It is imperative that patients clean their machine and other CPAP equipment on a regular basis in order to maintain proper hygiene and maximize therapy results. Cleaning a CPAP device is a multi-step process which involves utilizing various tools to clean different parts of the machine. However, even though cleaning consists of multiple steps it is still a straightforward and simple task. Moreover, patients have the option of cleaning their machine in the standard fashion or by using the SoClean oxygen-based method. This article will include instructions on how to clean the main parts of your CPAP machine - the tubing, filters, and machine itself.
Ideally, tubing should be cleaned on a daily basis. However, patients who are unable to clean their tubing daily should make every effort to sanitize it at least once per week. To clean the tubing patients should prepare a mixture or either soap and water or vinegar and water and then swish this mixture inside the tubing. Swishing such a mixture around the tubing should be sufficient to clean it, although patients who wish to maximize their hygiene can utilize a special cleaning brush which is designed to reach within the tubing and scrub away bacteria. These cleaning techniques can be used for both non-heated and heated tubing.
CPAP machines can hold two distinct filter types and only one type is cleanable. The foam filter (which is located on the outside of the machine) can be cleaned with warm water and soap. Patients can use a sponge to absorb the water and dry off the foam filter. Paper filters (which are located inside the machine) cannot be cleaned and should be discarded after use. Likewise, hypoallergenic filters are disposable and thus cannot be cleaned and reused. In general, internal filters should be replaced roughly every thirty days, although they may require more frequent replacement depending on the surrounding environment. If you have substantial dust, dander, or debris in your home (or if you have a wood burning stove) you may need to change your filters more frequently.
Cleaning CPAP Machines
To clean the CPAP machine itself, patients need to disassemble the machine by removing the humidifier, filters and other internal equipment. Once the machine has been disassembled patients can proceed to wipe the innards of the machine with either a rag soaked with warm water and a mild soap or with cleaning wipes (such as the Cleanzex CPAP Mask Wipes).
Outside of these standard cleaning techniques, patients can also use the SoClean sanitizing machine to clean their CPAP device. The SoClean cleaning and sanitizing machine is an innovative device from Better Rest Solutions which is able to thoroughly clean your equipment using only oxygen! To use the SoClean machine, patients simply place their CPAP machine (and other equipment) inside the SoClean device and then the SoClean eliminates potentially harmful bacteria, mold and viruses by saturating the CPAP machine with oxygen. The SoClean sanitizing machine is able to destroy up to ninety-nine percent of bacteria! The SoClean sanitizer works exceptionally fast so patients will not have to wait long before returning to their day.
Cleaning the mask and humidifier is just as easy and straightforward as cleaning any other piece of CPAP equipment. As with the CPAP machine, filter and tubing, the mask and humidifier should be cleaned with good consistency in order to maintain adequate hygiene. It is particularly important that patients be sure to clean their mask regularly because the mask has direct contact with the face on a daily basis. Maintaining a rigorous cleaning regimen will not only increase hygiene it will also prolong the lifespan of the equipment.
Cleaning Your Mask
CPAP masks are composed of several different individual parts. The mask system consists of a nasal frame, nasal cushion and headgear. Some patients choose to augment their mask system with a chin strap, though chin straps are generally not required. In order to clean the mask properly it must first be disassembled: patients should take the mask apart so that the frame, cushion, headgear and any other parts can be handled independently. The mask frame can be cleaned in one of three distinct ways: patients can wash the frame with warm water and a mild soap, spray it with a mask spray cleaner (such as the Citrus II CPAP Mask Cleaner) or wipe the frame with special mask wipes (such as the Cleanzex CPAP Mask Wipes). Patients who don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning their equipment.
Likewise, the mask cushion can also be cleaned by one of these same three means. It is particularly important that patients thoroughly clean their cushion because body oils will break down the cushion and lower its effectiveness if such oils are not scrubbed away. The headgear should be cleaned with warm water and soap. These cleaning methods apply regardless of which type of mask patient intend to clean (i.e. nasal, nasal pillows and full face).
For patients who don't want to take the time to comprehensively clean their mask, we still recommend a daily cleaning. Many patients who are unwilling to strip their mask apart for a detailed scrubbing each day still find time to give it a more casual wash. For those who know they'll skimp on cleaning, we recommend that you take your mask into the shower with you, and clean it with warm and soapy water in there. The soap should remove most of the bacteria and the high volume of water won't damage any piece of your mask.
