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CPAP Cleaner (Cpap cleaning machine)

A CPAP cleaner provides the sanitization of crucial components of the CPAP machine using Ozone or UV light. The process provides confidence that 99% of any living microorganisms are dead. You still need to wash the CPAP components because the CPAP cleaning machine will not remove dirt, dust, or mineral deposits.

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Article Summary:
1. How does a CPAP Cleaner Work?
2. Why Do You Need to Clean the CPAP Device?
3. Benefits of Using a CPAP Cleaner:
4. How Often Should You Clean Your CPAP?
5. CPAP Cleaning Steps:
6. Cleaning Individual CPAP Components:
7. Which Cleaning Regime is Best for My CPAP?
8. Disinfecting the CPAP with Vinegar
9. Handy Hints and Precautions
10. FAQ



1. How does a CPAP Cleaner Work?
CPAP cleaning machine use either activated oxygen or UV light to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores.

Activated Oxygen
From chemistry classes, you may remember that oxygen is a gas – O2, and so what is activated oxygen? In addition to normal breathable oxygen, there is an O2 form, commonly called Ozone, that is an oxidant. It strips electrons from other molecules, and this action makes it lethal to microorganisms like bacteria.

UV Light
Ultraviolet or UV light is a spectrum of light wavelengths that we can’t see but destroys DNA bonds. This light kills bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. UV light contains three bands – UV-a, UV-b and UV-c, this combination of wavelengths sanitizes the CPAP equipment by killing the microorganisms that lodge in your CPAP machine.



2. Why Do You Need to Clean the CPAP Device?

The continuous positive airways pressure of the CPAP device delivers filtered and humidified medical air to your airways to provide relief from conditions like Sleep Apnea. It is in your best interests that this air is free from:

· Bacteria
· Mold spores
· Allergens

Not cleaning the CPAP can allow bacteria, mold, and allergens to build up inside the machine, contaminating the air you breathe. This contamination can result in:

· Increased risk of sinus infections and respiratory illness.
· Musty and unpleasant smells tainting the air.

Condensing water and dust inside the machine can lead to a build-up of mineral and dirt deposits, resulting in:

· Equipment breakdown or poor functioning.
· Loss of warranty protection.

Regular cleaning of the CPAP device is straightforward and preserves your health and the smooth operation of the medical device.




3. Benefits of Using a CPAP Cleaner:
A cpap machine cleaner provides sanitization by killing germs. By keeping the medical air free from bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores, you protect your health.

If you have a cold or other infection spread by water droplets, your mask and tubing can provide a moist safe zone for harmful organisms that then re-infect you while you during the CPAP therapy - prolonging the duration of your illness.

CPAP machine cleaners and sanitizer use Ozone and UV light and can be more convenient when traveling and as a backup for a stressful day when you don’t have time to wash, and air dry your mask and tubing.




4. How Often Should You Clean Your CPAP?

Your DME (Durable Medical Equipment) provider will suggest a daily cleaning regime for the face mask, tubing, and water chamber. Daily is ideal, but with minimal risk of infection, weekly is adequate for most people.

If you have been ill or had a respiratory infection, it makes sense for you to clean the CPAP set-up more often.

It is essential for your wellbeing for you to establish a regular cleaning routine, either daily or weekly, depending on your preference. When you create a routine, it becomes a habit, and if you can, aim for daily cleaning, but it is better to do a thorough weekly clean rather than a half-hearted daily clean.

In 48 hours up to 2,000 bacteria can settle inside your CPAP facemask and tubing, so if a full daily clean is not possible for you, consider a CPAP machine cleaner and sanitizer for regular sanitization, and CPAP face mask wipes to wipe down the inside of the face mask after use.


Supplies for CPAP Cleaning
Cleaning the tubing, face mask, and the water reservoir is no different from washing dishes. You need a sink or basin for hand-hot water. In addition to cleaning agents, you need clean cloths, or paper toweling, for wiping, scrubbing, and drying.


Cleaning Agents
You can use liquid soap provided it is mild and free from color or scent.

Vinegar kills bacteria and dissolves mineral deposits and is useful for cleaning the inside of tubing and water reservoirs.

A proprietary CPAP cleaning solution specially formulated to be safe and effective with CPAP accessories. RepiSoak is alcohol-free and safe for your CPAP equipment,

CPAP mask wipes or a spray cleaner provide a handy way of cleaning and sanitizing the inside of the facemask.


CPAP Machine Cleaner
Regular washing and cleaning of the CPAP equipment remove dirt, dust, and bacteria if done efficiently. A CPAP cleaning machine sanitizes with Ozone or UV light and provides additional peace of mind, but it is not essential.

Using a CPAP machine cleaner is like choosing an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one. A manual toothbrush is capable of cleaning your teeth to the necessary standard, an electric toothbrush costs more, but does the job efficiently and in less time.




5. CPAP Cleaning Steps:
A systematic, logical approach ensures you clean all parts appropriately and efficiently. Before starting to clean your CPAP machine, wash your hands with soap and water – dry on a clean or disposable towel.

