How to Clean Your CPAP Machine

CPAP machines are a standard device used to treat sleep apnea and other respiratory conditions while sleeping. After using your machine and mask every night, the different components can become polluted with dead skin cells, mildew and dirt that must be cleaned. A clean CPAP machine ensures that your sleep apnea treatment is a safe and hygienic practice, while a dirty CPAP machine can affect the quality of the air you are breathing in.

It can be tricky to work out how to clean your CPAP machine and other parts without damaging them. This guide will take you through the cleaning supplies, cleaning process and frequently asked questions regarding sanitation.

What You Need for Cleaning a CPAP Machine

Cleaning your CPAP machine, mask and other parts like the tubing requires a few different CPAP cleaning supplies. Most of this equipment can be found in a regular household, however, there may be some supplies that are specialised to CPAP devices. 

Here is a general list of equipment you'll need to properly clean your CPAP components:

  • Warm, clean water
  • A mild soap or dish detergent
  • Clean, dry towels
  • White vinegar (for a humidifier tank)
  • Space to allow your equipment to dry

For general daily cleaning, you can gently wipe down your machine, mask and other parts with a sanitised wipe or damp cloth.

Cleaning vs Disinfecting 

A good weekly clean for your CPAP machine should be enough to keep it safe and germ-free. A thorough cleaning should be enough to remove body oils, skin cells and mineral build-up, and vinegar may be used to periodically reduce the dangers associated with mould and fungus. Disinfecting is not required for the general upkeep of a CPAP machine.

If you struggle to maintain a cleaning schedule or are unable to undertake any cleaning, then it may be best to invest in a CPAP sanitizing machine. This machine will clean your CPAP machine and other parts for you without any hassle. General cleaning with soap must still take place even with a sanitising machine, however, it can be undertaken less regularly.

How Often Should You Clean Your CPAP Machine?

Regularly cleaning your CPAP machine and components is essential to ensure that your CPAP treatment is safe and hygienic. Regular cleaning will be different for each individual, however, it is recommended that cleaning should take place at least once a week.

If you are recovering from an upper respiratory infection or cold, it is best to give your CPAP devices a clean before use each evening. For those with dust allergies, it can be more challenging to breathe with a CPAP mask, so it is always best to give it a wipe-over daily to remove dust.

How to Clean Your CPAP Machine

The CPAP machine itself should not be washed, but can instead be wiped down with a damp cloth to reduce dust collection. The filters that are contained within the CPAP machine and mask are usually disposable filters and should be replaced on a regular basis.

If you are still unsure about cleaning your CPAP machine, please contact your equipment provider for additional information and support.

How to Clean Your CPAP Mask

Cleaning your CPAP mask is a relatively simple process. Making sure each part of your CPAP mask is clean and sterile for further use is integral to the safety of your sleep apnea treatment.

The steps to cleaning your CPAP mask are as follows:

1. Disassemble and Disconnect Your Mask

The first step before cleaning is of course turning off your machine. Unplug the CPAP machine from its power source and disconnect the mask and CPAP tubing as well. You can then disassemble your mask into three parts- headgear, mask cushion and frame.

2. Rinse and Clean

In a sink, you can begin to clean your CPAP mask parts with warm soapy water. It is best to avoid using strong or harsh chemicals as they may damage the mask or leave a harmful residue. Swirl the different parts around for 5 minutes to rid them of any oils and dirt.

After washing with warm water, a 2-minute rinse should finish off the cleaning process. Make sure to use drinking quality water or distilled water for all of the CPAP cleaning. This ensures that there is no build-up of mineral deposits that can cause damage to your device.

3. Drying  

Drying your CPAP equipment is very easy. Simply place the headgear, cushion and frame on a clean towel on a flat surface to air dry. Alternatively, you can use a towel rack to let them air dry.

4. Reassemble

When putting your CPAP mask and machine back together, make sure to follow the instruction manual. For a quick test, turn on the machine to ensure there are no air leaks and that it is running smoothly.

Cleaning Your Humidifier Tank

Cleaning the CPAP humidifier chamber is a similar process to cleaning your CPAP mask and machine. The only difference with a humidifier chamber is that the water chamber must be emptied and washed thoroughly as well.

Use warm soapy water for cleaning and avoid any harsh chemicals. This includes using detergents (such as Dawn  dish soap) as they may damage the equipment or create skin irritation when in use.

When drying your humidifier tub, it is again air dried, however, it cannot dry in direct sunlight. The humidifier components should always be clean, clear and free of discolouration when used for CPAP therapy.

Cleaning Your CPAP Tubing

Beginning with disconnecting your tubing from your machine and mask, this cleaning process is again quite simple. Go through the above steps of washing with mild soap and water, rinsing and air-drying on a flat surface.

It is important to make sure your CPAP tubing is completely dry before using it again to avoid any mould or mildew.


Can I Clean My CPAP With Vinegar?

You can clean your CPAP supplies and device with vinegar, however, it is not a replacement for a mild detergent and water wash. Vinegar does not remove the build-up of oils or dirt, but instead disinfects your CPAP equipment. A solution of one part vinegar to three parts water can be used every couple of months to disinfect all of your CPAP supplies.

What Chemicals Can I Use to Clean My CPAP?

There are not many chemicals that are recommended to use for cleaning your CPAP supplies. Chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and bleach, while common for general cleaning, should not be used to clean CPAP machines as they can damage the more delicate components, such as the mask cushion.

It is best to stick with warm soapy water when cleaning your CPAP machine.


For more information, please contact our CPAP Direct Support Team on 1300 800 985 or 

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