Cleaning Your Humidifier
Just as with the mask, the humidifier must be taken apart in order to be cleaned correctly. Taking apart the humidifier simply involves detaching the water chamber from the humidifier machine. After disassembly, patients can remove harmful bacteria from the humidifier machine by wiping the machine with cleaning wipes. The water tub can be cleaned in one of three ways: the tub can be washed by hand with warm water and soap, it can be placed inside a dishwasher (at least in most cases), or it can be wiped with cleaning wipes. Be sure to check whether your particular chamber is dishwasher safe before cleaning it with that method.
RespShop.com carries a wide variety of cleaning products which are designed to help patients maintain a consistent and effective cleaning routine. When using the products offered by RespShop.com, patients can expect to create an exceptionally high standard of hygiene for their therapy system. These items are remarkably effective and are able to eliminate a large percentage of harmful bacteria - up to ninety-nine percent! Below are summaries of the many cleaning products we supply.
We carry Cleanzex Unscented CPAP Mask Wipes which contain a total of seventy mask wipes per canister and have the ability to destroy nearly all of the harmful bacteria, dust and particles attached to the facial mask and other CPAP equipment. The Cleanzex mask wipes are unscented, alcohol free and are able to clean silicone or gel mask cushions without causing any damage. The Cleanzex mask wipes are available in a travel friendly form: mobile patients can pick up the box of travel Cleanzex mask wipes which contains ten pouches with twelve wipes each (one hundred and twenty mask wipes per box).
Though mask wipes are a very effective means for cleaning CPAP equipment, patients can also choose to use cleaning spray as an alternative. RespShop carries both a home-based and travel friendly cleaning spray bottle. Cleaning spray is incredibly easy to use: patients simply press the nozzle and apply the cleaning solution to their equipment and then wipe away the solution. The cleaning spray from RespShop.com is alcohol free and will not cause any damage to equipment; it is also extremely effective in removing harmful bacteria, dust and other particles.
SoClean II Sanitizing Machine
RespShop.com carries the SoClean II Cleaning and Sanitizing Machine from Better Rest Solutions. The SoClean provides a unique method for cleaning CPAP equipment: patients place their equipment inside the SoClean II device and the equipment is cleaned using only oxygen. The SoClean II removes approximately ninety-nine percent of harmful bacteria from CPAP equipment. The SoClean II CPAP sanitizing machine cleans equipment quickly, which makes it an ideal tool to produce a daily cleaning routine.
Tube Cleaning Brush
The tube cleaning brush is a stainless steel brush which is available in two distinct lengths - three feet, five inches and five feet. The cleaning brush is designed to thoroughly clean CPAP tubing by scraping away any bacteria or other particles on the inside. The tube brush is exceptionally effective and very simple to use; this brush is built with special nylon bristles which have the ability to capture the vast majority of undesirable material.
Not only do we offer the tube cleaning brush, cleaning spray and the mask wipes as individual items, it also offers these items together in a package. The Sleep Apnea CPAP Comfort and Cleaning Kit includes a canister of mask wipes (made of 100% cotton), a small bottle of cleaning spray, the stainless steel tube cleaning brush, a bottle of skin emollient and also the SleepSense EZ-Talk Connector. Hence, RespShop.com provides a convenient option for patients who wish to stock up on cleaning supplies.
Given how important CPAP therapy is to a sleep apnea sufferer, it's no surprise that most patients prefer to take their equipment with them on their travels. Many CPAP users fly frequently, and that can present problems for patients who don't proper protocol for flying with their equipment. It's important for patients to know what they should do with their CPAP when they fly, and so we've compiled a list of useful information targeted toward patients preparing to take their CPAP equipment to the airport.
Obtain Travel Machine
Traveling with a large, non-travel oriented machine can be a difficult and potentially inconvenient; we strongly encourage patients to obtain a travel CPAP machine specifically designed for use during travel. Patients have a wide variety of travel machines to select from - the Z1 by Human Design Medical, the XT portable machine by APEX Medical, the Transcend by Somnetics, etc. - so they should be able to find a device to suit their particular needs.
The primary advantage of travel machines is that they are more conveniently sized than conventional home-based, stationary CPAP devices. However, patients should be aware that travel machines are generally less effective when compared with home-based machines; they tend to be louder and offer fewer comfort features than home-based devices. What's more, the humidification systems in travel machines tend to be less effective. Travel machines can offer satisfactory therapy for patients on a consistent basis, but patients should be conscious of the differences in functionality between travel and regular machines.
