Since you’re breathing air that’s been circulated through a machine, it’s critical to routinely clean your PAP machine and all accessories. This ensures optimal health and avoids additional health concerns like increased sinus infections, pneumonia, and on-set allergy symptoms. Neglecting to clean your PAP machine can also lead to unpleasant smells, mucus collection, or mold growth in the mask, even premature breakdown of equipment.

Generally, you should commit to cleaning your PAP supplies on a weekly basis. However, be sure to check with your equipment provider or sleep physician as they may advise cleaning the mask, tubing, and water chamber on a daily basis.

Now, let’s walk through step-by-step instructions for how to clean and sanitize your PAP machine.

Supplies You’ll Need

Your PAP supplies (mask, headgear, tubinghumidifier water chamber, PAP machine)

  • A soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • A small sink, tub, or basin
  • A towel

Step 1: Take Apart the PAP Machine 

Unplug the PAP machine from the power source and disassemble all parts. Detach any headgear and separate tubing from any connectors. Remove the water chamber from the humidifier and separate its pieces. Please note that many water chambers open but may not easily separate.

Step 2: Wipe Down the PAP Machine

Use a damp cloth to gently wipe down the surface of the machine.

Step 3: Submerge PAP Supplies in Water 

Fill a small tub or basin with warm water. Add soap and place the PAP parts into the water. Allow PAP parts to soak for about a half-hour. Alternatively, you can wipe out the PAP mask and parts with a warm washcloth and swish soapy water through the tubing. Let all PAP parts air dry. Please note your humidifier’s water chamber should be cleaned with warm water and soap, then allowed to air dry

Tip: Distilled water is optimal to use in the humidifier to avoid excess buildup in the tub.

Step 4: Clean or Replace PAP Filters 

Some machines have filters in place. You should review your manufacturer’s instructions to know how your PAP filters should be maintained. While some can be rinsed out, others require replacing. The timing of replacement often depends on the environment it’s used in. Disposable filters should be replaced every two weeks or at least monthly.

Step 5: Reassemble and Connect PAP Parts 

After all the parts have finished drying, hook up the mask to the tubing and the rest of the headgear. Connect the tubing to the humidifier or directly to the PAP machine.

Step 6: Listen for Leaks 

Turn on the PAP machine and listen for leaks. If your machine isn’t working properly, call or visit your equipment provider or sleep specialist to get it checked out.
Important Notes 

  • If you’ve been sick, clean your equipment more often
  • Follow the specific advice of your equipment manufacturer
  • Never use perfumes or a cleaning solution other than gentle soap, as this may irritate your lungs and cause sickness
  • Using a dishwasher is not recommended as it may damage equipment

Alternative Cleaning Methods 
Instead of good ol’ fashion elbow grease, you can also invest in equipment that will save you time and offer convenience. Sanitizing systems like Purify03 and SoClean can quickly clean and eradicate germs. Despite the initial investment, many argue it’s worth it. Simply place the parts inside and the machine does all the work. There are also specially formulated wipes to help you clean PAP parts, without breaking everything apart. Even better, these systems are eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement.

In the Market for PAP Supplies?
If you’re looking for a new PAP machine or supplies for your existing machine, CareLinc carries a broad line of PAP equipment. If you have questions, feel free to contact us or visit your nearest CareLinc location.