If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you’ve just started using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the information you get at the beginning might be overwhelming. Hence, when you visit the CPAP provider, you should get instructions about cleaning the equipment. However, many people forget how the cleaning process goes or they don’t pay close attention to the instructions. Thus, here is a step-by-step guide CPAP cleaning guide which will show you how to clean your machine and equipment properly, as well as, why you shouldn’t neglect cleaning CPAP.
The Importance of Cleaning Your CPAP
Keeping your CPAP equipment clean is very important because you are directly breathing the air which circulates through the machine. Besides the fact that this air is humidified and filtered, the machine should be clean too. By cleaning your CPAP, you prevent many issues and dangers, including mold exposure, bacteria exposure, musty or foul odor, allergy symptoms, increased risk for pneumonia and sinus infection, and voiding of the warranty.
Some of the most common dangers which can happen due to not cleaning CPAP equipment are terrifying and quite worrying. If you don’t clean your CPAP regularly, plenty of germs can start growing there. As many new machines have a humidifier built in, so you aren’t breathing in dry air, this only adds to the hazards. Hence, the humidifier creates warm and moist air to decrease mouth and nose dryness. The humidifier is the favorite place for fungus, yeast, bacteria, and mold. Thus, breathing in yeast, mold, and bacteria can trigger a host of health problems, including asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
Moreover, besides not cleaning your CPAP, make sure you don’t reuse water each night, which allows for more opportunities for bacteria and mold to replenish. Using dirty CPAP equipment can also be the culprit of allergy symptoms such as sneezing, headache, or irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat.
Being aware of all possible health hazards is the first step. Luckily, CPAP cleaning can be accomplished easily at little expense.
What Are the Signs of Dirty CPAP Equipment?
Your CPAP equipment is the favorite environment for dirt and mold. If you don’t notice them, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. So, some of the most common signs of dirty CPAP include:
- an odd smell which reminds you of mildew or rancid;
- you get frequent respiratory and sinus infections;
- there is a film on the sides of the chamber or floats in the water;
- your skin becomes irritated;
How Often You Should Clean Your CPAP Equipment?
Your sleep specialist or equipment provider will probably recommend routine cleaning of your equipment. Hence, this means that you should clean the mask, tubing, and water chamber on a daily basis. This might sound excessive, but doing so prolongs the durability of the equipment and reduces the risk of infection or mold exposure.
If you don’t have time to clean your CPAP equipment every day, you should do so at least on a weekly basis. However, if you are experiencing an upper respiratory infection, you may want to clean up the equipment more often. Likewise, you shouldn’t share your CPAP with other people as this leads to infection sharing.
A Step-by-Step CPAP Cleaning Guide
The supplies you will need to clean your CPAP equipment (mask, headgear, tubing, humidifier water chamber, CPAP machine) include:
- warm water
- soft cloth
- dish soap, such as mild antibacterial
- small sink
First, disassemble all the parts of your CPAP machine. Start by unplugging your machine from its power source and disconnect your mask from the tubing. If you mask comes with a headgear, make sure you detach or remove it. Then, remove the tubing from the CPAP machine or from the connectors, as well, remove the water chamber from the humidifier unit and disassemble its pieces.
Wet the soft cloth with warm water and first wipe the external surface of the CPAP machine to remove dust. Then, place the mask, headgear, tubing, and any connectors in the warm soapy water. Let all these pieces soak for about 30 minutes and rinse them. Then, place them air dry on a towel or by hanging. Make sure you always use distilled water in the humidifier because any other kind of water will increase the risk of health issues and the possibility to have a hard mineral buildup on your equipment.
There are a number of CPAP machines which have filters. Hence, it’s crucial to talk with your equipment provider how these filters should be cleaned and maintained. There are filters which can be rinsed, while others are only replaced. The disposable filters are usually replaced every two weeks.
When each piece of the CPAP equipment is dry, you should reassemble all the parts. So, return the headgear to your mask, hook the mask back onto the tubing and any connectors, and connect the tubing back to the humidifier or directly to the CPAP machine. Next, plug the machine back to the power source and listen carefully for any air leaks. If you feel that the machine doesn’t work like before, contact your equipment provider or sleep specialist as soon as possible.
What is VirtuClean?
The VirtuClean CPAP sanitizer kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria in your equipment with the use of activated oxygen. The activated oxygen is also known as Ozone and it disinfects the mask, tubing, and humidifier chamber. It takes only 30 minutes to clean your CPAP equipment with this sanitizer. Plus, you won’t need any additional cleaning solutions except this small and portable device.
In order to clean your CPAP with VirtuClean, all you should do is place all CPAP parts in the VirtuBAG, attach the CPAP hose to the sanitizer, turn it on and leave it to work for 30 minutes. The VirtuClean CPAP sanitizer comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and it’s very quiet while working.
What’s great about VirtuClean is that it eliminates the mold and harmful bacteria and thus prevents any possible health issues. Moreover, the sanitizer is a revolutionary technology which allows you to enjoy the maximum benefits of your CPAP equipment.
It has been shown that people who use VirtuClean are motivated and more inclined to clean their CPAP equipment on a daily basis. So, if you want to enjoy optimal health and protect yourself from harmful germs and bacteria you shouldn’t think any further but invest in VirtuClean.
Additional Tips to Keep Your CPAP Equipment Clean
Here are a number of additional tips on how to maintain your CPAP equipment clean:
- In the case of sickness, make sure you clean your equipment more often than usual.
- When cleaning your equipment, use just a gentle soap. Make sure you don’t use any cleaning solutions or perfumes as they can irritate your lungs.
- Add only distilled water to the humidifier to reduce the risk of mineral accumulation in the water chamber.
- You can damage your equipment if you clean it in a dishwasher or washing machine.
- Always wash your face before using your CPAP mask to avoid any contaminants. You shouldn’t use any moisturizers or lotions when using your CPAP device.
- Clean your equipment with distilled or sterile water to avoid any damage from the chemicals and minerals in tap water.
- Set a calendar notification to remind you when to clean your CPAP equipment.
- If you are too busy to clean your CPAP equipment regularly, invest in an automated sanitizer like VirtuClean, which actually does the work on your behalf.
- Always use products which are specifically made for CPAP devices.
In a nutshell, cleaning your CPAP equipment on a regular basis enhances the benefits of the therapy for sleep apnea and prevents a number of health issues. Either clean your equipment regularly or invest in a sanitizer which adds to the safety and cleanliness of the CPAP use.