Yes! Did you know that patients who use CPAP and don’t regularly clean their equipment are 32 percent more likely to get pneumonia?
CPAP cleaning can present a real challenge to some CPAP users. Sometimes understanding the REASON behind the recommended maintenance, along with some simple guidelines, can go a long way to making the process less of a chore.
The proper maintenance of your CPAP unit and accessories plays a significant role in success of the treatment of your obstructive sleep apnea. A proper hygiene of the equipment will avoid complications such as leaks, bacterial and fungal growth and further health complications.
REASONS TO CLEAN YOUR CPAP
The reasons for regular cleaning are simple:
- Oil, sweat and dead skin cells can accumulate in the CPAP mask every time it’s used.
- The water in the machine and the moisture in the mask and hose are potential breeding grounds for bacteria and germs.
The mask accumulates oil, sweat, dead skin cells and dirt which are absorbed by our skin and can lead to irritation. If you are waking up with acne, soreness or skin peeling, this is an indication that your mask is due for a good wash.
A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found 2,000+ bacteria counts evident after just 48 hours on 48 percent of samples from CPAP masks they collected.
In other words, poor CPAP maintenance puts patients at greater risks of infection and disease including pneumonia, sore throat, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, skin irritation and other illnesses.
By implementing a cleaning regimen, you’ll be eliminating a lot of the germs that can make you sick. Your equipment will also smell better, look better, and be more effective if cleaned regularly, which will contribute to the longevity of use of your CPAP.
What you need to clean your CPAP
CLEANING YOUR CPAP IS EASY! Here is what you will need:
- CPAP mask wipes or a damp cloth
- Warm water
- CPAP soap or dishwashing soap
If you opt for dishwashing soap, it is important to select a soap that is neither antibacterial or hydrating. The alcohol in an antibacterial soap will cause the cushion of your mask to dry out and break sooner than expected. Avoid hydrating soap as the hydrating agent in the soap will leave a greasy residue on your equipment.
How and when to clean your CPAP and accessories
You need to schedule daily and weekly cleaning, as well as seasonal and yearly maintenance. Let’s start with a regular cleaning regimen:
Make it a habit to wipe down your mask every morning, especially the cushion which comes in contact with your skin. This will remove any oily residue, sweat and dead skin cells.
Simply use a damp cloth with soap and warm water. Follow up rinsing with warm water and allowing to air dry. Pre- moistened wipes made specifically for CPAP masks (in unscented and scented formats) are available and make the cleaning much faster.
If there is any water left in your humidifier in the morning, empty your water chamber and rinse out with tap water. Allow the water chamber to air-dry. Refill with distilled water right before bedtime. Do not allow water to sit in your water chamber all day as it is a good environment for bacteria and mold to thrive.
If you want to ensure that you are eliminating all bacteria in your mask or if you’re not cleaning your mask daily because of the inconvenience, we recommend the LUMIN to sterilize your mask, water chamber.
Once a week, your equipment requires a complete wash. Ideally, this should be scheduled early in the morning to allow your equipment to dry. Here is how to do it:
- Fill your sink or a bucket with warm water and a few drops of CPAP or dishwashing soap.
- In that warm soapy water, gently wash your mask. This includes gently scrubbing the headgear of your mask. Once done, hang your mask to air dry.
- Next, have the soapy water enter the tube. Gently swirl the liquid back and forth in the air hose to clean it. Special brushes exist to help with the scrubbing INSIDE the air hose. Run clean water through the air hose to eliminate the soapy water. Finally, hang and allow to air dry. Frequently, people hang the hose over their shower curtain rod to allow it to drip dry.
- ALMOST THERE! Take your water chamber and gently scrub the inside with soapy water then properly rinse it. Next, pour in a mixture of one-part vinegar and 2-parts water into the water chamber. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 mins. This will sanitize and decalcify your water chamber. Once your timer is up, properly rinse and air dry.
EVERY THREE MONTHS
It is important to replace the air filter of your CPAP once every three months especially if you have allergies. By replacing your filter, you limit the deposit of dust and impurities in the compressor of your CPAP. Filters are readily available at our branches.
Once a year, it is medically recommended to replace the mask, air hose and water chamber. This recommendation is widely known so most insurance company cover a certain percentage of the cost.
With the proper upkeep of your CPAP device, your CPAP will continue to work optimally, you will be breathing clean air and be able achieve your goal of better night’s sleep.