What Happens If You Do not Clean Your CPAP Machine?
If you do not clean your CPAP equipment you can expect a few unfortunate occurrences to happen:
- You will keep getting sick
- Your CPAP equipment will stink
- Your skin will get irritated
If you make up the 46 million people in the United States who suffer from sleep apnea, you probably know what hard work it is to clean your CPAP equipment by hand. It would not be surprising to learn that you have considered giving up the use of your CPAP machine.
Even though cleaning CPAP equipment is a hassle for many, if you want to enjoy long nights of sound sleep, it is important that you use it regularly so long as you clean it effectively and regularly.
Just like you need to use a clean toothbrush every time you clean your teeth, you need to take good care of your CPAP equipment as it is vital to your health. Click to learn more about cleaning your CPAP Machine.
You Keep Getting Sick
If you do not regularly clean out your CPAP equipment it might become moldy and full of deadly bacteria and viruses. When you breathe in and out of your CPAP equipment the bacteria in your mouth is pushed into your face mask and the CPAP tubing. Combined with the moisture found in the equipment, this creates the perfect environment for deadly pathogens to thrive.
Since these are microorganisms, it might not be clear straightaway that your CPAP equipment needs cleaning. However, if you begin to experience any of the symptoms mentioned below, it might be a sign that your equipment is on the icky side:
- Airway irritation
- Running nose
- Sore throat
- Skin irritation
- Respiratory infection
- Your CPAP equipment stinks
If you notice that your equipment is giving off a mildew smell, take it as an indication that there are harmful microorganisms in your CPAP equipment.
Your Skin Gets Irritated
With time, your CPAP mask will gather dirt and oil found on your face. When this oily mess comes into contact with your skin it will cause irritation. In the event that there is accumulated oil in your mask, you will have to wash it with either a solution of soap and water or white vinegar and water.
It is also recommended that you do not use facial oils when going to bed as they are capable for breaking down the silicone material CPAP masks are made from meaning you would spend more replacing your CPAP masks in a year.
You need to note that irritation is also caused by CPAP masks that do not fit properly. Read more about skin irritation and tips by clicking here.
Should I Use Soap To Clean A CPAP Mask
Absolutely, there is nothing wrong with cleaning your mask with soap as long as it is a gentle detergent. It is recommended that you should wash your CPAP mask on a daily basis using non-fragrant soap. You could opt to use CPAP-specific detergents.
Chinstraps and headgear should be washed by hand using warm water with a bit of soap then, air-dried. Be careful not to place the chinstraps or headgear into the dryer or washing machine.
It is recommended that every once a week you should soak your CPAP mask in a vinegar solution containing one part white vinegar and three parts water for at least 30 minutes.
You should then rinse it in distilled water before air-drying it.
Should I Use Vinegar to Clean A CPAP Hose
Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your CPAP hose, however, there is a way to do it. Sleep therapists recommend that you use a dilute vinegar solution, that is, it should contain three parts water and one part white vinegar.
Some people though do it wrong which can be lethal. Many CPAP therapy patients use a mixture of vinegar and bleach to clean their CPAP equipment. Note that this is dangerous and you should never attempt it.
Bleach fumes are highly toxic. Even when diluted with water, bleach can still be harmful to your lungs and throat.
Even though we noted above that you can use diluted vinegar to clean your CPAP equipment, it is not always the best solution.
Vinegar cannot cut through grease which is unfortunate because fluid from your lungs and facial oils accumulate on your tube and mask.
The second reason why vinegar is not the best option to clean your CPAP hose is that it has a slight acidity. This means that it can easily corrode your silicone mask cushions as well as tubing.
When bleach and vinegar are combined together they produce chlorine gas which is toxic and should be kept away from any device that helps you breathe.
Should I Clean Machine Filters?
Yes, you should always clean your CPAP machine filters and here’s why.
Machine filters are usually at the back of the CPAP machine. They help filter the air that gets drawn in by the machine before getting compressed and released to the patient. Almost all CPAP machines have a disposable white paper filter while others have a non-disposable grey filter that supplements the white filter.
Below are some tips on how you can clean your CPAP filters:
It is recommended that at least once a week, you clean the grey non-disposable filter. You should clean it more frequently if you happen to have pets, your home is dusty, or if there are smokers that reside in your house.
If after about 6 months, the grey filter starts to look worn out, it should be replaced
After rinsing the grey filters with water, you need to ensure that you give them sufficient time to dry before putting them back.
The white paper filters should definitely be replaced more often; at least monthly. However, if you notice that they look dirty or dingy, you should replace them immediately.
Thankfully though, the CPAP machine does not need to be cleaned, however, you might want to dust it down with a damp cloth when necessary.
With VirtuCLEAN you do not have to worry about the cleanliness of your CPAP machine as this CPAP cleaner takes care of it all at the press of a button.