Like clockwork, Daniel brings in his car for an oil change following the manufacturer’s guidelines every 5,000 miles. He gets his teeth checked and cleaned every 6 months. And he changes the filters in his home every 60 days to make sure that the heat and air conditioning operate without a glitch. Daniel takes care of his car, health and home so why doesn’t the same attention to detail occur with his continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine? Does Daniel just merely need tips on CPAP upkeep?
CPAP is a common method of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition is defined as the unconscious stoppage of breathing for short periods of time throughout a night’s sleep. CPAP can help lessen the severity of OSA but many users are not compliant with their treatment for a host of reasons. But what if you are in the minority and a CPAP user, like Daniel, who consistently uses his machine every night and also for travel? You need to know the best way to take care of and maintain your machine to keep it in tip-top shape.
The proper upkeep of your CPAP machine can be divided into daily and weekly cleaning along with yearly maintenance.
Every morning when you wake up, you should wash the CPAP tubing, nasal mask and headgear in a bathroom sink filled with warm water that includes mild dish detergent. Swirl all parts around for about 5 minutes, rinse well and let air dry during the day. To assist with drying, you can hang the tubing over a shower rod or towel rack. Your mask and headgear can be placed on a towel or can be hung on a hook or hanger. And don’t forget to empty the water out from your humidifier after every use.
Once a week, you should wipe down your CPAP machine with a damp cloth being careful not to get any water into the machine, and remove the machine’s filter and wash with tap water. For proper cleaning of the filter, just run it under water and squeeze to make sure there is no dust. To dry, blot down the filter with a towel. However, if your machine also has a white filter, it should NOT be washed. It is disposable and best to replace once a month. And of course, like your house filters, if the filter becomes dirty, replace sooner.
Weekly maintenance should also be performed on your CPAP’s humidifier. Clean with warm soapy water, and rinse well. Every other week, you should disinfect the humidifier by soaking in a solution of vinegar and water (in a ratio of 1 to 5) for 30 minutes, thoroughly rinse and then place in your dish washer’s top rack. It is also important to only use distilled water in the CPAP humidifier as otherwise, mineral deposits will build up and cause damage to your machine.
Like with most equipment and machines, you should always check your CPAP machine for evidence of wear and tear on all parts. It is vitally important to keep everything as clean as possible as hoses/tubing and masks can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
You should bring your CPAP machine in to your physician’s office at least every year, if not every 6 months, for maintenance and regular pressure checks. This is the perfect opportunity to replace tubing, mask and filters.
There are alternatives to CPAP. If you have sleep apnea and would like to learn more about all available treatment options, we can help. Please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.