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How To Clean My Sleep Apnea Machine & Avoid Germs

In numerous health studies across the globe, lack of sleep ultimately leads to health issues across the entire body. For those suffering from sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a revolutionary solution that can help someone to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Like other types of medical equipment that affect your respiratory system, it’s important to properly clean out your CPAP often, so you don’t inhale particulate matter that can make you sick.

Because a CPAP is classified as a sleep apnea and dental appliance, our experts at North Suburban Dental know how important it is to thoroughly clean out this machine. Not only can bacteria floating around in this machine affect your airways but it can also affect your oral health as well.

The Importance Of The CPAP Bacteria Filter

Just like the air filters that protect your home’s heating and cooling system, your CPAP’s equipment, particularly the bacteria filter, is designed to keep harmful materials out of your airways. Overtime, the tubing, nozzles and filter will break down and become clogged with bacteria as well as dust and debris from the room you keep it in.

Importance Of The CPAP Bacteria Filter

Most CPAP manufacturers recommend replacing your bacterial filter roughly every 30 days. Of course, the timing of this change also depends on several environmental factors in your home.

  • Smoking – Because carcinogens in cigarettes and vaping materials remain in your respiratory and gastrointestinal organs for long periods of time, it should be no surprise that they will latch onto your CPAP equipment.
  • Owning Pets – Our fur babies are lovable but they can make our homes even messier than they already are. Their fur and dander, as well as any debris carried from the outside or a litter box, float around our home and clog filters even faster.
  • Cleaning Habits – The frequency in which you vacuum, dust and deep clean your home can either expand or reduce how often you need to clean your CPAP. Routinely doing these chores, especially when you have pets, can help keep the filter your machine’s airways open, clean and clear for even longer.
  • Location In Your Home – Pay attention to the location of your bed in proximity to the bathroom, sunlight from a nearby window, and your home’s vents. Each of these factors can contribute to the development of dust or mold near or inside your sleep apnea equipment. If possible, keep your equipment stored several feet away from these factors and routinely clean them to avoid any allergen buildup.
  • Your Home’s Temperature and Humidity – Cleaning out or switching the CPAP’s masks, air outlet, tubing and filter, is a great reminder to also switch out your home’s HVAC filters each season. Keeping the environment inside your home perfectly balanced in temperature, humidity and air quality, can protect and prolong the frequency you need to clean your CPAP equipment.

Things To Consider When Cleaning Your CPAP

To avoid inhaling viruses, bacteria or other allergens, it’s important to establish a routine to wash out your equipment. According to several medical equipment manufacturers, cleaning different parts of your oral appliances for sleep apnea should be a daily and weekly occurrence.

Once the machine is turned off and the equipment below is disconnected, you should take the following steps from the chart below to clean your equipment.



The Headgear, CPAP mask cushion and frame

The Air Tube

The humidifier tub


These pieces of equipment should be cleaned out in a sink or tub with warm soapy water. Place the equipment on a towel to air dry for at least 30 minutes. Do not use any harsh chemically based cleaning products nor place the equipment in sunlight to dry out.

This equipment should be cleaned on a weekly basis instead of a daily basis.

You always need to make sure your humidifier tub is free of particulate matter and discoloration. Please clean it out with warm soapy water, rinse it and let it air dry on a towel away from any sunlight.


No extensive care is needed on a weekly basis.

Similar to your headgear, mask cushion and frame, you will soak the air tube in warm soapy water before rinsing it out. Because it is difficult to clean the inside of this tube, you will need to dry the tube in an area that is free of sunlight.

Because this tub is key to supplying oxygen through your tubing, a deep clean at least once per week is highly recommended. You can either purchase a CPAP cleaner or create your own solution with white vinegar and distilled water. The tub should be soaked in either solution for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

If you’ve been sick recently, especially with a respiratory virus like Covid-19, taking time to clean out your equipment is key to staying healthy once you’re recovered.

Specializing In Dental Care and Sleep Apnea – Mundelein, IL

North Suburban Dental specializes in diagnosing and providing treatment options for your sleep apnea. Whether you’re interested in a dental device such as a CPAP machine, oral appliance therapy or another solution for your sleep apnea, our staff will find a solution that works best for you.

To schedule your evaluation with our dental clinic in Mundelein for sleep apnea or a custom-fit CPAP, please contact our practice today.

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