Medical Equipment ID Tag
Regardless of whether patients decide to carry a home-based or travel machine, obtaining a medical equipment identification tag is a top priority. The medical equipment ID tag is intended to be placed on the travel bag which contains the CPAP device and will make the contents of the bag clear to security and airline personnel. The identification tag features easily noticeable red lettering and is simple to attach. The ID tag will enable patients to travel throughout the airport with less waiting time and minimal hassle.
Because CPAP machines (and other equipment) are so important for those with sleep disordered breathing, most airlines do not count a CPAP travel bag as a standard carry on item and so patients will likely be able to bring an additional item (or items) on board. Patients should make certain to always carry their CPAP machine and supplemental equipment with them when partaking in air travel. We recommend that you carry your machine on the flight with you: it's less likely to be damaged if you carry it on than if you have it checked.
Add Soft Padding
Though the majority of CPAP travel bags have soft lining designed to cushion the machine and protect it throughout travel, we advise that patients place additional soft padding within their bags before travelling. Patients should place bubble wrap, cloth, cotton or some other soft material inside their bag to help ensure that the machine is able to successfully withstand the turbulence that accompanies air transportation.
Check Voltage System
When travelling out of the country, it is not uncommon to come into contact with diverse voltage systems. As long as patients adequately prepare for this contingency they should not run into problems. The majority of newer, more advanced CPAP machines have internal voltage conversion capability which enables the machine to automatically work with foreign voltage systems. Patients will need to obtain an adapter if their machine lacks this capability.
CPAP therapy patients who are planning to take an extended, overnight trip for either business or pleasure have special concerns which merit attention. Patients planning to take an overnight trip should never feel apprehensive or worried about their upcoming excursion; as long as patients educate themselves regarding the potential issues associated with overnight travel and prepare accordingly they should never encounter any serious problems. Patients have to consider a variety of matters prior to embarking on their trip: altitude, maintenance, power consumption and humidification are some of the more important things to think about.
Patients who venture on overnight trips often encounter different altitude levels than what they experience at home. In order to optimize the therapy experience, patients will need to be aware of their current altitude levels and make adjustments when necessary. If left unaccounted for, differential altitude levels will lead to less than optimal CPAP therapy. Many CPAP machines are equipped with automatic altitude adjustment capability and will actually take account of altitude changes without any intervention from the patient; other machines require manual adjustment.
It is doubly important for patients to remember to clean and maintain their CPAP equipment - not just their mask but also their machine, tubing and other parts - while travelling on overnight trips. Regardless of where patients reside during their trip - in a hotel, RV, camping tent, etc. - whenever they travel their equipment tends to come into contact with potentially harmful particles and bacteria more frequently; this requires a more robust cleaning regimen. Ideally, patients should thoroughly clean their equipment daily in order to maintain maximal hygiene.
Portable batteries are exceptionally convenient as they allow users to have a full session of CPAP therapy without a traditional power outlet. However, patients who plan to utilize a portable battery during their extended trip should consider several issues. Patients should be aware that a heated humidifier with their CPAP machine will drain the battery power more quickly than a non-heated humidifier. Furthermore, using heated tubing will also result in greater power expenditure. Battery power can also be affected by such things as altitude and pressure settings. Fortunately, patients can recharge their battery by using a cigarette style power socket (provided that they have an adapter unit). Patients should always be conscious of their battery power level as well as the various things which affect their power usage so that they can avoid a power breakdown while they are in the middle of therapy.
Humidification is an important comfort feature, as humidity adds substantial value to your overall therapy experience and helps alleviate certain negative side effects. It is therefore expected that most patients will plan to use a humidifier during an extended trip. Patients who intend to use a traditional, water-based humidifier with their CPAP machine should consider the power requirements of this device. Patients planning to use a travel-based waterless humidification system should consider the effectiveness of such systems: waterless humidification is substantially less effective - by a magnitude of about fifty percent - than traditional humidification.
Obtaining an adequate power supply is among the most important concerns for patients who are preparing to travel. Regardless of whether one is getting ready to venture out on a road trip, business trip, camping expedition, family vacation or some other type of extended excursion, patients always need to make absolutely certain that they will have sufficient power for the entire duration they are away from home. Fortunately, RespShop.com has a wide variety of power supply and battery options capable of keeping patients sufficiently powered in virtually any context. The two devices which traveling patients should be most aware of are portable travel batteries and cigarette-style adapters.
