CPAP Cleaning Tips: A Step-by-Step Maintenance Guide


When you start using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat sleep apnea, there is often some information overload. After you are diagnosed with a diagnosis, you are usually sent to a private company or durable medical equipment supplier to receive a CPAP machine and other related items.

At this time, instructions should be given on how to clean this equipment. In case you missed it, here are some easy step-by-step instructions on how to unload CPAP to keep your device and your health without the need for an expensive disinfectant, and why you shouldn't neglect washing with CPAP .

Get Medical Information / Jessica Olah

Why clean CPAP

First, think about the importance of keeping your CPAP equipment clean. You directly inhale the air circulating in the car. The air is humidified and filtered, but it must be kept as clean as possible.

Cleaning can help avoid potential hazards and problems, including the following:

  • Exposure to bacteria
  • Exposure to mold
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Possible increased risk of sinus infections or pneumonia
  • Musty or unpleasant odor
  • Equipment mineralization
  • Premature equipment failure
  • Void device warranty

If cleaning is so important, how is it done? Fortunately, this can be done relatively easily at low cost.

How often to clean CPAP

Your equipment supplier or sleep physician may recommend regular cleaning of your equipment. Durable medical device suppliers and manufacturers often recommend daily cleaning of the mask, tubing, and water chamber. This can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the risk of infection or mold infestation is extremely low.

To ensure optimal hygiene, it is recommended to clean the equipment at least once a week.

If you get sick with an upper respiratory infection, you can clean your computer now. Also, sharing your computer with other people is not recommended, as this can lead to the spread of the infection.

What consumables do you need?

Pick up your gear:

  • CPAP equipment (mask, helmet, snorkel, humidifying water chamber, CPAP device)
  • Soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap (preferably a mild antibacterial agent)
  • Small sink, bathtub, or wash basin
  • Towel

CPAP cleaning steps

Follow these steps for a cleaner CPAP machine. Ideally, these items should be cleaned every day , but try to do it at least once a week.

Disassemble CPAP :

  • Disconnect the CPAP machine from the power source, otherwise there may be a risk of electric shock.
  • Disconnect the mask from the CPAP tube.
  • If your mask has a hat, take it off or take it off.
  • If there are other parts that are easy to put back, you can also separate them.
  • Remove the CPAP tubing from any connector, humidifier outlet, or from the CPAP machine if it is directly connected.
  • If you have one, remove the humidifier water box from the CPAP device and separate it into parts, if present (and easy to do). Most modern water chambers open but cannot be divided into different parts.

Clean the outer surface :

  • Take a soft cloth and moisten it with warm water.
  • Gently wipe the exterior of the CPAP machine to remove dust. (Again, make sure it's unplugged while cleaning.)

Soak details :

  • Fill a small sink, tub, or basin with warm water.
  • Add a small amount of mild dish soap. Some even add a little vinegar to the water (diluted with water in a 1: 1 ratio), but this is not necessary.
  • Immerse the mask, headgear, tubing, and all connectors in warm, soapy water.
  • Let it soak for a short period of time (about 30 minutes). You can also clean the mask with a soft cloth and warm water and rinse with soapy water through the tube.
  • Let everything dry on a towel or by hanging it (for example, on a shower curtain rod in the bathroom).

Rebuild :

  • After everything is air dry, collect the various pieces.
  • Put the headgear on the mask, reattach the mask to the tubing and any connectors, and reconnect the tubing to the humidifier or directly to the CPAP machine.
  • Turn on the machine briefly and listen for air leaks that have not occurred before.


Clean your humidifier weekly:

  • The water chamber of the humidifier should be cleaned with warm water and mild soap.
  • Let it air dry as well.
  • Ideally, the humidifier should be cleaned weekly.

Remember to fill the humidifier with only distilled water . Failure to do so increases the risk of illness and the likelihood of solid minerals building up on your equipment.


Some CPAP machines have filters . It is important to read the manufacturer's instructions or ask the equipment supplier how they should be serviced.

Some of them can be washed, but others will need to be replaced, and when this happens will depend on the environment in which you use the machine. Disposable filters generally need to be replaced at least once a month and possibly every two weeks.

Tips and Precautions

It is important to keep your equipment clean. Remember that you are breathing what can grow there. Follow these tips:

  • If you've been sick recently, clean your equipment more often.
  • Always remember to follow the advice of your medical device and equipment suppliers and the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning CPAP.
  • Never use perfume or cleaning agents other than mild soap to clean equipment. They can irritate the lungs and cause illness. The humidifier should only contain distilled water to avoid mineral build-up in the water chamber.
  • It is not recommended to wash the equipment in a dishwasher or washing machine, as it may be damaged.

If you find that your sleep apnea symptoms have returned or you feel like your machine is not working properly, take it to your equipment provider or sleep professional for a check.

Do I need to use a CPAP cleanser?

While this is widely advertised, it is not necessary to use a CPAP cleaner or SoClean disinfectant to keep your CPAP equipment clean. These sanitizers are reported to use ozone or, in the case of Lumin, ultraviolet light to clean equipment.

They typically sell for hundreds of dollars and don't add extra security or cleanliness beyond the instructions here. There is practically no risk of infection when using CPAP equipment.

CPAP cleaners and disinfectants are not covered by insurance. After more than 35 years of using CPAP, it seems strange that there is suddenly a medically justified need for an expensive cleaning device.

Get the word of drug information

The risks associated with CPAP therapy are minimal, but keeping your equipment clean according to these guidelines can help ensure your long-term health and benefit from therapy. Don't spend money on highly advertised cleaners or disinfectants that add little to the safety or cleanliness of CPAP use.

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