Step 1
Unplug the CPAP machine and then disassemble it into its parts. Set aside the face mask, tubing, and humidifier water chamber for washing.


Step 2
Fill a sink or basin with warm soapy water. Soak a cleaning cloth in the water and squeeze out the excess water, so you have a damp but not dripping cloth. Use this cloth to wipe over the surface of the CPAP machine to remove any dust or stains.

Also, wipe over the headset and any nasal pillows to remove the layer of sweat, oil, and dead skin cells. Allow these to air dry.

Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe over the CPAP device to remove any dampness.


Step 3
There are several approaches:

· Submerge and soak the facemask, tubing, and water reservoir in the warm soapy water for 30 minutes. Or,

· Use a soft cloth to scrub over the facemask and vigorously swish water through the tubing and water reservoir.

· Use a 50:50 vinegar and water solution to run through the tubing to sanitize and remove mineral deposits.

After washing, the components are left to air dry. Hang the tubing, so all the water drains out.


Step 4
Reassemble the CPAP device and run for a few moments to check that everything is connected and working correctly.

Optional CPAP Cleaner
Before reassembling, you can use a CPAP cleaning machine to sanitize the parts.




6. Cleaning Individual CPAP Components:
The step by step guide above gives you the overall approach to cleaning your CPAP equipment. Looking at each component in detail:


Hose or Tubing
As a minimum, you need to clean (using soap and water) the CPAP hose once a week. If you are unwell, you may want to consider a daily clean to prevent re-infection with a cold or flu virus.

You clean the tubing by immersing it in warm soapy water and swirling water through the hose.

You can use a tube cleaning brush to scrub out the inside of the hose if necessary. In practice, regular washing and a monthly vinegar rinse will keep your tubing clean and fresh.

After washing, drain the hose and hang it up to completely air dry – over a shower rail is ideal.

Avoid direct sunlight because this can cause the tubing to become yellow and brittle. NEVER try to air dry your hose by attaching it to the CPAP machine and blowing air through it. Water in the CPAP tube can drain into the device and cause it to break down.


Your mask is in contact with your face all night – dead skin cells, oil, and grease transfer to the surface of the facemask while you are wearing it. Washing your face before using the CPAP device helps to reduce the build-up on the mask.

As a minimum, you want to wash your face mask and possibly your headgear once a week. Remove the mask from the tubing and headgear. Wash the CPAP mask by swirling in hot soapy water. A clean, soft cloth can scrub over the surface to remove stubborn deposits and oily films. The CPAP facemask is rinsed in warm water and allowed to air dry.


You wash the headgear in the same way, but it may take a long time to dry – you might want to consider alternating two headgears so one can be washed and dried while the other is in use. On first washing, the headgear may leak color – this is not a problem. You may also need to adjust the headgear as it may change shape with washing.

CPAP face masks wipes or spray cleaners are useful as a daily clean in the morning after use to keep the facemask fresh between washes.


Washable CPAP Filters
Some CPAP filters need replacing while others are washable to prolong their useful life. The filters are vital to keeping your medical therapy air clean and free from dust, allergens, and hair. As the filters become clogged up with debris, they become less effective.

Once a week, rinse the filters with clean, warm water and remove excess water with a clean, dry towel – blot, don’t rub. Leave the filters to dry completely before putting them back in the CPAP machine.


CPAP Humidifier
The humidifier water reservoir needs cleaning at least every other week.

Empty any water and pour in a vinegar solution – one-part vinegar to five parts water. Leave this for 30 minutes to dissolve any mineral deposits. Although mineral deposits are not harmful, they provide a rough surface for bacteria and mold to attach and multiply.

Rinse with warm water and leave to air dry.




7. Which Cleaning Regime is Best for My CPAP?
Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but everyone lives a busy life filled with essential, mundane, and desirable activities. You only have so many hours in the day, and getting to grips with your CPAP therapy is another thing to shoehorn into an already full life.

You know that ultimately you are going to reap the rewards of better sleep and improved health, but in the meantime, you need to get used to it. And regularly stripping the machine down and cleaning all the bits feels like the final straw?


The cleaning regime that is best for you and your CPAP machine is a delicate balance of conflicting demands:

· Time pressure.
· Expense.
· Health.

A clean CPAP machine keeps you healthy and reduces your risk of unpleasant respiratory infections. The more often you can clean it, the better.

On the other hand, you only have so many hours in the day, and the risk of picking up an infection from your CPAP machine is extremely low.

You need to decide for yourself which cleaning regime works best for you and your lifestyle. A combination of approaches that fits your desire for cleanliness and doesn’t put too much pressure on your available time works best.



You may opt to use a proprietary CPAP cleaning machine for the face mask (wipes, spray, CPAP cleaning device) daily because that is the component in direct contact with your skin on a nightly basis.

If you have a CPAP cleaning machine, you may choose to sanitize everything you can, daily as part of your morning routine. Or you may prefer not to spend money on an additional device when you are still going to need to use soap and water for cleaning.

