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Proper Maintenance of Your CPAP Equipment
You have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been prescribed to use a machine while you sleep every night. You have a potentially severe problem that is readily resolved with your new device. This is actually good news, as many problems are not so easily solved. Using your cpap machine throughout your sleep cycle maximizes the health benefits you receive, so it’s important to be compliant. There are some important rules to remember that will safeguard the functioning of your equipment and prevent complications. Serious complications from the use of cpap are exceedingly rare. Cleaning your equipment properly and following our recommended guidelines are the best ways to avoid contamination and ensure a longer lifespan for your cpap equipment.
- Put solutions, medications, scents or any other additives in your humidifier
- Put alcohol, cleaning solutions, moisturizers, creams or ointments on your mask or tubing (doing so may shorten its usefulness)
- Share your equipment with others
- Use other people’s cpap equipment
- Use washer or dryer to clean heads straps or chin straps
- Use tap water in the humidifier
- Tape over any ports or vents on the mask or machine
- Allow your pets to play with the equipment
- Place your machine close to where you sleep, with slack in the hose to allow movements
- Make sure the mask is comfortable
- Clean the machine, tubing, filters and headgear as prescribed by the manufacturer
- Replace worn out parts
- Always use distilled water in your humidifier
Cleaning Your CPAP
Cleaning cpap equipment is relatively simple but the importance is in doing it regularly. Cleaning will allow the cpap mask to last longer and preserve the seal. And regular cleaning will prevent the potential build-up of germs. There are parts of the cpap machine that should be cleaned daily and others that can be clean once a week. Instructions from the manufacturer should take precedence over the following comments.
Parts that touch the skin should be cleaned daily. Wiping down the mask and straps with mild soapy water and letting air dry will sufficiently clean these areas. The humidifier should be emptied in the morning and refilled prior to sleeping with distilled water. Standing water can be a potential source for infections.
The tubing, humidifier and non-disposable filters should be cleaned weekly. The machine can be wiped down with a mildly damp cloth; avoid excess water getting into the cpap machine. The tubing, mask and headgear should be placed in a sink with warm soapy water. Let them soak 5-10 minutes moving the water around. Then rinse well and let all the parts air dry. Air-drying is very effective in killing germs. Most experts recommend hanging the equipment in the shower or laundry room to air dry throughout the day.
Non-disposable filters should be rinsed in warm water, and excess water should be blotted out and allowed to air-dry. If your machine has disposable filters, these are to be replaced monthly.
The humidifier should be washed in the sink with soapy water, rinsed out completely and air-dried. Every other week wash out the humidifier and then soak for 30 minutes in a solution made of 1-part vinegar and 5-parts water. Again, thoroughly rinse out, and then if your manufacture allows, place it in the top rack of the dishwasher for washing.
We Can Help
These simple steps will allow your cpap equipment to serve you without complications. There are more expensive ways that attempt to sterilize your machine and equipment, but unless there is an unusual need these are not necessary. If you have any questions regarding the care of your equipment and supplies the people at DSM Sleep are willing and able to address any need. DSM Sleep is owned by practicing sleep physicians, so we will find answers to any questions or problems.
(Special Thanks to Phillips Respironics)