By Carol Smith, PA-C. Sleep Medicine Physician Assistant at Iowa Sleep
I get many questions on cleaning of CPAP equipment so I decided to write some information about the topic.
There are things that need to be done each day and there are things that can be done on a less frequent basis.
DAILY : Wash your face before putting mask on. Wash mask liner when removing it in on awakening with gentle soap(i.e. baby shampoo) and water or a CPAP wipe. Empty humidifier and allow it to air dry. Refill at bedtime with distilled water. Use only distilled water in humidifier. If travelling and distilled water is not handy bottled water is preferred over tap water.
WEEKLY : Soak mask, tubing and humidifier box in 1 part white vinegar , 2 parts water for minimum of 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water a couple of drops of a gentle soap/shampoo. (I use a pail I keep for only this purpose and store the white vinegar and baby shampoo in it between uses.) Allow to air dry. The shower curtain rod is handy to hang hose on after shaking out excess water.
The cloth portion of your mask can be laundered in the washer and dryer. Make sure to adhere any Velcro surface so they don't pick up lint and fibers in the process. I place it in a laundry bag or it can be safety pinned to a pillow case. I'm always worried it will disappear like that one sock that the dryer eats ...never to be found.
Wipe exterior of your machine with a damp clean cloth.
MONTHLY: Wash reusable foam filters in warm water with a few drops of baby shampoo. Rinse well then dry with a paper towel. Replace disposable (white filters) every 2 weeks to once a month.
Dirty or worn equipment can increase risk of respiratory tract infections. Proper cleaning of your equipment and regularly replacing supplies can lengthen the life of your machine, improve efficacy of your treatment and make treatment more comfortable by lessening leaks.
AND REMEMBER ..... You should use your PAP whenever you sleep whether you are napping, travelling, in the hospital or on vacation. When you sleep without your PAP machine you risk episodes of abnormal/low oxygen levels due to your obstructive sleep apnea/collapse of your airway. These episodes can damage vital organs increasing risk of stroke, dementia, heart attack, irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, diabetes and other adverse health consequences.
With these simple tips on cleaning and maintaining your PAP device and accessories, you can rest assured that your PAP device will give you many nights of restful sleep. If you have questions, reach out to us at Iowa Sleep by sending us a question or contact our sister company, Iowa CPAP at www.iowacpap.com.