Sleep apnea can be a frustrating condition, causing both physical and mental health complications. Luckily, Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) therapy has proven effective in mitigating the effects of sleep apnea. When used correctly, a CPAP machine is invaluable in providing its user with a restful night’s sleep.  

But just like any medical tool, CPAP machines are most effective when properly maintained. In fact, an unclean or poorly cleaned CPAP can give way to an assortment of issues, including mold growth. 

Nevertheless, keeping your CPAP in good working condition doesn’t have to cause you stress. In fact, cleaning your CPAP machine is a simple process, and Spring Creek Medical Supply is happy to walk you through it, step-by-step. 

Your CPAP and supplies consist of five parts: the PAP device, the humidifier, the mask/cushions, the tubing, and the filters. Each part should be disassembled and cleaned separately. 

The PAP Device

The PAP device provides positive pressure. You can keep this clean by wiping down the unit with a disinfectant wipe or washcloth.

Humidifier/Water Chamber

The humidifier houses water and therefore can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Be sure to use only distilled water to clean the water chamber. 

  1. Empty the water chamber after each use, rinse it, and let it air dry. It is important you change the water on a daily basis. 
  2. Wash the water chamber in warm, soapy water. Rinse and air dry once per week. 

Mask/Cushions

The mask and cushions are susceptible to breakdown due to repeated exposure to facial oils. Cleaning these thoroughly will extend the life of your machine and protect your skin from irritation as well. 

  1. Wipe cushion with a sensitive baby wipe or moist cloth after each use to remove facial oils. 
  2. Break the mask apart and wash it in warm, soapy water. Rinse and air dry once per week. 
  3. Change the cushion once per month on a full face mask. Replace nasal cushions every 15 days. 

Tubing

Be sure not to neglect the inside of your tubing, where moisture can collect. 

  1. Hang tubing up to air-dry after each use. 
  2. Wash regular tubing in warm, soapy water. Rinse and air dry once per week. Do this once every two weeks if you use heated tubing. 
  3. Manufacturing recommends changing tubing every three months. 

Filters

Filters should be replaced regularly. 

  1. Check the filter for dust build-up at least once per week. If you have a non-disposable filter, be sure to clean it with hot water at least every two weeks.
  2. We recommend you change your disposable filter every 15 days. 

Remember: if you’re feeling under the weather, any bacteria or virus in your system is likely to get caught in your machine and filtered back through your respiratory system. It’s vital that you make sure your CPAP is cleaned thoroughly if you are currently fighting an illness. 

For more thorough cleaning, you can simply add white vinegar to your cleaning water. Make sure the concentration of water to vinegar is at a 3 to 1 ratio; i.e. for every 3 cups of water, use 1 cup of white vinegar. 

We highly recommend the SoClean CPAP cleaning machine. This device cleans your CPAP machine without the need for disassembly; simply place your CPAP into the machine and allow it to work. 

Living with sleep apnea can be tiresome, but CPAP machines go a long way in relieving the effects. With regular cleaning, you can rest assured you’re taking steps to keep your machine operating at its best.

When To Replace

See below for replacement schedules from different health insurance providers, and contact us to get your CPAP today. 

Tricare Replacement Schedule: 

  • 1 mask interface every three months
  • 1 headgear every 3 months
  • 3 full face/6 nasal cushions every three months
  • 6 filters every 3 months
  • 1 chin strap every 3 months

*Tricare will only cover 80% of the cost for anyone on Tricare Standard or Retired Prime. 

Medicare Replacement Schedule:

  • 1 mask interface every 3 months
  • 1 headgear every 6 months
  • 3 full face/6 nasal cushions every 3 months
  • 1 tubing every 3 months
  • 6 filters every 3 months
  • 1 chin strap every 6 months

BCBS/United Health Care Replacement Schedule:

  • 1 mask interface every 3 months
  • 1 headgear every 6 months
  • 1 full face/2 nasal cushions every month
  • 2 filters monthly
  • 1 chin strap every six months

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