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As a new CPAP user, you’ll be using a CPAP machine nightly for hours. You may be confused about how to keep the machine working correctly and how often it requires maintenance. You can expect to set aside time each week for regular cleaning and component checks and replacing components that wear out annually.

One of the best ways to stay on top of your CPAP maintenance tasks is to have a checklist or plan that lays everything out for you. If you prefer to use technology to streamline your schedule, add these tasks to your calendar and set reminders or alarms to ensure they get done on a regular basis.

If you forget to clean your CPAP machine or change essential components like filters, you risk suffering from discomfort and respiratory problems. Using your CPAP machine without clean, effective components can put more allergens and dirt in your air supply. It’s best to get into regular habits, such as cleaning the unit weekly on a designated day.

Maintenance Tasks to Perform Multiple Times Weekly

Keeping an eye on your CPAP machine from day to day will help you identify any issues that crop up as you use it. Some of the tasks you should complete daily or two to three times a week include:

  • Wiping away any visible dirt or oil that has accumulated inside the mask. How often you must do this depends on your skin type, whether you sweat while you sleep, and a host of other factors. If you find that you need to wipe oil and dirt from the mask each night, ensure that you are washing off any makeup, or try using a nightly face wash to remove natural oils before bed. Even people who don’t wear makeup or sweat a lot can get a buildup of oil throughout the day, especially across the nose and forehead.
  • Empty old water from the humidifier portion of the machine. Try to do this in the morning, so the machine has time to air dry before you refill it. Even if you use distilled water, the old water can pick up dirt and dust particles if left in place.
  • Check the mask for any signs of loosening seals or stretched our straps. If your masks straps are growing loose, it may be a good time to order replacements to keep on hand in case one break or becomes too stretched out to keep the mask in place.
  • To keep the unit working optimally, clean it once a week to kill any bacteria growth and remove any dirt or mold. If you wait until you can see traces of dirt or mold, you risk exposing yourself to microscopic bacteria that you can’t see with the naked eye.
  • Wipe any dirt or dust buildup from the exterior of the unit several times a week to avoid it falling into the water supply or other parts of the machine.

Perform These Tasks as Needed

Some tasks are done less often but are just as crucial to the operation of the machine, including:

  • Replace tubing and filters at least every six months, or more frequently if dirt and cracks are visible. Cracks in the tubing can allow the pressurized air to escape before it gets to the mask.
  • Replace the mask, headgear, and straps every 6 to 12 months based on need and fit. If the straps become too loose or the seal around the mask starts to wear away, the mask can slip out of place and make it harder for you to get relief, especially if you move around a lot in your sleep.
  • Replace the humidifier chamber within 1 to 3 years, based on how well the unit works, how worn it is, and if there are dirt or stains you can’t get off.