What Happens When You Don't Clean Your CPAP Filter and Machine Properly?

Whether you are new to owning and using a CPAP machine, or have been an adamant user of CPAP products for years, it is always good to catch up and refresh your memory on the latest cleaning techniques and supplies available to you. It appears many people forget the importance of cleaning and changing the filters of their CPAP machine. Luckily, we are here to help and discuss just what can happen if you slack on hygiene. 

(source: comprehensivesleepcare.com)


Many users have often reported that bacteria and mold has almost immediately built up in their CPAPs filters, tubes, humidifier and water tanks/chambers when they weren't properly cleaned. On a popular CPAP community board, one user posted, "I started having respiratory problems: coughing, 'cold' symptoms, feeling sick, and it dawned on me that perhaps my symptoms were related to not cleaning the water chamber. I opened the water chamber, and I was shocked to find green slime coating the interior of the water chamber. Gross!" - Talk about an eye-opening experience!

If you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms, a dirty CPAP machine could be the culprit;

  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Skin irritation
  • Airway/lung irritation
  • Respiratory infection

These moist areas are highly prone to sprouting mold, mildew and other deadly bacteria. Unfortunately, it is a breeding ground for infectious debris. So, the real concern is, how can I clean my CPAP filters and tubes??!

(source: sleepclinic)


The fastest and most reliable method to clean your CPAP equipment is to simply replace them every month (30 days) of use. For some brands and washable filters, the lifespan can go as far as 3 months (90 days). However, we highly recommend changing any of the disposable equipment if discoloration, stubborn debris or bacteria build up occurs. 

When washing your equipment, it is good to use a brush that has fine bristles and a long shaft that can get hard-to-reach places with ease while removing debris. You can also clean your items by soaking them in luke-warm water with a non-toxic antibacterial soap. Don't boil any tubing as it may damage the product.

Another fine method is to also purchase bundle packs with multiple filters, separate filter packs for emergencies, or even buy a disinfecting station such as the Lumin. These machines are guaranteed to remove over 99.9% of bacteria from any equipment from as little as 5 minutes to a few hours (depending on the equipment). 


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