Cleaning your CPAP machine doesn’t mean that you have to have the latest and greatest robotic or automatic CPAP cleaning machine. It doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg, and in fact, cleaning your CPAP machine and mask can actually be completed with everyday items commonly found in the pantry and below the kitchen sink.
Keeping your CPAP Machine in good, clean, hygenic working condition can be incredibly easy, and most importantly cheap as long as you have these things in your cupboard.
Wash your mask in warm soapy water. Yes, even your mask headgear. This is literally the recommendation from the majority of CPAP mask manufacturers. Done regularly and it will stay clean, germ free and last longer before needing to be replaced.
You don’t need a Sanibot.
You don’t need a SoClean mask cleaner.
Those things may make cleaning your mask easier (in fact, the Sanibot really doesn’t), but they are expensive, add clutter, and also themselves need cleaning and maintaining (something that is often forgotten or wiped over).
Dishwashing liquid comes in many different iterations. If you really are worried about those nasty germs, use a dishwashing liquid with antibacterial properties.
So, you’ve been using tap water in your CPAP humidifier chamber? That’s ok, soak it with some white vinegar and water, rinse it out, and it will prevent a white scale building up on it.
The white scale has built up in the humidifier chamber? Soak some white vinegar and water in it for a few hours, and wash it out with a soft toothbrush.
The humidifier is starting to smell? Soak some white vin…
You get the picture…
White vinegar is a mild acid and dissolves mineral deposits (i.e. white scale) from smooth surfaces. In addition, white vinegar has strong anti-baterial properties and a 5% vinegar solution is 90% effective against mould and 99.9% effective again bacteria.
Soft Toothbrush/Bottle Brush/Paint Brush
The last piece of the DIY CPAP users arsenal should be one of the above (or a combination) depending on what CPAP machine and mask combination you have. These are for getting into those hard to reach places where you otherwise couldn’t clean properly.
The toothbrush is particularly useful for cleaning in and around the ‘double wall’ cushions that feature on many of the best CPAP masks. Gunk tends to work its way up in these crevices and can be particularly difficult to reach. Running a toothbrush around these edges does a great job in getting into these hard to reach, muck collecting spots.
A school paint brush is one of the most useful tools that I have found for cleaning the little nooks and crannies in some humidifier chambers. Do you remember the wooden handled, rough bristled paint brushed that you used to use as kids? These are perfect (the soft brushes don’t cut the mustard). These brushes allow you to reach the bottom corners of those humidifier chambers that are oh so difficult to clean. They allow you to press down with sufficient force, are narrow enough to get down in there, and the bristles are rigid enough to get in an give it a good clean.
The bottle brush isn’t a necessity. Although it is the only piece of specialist cleaning equipment that I recommend. And I only recommend it if you really want to clean your hose out thoroughly. Personally, I’m ok with people rinsing their hose out with warm soapy water – oh, I know, again with the warm soapy water – and as long as it is done regularly it keeps the hose clean and fresh.
Baby Wipes/Alcohol Wipes – These can be great for giving the silicone cushion of your mask a quick wipe over when you don’t have time to wash it. No, you don’t have to buy the specific CPAP wipes, and a wet cloth would probably do the same. However, baby wipes will clean it reasonably well, disinfect it, and leave it smelling nice.
Use these products to keep your machine clean and hygenic when you use it. Don’t buy into the consumerism bullshit that is now so associated with the CPAP industry, and DIY your cleaning regime with these simple and cheap products.