Alaska Sleep Education Center

Maintaining and cleaning BiPAP machines

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on May 24, 2019 9:00:00 AM

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You may be wondering if you should be cleaning your BiPAP machine in any particular way. Over time, your BiPAP machine will collect dust, debris, and bacteria making it so your therapy isn’t as effective.

Routine maintenance and cleaning of your machine will not only extend the life of your device but it will allow you to get the best therapy possible. A dirty or worn-out machine delivers low air quality and low pressure.

Cleaning BiPAP Humidifier

Your BiPAP machine will most likely come with a heated humidification system. This help cut down on morning dry mouth as well as keep your nasal passages from drying out and becoming irritated and inflamed.

However, the humidification chamber needs to be cleaned out daily to prevent bacteria build-up as well as calcification. The following steps are what you must do daily, weekly, and monthly to keep your humidifier in tip-top shape.

Daily

  • Remove the chamber from humidifier carefully so water doesn't enter your BiPAP machine.
  • Open the chamber and wash with warm, soapy water.
  • Rinse well with water and allow to dry on a clean cloth or paper towel out of direct sunlight.
  • Fill with distilled or sterile water. Do not use tap water as it may contain minerals and chemicals that can damage components of the machine. It is also not recommended to use filtered water (i.e. through a Brita filter) for the same reasons.

Weekly

  • Once a week the humidifier chamber should be soaked in a solution of 1 part white vinegar 3 parts water for approximately 15-20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with distilled water.
  • Some humidifier chambers are dishwasher safe, allowing you to wash in the dishwasher weekly. Make sure to check your BiPAP machine's manual before cleaning in a dishwasher.

Monthly

  • Humidifier chambers should be replaced every six months or as needed.

CPAP Mask Cleaning

Most BiPAP mask cushions are made of silicone, a gentle, nonirritating material. However, while silicone is a very comfortable material for masks, it doesn't have a very long lifespan, and without proper care can breakdown quicker than expected. Cleaning your CPAP mask is crucial in making it efficient as possible. The following steps are what you must do daily, weekly, and monthly to care for your mask.

Daily

  • Wash your mask daily with warm water and mild, unscented soap, or purchase BiPAP mask-specific wipes and detergents.
  • Rinse with water and allow to air dry on a clean cloth or paper towel out of direct sunlight.

Nightly

  • Before using your mask at night, wash your face thoroughly and don't use facial moisturizers. Facial oils and moisturizers can break down the silicone faster.

Weekly

  • Once a week, soak your mask in a solution of 1 part white vinegar 3 parts water before rinsing in distilled water.
  • Headgear and chinstraps should be washed as needed by hand using warm soapy water, rinsed well, and air-dried. Do not place headgear or chinstraps in the washing machine or dryer.
  • BiPAP tubing should be cleaned weekly in a sink of warm, soapy water, rinsed well, and left to hang dry out of direct sunlight.

Monthly

  • For replacement schedules of BiPAP masks, you should check both your manufacturer's recommendations and your insurance allowance. However, for most masks, it is recommended that you replace the cushions 1-2 times per month, and the mask every 3-6 months.

BiPAP Filters Cleaning

BiPAP filters are designed to help you breathe in clean air. Part of the care of your machine is replacing or cleaning your filter is an important step in the maintenance of your BiPAP machine.

Your filters are located near the back of the BiPAP machine where the device draws air from the room that it compresses to your pressure settings. Nearly all BiPAP machines have a disposable white paper filter and some have an additional non-disposable grey filter as well. The following steps are what you must do daily, weekly, and monthly to make sure you have a clean filter:

Weekly

  • You should clean the grey nondisposable filter at least on a weekly basis. You may have to clean it more regularly if you have pets, smoke inside your house, or if your home is especially dusty.
  • Rinse grey filters with water and allow them to dry before placing them back into your machine.

Monthly

  • The grey reusable filters should be replaced when it begins to look worn or after six months.
  • Replace disposable white paper filters monthly or more frequently if it appears dingy or dirty.

General BiPAP Maintenance & CPAP Cleaning Tips

All of the tasks for cleaning and maintaining your BiPAP machine might seem overwhelming at first. Keeping up with the cleaning and maintenance of your machine will help make your treatment go more smoothly.

Making your BiPAP equipment cleaning part of your morning routine will help make the task seem less overwhelming. Cleaning in the morning will also give your machine plenty of time to dry during the day.

Your BiPAP machine itself does not need to be cleaned but you may want to dust it down with a slightly damp cloth as desired. Here are some more tips on cleaning and maintaining your BiPAP:

  • Keep your machine and accessories out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging them.
  • Never use bleach to clean accessories.
  • Other machine accessories such as power cords and data cards may need to be replaced due to equipment malfunctions.
  • Always use distilled or sterile water when cleaning components.

Remember to never use bleach to clean or soak the parts of your BiPAP. This can damage your equipment. Submerging your BiPAP machine in water to let it soak will also damage your equipment.

In addition to cleaning, make sure you are careful where you place your CPAP. Place your machine on a level surface away from objects such as curtains or clutter that may interfere with the air intake.

SoClean Machine

Cleaning your BiPAP machine can be overwhelming. There is now a machine, the SoClean, that can make cleaning your mask a snap. SoClean kills 99.9% of CPAP germs and bacteria in your mask, hose and reservoir with no disassembly, no water, and no chemicals.

All you have to do is place your mask directly into the SoClean unit and select the cleaning time and the machine does the work of sanitizing for you. No more scrubbing or measuring out vinegar to sanitize your mask. 

If you have any concerns about the care of your machine or purchasing the SoClean machine, please contact us at the Alaska Sleep Clinic. 

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, CPAP, bipap, soclean, cleaning, alaska, alaska sleep

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