Work With Me

95: What is the minimum amount of CPAP cleaning I need to do?

cpap Jan 27, 2024

As a human being, you are an organic ecosystem that is constantly shedding dead skin cells, oils, and germs that live on your skin and in your various body cavities.  We are not sanitary creatures.  Therefore, your bodies need to be scrubbed and shampooed.  Your teeth need to be cleaned and your mouths rinsed.  The boogies in your nose need to be evacuated.  And your face needs to be washed.  You are already doing maintenance on your body to stay healthy.  

Cleaning your CPAP mask and supplies is absolutely essential for a comfortable and hygienic experience.  

The CPAP mask and supplies need to be included in your health maintenance routine since these parts touch your body.  In fact, your mask touches one of the most sensitive parts of your body– your face.  And properly functioning CPAP filters are taking particles, allergens, and dander out of the air that flows into your lungs.  

Yep, cleaning your supplies is one of the inconveniences of using CPAP therapy, and it is understandable why it’s viewed as a pain in the patootie.  

So how can you make this as easy as humanly possible?  I created a Fast, Cheap, and Easy Cleaning Guide just for you.  And if I were to highlight the top three things you should pay attention to for CPAP hygiene, I would choose:  

  1. your mask cushion- needs a daily wipe-down and regular replacement
  2. your disposable filter- needs to be changed as soon as it is dirty, or at least monthly
  3. the humidifier chamber- needs to be emptied and allowed to dry out 

I get asked about CPAP cleaning machines a lot.  Do I need one?  Is it worth the money?  Will it save me time?  For me, the answer to all these questions is no.  

But this is a personal choice, and below I’ve listed some things you might want to know:

  • The dishwasher analogy does NOT apply.  In other words, these machines do NOT take the place of washing particulate matter (dead skin cells, skin oils, dust, allergens, mold, and bacteria) from your CPAP parts.  I do not see any added convenience or time savings.
  • It’s true that ozone and UV light can be used to sanitize, but there is no demonstrated advantage of these methods compared to washing CPAP supplies in a water bath with a little dish soap. 
  • Ozone (also referred to as activated oxygen, or O3) is potentially dangerous.  You must allow your supplies to air out after cleaning with ozone.  And tests by the FDA found concerning levels of ozone can remain even after the recommended wait time.  
  • UV light may actually damage some parts of your CPAP supplies and may not be strong enough to reach all the places it’s meant to.
  • See more from the FDA by >> clicking here << 
  • Phillips Respironics and ResMed have the position that if you use these cleaners, your PAP device's warranty is void, even if it's under 2 years old. Other CPAP manufacturers likely have similar requirements for following their cleaning guidelines.

Please realize that your CPAP supplies are meant to be disposable.  The silicone mask cushion loses integrity over time and is not able to maintain a seal.  Headgear stretches out.  Filters get dirty.  Gunk and buildup accumulate in the nooks and crannies of your mask frame and in the humidifier chamber.  

A regular cleaning routine should be coupled with regular parts replacement to keep your therapy working well.  A Harvard Medical School study showed that after 6 months it is impossible to get all the bacteria out of a CPAP mask, regardless of what cleaning supplies are used or how regularly it was washed.

In summary, regularly cleaning AND regularly replacing your disposable CPAP supplies greatly reduces the likelihood of bacteria building up and causing discomfort, skin irritation, or illness.  It also keeps your CPAP treatment working effectively and comfortably for you.  Click here to join the Super Sleep MD Membership (free) and get the Fast, Cheap, and Easy Cleaning Guide and the CPAP Supplies Replacement Schedule that I made for you. 



You've got sleep problems... 

so is it time for a sleep study? 

Learn More

Super Sleep MD Sleep Programs