CPAP Maintenance Explained: How to Clean the Machine using Vinegar!


Seems you are in the market for a CPAP machine or already have one to take care of!

However, before you can understand about the CPAP usage in its entirety, it is necessary to get a fair idea regarding the executable maintenance strategies. Moreover, the functionality and alignment of the machines are such that they make the same prone to bacterial and mold build-ups. Therefore, if you have any form of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and a CPAP machine to combat the threats, it is your responsibility to keep the device clean.

Why does a CPAP Machine need to be cleaned?

how to clean a cpap machine with vinegar

Before understanding the significance of cleaning a CPAP machine, you must realize the alignment and structural aspects that make it germ-prone. CPAP machines feature a humidifying section that needs to be filled with distilled water. Therefore, the residual moistness of the chamber might lead to mold proliferation, if left unattended for long. Moreover, a machine lying out in the open is also prone to dust and bacterial deposits that can inadvertently make their way into the device.

Moreover, as the CPAP Hose and Mask are in close proximity to your nasal passage and mouth, the chances of getting infected are always there, provided you aren’t vigilant about device maintenance. As the entire purpose of this device is to offer comfort while you are asleep, dust and bacterial proliferation is the last thing you would want. Then again, regular cleaning also increases gadget longevity.

Adverse Effects of an Unclean Machine

While the adverse effects of germs and bacterial infractions are quite obvious, dust accumulation might aggravate conditions like the allergic rhinitis, thereby minimizing the efficacy of the CPAP machine in general. However, we need to be particularly worried about mold growth and exposure, which might pollute the air pressurized by the CPAP machine.

Molds can also cause allergies, increased respiratory symptoms, wheezing, shortness of breath, and other health risks. Therefore, an unclean CPAP machine is of no use as the issues easily outweigh the diverse therapeutic effects, usually associated with the CPAP machines.

Vinegar as the Ultimate Cleaning Solution

The CPAP machine comprises nifty and delicate electronic and mechanical parts. Therefore, you need to be exceedingly careful while maintaining and managing cleaning activities. Moreover, the device comprises several parts, including the pressure chamber, humidifier, hose, and the mask padded with filters. This is why it is always advisable to persist with an all-encompassing cleaning solution.

Vinegar comes forth as one of the more appropriate cleaning solutions for your CPAP machine, owing to its extended compatibility with the existing surfaces. However, only vinegar isn’t going to suffice as you would require distilled water, non-corrosive cleaner, soft cloth, and a drier for more holistic cleaning experience. Besides, you need to approach every CPAP part individually when it comes to cleaning:

How to Clean the CPAP Machine using Vinegar?

Before exposing the machine to any kind of cleaning agent, you must switch the same off and unplug it from the power socket. Once the same gets discharged, consider cleaning the same by rubbing the surface with a towel moistened with vinegar. However, you must take time out to wipe the surface dry before using the same again.

Best Course of action for the CPAP Humidifier

While a humidifier is often an optional part of a CPAP machine, it still requires an efficient cleaning strategy. To start with, you must drain the humidifier of residual water before proceeding with the cleaning process. The next step involves preparing a concoction with water and vinegar while soaking the humidifier in the same for at least 30 minutes.

However, you must only use distilled water for cleaning, to avoid mineral depositions. Besides, once you are done soaking, consider rinsing the humidifier off with some clean water before wiping it dry.

Cleaning Strategy for CPAP Filters

CPAP filter cleaning can be a tricky process to execute as it depends on the model and design of the device. In case you are dealing with disposable filters, cleaning isn’t an issue but for reusable entities, it is necessary to wash them using soapy water. Once washed, the filters need to be rinsed in warm water to get rid of the more persistent impurities. That said, you must be careful while squeezing out excessive water and must ensure that the filter maintains its shape despite the rigorous treatment.

As a rule of thumb, you can even use white vinegar along with warm water if you are highly allergic to dust and pollen and require thorough cleaning. Once the filters are squeaky clean, consider blotting the same to remove the excess water before placing them back.

Vinegar for the CPAP Hose

As the CPAP hose assists in the air passage, it is expected to get dirty, real soon. However, cleaning the same cannot be random and requires a well-thought-of process. To start with, you need to prepare a mix comprising warm water and vinegar. Subsequently, you must rinse the hose completely with the prepared mix, to ensure that the same even covers the trickier portions.

However, before you can use the same, you need to dry the hose properly, which can be a challenge, considering the irregular structure of the same.

How to approach CPAP headgear and mask?

When it comes to holistic maintenance, you need to consider the mask or the concerned headgear, separately. While headgear cleansing can be approached in a host of ways, the best strategy is to soak the same in a water-vinegar mixture.  In case you consider rinsing the same with soap, scrub the same thoroughly for removing any trace of the same in plain sight.

Mask and headgear can also be wiped with masks, preferably unscented if you do not want to consider extensive cleaning techniques due to time constraints.

Things to Consider before Cleaning

Despite following the mentioned techniques to the letter, people still end up making mistakes while cleaning the CPAP machine. Here are some of the strategies to follow, for avoiding any form of confusion and inadvertent goof-ups

  • Never immerse the CPAP parts in the dishwasher as the higher temperature can interfere with the internal equipment
  • Consider hand rinsing the parts
  • Never put components in a washing machine, especially the mask and headgear
  • Refrain from using anything except vinegar
  • Never consider anything else apart from distilled water for the humidifier
  • Never let part stay exposed to vinegar for more than 30 minutes
  • Stay away from bespoke preparations using sanitizer and hydrogen peroxide

While the usage of vinegar is advisable for cleaning a CPAP machine in the mentioned ways, you can consider warm water and unreactive soap solutions for achieving a less permanent effect. However, nothing works better than vinegar-powered concoctions for freeing the mentioned CPAP parts of germs, molds, bacteria, and dust.

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