Iowa Sleep Blog

CPAP Cleaning Procedure

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

If you wear Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy, you were walked through the steps in cleaning your equipment. For many, that may have been a long time ago, in a place far, far away…so let us have a refresher!

One of the most important factors in determining compliance with PAP wear (aside from mask fit) is taking proper care of your equipment. For therapy to be successful, you first must be willing to make taking care of your equipment a priority. If you take care of your equipment, your equipment will take care of you! The good news is that taking care of your PAP equipment is easy and not time consuming and, with a little adjustment to your daily routine, your equipment will be ready to help you get much needed rest!


Daily, you should clean your mask and water chamber.

1. Wash hands thoroughly—Important to start with clean hands!

2. Remove headgear from the mask and disconnect mask and tubing

3. Carefully remove the water chamber from the humidifier being careful to not get water into your unit!

4. Fill your sink or a large bowl with mild soapy warm water and gently wash the supplies thoroughly 

5. Completely rinse all pieces and allow to air dry on a towel 

6. Reassemble all once they are dry  

7. Some humidifier chambers are dishwasher safe. Be sure to check manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning in a     dishwasher

8.NEVER wipe down any of your supplies with cleaners/wipes with alcohol or bleach or other commercial cleaners because they can leave a residue that can cause skin irritations and breakdown the plastics or silicone.

Weekly, you should disinfect all plastic/silicone supplies (mask, tubing, water chamber) in a solution of 1-part white vinegar to 3-parts water. Clean them first with warm soapy water, then let them soak for 30-45 minutes. Make sure you rinse all parts well with clean warm water and allow all pieces to air dry before reassembling.

Replacing Your Supplies

You will need to replace some of your supplies on a regular basis. This will help you ensure that your therapy remains safe and effective. Check with your insurance provider and equipment manufacturer recommendations. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Mask: every 6 months
  • Mask cushion: every 1-2 months
  • Headgear: every 6 months
  • Filters: disposable filter every 2 weeks
  • Water Chamber: 6 months

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

Written by Dede Benson, ARNP-Sleep Medicine Nurse Practitioner