It is vital to keep your CPAP nasal mask clean and hygienic. It filters the air directly into the airways and may cause severe health issues if contaminated with any harmful bacteria. Ensure that you are regularly taking all the parts of the machine apart for cleaning it safely as well as checking if it is safe to use any kind of material for cleaning the mask including alcohol.
Cleaning the CPAP masks using alcohol is not safe and advisable because it might break the equipment quickly and easily and also lead to irritation and discomfort while using the mask. Instead, it is safe and advisable to use water and soap or any specially made product for cleaning the CPAP machine.
How does cleaning make the masks safe for use as well as last long?
If you do not clean your mask correctly, the bacteria could collect and grow in your CPAP mask no matter what type of mask it is. This could lead to bacteria getting into your lungs and can cause severe health issues. In addition, the mask will get weak and break down, if not cleaned regularly. Therefore, the filters in the masks should be cleaned every week to save them from becoming clogged.
The CPAP machine should be cleaned a minimum of once a day to prevent contamination. In addition, the machine needs to be washed only by hand and not in dishwasher as that can cause damage to the equipment.
A few critical points that need to be kept in mind while cleaning your machine are as follows:
● First, unplug the machine so as to avoid the risk of getting an electric shock.
● Remove all parts of the water chamber
● Separate all the pieces of the equipment such as mask, tubes, machine, etc. Finally, use a gentle and soft cloth with warm water for cleaning the equipment's exterior.
● Fill any small container, bathtub or sink with quite warm water then add some mild dish soap or a small amount of vinegar.
● Soak the non-electrical parts of the machine for 30 mins in water.
● Use warm water, clean and use a soft cloth for wiping out your mask.
● use soapy water inside the tube.
● Dry all parts of the machine using a dry towel.
● Clean the chambers with humidifier water using soap and warm water.
● Replace or rinse all air filters of the machine as per the instructions of the manufacturer.
● Attach all the pieces again once they are dry
What are the best materials to be used for cleaning the CPAP masks?
It is understandable that direct tap water, used for any purpose, increases the risk of exposure to germs. So, to clean the CPAP mask, use distilled water instead. Distilled water is known to remove more than ninety per cent of germs and bacteria. Moreover, vinegar and soap could be safely used by mixing in water. This would result in more effective cleaning. Note that some sources have cautioned that vinegar might result in the equipment breaking down faster.
Sometimes, UV light is also used for the purpose of disinfecting the mask. The additional benefit of this method is that there is no addition of moisture on the machine for long periods. Thus, it decreases the chances of bacteria growing while the moisture dries. However, it has been noticed that the light fails to penetrate all parts of the mask.
Activated oxygen is also a commonly used material. It is known to kill almost all of the bacteria.
Is it safe to use alcohol to clean the CPAP mask?
Alcohol-based disinfectants can be easily accessed and are considered very effective for the removal of germs. However, it is not advisable to make use of alcohol for cleaning a CPAP mask. It poses many risks for the users due to the strong vapours as well as because it can result in the equipment getting damaged over time. Therefore, materials like alcohol wipes and rubbing alcohol must strictly be prevented from using a CPAP mask. Moreover, citrus-based products, bleach and essential oils must also be avoided.