What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your CPAP Machine?

how to clean cpap machine

Regularly cleaning your CPAP equipment can help you stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs. Cleaning your CPAP machine, mask, and supplies is essential to your device’s health, wellness, and longevity. Proper CPAP cleaning methods may assist you in avoiding getting sick while also ensuring that your breathing is cleaner.

Let’s look at how to clean your CPAP to get the most comfortable air for your health.

What is a CPAP machine?

CPAP is a machine that, while you sleep, delivers mild air pressure to keep your breathing passages open.

CPAP is a machine used to assist you in sleeping better. Sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to stop or become irregular during sleep, may be treated with CPAP. CPAP can also help treat preterm infants who have underdeveloped lungs.

How does CPAP work?

You should use your CPAP machine at home, on vacation, and during naps. It might take some time to get used to using your CPAP machine. It will depend on you and your healthcare practitioner to select the most comfortable mask.

Your doctor can also assist you in using the CPAP humidifier chamber in your machine or adjusting your pressure settings. You might also need to test a different device with several automatic pressure adjustments. You must clean your mask and tube daily and replace them according to your medical device prescription at the proper time to keep the treatment working.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean CPAP Supplies regularly?

Whether you’re a seasoned CPAP user or just starting, keeping your equipment in good working order is critical to remaining safe and effective. However, let’s be honest: when life gets hectic, many CPAP users forget about necessary cleansings or use parts far beyond their expiration dates. It can have several harmful consequences if you don’t properly maintain your CPAP equipment.

The worst consequence of not cleaning and maintaining your CPAP equipment is that it can allow viruses, germs, and even mold to grow within it (gross!). This is why regular cleaning and disinfection of your CPAP equipment are essential since breathing in these pathogens might lead to various unpleasant health issues. If you’re a CPAP user who neglects to maintain proper maintenance and disinfection from time to time, consider the following problems that may result.

An Unpleasant Odor

One of the most significant consequences of not cleaning your CPAP equipment regularly is that it might start to smell. If you detect an odd or unusual scent from your CPAP equipment, there’s a good chance mold, mildew, or germs are growing inside it.

Mold, mildew, and allergens in a filthy CPAP machine might also trigger allergy symptoms that make you miserable throughout the day. Furthermore, the odor may bother your spouse’s sleep if your equipment is left unsupervised for an extended period. Foul odors indicate that it’s time for your CPAP machine to be serviced and disinfected.

Skin Irritation

You risk having sensitive skin pay the price when you’ve neglected to clean your CPAP equipment and allow it to become filthy. A filthy mask may wreak havoc on your moneymaker since the skin on the face is highly sensitive. If you’ve been struggling with acne recently but can’t figure out why, the skin cells and liquids gathered on your CPAP mask are probably absorbed via your skin, causing discomfort and breakouts.

A dirty CPAP machine or mask might irritate your skin and produce discomfort, rashes, and acne. This necessitates that you clean your CPAP mask regularly. You should usually perform this at least once a week, but the instructions with your equipment will provide you with specific cleaning instructions.

If you’re unsure when to change your CPAP consumables, check out our handy dandy infographic for some pointers.

Chronic Sinusitis

Sinusitis, or sinus infections, is an inflammation or swelling of the sinuses’ tissue lining. Sinusitis can be highly uncomfortable and induce nasal congestion, headaches, and facial pain. Acute sinusitis, while not uncommon, generally goes away in a week or two. Chronic infections may persist for up to 8 weeks or longer if your CPAP equipment isn’t properly cleaned.

If you use a CPAP machine to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll need to clean and maintain it properly. If you don’t clean your CPAP equipment regularly, it might result in several unpleasant side effects, including potentially life-threatening health conditions.

Is It Necessary to use CPAP Cleaner?

Using a CPAP cleaner or SoClean sanitizer device is necessary to keep your CPAP equipment clean. Ultraviolet light, also called ozone, is used by sanitizing machines to clean gear. They have often priced hundreds of dollars and provide no additional protection or hygiene over what’s outlined here. There’s a low risk of infection from CPAP equipment.

The CPAP cleaners and sanitizing solutions are not covered by insurance. It seems strange to me that there is suddenly a medically corresponding need for an expensive cleaning device, given over 35 years of CPAP usage.

How to Clean a CPAP Machine?