Empty the water chamber, so you are not leaving standing water while the CPAP machine is not in use. This water is not reusable – throw it away.

Warm water and liquid soap as a regular weekly clean will keep your equipment fresh and prolong the life of the components. It is also an excellent time to make routine inspections of the equipment to make sure everything is in good condition and working correctly.

If you don’t have a CPAP equipment cleaner, a monthly sanitization with vinegar keeps your CPAP machine smelling clean and removes potentially harmful bacteria and mineral deposits.

Once a month is an excellent time to go through a checklist of filters and components – does anything need replacing now or next month?




8. Disinfecting the CPAP with Vinegar
To efficiently remove dirt and build-up from oils, sweat, and dead skin cells, you need to scrub the equipment with hot water and soap. To deodorize and disinfect your CPAP facemask and tubing, a monthly soak in a vinegar solution is beneficial.

Any vinegar will do, but distilled white vinegar is cheap and has no color added. Dilute the vinegar by at least one-part vinegar to three parts of water. Do not exceed a 1:1 ratio and don’t use undiluted vinegar.

Soak the washed facemask and tubing in the vinegar solution for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and leave to air dry.

Throw away the soaking solution -don’t be tempted to reuse it as it is only useful on one occasion.

Don’t use vinegar to clean soft items like the headgear or the filters.




9. Handy Hints and Precautions
Paying attention to the details and establishing a routine keeps your CPAP machine running safely and efficiently.

· Read through any guidance provided by the manufacturer or your DME provider and take note of the cleaning and replacement schedule for all the CPAP accessories.

· Use distilled water in the humidifier to avoid contamination and mineral deposits.

· Never use a dishwasher or washing machine to clean the CPAP components. These machines are too harsh and abrasive for the equipment. The exception is some dehumidifier water chambers – check the manufacturer’s instructions.

· Use liquid soap without colors or perfumes to avoid potential irritants in the medical air.


· Allow plenty of time for air-drying after washing of facemask, water chamber, and tubing.

· Do not leave water sitting in the water reservoir when not in use.

· Have the CPAP machine regularly checked by your provider and sleep therapist to make sure it stays in tip-top condition.

· Routinely clean and replace all parts as necessary.


· Wash your face before using the facemask.

· Don’t share CPAP facemasks and tubing with other people.

· Don’t connect wet components to the CPAP machine to dry them.

· Do not use harsh abrasive cleaners or liquids containing alcohol, bleach, or scented oils.




10. Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I clean my CPAP machine with vinegar?
Distilled white vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent with no added color. It is cheap, and the acidity level is around 5%. The acid is acetic acid, and this dissolves dirt and mineral deposits, as well as killing bacteria.

As a liquid cleaning solution, it is ideal for the inside of the tubes and water reservoir. The vinegar smell dissipates during the air drying.

The vinegar is a disinfectant, and you still need to clean your CPAP machine with hot water and soap.


2. Can I Clean My CPAP With Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally friendly bleach that breaks down into water and oxygen. It is a popular cleaning agent and laundry bleach.

Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for use with a CPAP machine because it may react with the plastics, and any lingering vapors are not healthy components of medical air.

3. Can I Clean My CPAP With Bleach?
No. Household bleach is a strong disinfectant, and under no circumstances do you want to risk inhaling fumes from bleach residues in your CPAP machine.


4. Do I need a CPAP Cleaner?
A CPAP cleaner sanitizes the CPAP equipment, but you still need to wash with how water and soap to remove dirt. A CPAP cleaning machine is not essential as you can sanitize your CPAP equipment with efficient hand washing and a vinegar solution. A CPAP cleaner and sanitizer involves less effort on your part.


5. Why are there living organisms in my CPAP machine?
There are two sources for bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can inhabit your CPAP equipment:

· Room air.
· Your breath.

The air we breathe is more than a mixture of gases – it contains airborne particles, some of which are viruses and bacteria. The hair in our nostrils acts as a filter for some of these particles. The CPAP machine gives you medical therapy air that passes through filters to remove as many dirt, dust, hair, and other tiny particles as possible. Some may pass through and colonize parts of the tubing and facemask.

Your breath contains bacteria from your mouth and viruses from any illness you may have, plus microorganisms cover your skin.

Generally, these microorganisms aren’t a problem, but you don’t want them building up in your CPAP machine – they form deposits of dirt, smell bad, and some of them can make you sick. When using the CPAP machine, you want to breathe clean medical air as part of the CPAP therapy.


6. Can I use tap water in my CPAP machine?
It’s not ideal. Purified or distilled water contains water – no minerals, no microbes, no purification chemicals, just water.

You can boil or filter your tap water, and this will kill microbes, but it is going to leave the minerals in place. Those minerals deposit as limescale in kettles and on taps in hard water areas. If you use tap water in your CPAP humidifier, it will deposit minerals in the water chamber, tubing, and face mask.

Mineral deposits are difficult to remove, and they provide a porous hard surface that provides an anchor point for mold and bacteria – like a rock on the seashore gives a home for seaweed and barnacles.

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