Just as any other piece of medical equipment, your CPAP machine should be kept clean and sanitized to avoid contamination and ensure it continues to work effectively for years to come. When you purchase a CPAP machine, there should be detailed instructions that come with the machine that inform you of how to do this safely and effectively to ensure each piece of the equipment stays sanitary. If a CPAP machine isn’t clean, you will not be getting the best and cleanest airflow through the tubes and mask, meaning it can affect how the machine works, making it less effective over time. Medical equipment should always be taken care of and cleaned to avoid infection and illnesses through poor infection control.
What Happens If I Do Not Clean My CPAP Machine?
Your CPAP machine uses humidified air so it can be a very humid environment. A wet and hot environment is the ideal place for bacteria to grow and is a great place for mold, fungus and yeast to grow. The humidified air ensures that the air doesn’t dry out your mouth and nose but means you need to keep on top of cleaning the machine. When too much moisture builds up within the tubing or humidifier system, the CPAP machine can begin to grow mold that can come with some serious health risks. Mold can cause a sore throat, itchiness, blocked nose, irritation, coughing and eye or skin irritation. When purchasing a CPAP machine, you should also purchase a quality sanitizer that will ensure this does not happen. Devices that are not cared for properly can lead to problems, there has been many CPAP machine recalls ordered in the US only to find out that the issue was not in with the manufacturing but rather with the users and their lack of care.
Cleaning Your CPAP Machine: A Guide
1. Ensure the CPAP machine is unplugged from the wall and switched off before you begin to dismantle or clean. Doing this means you will not be at risk of an electric shock when using water near an electrical outlet. Never put it in water, even if it is not plugged in!
2. Once unplugged, dismantle the machine by taking the mask from the tubing system, removing the headgear, and taking the tubing from the power outlet. Now you can remove the humidifier and the water chamber. If you are unsure on how to do this your manual should give you instructions on how to do so properly. Never guess as you may damage it.
3. Clean the separate pieces of equipment with a soft, wet cloth. You may want to use dish soap that is for sensitive skin or baby shampoo to your water. If you want to better disinfect your equipment, adding vinegar to your water will clean the machine better than water alone. For the best results, you should use a sanitizer made for this purpose like SoClean CPAP cleaner.
4. Wipe over all the equipment thoroughly, ensuring you change the water at least once for effective cleaning. If the water looks dirty, change it sooner.
5. Soak the tubing, mask and headgear in warm water for around 30 minutes, these aren’t electrical so this is safe. Take them out and ensure they air dry before the next use of your CPAP machine. Failing to do so will increase the risk of mold. Repeat this once a week.
6. If your CPAP machine has machine filters, check these. Some CPAP machine use reusable filters than need to be cleaned weekly, others are disposable. If this is the case, filters usually need to be replaced once monthly. The best way to find out this information is in the manual of your CPAP machine under the filters section.
Why Should I Get A CPAP Cleaner?
If you purchase a CPAP cleaner, you will not have to repeat this step by step process each week, saving you time and energy. A CPAP cleaner can clean the machine effectively, keeping you safe from harm and your machine working appropriately, without having to dismantle the machine. This is especially handy for those who would struggle with the cleaning process, such as those very sick or old. CPAP machines do not require any chemicals or the use of water. An automated sanitizer machine for your CPAP machine could kill up to 99.9% of mold, bacteria or viruses that live in your CPAP machine, something that can be significantly lower when dismantling and cleaning the machine yourself.
A CPAP cleaner ensures the machine reaches a hospital standard of clean, which is how clean your CPAP machine should stay. Although experts recommend a clean each week, if you have a respiratory illness, or any other, your machine should be cleaned daily to prevent you from getting worse. Your humidifier system should be heated to avoid condensation. It is also advised that distilled water is used to prevent infection. Replace items as your CPAP manual advises as these regulations are there to keep you safe and your machine working effectively. Never share your equipment with anyone.
CPAP Cleaning Wipes
CPAP cleaning wipes are an alternative to a CPAP. Many trustworthy manufacturers such as ResMed sell CPAP cleaning wipes, for an easy way to sanitize and clean your machine daily. These are a great way to clean the mask that can become dirty with the natural oils from your face. They will gently, yet effectively remove any bacteria and dirt from the cushion of the mask, they are not abrasive and will not harm your face. If a cushion is too dirty it may not seal on your face properly, meaning you will not get the air you need through your machine. These wipes are made from cotton and don’t use any fragrance products. There are many products that can be used to clean your CPAP machine properly.
When cleaning your device, look for products that have been made by a reliable company and are right for your machine. Humidified CPAP machines need the most cleaning as they can be the most dangerous for breeding germs and bacteria. Investing in a CPAP cleaner may be the best way to ensure a quick and effective clean is done weekly. Cleaning your CPAP machine will guarantee it works for years and ensures you get the best oxygen therapy.
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