Cleaning a CPAP Mask

Discover the best ways to clean your CPAP mask

Cleaning a CPAP mask is the key to maximize long term success with your CPAP therapy.

If you're not interested in cleaning your mask, you should think again.

  • You can get a residual film on the mask cushion and it feels greasy. This film makes your CPAP mask to leak more easily. The residue will be very difficult to clean.
  • The CPAP masks can be full of germs, even after one night of use, just because the mask is not often cleaned.
  • If you are sick (cold, flu, etc.), you need to wash the CPAP mask daily just because of all the guck that gets on it and it gets smelly.
  • The use of certain chemicals can affect the quality of the mask material. The chemicals might react with the component parts of your mask, and they will degrade your mask and shorten its effectiveness and lifespan. Some of the substances will invalidate the warranties of the masks.
  • The natural oils in your face will interact with the mask, and, over time, the mask will lose its seal.
  • Cleaning a CPAP mask often and according with the manufacturers instructions will ensure that the mask will perform properly, and will not deteriorate well ahead of their normal lifespan.Keep in mind that the presently masks are lasting more than 6 months, and in some cases up to a year.

Cleaning a CPAP Mask - Manufacturers Instructions

Cleaning the CPAP Equipment

To learn how to clean the full CPAP equipment, including the CPAP machine, filters, hose, etc, please read How to Clean the CPAP Equipment.

Is important to remember that you should follow the manufacturers instructions for CPAP mask cleaning, otherwise any warranty may be voided.

The mask cleaning and disinfecting is a job to be carried out in a hospital environment, and the manufacturers instructions are geared towards the hospital's ability to complete this job in the most efficient way.

In general, the instructions for cleaning the CPAP masks are very simple, and doesn't ask from you special chemical substances to do the cleaning.

How to Clean ResMed CPAP Masks 

ResMed created a video about cleaning the different types of CPAP masks, including full face, nasal and nasal pillows:

To read the cleaning instructions from Resmed click here (pdf).

How to Clean Respironics CPAP Mask

In the case of Respironics, the instructions for cleaning and disinfecting CPAP masks are as follows:

  • For best results, the CPAP mask should be disassembled per the instructions for use. So, if appropriate, remove the headgear and spacer.
  • The next step will be to soak the mask parts in an enzymatic cleaner, like Klenzyme. This liquid is special for cleaning the medical appliances in hospitals, such as surgical instruments, specula, masks, fiberoptic endoscopes, etc.
  • Then clean the CPAP mask with a soft bristle brush in a solution of cool tap water and a special anionic detergent such as MediZyme or Manu Klenz. Do not use bleach, alcohol, cleaning solutions containing alcohol. Furthermore, avoid cleaning products that contain conditioners or moisturizers because they will leave a residue.
  • Give extra attention to the crevices and cavities during cleaning the CPAP mask.
  • Rinse well the CPAP mask and it's components with potable water (minimum 5 liters per mask), and allow it to air dry out of direct sunlight.
  • Before using the mask, wash your face thoroughly.

How to Clean a CPAP Mask at Home?

It's obvious that is not so easy to buy those cleaning products recommended by the manufacturers and used in the hospitals. Although these are very good for cleaning, many people search for alternative ways to clean their CPAP mask.

Here are some tips for cleaning a CPAP mask recommended by other experienced CPAP users:

Basic Tips for Cleaning a CPAP Mask at Home

  • Clean your mask in warm water and ivory liquid soap after removing the straps. Be sure to mark where the straps are secured to the mask so you can put them back on in the same place. Rinse the mask well with clean warm water and dry with a paper towel. This should be done daily.
  • The CPAP mask cleaner wipes are good to clean the seal of the mask just before putting it on. The nasal pillows are also easy to clean with this product. Just spray it on, and rinse it off.
  • Don't clean the mask with vinegar, because it's slightly acid. The vinegar is useful in cleaning the humidifier chamber, but certainly not mask and hose.
  • The most simple and effective way to clean a CPAP mask is to wash it with warm soapy water, after you disassembled it according to the manual. Then dry all the parts on a towel and out of direct sunlight.
  • Don't use any alcohol cleaners on the CPAP mask.
  • Soak your mask daily in an antibacterial soapy water for ten minutes, then rinse and air dry out of direct sunlight.

A practical way to learn cleaning a CPAP mask, is to watch other people doing it. So I selected for you the most representative videos that explains how to clean full face masks, nasal masks and nasal pillows:

How to Clean CPAP Full Face Masks

1. Cleaning the Respironics Comfort Gel

In this video you'll learn how to dismantle and clean the Respironics Comfort Gel Full Face Mask:

2. How to clean the ResMed Mirage Quattro FX

3. How to clean the FlexiFit HC432 Full

4. How to clean the ResMed Quattro Air

How to Clean CPAP Nasal Masks?

How to Clean ResMed Mirage Activa Nasal Mask

How to Clean CPAP Nasal Pillows?

Non-manufacturers way to clean nasal pillows:

Bottom line...When everything you tried fails, just read and follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, and you'll get the job done.

There are numerous different suggestions, substances and cleaners, but if they are not recommended by the manufacturer, they might react with the component parts and they will shorten the mask's effectiveness and lifespan.

› Cleaning a CPAP Mask

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