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CPAP cleaning has never been a favorite chore for those to whom I have provided machines over the years, however it is clearly the second most important part of using CPAP therapy for OSA Sleep Apnea. The most important factor for CPAP sleep therapy is compliance, I mean, you have to actually put the mask on and use your CPAP every night in order for it to improve your apnea. So, compliance with CPAP is an entirely separate blog post for future reference, and I have a lot of great ideas in that area which have been proven to work well.
Cleaning your CPAP, hose, mask, and water reservoir is crucial to healthy long term use of CPAP. First, I will explain why, and later down this post, I’ll share with you how to get those dirty bugs out of your system.
Why should I clean my CPAP? : Most users of CPAP are instructed by their provider to keep the equipment clean at the time of the original set up, however these instructions have been known to be ignored by the CPAP users more than a few times. Mold, bacteria, and other germs, and bugs love three things more than anything else. These are 1 warmth, 2 moisture, and 3 darkness. This is exactly the environment offered by your CPAP machine. Not cleaning your CPAP is basically sending an invitation to germs:
“Hello germs, we are having a party in the CPAP, and all are invited!”
Understanding that this environment is adored by the germs goes a long way toward cleaning inspiration. The more mold, bacteria, and other germs are present, the greater opportunity they have to infect your airway. This may manifest itself as a simple cold, sinus infection, or possibly even a full-blown respiratory tract infection.
Different CPAP providers may share a slightly different variation of the CPAP cleaning process. If you are told something different I recommend that you follow their advice.
Start by keeping it cleaner by using “distilled” water ONLY. No minerals means no evaporation film deposit which bacteria love as well.
Daily clean the CPAP mask or other interface with soapy water, rinse thoroughly with water and air dry. (Dawn dish detergent is great as it rinses easily)
Once to twice per week, wash the water CPAP water reservoir, hose, and mask with soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and air dry.
Occasionally, if you suspect it is needed, mix a big bowl with 1 part white vinegar, and 3 parts water solution. Place the CPAP mask, hose and water reservoir into the solution for approximately 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water and air dry.
Another option to save time:
The SoClean 2 is a CPAP cleaning machine which allows user to clean their CPAP mask, hose, water reservoir, and even the water inside the reservoir automatically. No water needed. No fluids at all. This machine cleans it all by producing, and pumping ozone through the system when you aren’t using it. Each morning, you simply wake up, place the mask in the machine (leaving it completely assembled and attached to the hose), and the CPAP cleaning machine does the rest. Mold, bacteria and other germs cannot survive the ozone environment. Your system is 99.9% germ free every single day. This is a great solution. The units are not covered by insurance yet the cost is a reasonably good value considering the peace of mind and time-saving aspect.