Millions of people depend on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to minimize sleep apnea symptoms and get a better night’s rest. However, like any other equipment, if CPAP machines and their accessories aren’t cleaned regularly, they can cause various health problems.
CPAP machines typically come with air filters, which may be disposable or reusable. The most common CPAP filters are disposable and should be replaced every two weeks. In contrast, reusable filters should be washed at least biweekly and replaced about once every three months. Whether you were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea or you’re a long-time CPAP user, it is essential that you clean and maintain your filter to prevent irritants from entering your machine and making your treatment less effective.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Filter Regularly?
When you use your CPAP machine, the filter removes allergens from the air before you inhale it. However, if the filter is not replaced, it can become contaminated over time. Dust, oils, dead skin cells, and other irritants can collect on the inside of your machine and mask, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and mold. A dirty CPAP filter would be dangerous for anyone, but if you’re suffering from sleep apnea, the last thing you want to do is introduce hazardous pathogens into your airway.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, a dirty CPAP filter may be the cause:
- Airway/lung irritation
- Respiratory infections
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Skin irritation
Aside from the obvious health benefits, cleaning your CPAP machine and equipment often can also help you save money. Keeping your filter and other CPAP accessories clean helps them last longer, so you won’t need to replace them as often.
Cleaning Your CPAP Filter Step by Step
To clean your CPAP filter: first, check how many and what type of filters you have. As we previously discussed, some filters are disposable, while others can be washed and reused for up to six months. Reusable filters should be cleaned with mild soap and then rinsed thoroughly with warm water to remove dust and debris. Most importantly, make sure you allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling it in your CPAP machine.
Step-by-step instructions for cleaning your CPAP filter:
Step 1 – Gently wash the filter with mild soap or leave it to soak for at least 15 minutes in warm, soapy water.
Step 2 – Rinse the filter under warm water and squeeze out any excess moisture.
Step 3 – Blot the filter dry with a clean towel and leave it to fully air dry before placing it back inside your CPAP machine.
At Advanced Homecare, we offer various CPAP filters and supplies to help you manage your sleep apnea. If you need replacement CPAP filters, contact us today to submit a Replacement Supply Request Form.