Tips for Cleaning Your Sleep Apnea Equipment

Why Clean Sleep Apnea Equipment is Important

When using medical equipment like Positive Airway Pressure machines or dental devices to treat your Sleep Apnea disorder, it is imperative to keep the equipment clean. Sleep Apnea equipment that is not properly sanitized can cause irritation, the spread of bacteria, and the ingestion of dirty air. If you are using a facial mask and are experiencing skin irritation on your face around the mask, you may not be cleaning the mask properly. If you use Positive Airway Pressure therapy and frequently experience infection in the sinuses or respiratory tract, you may be ingesting dirty air at night because of improper cleaning methods.

How to Clean your Sleep Apnea Machine

Using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or any other PAP, machine requires a great deal of responsibility from the user. The user must be responsible enough to properly maintain the machine by cleaning it regularly and having it checked for error by a medical professional. Here are some tips and instructions for properly cleaning you Sleep Apnea machine.

Step 1

Safety first! Unplug your machine from the electrical outlet in which it is plugged to prevent the risk of electrocution.

  • TIPS
    • If you have a humidifier attached to the tubing of your machine, be sure to unplug it as well. Humidifiers should be cleaned on a weekly basis with warm soapy water. Fill the humidifier with a sanitizing solution like a vinegar-water mixture to ensure its cleanliness. Let the humidifier soak for about thirty minutes before rinsing it thoroughly.

Step 2

Dust the machine. Use a damp cloth to gently dust the outside of the machine.

  • TIPS
    • Get a wash cloth or paper towel slightly wet and wipe off the machine.
    • Let the machine air dry before plugging it back into the electrical outlet.

Step 3

Check the filters. These filters stop dust from entering your PAP machine and can quickly become full of dust and allergens. Most filters should be thrown out after a month of use, roughly thirty nights. In some machines, there are two different filters; one is disposable and the other is not. The non-disposable filter is most commonly made of foam. The disposable filter should be replaced quite frequently; if you notice a visible color change in the filter, it’s time to throw it away. Disposable filters usually last between thirty and sixty nights of use.

  • TIPS
    • If you have any trouble locating the filter on your machine, you can either check the manual, search on the internet, or call your health care provider.
    • Most Positive Airway Pressure filters are foam and can easily be taken out; all you have to do is pinch the middle of the foam and remove it from the machine.
    • No matter how old it is, if a filter appears extremely dirty, throw it away.
    • Most non-disposable filters will last for at least one year or more.

Step 4

Clean the filters. Filters should be cleaned thoroughly once at week, two at the most, to ensure the production of clean air. Rinse the filter with cold water to remove dust and other particles. You can squeeze foam filters to help assist the removal of unwanted particles. Use a clean, soft towel to remove any excess moisture from the filter; simply blot it dry before replacing it into the machine.

  • TIPS
    • Some PAP machine users like to rinse their filter with a mild soap. If you choose to use soap as well, make sure that it is a mild soap; dish detergent is a popular choice.
    • The back of machine that houses the filter will also be dusty; it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and should be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
    • DO NOT wash the disposable filter in your machine. The majority of disposable filters are white and should remain in the machine until disposal.

Step 5

Clean the tubing. PAP tubing should be thoroughly cleaned every single day. While using the machine at night, moisture and unfiltered particles can become stuck in the tubing where they accumulate. Inhaling these particle accumulations can cause airway obstruction during sleep increasing the risk of Sleep Apnea events. The tubing should be rinsed with warm water and a little bit of mild soap. Let the tubing air dry.

  • TIPS
    • If you let the tubing soak in warm soapy water before you rinse it running water, particles will be easier to rinse.
    • When rinsing your tubing, let some water gather in the tube. Hold your hand over one end and let the tube fill up about halfway with the soapy water before covering the open end with your other hand. Shake the water in the tubing back and forth to create some friction. The friction will help loosen and particles that may be stuck on the sides.
    • To make air drying the tubing more efficient, you can hang the tubing on a close hanger or towel rack. Hanging the tubing up to dry will help the excess water slide out.
    • Tubing is made of fragile materials. Be sure not to damage the delicate material between the coils of your Sleep Apnea machine’s tubing.
    • Be sure to keep a close eye on your tubing. Many Sleep Apnea patients find tiny holes in their tubing after an extended period of use.
    • Hosing should be replaced once at year; more if you think it necessary.

Step 6

The interface of the machine that attaches the tubing to the mouth or nose of the user needs to be cleaned every day. Like the tubing, your Sleep Apnea mask or nasal pillow needs to be washed daily with warm soapy water. Rinse the interface thoroughly to prevent the spreading of bacteria. Let the interface air dry.

  • TIPS
    • Make cleaning your mask a specific daily routine. Washing your PAP equipment at the same time everyday will make it easier to remember.
    • To help prevent germs from spreading, use different clothes to wipe off each separate component of your PAP machine.

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