A CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure device is commonly used to treat sleep apnea. Even though CPAPs come sterilized, it’s crucial to regularly clean it out in order to keep you healthy and your machine running smoothly. During CPAP use throughout the night, bedroom air filters through the machine to the mask and nose. Exhaled air then moved back into the machine through the mask and tube. According to the American Sleep Association (ASA) all of the exhaled air is moisture from the body: “Microorganisms thrive on moisture and particulate matter.” Keeping your CPAP clean keeps microorganisms at bay.


Risks of a Dirty CPAP

If you neglect to clean your CPAP on a regular basis your machine and attached equipment will start to grow bacteria. This buildup of bacteria could lead to a smelly device and cause you to use it less. Other consequences of not cleaning your CPAP include mold exposure, allergy symptoms, increase risk of infection, and equipment breakdown. Harmful bacteria can pass directly to your lungs, causing a cough, bronchitis, or pneumonitis. Overall, your quality of health and sleep could decrease if your CPAP is dirty.  

Avoiding Infection

Luckily, there are plenty of precautions you can take to reduce our risk of infection and machine failure. Clean your CPAP often with hot water and dish soap, or another cleaning agent. Additionally, let the equipment dry completely after washing. It’s highly recommended that this is completed daily, at least, weekly. Here are a few other ways to prevent infection:


  • If you’re sick clean the device before you go to bed every night.
  • Don’t let water sit in a CPAP for long periods of time unused.
  • Use distilled water in the humidifier to mitigate infection by amoeba.
  • Replace your CPAP filter and mask regularly to reduce bacteria growth.
  • Don’t share your machine with others.


Keeping your CPAP clean isn’t a difficult process and it can help to lower your risk of infection greatly. If you replace your machine parts regularly you’ll also reduce the possibility of a system failure and bacterial growth. Overall, a clean CPAP will keep you sleeping comfortably and help you wake up refreshed.