No matter how fastidious you are about keeping clean, the truth is that you’re surrounded by germs everywhere you go. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollutant levels can be up to 100 times higher than levels of outdoor pollution. Plus, the common objects that you come into contact with as you go about your day – door handles, appliances, etc. – are breeding grounds for bacteria that can transfer onto your body.
Now, the point here isn’t to scare you into living inside a bubble, it’s merely to convey the importance of regularly cleaning your CPAP equipment if you’re one of the many people who uses this device to treat sleep apnea. You never know what kinds of germs could accumulate in your machine as it’s attached to your face while you’re sleeping or resting on your bedside table when it’s not in use. And when your CPAP machine is dirty, you risk getting sick or not having it function properly.
While it’s always a good idea to follow the cleaning instructions outlined by the CPAP manufacturer or given to you by your doctor, there are some general best practices you can follow for keeping your CPAP equipment clean. Let’s take a look.
What are some different methods for cleaning CPAP equipment?
- Soap and Water – One simple method for cleaning your CPAP equipment is to take it apart and wash each part with warm, soapy water. It’s recommended that you use a fragrance-free, dye-free dish detergent; rinse with warm water and let your equipment air-dry. It’s important that it dries thoroughly, as any lingering presence of moisture attracts and breeds germs.
- Wipes – There are wipes out there that are specifically designed for cleaning and deodorizing CPAP masks and accessories. By regularly using these wipes, you can effectively reduce the buildup of germs, grease and oils.
- Chemical Cleaning – Ammonium chloride solutions – such as those used in sleep labs or hospitals – effectively kill a broad range of CPAP germs. You can spray the diluted solution on your equipment to fulfill everyday cleaning needs or soak your equipment to fully disinfect it.
- SoClean® 2 CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizer – This is by far the easiest and most effective way to clean and sanitize your CPAP equipment. Simply place your equipment into the SoClean® 2, press the “Start” button and walk away. The SoClean® 2 uses activated oxygen to destroy 99.9% of CPAP mold, bacteria and viruses – no water or messy chemicals required. Your equipment remains completely dry throughout the entire process, so you don’t have to worry about any moisture.
How often should you clean your CPAP equipment?
Since the mask is the part that you come into closest contact with while using your CPAP machine, manufacturers typically recommend cleaning it daily. It’s also important to empty and clean the humidifier on a daily basis and let it air dry before adding fresh water to the reservoir. As for the hose, filter and other accessories, it’s okay to clean these weekly.
Of course, keep in mind that when you use the SoClean® 2, you can simply and effectively clean and sanitize all of your equipment every day without having to take it apart or spend any time on it. The SoClean® 2 even sanitizes the water in the reservoir for you.
Here are some quick tips to remember when cleaning your CPAP equipment.
- Always unplug your CPAP machine before cleaning it
- Avoid using alcohol-based products or abrasive household cleaning solutions, as they can damage your equipment
- Allow your equipment to dry thoroughly after each wash
- Replace your disposable filter regularly
- Never submerge your equipment in water
A clean CPAP machine is an effective CPAP machine. Make sure you do what it takes to keep yours functioning properly so that you can experience relief from your sleep apnea symptoms.