CPAP Equipment Cleaning and Disinfecting Instructions

Cleaning and Disinfecting your respiratory equipment is essential to the life of the equipment and to your health.

Bacteria can grow whenever moisture is present. This can lead to infection of your respiratory tract if your equipment is not properly cleaned and dried. The oils in your skin and the minerals in tap water can cause premature breakdown in the materials used to manufacture your CPAP equipment, especially your mask. Given this, we recommend the cleaning and disinfection schedule be followed diligently.

Hand Washing Technique:

Your hands should be clean prior to handling supplies and solutions. Use warm water and antibacterial soap.  Wash your hands for minimum of 1-2 minutes using a rotary motion and friction. Wash between your fingers and both the back and palms of each hand.  Rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling equipment.

To wash your CPAP equipment:

Only use a mild, non-lotion detergent. Do not use soap or strong dish washing detergents such as Dawn or Joy. Avoid detergents that use strong perfumes or dyes. We recommend using a dishwashing detergent like Ivory Clear, Palmolive, or Dial Anti-Bacteria for cleaning your equipment.

Drying Hints:

Always hang tubing away from direct sunlight, as this will cause the tubing to become yellow, brittle and crack over a period of time. DO NOT attach the wet tubing to your CPAP unit to blow-dry it. The moisture from the tubing can drain back into your machine. Moisture in your unit will lead to equipment failure.

Cleaning the CPAP unit:

  • Unplug the unit before cleaning it.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Using a cloth slightly dampened with water and dish detergent, wipe the outside of the unit.
  • Using a cloth dampened with water only, wipe the outside of the unit again.
  • Use a dry cloth to wipe the unit and then let it air dry.
  • Make sure the unit is thoroughly dry before plugging it in.

Cleaning the Interface/ Mask/ Tubing

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Remove the headgear from the mask or nasal pillows shell.  Disconnect the mask or shell (remove the pillows from the shell), swivel connector and tubing.
  • With a soft cloth, gently wash the mask or pillows, headgear, and tubing with a solution of warm water and a mild, clear liquid detergent.
  • Rinse thoroughly.  If the mask still feels oily, repeat the previous step.
  • Allow the mask or pillow, headgear, and tubing to air dry. Please note that slight readjustments to your headgear straps may be needed after repeated washings.  It is not uncommon for the head gear dye to run during the first few washings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Humidifier:


  • Empty any remaining water after each use.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Immerse the water reservoir in warm, soapy water.
  • Fill the reservoir with the soapy water and shake the humidifier vigorously.
  • Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry.
    • Mix disinfecting solution (1 tablespoon disinfectant per 2 quarts water).
    • Soak the water reservoir in disinfectant for 10 minutes.
    • Be sure the disinfectant completely covers and fills the reservoir.
    • Remove the reservoir and shake out the excess solution and rinse with clean water.
    • Allow to air dry.

    Filter Maintenance

    • Filter maintenance will depend of the model of the unit you have.  There are two filters on some models.  The first filter is usually disposable and the second filter is reusable.  Clean/replace these regularly.  This will protect your airway as well as the CPAP machine.

    DO's and DON'Ts:

    • Do change your disposable filter frequently.
    • Do follow the recommended cleaning schedule.
    • Do keep your mask away from pets and children.
    • Do replace equipment if there are signs of deterioration or damage (e.g.. cracks or tears).
    • Do remove the humidifier reservoir from the CPAP machine before cleaning it or filling it.
    • Don't use alcohol-based products to clean your mask, because it can cause the materials to become hard and brittle.
    • Don't use any caustic or household cleaning solutions such as bleach on your CPAP equipment.
    • Donít use cleaning solutions that contain chlorine, aromatics, moisturizers, or sented oils.
    • Donít wash your mask or tubing in the dishwasher or boiling water.
    • Donít allow water to flow back into the CPAP or BiPAP machine.  This may void the manufacturers warranty as well as damage the machine.
    • Don't put headgear in the washer or dryer or iron.
    • Donít ever place a damp filter in your CPAP or BiPAP unit.

    CPAP Equipment Cleaning and Disinfecting Schedule



    Cleaning Frequency


    Disinfecting Frequency

    Non-Disposable Filters (gray)


    Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

    Not Required

    Disposable Filters

    Change as needed

    1 to 2 weeks/months

    Do Not Wash

    Not Required



    Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

    Once a week

    Mask / Nasal Pillows


    Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

    Once a week


    As Needed

    Hand wash, Mild soapy water, Rinse, Dry

    Not Required

    Humidifier water reservoir


    Empty water daily

    Mild soapy water, Rinse well, Air Dry

    Once a week

    CPAP Unit

    As Needed

    Dust with damp cloth,

    No detergents or sprays

    Not Required

    Disinfection Procedures

    • Mix 1/2 oz. (1 tablespoon) of Control III with 2 quarts of water in a plastic container. The solution can be reused for up to 14 days. If the solution becomes visibly dirty, make a fresh batch.
    • First wash and rinse your CPAP equipment, then soak it in the Control III solution for 10 minutes.
    • Rinse thoroughly (allow water to run for 3 minutes) with tap water and then allow to air dry.
    • Cover dried parts with a clean towel until the equipment is reassembled. To dry your CPAP tubing, hang over a doorknob or hanger.
    • Alternative to Control III - Wash equipment with warm, soapy water, rinse and then soak equipment in a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water for 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Rinse well and dry as instructed above.

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