According to manufacturers and specialists, your CPAP machine’s parts should be cleaned at least once daily, and users should commit to weekly cleaning. There have been cases of deadly illnesses linked to unclean CPAP machines. People who don’t clean their machines regularly may experience congestion, coughs, and other indications that their respiratory system is being harmed.

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When you don’t clean your CPAP machine, it can shorten its lifespan and void the manufacturer’s warranty. You will maximize the life of your CPAP device if you tend it once a week or daily if you cannot do so regularly.

CPAP Cleaning Supplies

  • Warm, drinking-quality water

  • A clean, non-abrasive towel

  • A sink, tub, or pail large enough to hold your hose or tubing

  • Mild soap, especially unscented and free of moisturizing components

  • White vinegar

CPAP Cleaning Steps


Before you deconstruct or clean any part of your CPAP machine, ensure it’s disconnected from the power source first. If your CPAP equipment has an internal battery, the manufacturer’s handbook should provide recommendations on removing and cleaning it safely.

  • Before cleaning, disconnect the air hose and tubing from the mask and CPAP machine. If you have a humidifier, drain it and set it aside.

  • Most CPAP masks are made up of three pieces: headgear, cushion, and frame, which may all be removed for more effective cleaning and faster drying.


  • Cleaning CPAP tubing is simple; it may be washed in warm, soapy water. The interior of the tube must also be cleaned, so keep an eye on it and let it soak for long enough that all of the soap has been absorbed.

  • In some cases, hoses can be cleaned the same way as tubes. Hoses with electrical components, like heated hoses, must be cleaned more thoroughly. If you own a heated hose, double-check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure it remains clean.

  • Each component of your mask should be washed separately with mild soap. The cushion and headgear are especially vulnerable to staining from face or hair products since these can harm the fabric and invite germs.

  • Humidifier tanks can be cleaned using a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar, which may be done in the tank or after it has been filled with water. Allow time for the vinegar to work while your other CPAP components are washed.

Rinse and Air Dry:

  • After washing, all CPAP components should be rinsed with cool, clean water. Any soap, including soap film, should be removed from the components before they are allowed to dry. This is especially crucial for thin tubes since it’s easy to overlook soap bubbles trapped within them.

  • Set out all your components on a soft, clean towel to air-dry once they’ve been washed and rinsed.

  • Hoses and tubing may dry more quickly if hung up, so try suspending them from a shower rail or a towel if they don’t air-dry properly.


  • After your CPAP mask and components have been completely dry, you should only reassemble them. Depending on the ingredient and your location, it might take many hours.

  • Reassembling the kit should be done in a well-ventilated area away from power sources and with a disconnected CPAP machine. As you reassemble your mask, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for your CPAP machine and mask.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Clean Your CPAP Hose with Vinegar?

Some people advocate for cleaning the CPAP hose with vinegar and soapy water. Your product handbook will explain which chemicals you should use on your CPAP hose. Remember that the filter in your CPAP machine has a specific job: to remove particles from the air you don’t want to breathe in.

Is it feasible for me to use my CPAP machine if I’m diagnosed with COVID-19?

Coronavirus does not alter the diagnosis or need for CPAP therapy in patients with sleep apnea. Because a good night’s sleep is suitable for your general health, you should continue to use your CPAP machine. If you were given a COVID-19 diagnosis, you must follow the directions outlined by your doctor.

Do I need to clean my CPAP if I don’t use water?

A resounding yes. Water draining out of the humidifier helps to prevent bacterial and calcification buildup. Remove the humidifier’s chamber carefully so as not to wet your CPAP machine.

How long can you go without cleaning CPAP?

The sleep apnea machine’s water tank is generally replaced every six months. Check the filter on the back of your sleep apnea appliance for dust buildup. Dust may prevent your therapy from working effectively. If you reside in a dirty region or near the sea, you’ll need to change the filter more often.

Final Thoughts

Regularly cleaning your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is essential to your CPAP maintenance regimen. Keeping your equipment clean doesn’t have to be a chore, with so many different cleaning choices available. You’ll feel better overall once you’ve established a regular cleaning routine as part of your nighttime routine.

You’re one step closer to keeping sickness at bay and having a better time with your CPAP equipment. Cleaning your CPAP isn’t tough, but maintaining a cleaning plan is essential to dealing with sleep apnea. If you tend your CPAP machine and its parts regularly, the life of your machine and its components will be extended.

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