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Sleep apnea is one of the most potentially risky sleep disorders, and one of the most treatable. Sleep apnea refers to a pause in breathing and impacts more than 18 million adults in America.
The primary treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP equipment, or continuous positive airway pressure device. A CPAP applies gentle air pressure into the airway, permitting oxygen to enter the lungs. CPAP machines need regular at-home maintenance to work correctly and prevent contamination with bacteria. Adequate cleaning of your CPAP machine is a crucial part of your sleep apnea treatment routine and can help keep the machine free of microorganisms and other impurities.
There are many CPAP cleaners available on the market. So how do you select the one that’s best for you? To help you choose the appropriate CPAP cleaner, I’ve tested several models for performance, price, and durability. My top four top picks include SoClean 2, Lumin, Moocoo Portable Cleaner and Sanitizer, and VirtuCLEAN Cleaner and Sanitizer
Criteria for CPAP Cleaner Selection
In selecting the top 4 CPAP cleaners, I looked closely at a few significant factors. These are common to all CPAP cleaners, irrespective of their features or price. When purchasing a new CPAP cleaner, consider the following:
How a CPAP Cleaner Works
Your CPAP devices can help treat sleep apnea and prevent or mitigate its effects. The three most common kinds of CPAP masks are:
- The full-face CPAP mask – This type of mask covers both the nose and mouth and is normally used for more severe sleep apnea
- The nasal pillow – The nasal pillow fits around the entire nose and forces air into the nostrils
- The nasal CPAP mask – The nasal CPAP mask does not fit around the whole nose but distributes air at the base of the nose
During inhalation and exhalation, microbes from the nose and mouth can enter components of the CPAP equipment, including the hoses, masks, and nasal pieces. Cleaning and disinfecting the device is vital to prevent the build-up of bacteria, mold, and other germs and viruses that can result in upper respiratory and lung infections.
Hand-washing your CPAP machine is a choice, but can be ineffective and difficult to do properly. A CPAP cleaner is specifically designed to sterilize your CPAP machine faster and efficiently, and can be used daily or as often as necessary.
Most CPAP cleaning machines are compatible with common CPAP machines and are simple to use. Before buying a CPAP cleaner, check the instructions and list of compatible devices. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer of the cleaner or CPAP device, or ask your prescriber for advice on a suitable cleaner. Many manufacturers of CPAP cleaners list information for users on their websites, including compatible brands and models.
Adapters may also be available for older or incompatible CPAP equipment. Some cleaner adapters require to be ordered separately.
Size and Weight
Like CPAP machines, CPAP cleaners are available in different weights and sizes. Smaller cleaners that are compatible with travel-size CPAP devices can help keep hoses, masks, and nasal components in good operating condition when you’re away from home. Many travel-size CPAP cleaners use a USB charger or batteries to keep them light and portable. Portable ozone cleaners forgo the larger cleaning chamber of the household-use machine and provide a bag and hose instead.
If you’re not sure if a CPAP cleaner is right for you, consider buying from a company with a trial period that lets you test the cleaning device and return or exchange it if needed. A trial period lets you see how the device operates under real-world conditions without committing to a purchase. You may find you prefer a quieter or lighter device or require one that is simpler to operate. Some folks opt ozone to UV light cleaners or vice versa.
Many cleaner manufacturers provide a risk-free trial period of 30 to 45 days but may charge return shipping. Check the company return policy before purchasing any CPAP cleaner, and be sure to follow the conditions of the trial period to avoid invalidating a potential refund.