Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for one’s normal bodily functions. However, due to anatomical characteristics, weight issues, hormonal abnormalities, and poor lifestyle choices, some people experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. This condition is known as sleep apnea.

Studies show that about 10% of the adult population across the globe suffers from sleep apnea, and about 90% of them have not been diagnosed. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than women, but everyone is at risk of the disorder. Undiagnosed sleep apnea may also lead to serious chronic conditions, such as heart disease and pneumonia. Therefore, if you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Dangers of Not Cleaning CPAP

How Does a CPAP Machine Work for Sleep Apnea?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are life savers particularly for those who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These machines help patients breathe more easily in their slumber. It may also benefit the partners or roommates of people who use CPAP machines, as these may also help relieve loud snoring. 

A CPAP machine works by increasing air pressure in the throat so that the airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe during sleep. It’s normal to take some time to get used to sleeping with a CPAP machine on your nose and/or mouth, so don’t give up early on if it feels uncomfortable. The mask, especially the full masks, may feel bulky, but it sure is worth it as CPAP therapy has been proven to work for OSA.

CPAP machines don’t come cheap. That said, it’s important to know how to clean and maintain them using a CPAP cleaner to get the full benefit of the treatment and your money’s worth. There are specific care instructions that you must follow to make sure that you get the most life out of your equipment, as well as to avoid potential health risks that germs, dust, and bacteria may cause. 

The Do's of CPAP Cleaning

Here are some important things to remember when cleaning your CPAP machine: 
  • Do: Unplug your CPAP machine before starting the cleaning process. You may wipe the body down with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dust. Then wipe it again with a clean, dry towel. 
  • Do: Disassemble the parts of the machine if you’re planning to clean it manually. By all parts, we mean the mask, hose, filters, headgear, and the body of the machine. Some machines come with humidifiers, too.
  • Do: Know what type of filter you have. Disposable filters don’t require cleaning and are often thrown away for replacement after use. Reusable filters, on the other hand, need to be cleaned using a CPAP machine cleaner at least once a week depending on how much dust or pollen they collect.
  • Do: Clean your CPAP mask every morning. The mask touches your face, so you don’t want germs and bacteria to irritate your face, cause allergies, or even lead to acne.
  • Do: Check if your CPAP machine comes with a humidifier, and make sure you clean it at least every other week. Use a heated humidifier if you are experiencing dryness or sore throat. 
  • Do: If you’re facing uncertainties, consult your equipment provider regarding the best time to clean your machine. You can ask the provider to demonstrate some cleaning best practices as well. 
  • Do: Ask your physician for brand recommendations before buying a CPAP machine and/or CPAP cleaner. Doctors normally have an idea of which machines would give you the best results.
  • Do: If you manually clean your CPAP machine, be sure that all the parts of the machine are dry before reassembling it for use. 
  • Do: Bring a spray mask cleaner if you are traveling and bringing your CPAP machine with you. It’s portable, and you can use it to easily disinfect and deodorize your CPAP mask. 
  • Do: Use an automated CPAP machine cleaner, just like what we offer here at CleanFlash®, for easier, more professional cleaning. This machine is lightweight and portable, and won’t require you to disassemble your CPAP machine before cleaning. It can also help you save time and money in a way that you don’t have to spend on detergents, water, and other cleaning essentials.

The Don’ts of CPAP Cleaning

Meanwhile, here are some red flags to watch out for in maintaining your CPAP machines: 
  • Don’t: Expose your CPAP mask under direct sunlight. Most CPAP masks are made from silicone, which makes them comfortable to wear, but delicate to the sun at the same time. 
  • Don’t: Use liquid soaps with heavy scents. These chemicals may contribute to deteriorating your machine and wear them down easily. Don’t use scented baby wipes to wipe your machine, mask, and hose as well because the added ingredients in these wipes, such as moisturizers, can leave some sort of residue on your equipment.
  • Don’t: Machine-wash your headgear or chin straps. Hand wash it with unscented soap instead, then rinse thoroughly, and let it air dry. 
  • Don’t: Use bleach or any other harsh chemicals when manually cleaning and disinfecting your machine. The fumes from these solutions may stay around your gear, and may also irritate your lungs.
  • Don’t: Share your CPAP machine. If more than one person in the household has sleep apnea, it is advisable to use separate CPAP machines. Aside from hygienic concerns, the settings of one CPAP machine is normally tailored to the needs of the patient it is prescribed for.
  • Don’t: Settle for less. Instead of manually cleaning your CPAP machine, invest in a high-quality CPAP cleaner to help ensure that your equipment is safe and sanitized before each use. CPAP cleaners can kill up to 99.99% of bacteria which may be hard to achieve if you’re only using soap and water. Read this article to learn why water and soap may not be enough.

