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CPAP Mask: Cleaning And Replacement

By Amanda Johnson

The CPAP machine may be what mechanically keeps you breathing each and every night, but if your mask is not comfortable you won’t be using your CPAP machine because you won’t be able to get used to wearing the mask.After the CPAP machine itself, the CPAP mask is the single most important component of your CPAP equipment.

Keeping your mask clean, and replacing the components on a regular basis as specified by your insurance provider is critical to keeping you comfortable. Your mask, especially the cushion, comes into constant contact with the oils in your skin and can degrade quickly. The cushion on the mask is critical for comfort and to prevent leakages. A common mistake CPAP users make is to simply tighten the straps on the headgear in an attempt to stop the leakage and create a better seal. This can cause pressure point sores and facial discomfort. Cleaning your mask regularly keeps bacteria from building up as quickly, keeps you healthy, and helps mitigate normal material breakdown of the mask which will degrade your seal and start leaks.

Simply tightening the strap pressure in an attempt to stop leakage can cause pressure point sores and facial discomfort.

There are some basic things you should know about cleaning any of your CPAP equipment. Never clean your mask or other components in the dishwasher or washing machine, be sure to get into all the hard-to-reach areas (cotton swabs can be marvelous for this) and it may go without saying, but if you’ve been sick, clean your mask even more often. Never use any cleaning solutions with alcohol, perfumes, dyes, chlorine or ammonia. You should also stay away from moisturizing, anti-bacterial and glycerin based soaps. These can all adversely affect your machine and could also irritate your skin or lungs.

Your mask and components should be washed every day. Take them apart and let the components soak for up to 10 minutes in a gentle soap and water solution. Rinse thoroughly. If any parts seem oily, greasy or sticky or if they smell, wash them again until they are clean.

Weekly disinfecting of your mask using either a commercial sterilizing solution recommended by the manufacturer or your HME Provider is also recommended. You can also simply soak them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1-part white vinegar and 3-parts distilled water. Rinse thoroughly. Always allow the components and parts to dry completely before you put them back together again.

Replacing your mask and components on a regular basis will keep you comfortable. Never use your cushions for longer than one month. Masks and cushions that are not replaced regularly can cause skin irritation, sores, pimples, pain, smelliness and blisters. Medicare suggests replacing oral cushions or nasal pillows used on any types of masks twice per month. Check with your insurance provider to find out your replacement schedule. is dedicated to those living with CPAP. Please visit our website for more information and a free special report for CPAP users: How to Stay Happy and Healthy on CPAP: Critical Knowledge Every CPAP User Should Have.

categories: CPAP mask,CPAP,sleep apnea,health

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Johnson, Amanda "CPAP Mask: Cleaning And Replacement." CPAP Mask: Cleaning And Replacement. 24 Jul. 2010. 26 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Johnson, A (2010, July 24). CPAP Mask: Cleaning And Replacement. Retrieved July 26, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Johnson, Amanda "CPAP Mask: Cleaning And Replacement"

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