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Keeping your CPAP mask and machine clean is vital for ensuring that your machine is safe to use and will continue helping you breathe through the night. Without daily cleaning, the mask can develop bacteria, viruses, and various kinds of debris, and the equipment can break down. However, you need to make sure that you clean the mask the right way, by hand.
CPAP masks are not dishwasher safe because they cannot withstand the high temperatures and dramatic temperature changes of a dishwasher cycle. This can cause the plastic to wear down and break. It is better to clean the mask and the tubing by hand in warm, soapy water or water with vinegar.
This article will discuss why the CPAP mask is not safe to use in the dishwasher and include information about the best ways to clean your mask.
How to Tell if Something Is Dishwasher Safe
Items that are not dishwasher safe can be bent out of shape, rusted, melted, or scraped by a wash in the dishwasher, and so it is very important to be careful about what you use with this appliance and to wash items by hand when possible.
Most modern kitchen equipment is designed to be safe to use in the dishwasher.
Generally, the difference between what can be put in the dishwasher and what can’t depend on how the material responds to dramatic temperature shifts. However, it also matters how an item is made and whether it has very sharp edges that should not be dulled.
Materials that are safe to use in the dishwasher include:
- Stainless steel
- Some plastic (check first)
- Some wood (check first)
Materials and items that you should not use in the dishwasher include:
- Vintage china
- Most wood
- Cast iron
- Garlic presses
- Insulated mugs
- Anything with a label attached
- Cheese graters
- Expensive knives
- Anything with burnt stains
- Anything with gold trim
You should also make sure to thoroughly rinse anything that you put in the dishwasher, which prevents clogging and leftover residue after a wash.
Additionally, you should make sure that your dishwasher stays clean by occasionally rinsing it with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. This is especially important if you plan to use your dishwasher to clean any medical equipment.
If you plan to clean any medical equipment in the dishwasher, be sure to thoroughly check what kind of material the item is made of first and consult the item’s user manual first if possible.
What Parts of a CPAP Machine Can You Wash in the Dishwasher?
Your CPAP machine is made of many parts, each with its own cleaning needs. Some parts are made of a harder plastic than others, and so only some can handle high temperatures like you find in a dishwasher.
The only part of your CPAP machine that you can safely put in the dishwasher is the humidifier tank if you have one. However, this should be done as a follow up to a thirty-minute soak in warm, soapy water or a mixture of four-fifths water and one-fifth white distilled vinegar. You should also check your CPAP manual to be sure that your tank is safe for the dishwasher.
However, the CPAP mask and tubing are less durable than the humidifier tank and should not be put in the dishwasher.
Why You Shouldn’t Put a CPAP Mask in the dishwasher
Your CPAP mask is made of softer, less durable plastic than dishwasher-safe materials. Because dishwashers run at such a high temperature, putting your CPAP mask or tubing in the dishwasher will likely cause deterioration that leads to leaking over time. If you’re thinking about trying it anyway, consult your CPAP machine manual first.
How to Clean a CPAP Mask the Right Way
It will help if you clean your CPAP mask once per day, by hand, with either a towel and soapy water or mask wipes like the Kinship Comfort Brands CPAP Mask Wipes. Mask wipes benefit from being more convenient and removes dirt, grease, and lint while remaining odor-free.
To wash your CPAP mask by hand, follow these steps:
- Unplug the mask and tubing from the primary machine.
- Separate the tubing from the humidifier and the mask.
- Pour warm water on a soft cloth and clear the dust from the exterior.
- Fill a sink, bath, or small container with warm, filtered water and mild dish soap, or distilled white vinegar.
- Wash the mask in the soap water, along with the tubing, headgear, and any plugs.
- Soak the mask and other equipment in the soapy water for thirty minutes.
- Wipe the mask and other gear to dry with fuzzy clothes, then allow it to dry on a clean towel.
- Reconnect all the pieces only after everything is completely dried.
- Turn the machine on to listen for air leaks.
Alternative Ways to Clean Your CPAP Mask
Although water with soap or vinegar and CPAP cleaning wipes are the cheapest and most common ways to clean a CPAP mask, you can also clean your equipment with a machine that uses UV light or activated oxygen.
UV light kills bacteria upon contact but will not necessarily reach every part of the mask and hose, and so can leave bacteria behind. For this reason, it is considered a less effective method for cleaning than soap in disinfecting liquid.
Activated oxygen is a very effective cleaning method but requires a specialized machine like the SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitizer. This machine surrounds your equipment with activated oxygen, a kind of oxygen molecule with three oxygen atoms, also known as ozone. This causes bacteria and viruses to die and is very safe.
Activated oxygen machines are most common in hospitals and other medical settings and are considered the most effective method for disinfecting CPAP equipment.
Why It’s Important to Clean Your CPAP Mask Every Day
Cleaning your CPAP mask is important for health and safety, as well as comfort and the longevity of your equipment. Bacteria and viruses can build up in the machine’s tubing, mask, and humidifier tank, causing sickness if not cleaned regularly. This can be dangerous and make it harder to breathe at night.
Cleaning your equipment makes it less likely that debris will collect in your machine, which in turn makes it less likely that you’ll develop an allergic reaction or an upper respiratory infection. It also reduces the chance that mold and fungus will develop in your device, causing similar respiratory problems.
Additionally, cleaning your mask can protect your skin from the buildup of body oils and dead cells.
Finally, cleaning your CPAP mask once a day prevents the silicone from wearing down and then breaking apart in response to direct contact with the skin. The tubing is less likely to break down as quickly because it is not in direct contact with the face but should be cleaned at least once a week.
You should avoid cleaning your CPAP mask in the dishwasher because it can break apart in response to the high temperatures. However, you can put the humidifier tank from your machine in the dishwasher, if you have one. Either way, you’ll need to clean all parts of your machine by hand in warm, soapy water or water with vinegar.