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Properly Clean your CPAP Machine

Taking care of yourself and your CPAP Machine

With 26% of adults aged 30-70 having Sleep Apnea, there are many of us that own a CPAP machine. With benefits of better sleep and better overall health, CPAP machines are a god send for those with the disorder. But when it comes to caring for your machine, there’s a lot of misleading information out there!

When using your CPAP machine daily, there are skin oils, microbial growth, dirt, and mold that can build up in many areas of the machine. These can be hazardous to your health

CPAP Machine for Sleep Apnea

Benefits of using a CPAP Machine lead to a better sleep and better overall health

How Often to Clean Your Machine

Medical Equipment suppliers will often recommend you clean your device daily, for optimal health. Since most people aren’t willing or able to clean their device daily, you may use CPAP cleaning wipes for quick, daily cleaning of your mask and machine. Many people will use baby wipes as an alternative, but it’s not recommended you do this! Baby wipes are gentle enough for use on babies’ skin, and often use moisturizers, but they are not strong enough to properly clean your CPAP products, while often leaving a residue. Baby wipes can create an accumulation of organic residue and dirt, which can be harmful to your health. Formulated CPAP Wipes are harmless to your health and your mask, but tough on bacteria and other microbes.

A general rule of thumb is to do a full proper cleaning of your equipment once a week. If you’ve been sick, it’s recommended you clean more frequently in order to not elongate your illness!

Formulated CPAP Wipes are harmless to your health and your mask, but tough on bacteria and other microbes.

Weekly Cleaning Supplies

  • CPAP Equipment (CPAP machine, mask, hose, humidifier water chamber, headgear)
  • Small sink, basin or tub
  • Soft cloth and CPAP Brushes
  • Warm water
  • Dish Soap (Mild Antibacterial, if possible)
  • Towel

Steps to Cleaning your Equipment

CPAP Disassembly:

  • Unplug your CPAP machine, as you don’t want to risk an electrical shock!
  • Disconnect your mask from the CPAP tubing.
  • If your mask has a headgear, remove it.
  • Separate other pieces then can be reattached.
  • If the CPAP machine connects directly, remove the CPAP tubing from any
    connectors, the humidifier output, or from the CPAP machine itself.
  • If you have a water chamber, remove it from the humidifier unit of the CPAP machine, and separate it into its pieces (although this may not always be possible). Modern water chambers often open, but don’t always separate into parts.

External Surface Wiping Down:

  • Take a soft cloth which has ben wet with warm water.
  • Remove dust by gently wiping down the external surface of the CPAP machine.

Soaking the parts:

  • Fill a tub, basin or small sink with warm water.

For a faster, deeper cleaning, you may use a small CPAP brush to clean out your mask, nose pillows, and a coil brush to clean the inside of your tube.

  • Add a small amount of gentle dish soap, or a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water.
  • Place mask, tubing, headgear, and connectors in the warm soapy or vinegar
  • Allow to soak for approximately 30 minutes. For a faster, deeper cleaning, you may use a small brush to clean out your mask, nose pillows, and a coil brush to clean the inside of your tube.
  • Allow everything to air dry by hanging on a shower rod or on a towel


  • Once everything has dried, reassemble the various parts.
  • Re-connect the headgear to your mask, hook the mask back onto the tubing and any connectors, and connect the tubing back to the humidifier or to the CPAP machine.
  • Briefly turn on the machine and listen for any new air leaks.


Clean the humidifier weekly:

  • Hot water and mild soap are best for cleaning the humidifier’s water chamber.
  • Allow to air dry.
  • Weekly cleaning is recommended for the humidifier.

Remember to use only distilled water in your humidifier! You may risk getting ill, or your equipment might get hard mineral buildup with tap water. Also, using an in-line filter, which attaches between the mask and tube or tube and machine, can help trap allergens and particles so you can breathe more healthily while using your CPAP machine.

An in-line CPAP filter can help trap allergens and particles so you can breathe more healthily while using your CPAP machine

CPAP Cleaning and Sanitizing Machines

While many CPAP cleaning and sanitizing machines are advertised as being necessary for your equipment, if you are cleaning your machine regularly as we’ve outlined, you will not need these! Apart from costing hundreds of dollars, there is no proof that they clean any better than from what we’ve mentioned here. Potentially risking breaking down foam particles in your machine is also not worth the risk!

Sleeping well is more important than ever for optimal health. If you’d like more
information on cleaning your machine, please check out the following articles:

Very Well Health:


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