Additional Red Flags:

  • Don’t: Lose your CPAP machine receipts and manuals. Treat this as a basic rule of handling a precious cargo. These machines are usually covered by insurance and warranty, which can be of huge help when you need a replacement due to a faulty segment or piece. 
  • Don’t: Skip using your machine. Using your CPAP machine consistently may yield better results, and can give you restorative sleep in the long run. Skipping your CPAP machine from time to time is linked to extreme exhaustion and higher blood pressure, research shows. 

Extra Tips in Maintaining Your CPAP Machine

Here are some tips that can help you keep your CPAP machine in good shape:
  1. Be sure to clean the machine hose or tube once a week to keep them free from molds and bacteria. These particles may cause sinus and respiratory infections or worse, pneumonia. When left uncleaned, CPAP machines may also collect dust, bacteria, and germs which can mess with the health of your nose, mouth, and/or throat.
  2. Keep your CPAP machine manual handy. CPAP machine cleaning can be a tedious task and some people like to take the shortcut without knowing the long-term consequences of these cleaning mistakes on their equipment. Always refer to your CPAP machine manual or research online for the best cleaning recommendations. 
  3. Store your CPAP machine in one place, and keep it there when not in use. Make sure it is not reachable by children to limit unintentional damages and to prevent them from playing with your device and using it themselves.
  4. Clean your equipment more often, regardless if you have been sick recently or not. Remember, you are breathing whatever may be inside the machine so it’s important to keep it sanitized before each use.
  5. Wash your face before using the machine. And please avoid wearing heavy moisturizers before bedtime to avoid skin irritations and bacteria build-up. 
  6. Only fill the humidifier of your CPAP machine with distilled water. This can help prevent mineral build-up on your equipment.
  7. Avoid ripping off your mask as soon as you wake up. This will stretch out the headgear, and may even heighten the risk of accidentally ripping the silicone in the mask.
  8. Monitor your reusable filters. A discolored filler requires prompt cleaning or even replacement. Be wary of using essential oils as well. These have chemical additives that could wear down your CPAP supplies and lead to cracks and air leaks. 
  9. Inspect your machine, and replace its parts every one to three months. It’s also best to replace the parts as soon as you notice discoloration, a foul odor, wear, and tear, or leakages. Experts recommend replacing the mask every six months to maximize the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy.

What About CPAP Cleaners?

CleanFlash CPAP BiPAP Cleaner Sanitizer - Cleaning With CleanFlash

If you are using a CPAP machine, your provider or doctor may also recommend you to avail a CPAP cleaner for more efficient cleaning and proper maintenance of your equipment. Also known as a CPAP sanitizer, a CPAP cleaner is an innovative solution developed to thoroughly clean and maintain the crucial parts of your CPAP machine, such as the humidifier, tubing or hose, filter, and CPAP mask.

You can find different types and brands of CPAP cleaners in the market. Some of them use water as a cleaning agent, some of them don’t. Some others, just like us here at CleanFlash®, use ultra-violet (UV) light and/or activated oxygen as their cleaning properties instead.

CleanFlash® for More Efficient CPAP Cleaning

Here at CleanFlash®, we offer a comprehensive CPAP cleaner that uses both ozone and UV light to effectively clean your equipment in less than 30 minutes. This CPAP cleaner is easy-to-use, lightweight, and portable, so you can bring it anytime, anywhere. It can also help you save time, as it does not require you to disassemble the parts of your CPAP machine, change cartridges, or even spend time on buying and/or preparing cleaning tools.

The product comes with a rechargeable li-ion battery and a universal hose adapter, so it is compatible with most models of CPAP/BiPAP machine, including, but are not limited to, 3B Medical,  DeVilbiss, Fisher & Paykel, Human Design Medical, Philips Respironics, ResMed, Somnetics Transcend, and more.

And because we care about your security, this product also comes with a two-year warranty. It is also FDA, FCC, and CE-registered to give you the peace of mind that we are compliant with government regulations and medical equipment specifications set by state authorities.

When you purchase a CleanFlash® set, you will receive a UV bag, a compact ozone cleaning device, a charging cord, a USB power adapter, a universal tube adapter, and a detailed manual for the how-to and safe use of the device. Watch this one-minute video to learn how to use CleanFlash®.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning and maintaining your CPAP machine doesn’t have to be a burden, especially when you have an all-inclusive CPAP cleaner that can do the majority of the work for you. But of course, having a list of reminders, such as these CPAP cleaning dos and don’ts, along with some tips, can also help you avoid the most common mistakes that you may encounter in maintaining your equipment. We hope this list has made cleaning much easier for you. After all, that’s our goal here.

In the meantime, if you’re used to manually cleaning your CPAP machine and are interested in switching to using a CPAP machine cleaner, you may order our CleanFlash® set at a discounted amount. You just have to click the button below, and you’ll be directed to the online cart. Also, if you have questions about our CPAP cleaner, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, or you may also read our FAQ page.

Happy cleaning!



VeryWell Health
Corner Medical

VeryWell Health
Advanced Sleep Medicine Services

The Sleep Zone

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