Portable Travel Batteries
Patients who have a travel CPAP machine should obtain a portable battery. The market features a large assortment of portable travel batteries and each model has unique properties and capabilities. The ideal model for any given individual patient depends on their specific type of travel CPAP machine and also the precise nature of their trip. For instance, a patient who has a Z1 Travel CPAP Machine should consider purchasing the Z1 Overnight Battery from Human Design Medical, while someone who has a Transcend travel CPAP device should consider procuring either the P4 Overnight Battery System or the P8 Multi-Night Battery System by Somnetics.
Portable batteries tend to share a number of common characteristics. Virtually all of the portable travel batteries currently on the market are compact and lightweight - usually between 0.5 and 1.5 pounds - and have the ability to recharge rapidly. Moreover, when totally charged, all portable batteries have the capacity to provide a complete, uninterrupted session of therapy. However, the amount of power portable batteries can provide is affected by how patients choose to operate their machine (i.e. pressure settings, humidifier settings, etc.). Portable travel batteries are FAA approved so patients are free to bring them along on commercial flights.
Portable batteries also function well as a source of backup power in the event of an emergency blackout. Hence, even if a patient decides to bring their stationary CPAP machine with them during travel, it may be beneficial to carry a travel battery so patients can still power their machine in case of an unexpected power outage.
Cigarette Style DC Adapters
Patients preparing for travel should also consider obtaining a DC adapter device. A DC adapter is able to charge your battery through the use of a cigarette style power socket such as those commonly found in most cars, boats, trucks and other motor vehicles. The DC adapter enables patients to charge their batteries while they are on the go; patients planning to take a road trip will find the DC adapter particularly helpful. DC adapter devices are easy to install and are able to charge your battery system rapidly.
As with portable travel batteries, there is a wide range of DC adapter devices available on the market. Patients will need to purchase an adapter which is compatible with their specific brand and model.
In addition to travel machines and portable batteries, there are several other items available that can assist traveling CPAP therapy patients. Travel bags are designed to hold travel machines and other supplies while the bag's battery pouch holds portable battery systems; additionally, portable cleaning wipes can help patients stay hygienic during their travels. These secondary travel items are inexpensive and have the potential to substantially improve the overall travel experience for CPAP patients.
Patients can select from a wide assortment of travel bags. The most appropriate selection for any given patient will depend upon the brand and model of the machine which is being transported; it also depends on whether the patient intends to carry other supplies in addition to their CPAP machine. The majority of travel bags on the market have a main compartment along with several smaller compartments which are designed to hold secondary supplies (i.e. mask, tubing, filters, humidifier, etc.).
As an example, the IntelliPAP Travel Bag by DeVilbiss is perfect for patients who are planning to carry not just their machine but additional parts and equipment as well. The IntelliPAP travel bag has a large main storage compartment capable of holding either a travel-sized or stationary-sized CPAP machine; it also features a series of internal storage compartments which will hold other supplies. Furthermore, this travel bag also has an adjustable shoulder strap and a convenient flip-top zippered lid. The IntelliPAP travel bag is an excellent representative of the sort of travel bags which are available from RespShop.com.
Portable Cleaning Wipes
Maintaining a robust cleaning regimen is a vital part of an effective therapy system. It is recommended that patients clean their equipment more frequently when they travel as equipment tends to collect more dust and particles when it is brought outside of the home environment. Toward this end, patients should consider obtaining portable cleaning wipes. Portable cleaning wipes come in small packages which are easy to unwrap and contain just enough to wipes to give a thorough cleaning to a patient's mask, machine and other essential supplies. They will not pose any sort of burden during travel. A prime example of such an item is the Cleanzex Travel CPAP Mask Wipes from Choice One Medical: the Cleanzex mask wipes come in a box which contains 10 travel friendly packages and each individual package includes 12 wipes (120 mask wipes in total). Portable cleaning wipes such as the Cleanzex CPAP mask wipes make maintaining appropriate hygiene during travel a significantly easier task.
Patients who have a portable battery system should consider obtaining a battery pouch. Battery pouches are designed to contribute an additional layer of protection to a battery while it is carried around during travel. In general, battery pouches are made of soft material and will cushion the travel battery so that it is able to withstand a greater amount of force. The P4 and P8 Battery Pouch for the Transcend Therapy System is a superb example of a quality battery pouch.