, how often, etc on washing the Swift blue headgear -- ? Seems like it would lose some softness on the face if washed wrong --- but what does an owl know.

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Post by chrisp » Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:42 pm

Kirks Natural shampoo does the job for me. Never take it apart. My mask is 3 years old ! Mask, headgear loves Kirks .

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Post by hockeydad » Tue Apr 19, 2005 3:02 pm

I've got to agree with you Rested Gal, I don't take my mask apart either. I take my mask & hose into the shower with me every morning, rinse it well and wash it with a mild liquid soap (same soap I use on me), rinse my hose out and then leave them to dry on the shower rod all day.

Once a week I take the hose & humidifier bowl, wash them with mild dish soap, rinse thoroughly. Haven't done the vinegar solution yet, but will probably start doing that once a week as well.

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Cleaning CPAP Equipment

Post by ahujudybear » Tue May 24, 2005 8:13 am

I use a small nasal mask that has a very soft foamy cushion in it. My RT told me to NEVER get that part wet because it would lose its cushiness. So i take off the filmy membrane to remove this cushion and rinse the rest of the mask in luke warm water that has a bit of baby shampoo added to it. This also was recommended by the RT. She said that baby shampoo will get rid of facial oils without damaging the soft plastic parts and that it will rinse without leaving a residue. She said to wash any parts that touch your face every day. (I recently discovered that this was not necessarily for bacteria protection, but mainly to enhance the seal!) The water reservoir should be rinsed out every day and washed (with baby shampoo) twice a week. The hoses should be washed once a week - in the shower! <LOL> Squirt a bit of baby shampoo into the hose with some warm water, then do some arm exercises: one arm up & the other one down & reverse, in rapid succession <LOL>. Rinse thoroughly and hang it over the shower rod to dry.

- JB


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Cleaning CPAP Equipment

Post by ahujudybear » Tue May 24, 2005 8:19 am

OH! I forgot to add...

You have to plug up the sensory tube in the GoodKnight's hose so you don't get water (and lime deposits) in it before you wash the hose. The unit comes with some tiny plugs to use for this purpose... but boy! are they ever hard to get out again!

- JB


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Post by Sleeping With The Enemy » Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 am

I have always used baby wash or baby shampoo, I like the gentle, clean smell.

I decided not to take my mask apart for the same reason RG stated. I have an Activa and absolutely love it. Can't wear my Aeiomed Aura until my incision is completely healed and I'm not tender there any more from the brain surgery, tried last night but too soon, very tender, bummer!

Give it time, I'll wear that baby again, love it!

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Post by lostone » Tue May 24, 2005 10:20 am

My medical supple person, who also uses cpap himself, told me to just soak mask and hose in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for 20 minutes then rinse and dry.


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Post by IWannaSleep » Tue May 24, 2005 12:05 pm

I think the process ForumAdmin describes makes a lot of sense.

We all live in different environments and have different immune systems. Plus you never know when something may show up that your system wasn't prepared to handle.

This is a good sensible plan for making sure everything stays clean and relatively sterile.


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Post by ballast949 » Tue May 24, 2005 12:20 pm

Resmed (my mask manufacturer) says cleaning the mask once a week is sufficient. (although I do wipe the cushions off with a baby wipe every evening). They recommend taking it apart for cleaning, but last time I did that I lost a critical valve piece for about 6 hours. It was small, transparent, soft and bouncy and I must have dropped it when I was cleaning. Looked all over the kitchen floor for it, but figured I would have to order a replacement. Our 4 month old puppy found it for me and, amazingly, didn't chew it up. Since then, I just wash it assembled.

Respironics also says that cleaning my water chamber once a week is sufficient.

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Cleaning CPAP Equipment

Post by ahujudybear » Tue May 24, 2005 1:10 pm


Wonder if what is used for washing it has anything to do with the water supply? We have very hard water in this part of the state, FWIW.

Also, my little mask only comes apart into the seal, the cushy thing that has to be removed before the unit is washed, and the hard plastic mask. With only two parts being washed, there really isn't anything to break or lose ... or is it supposed to dismantle more than that? That's all the RT told me to do with it ... except for the option of removing the two little forehead cushions to wash them separately.

I'm using the FlexiFit HC405. Maybe it has to do with what the masks are made of? As I said, that foam insert has to be removed before the mask can be washed, but that's as easy as taking the lid off of a tupperware bowl

Say? How often do you wash those connector things (the plastic things that make the hoses easier to slide onto & off of the equipment)?

(Boy! I sure am learning a lot here!! Thanks for answering my Q's everybody!)

- JB

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cleaning cpap equipment?

Post by Guest lazy » Tue May 24, 2005 2:39 pm

I guess I'm the lazy slob. I change the machine filters once a month. Daily wipe the end of the pillows and dry the Breeze plenum if vapor has condensed in it, add distilled water to the heated humidifier when necessary (once every 3-4 days) and look at the hoses and connectors on rare ocassions for mildew (which I've never found) and download the autopap once every 6 days-----that's enough obsessing for me. But, I do read the 2 forums daily---OBSESSED!

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Post by rpalmer » Tue May 24, 2005 6:24 pm

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?

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Cleaning CPAP Equipment

Post by ahujudybear » Tue May 24, 2005 8:12 pm

Hi Palmer... About those arm exercises... guess I forgot to mention that you hold one end of the hose in each hand with the hose partly filled with soapy water!<LOL> Then, as my RT explained, "you shush your arms up & down" to wash the hose & then rinse it & hang it over the shower rod.

She said that the amount of water will vary with your Epap/Ipap settings and with the temperature of the water. The higher you have the heater set, the faster the water will evaporate. I use the same one you do, but have turned off the heater for now. I use about 1-1/2 cups of water for afternoon nap and through the night and dump out what's left in the morning. My RT told me that getting condensation in your air hose indicates that you might have the heater turned up too high. Mine is turned off because between that heater and two 101-degree cats on the bed, I was waking up sweating and throwing off the covers.

Yes! Distilled water! But.... I can't handle the 1-gallon jugs, so I had my water delivery bring a 3-gallon jug of distilled water and set it on my "plant trolley" (low plant stand on wheels.) From Culligan I was able to purchase a battery-operated pump that fastens over the top of the jug. (I already have a jug & crock set up for drinking water and no room for another one, so this way I can move the jug out of the way when I have to.)

- JB