A CPAP Cleaner is a device that sanitizes a CPAP machine in order to keep it clean and safe for use. Keeping your CPAP machine clean is important for the effectiveness of your CPAP. The CPAP cleaner automatically does the dirty work of eliminating bacteria and viruses from your gear.
The CPAP consists of a filter, humidifier and mask that need to be routinely cleaned. It is typically worn every night and can easily collect germs, pollutants, bacteria, viruses, and even develop mold.
Even if your CPAP machine looks clean, it is likely to have invisible contaminants that collect over time. Any pollutants or germs you come in contact with during the day can come into contact with your CPAP mask when applying it at night. (1)
Also, since a humidifier is used, moisture sits in the machine tubing and mask, and this can develop fungi and dangerous molds that love to dwell in moist places (2). These can actually be blown into your lungs while using your machine and even cause an irritation of the respiratory tract, cough, or infection.
Dirty CPAP and Bipap machines not only have an adverse effect on your health, but also reduce the lifespan of your machine, may void the warranty, and can lead to an unwanted leakage in the machine, keeping it from reaching your set pressure.
When to use a CPAP cleaner
To know exactly when to clean your CPAP machine, check with the manufacturer. Most manufacturers of these machines recommend daily cleaning of the mask, tubing, water chamber and all CPAP supplies with warm, mild, soapy water (3).
Make sure your machine is cleaned and sanitized no less than once a week, and daily if you have a respiratory infection.
Make sure to use a CPAP Cleaner if:
- Your machine is alarming you have leakages and you can’t figure out why
- You develop skin issues such as bumps or rashes where you wear your mask
- It starts to have a musty smell
- You develop any irritation in your respiratory tract.
It’s also important to mention that you need to air dry your equipment thoroughly every day to avoid the accumulation of moisture that can cause mold and fungi.
Daily cleaning of a CPAP can be time-consuming and many people fail to comply (4). Thankfully, there are now CPAP cleaners on the market that can make routine cleaning easier and even more effective.
How does a CPAP cleaner work?
Many CPAP cleaners avoid the use of water and harsh chemicals to clean your machine. Some cleaners use activated oxygen and others use ultra-violet light.
CPAP cleaners that use activated oxygen have a generator that breaks down oxygen (O2) and recreate it by combining another O atom making O3, or an activated oxygen molecule. When the third O atom is added, it turns the molecule into an oxidant. An oxidant causes a substance to lose electrons, which in this case can kill germs and bacteria in your CPAP machine.
Ultra-violet light consists of three different bands known as UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C spectrums. Each spectrum varies in wavelength.
At certain wavelengths, ultra-violet light has the ability to break molecular bonds in the DNA of microorganisms.
Most Popular CPAP Cleaners
SoClean CPAP Cleaner uses activated oxygen to effectively clean and sanitize the CPAP mask, hose, and reservoir.
Other features of SoClean:
- Does not use water or harsh chemicals
- East to use. You don’t even need to disconnect your CPAP machine. All you have to do is place your mask in the unit.
- Kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria in your mask, hose, and reservoir
- Cleaning cycle lasts 2 hours
- Does require annual replacement parts that cost around $30
- According to their website, they offer payment plans for as little as $26.59 per month
SoClean 2 Go
SoClean also has a portable CPAP cleaning device called the SoClean 2 Go. It’s small (6 x 6 inches) and is cordless because it runs on batteries.
VirtuClean is another CPAP cleaning device that uses activated oxygen.
Features of VirtuClean:
- Disinfects the tubing, mask, and humidifier chamber.
- Requires no soap, water, or other cleaning solutions
- Use this in addition to weekly cleaning with soap and water
- Requires no ongoing maintenance
- Small and portable, weighing a half pound.
- Kills 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria
- Cleaning cycle is 30 minutes
- It’s a quiet machine.
- Has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
- The price is not listed on the website but retails online for under $200.
Lumin Sanitizing Device
The 3B Lumin CPAP cleaner is a CPAP cleaning machine that uses ultra-violet light to disinfect your equipment.
Features of Lumin:
- No chemicals are used
- Less expensive than other devices
- Easy to use
- Cleaning cycle is only 5 minutes
- No scheduled replacement items
- No regular maintenance is needed
- Kills 99 percent of bacteria, pathogens, and fungi inside your device
- Intended to be a supplement to regular CPAP machine cleaning
- Cost is currently $249.00
- Financing is offered on their website for as little as $11.49 per month
- Free shipping
- Offers a 2-year warranty
- The bulb’s lifespan should outlive your CPAP machine
- Can also be used to disinfect non-CPAP items such as toothbrushes, hearing aids, dentures, etc.
Factors to consider when deciding on a CPAP cleaner
- The length of time it takes to clean. This could be anywhere from 5 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the machine, so consider this factor if the length of time is important to you.
- Is it portable? If you are on the road or travel frequently you’ll want to make sure you can take your portable CPAP and cleaning device with you.
- Is it compatible with your CPAP machine? Most CPAP machines should be compatible, but some may need an extra adapter to fit.
- How easy it is to use. Do you have to take your CPAP machine apart to clean it or can it stay connected? How does it connect to the cleaner? These are questions to consider.
- Cost. If you need financing, some companies offer low monthly payments. Some also offer risk-free trials to let you test it out and make sure it’s the right fit for you.
- You also may want to make sure the manufacturer offers a warranty.
Latest posts by ASA Authors & Reviewers (see all)
- Ask The Sleep Doctor: Sleep and Appearance, Sleep and Alzheimer’s and Sleep and Hyperactivity - March 24, 2019
- Ask The Sleep Doctor:Depression and Sleep, Sleep Apps and Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents - February 12, 2019
- Ask The Sleep Doctor:Sleep Apnea in Child, Palpitations, Coffee and Sleep and more - January 18, 2019