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CPAP Cleaning Devices – What You Need to Know

CPAP Cleaning Devices – What You Need to Know.

If you use a CPAP or PAP therapy device to treat your sleep apnea, you know it can be difficult to keep up a regular cleaning schedule. A dirty CPAP machine can contain germs, viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. So, I can understand how the automated machines advertised on TV that claim to clean and disinfect your CPAP might look like a good option. But there is more you should know.

No home CPAP cleaning devices that use ozone gas or UV light have been approved or cleared by the FDA. The FDA has not determined whether CPAP cleaning devices are safe. The FDA does not have evidence whether CPAP cleaning devices work to clean or disinfect CPAP equipment of germs or allergens. FDA Feb 27, 2020

What Types of Machines That Claim to Clean CPAPs are Being Sold?

There are two main types of machines that claim to clean CPAPs. One uses ozone gas and the second type uses ultraviolet (UV) light. Ozone gas and UV light machines that claim to clean, disinfect or sanitize continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices or accessories (such as masks, tubing, headgear) do not have FDA clearance or approval. This means that the FDA has not found that these cleaners work to kill germs on CPAPs or that they are safe.

UV Light Machines

The FDA has not received data or evidence from manufacturers that says UV light can clean the inside surface of CPAP hoses, or information to confirm that UV light does not damage CPAP machines. They do not have evidence that machines using UV light protect you from unsafe levels of UV radiation exposure. Direct exposure to UV light may cause injury depending on its wavelength, intensity and exposure time. Additionally, the UV light may not be able to penetrate all components of CPAP devices and accessories, like the plastic tubing, masks and connectors, which could lead to inadequately disinfected components that may be unsafe for people to reuse.

Ozone Gas Machines

Ozone is a gas that can be used to kill harmful bacteria. However, for ozone to be effective in killing harmful bacteria, it must be present at a concentration far greater than what is considered safe for humans. Although products claiming to clean, disinfect or sanitize CPAP devices that use ozone gas claim that they are designed to keep ozone gas inside the machine and its accessories, leaks can occur at tubing connections, filters or through containers used to house CPAP accessories. When leaks occur, ozone gas in the room where the devices are used may temporarily rise to unsafe levels especially if the room is small or not well ventilated.

Additionally, if the newly cleaned CPAP machine or accessories that are used without first allowing fresh air to completely circulate through the entire CPAP system to remove any remaining ozone gas. It could lead to someone inhaling ozone gas, which could cause breathing problems.

Watch This Before Using Ozone Gas or UV Light CPAP Cleaning Devices

Patient Complaints

There have also been complaints from CPAP users of a chemical smell, dizziness, and headaches. Some people have had irritation to breathing passages (nose, throat, and lungs), particularly for those who have respiratory sensitivity such as asthma or allergies. In addition, many CPAP manufactures will void the warranty if a mechanical cleaning device is used due to possible damage to the CPAP units.

Why Does My CPAP Machine Need Cleaning?

Germs from your lungs, throat, or mouth can get into the CPAP mask or hose as you breathe in and out during sleep. Additionally, germs on your skin may get transferred to the CPAP mask or hose. Dust, mold, pet hair or other allergens may also get into the CPAP mask or hose.

All CPAP machines need to be cleaned regularly so that these germs and contaminants do not grow inside of your equipment and make you sick. Dust and dirt can also cause problems with the machine, making it more likely to break or need replacement.  Please visit CSCC website for recommended cleaning instructions.

Alternative Treatment Option

Patients diagnosed with Mild to Moderate OSA can seek CSCC to see if they are eligible and may benefit from Oral Appliance Therapy.  Please visit https://comprehensivesleepcare.com/our-services/cpap-alternative-oral-appliance-therapy-for-sleep-apnea/.

Think you are caring for your CPAP correctly?

Think you are caring for your CPAP correctly?

Take this quiz to find out.

One of the most important factors in maintaining CPAP compliance is taking care of your CPAP equipment. Fortunately, caring for your CPAP equipment can be easy. By making it part of your morning routine you will keep your device and accessories working properly. And say hello to sleep again…

1. The water in the humidification chamber needs to be cleaned out daily?

         Yes      No

The answer is a resounding yes. Emptying out the water helps prevents bacteria and calcification build up.

  • Remove chamber from humidifier carefully so water doesn’t enter your CPAP machine.
  • Open chamber and wash with warm, soapy water.
  • Rinse well with water and allow to dry on a clean cloth or paper towel out of direct sunlight.

2. Once a week, the humidification chamber needs to be completely washed?

Yes      No

Again, the answer is YES.

  • Once a week the humidifier chamber should be soaked in a solution of 1-part white vinegar, 3-parts water for approximately 15-20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  • Some humidifier chambers are dishwasher safe, but make sure to check your CPAP machine’s manual before cleaning in a dishwasher.
  • Humidifier chambers should be replaced every 6 months or as needed.

3. CPAP masks need to be washed daily?

Yes      No

The answer is Yes, (do you see a theme here?)

Most CPAP mask cushions are made of silicone. While silicone is a very comfortable material for masks, it doesn’t have a very long lifespan, and without proper care can breakdown even faster than expected. Therefore, cleaning your CPAP mask is crucial in making it efficient as possible. Here are some tips on CPAP mask cleaning and replacement:

  • Wash mask daily with warm water and mild, non-fragrant, soap or use unscented baby wipes. You can also purchase CPAP mask wipes.
  • Rinse with water and allow to air dry on a clean cloth or paper towel out of direct sunlight.
  • Before using mask at night, wash your face thoroughly and don’t use facial moisturizers. Facial oils and moisturizers can breakdown the silicone faster.
  • Once a week, soak mask in solution of 1-part white vinegar, 3-parts water before rinsing.
  • Headgear and chinstraps should be washed as needed by hand using warm soapy water, rinsed well, and air dried. Do not place headgear or chinstraps in washing machine or dryer.
  • When caring for your CPAP masks check both your manufacturer’s recommendations and your insurance allowance. However, for most masks it is recommended that you replace the cushions 1-2 times per month, and the mask every 3-6 months.
  • CPAP tubing should be cleaned weekly in a sink of warm, soapy water, rinsed well, and left to hang-dry out of direct sunlight.

4. Should you clean the non-disposable filter weekly? More if you have pets or smoke?

Yes      No

I think you know what the answer is.

Your filters are located near the back of the CPAP machine where the device draws air. Nearly all CPAP machines have a disposable filter and some have an additional non-disposable filter as well. Here are some cleaning tips for your CPAP filters:

  • Rinse non-disposable filters with water and allow to dry before placing back into your machine.
  • The re-usable filters should be replaced when it begins to look worn or after 6 months.
  • Replace disposable filters every 2 weeks or more frequently if it appears dingy or dirty.
  • Once a week, unplug device from outlet and wipe with a damp cloth.

Cleaning CPAP

IMPORTANT TIPS

  • Make caring for your CPAP equipment part of your morning routine.
  • Keep machine and accessories out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging them.
  • Never use bleach to clean accessories.
  • Place machine on a level surface and away from curtains that may interfere with the air intake.
  • Keep track of when you should order replacement parts for your mask and accessories so that you always get the most out of your CPAP.

If you have a CPAP, but are struggling with compliance, check out our no mask oral appliance, ApneaGuard, for mild to moderate sleep apnea.  Call and schedule a consultation with one of our sleep medicine physicians, or ask your doctor about a sleep referral to the Comprehensive Sleep Care Center.


If you are struggling with your CPAP or have sleep issues, contact Comprehensive Sleep Care Center for a consultation and Say Hello to Sleep Again…