If you suffer from sleep apnea, few things can make a bigger difference for your sleep quality and overall health than using a CPAP machine as prescribed by your doctor. But while these devices can go a long way in improving sleep quality, they also require some care themselves.
Quite simply, you cannot neglect consistent cleaning of your CPAP device. For many CPAP users, however, finding time to clean their equipment is easier said than done. Fortunately, with the new VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner from VirtuOx, taking care of your equipment has never been easier.
Here is a closer look at why cleaning your CPAP equipment should be such a priority, and how this revolutionary automatic CPAP cleaner can make such a difference for your routine.
Why is CPAP Cleaning So Important?
While the CPAP device itself doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance and cleaning, the accessories that help deliver the pressurized air produced by the machine need frequent care. Because of this, CPAP manufacturers recommend consistent cleaning of the mask, hose/tubing, and humidifier chamber.
Each time you use your CPAP device, these components will get dirtier. The sweat, oils, and dead skin cells on your face will get onto the CPAP mask with each use. The moisture that runs through the tubing and into your mask also creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. The moisture and heat of the humidifier chamber makes it all too easy for pathogens to grow.
In just one example, in CPAP masks that were swabbed 48 hours after use, 48 percent of the tested masks had over 2,000 bacterial colonies per plate. The study also found that older masks tended to grow more bacteria and fungi than newer masks, even when recommended cleaning patterns were followed.
The presence of such large numbers of bacteria can have significant consequences. Without consistent cleaning, you are putting yourself at risk of illness and respiratory issues. Studies have found this risk to be generally higher among those who use a humidifier to improve breathing comfort while using their CPAP device.
As quoted in the findings of another study examining CPAP cleanliness and illness: “Patients using heated humidifiers without regard to good hygienic practices in maintaining their humidifiers by thorough cleansing and replacing their breathing tubes showed a dramatic increase in upper airway infections, compared with those who cared for their equipment regularly, when examined over a 6-month interval (52.4 percent vs 13.3 percent).”
If you don’t follow cleaning standards for CPAP equipment, you become far more likely to experience nasal congestion, colds, and even more severe respiratory conditions such as pneumonia. While you may not find CPAP cleaning to be convenient or easy, few things are more important for ensuring that improving your sleep quality doesn’t compromise other aspects of your health.
Standard CPAP Cleaning Options
One of the most common issues keeping CPAP users from complying with cleaning guidelines is because the recommended cleaning procedures tend to be too time-consuming.
For example, CPAP masks need to be cleaned every day. To clean the mask, you must disconnect it from the headgear and tubing and then wash the mask using a mixture of warm distilled water and either white vinegar or a mild detergent. You can also soak the mask in this mixture for half an hour. After washing the mask, it should be rinsed and then wiped down with a clean cloth and left to air dry. Specialty cleaning wipes are also available to help streamline the cleaning process.
The mask’s chin supports and head straps should also be washed once a week with warm water and a mild detergent. However, these mask parts cannot go into the washing machine or dryer, as the motion of the cleaning cycles could damage these components.
The humidifier chamber should also be emptied out and allowed to dry every day. It should be washed with a water and vinegar or detergent mixture at least once a week — more frequently if you’ve been sick.
Cleaning the CPAP tubes can be especially tricky. The tubes should be cleaned at least once per week to keep condensation buildup from causing bacterial growth. The tubing must be disconnected from the CPAP device and mask, and then soaked in warm water. As with CPAP masks, this water should be mixed with a mild dish soap or white vinegar to help sanitize the tubing.
Bleach should never be used to clean CPAP tubing (or any other CPAP components, for that matter). Bleach’s corrosive nature can actually break down the plastic in the tubes and form holes that disrupt the flow of pressurized air. After soaking the CPAP hose, it should be hung to air dry so that both ends are pointing toward the floor. Hanging it over a towel rack is typically the easiest solution. This will allow any remaining water to drain out as the tubing dries.
In our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to clean your CPAP equipment when you’re rushing to beat the morning traffic on your way to work. Then, by the time you get home in the evening, you want to eat dinner and relax. It’s easy to see how even those with the best of intentions can forget to keep up with these time-consuming CPAP cleaning guidelines.
Thankfully, the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner provides a much easier solution for maintaining your equipment.
How Using the VirtuCLEAN CPAP Cleaner Transforms Your Routine
Rather than needing to take time out of your busy schedule to be actively involved in the cleaning of your CPAP equipment, the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner allows you to take more of a “set it and forget it” approach.
The VirtuCLEAN is a small, portable cleaning device that doesn’t require any specialty solutions or water. Instead, it uses activated oxygen (also known as ozone) to clean the mask, tubing, and water chamber. In a single 30 minute cleaning cycle, it will clean these CPAP components with activated oxygen to kill 99 percent of the germs that are present.
The system comes with both the cleaning device and a bag. To clean your equipment, start by disconnecting your CPAP hose from the machine and mask. You should also remove and empty the humidifier chamber. Then, place the mask and humidifier chamber inside the bag that is included as part of the VirtuCLEAN system. No prewash is required!
Your CPAP tubing is then used to connect the bag and the VirtuCLEAN device. Once you have everything set up, all you need to do is press the power button and the device will activate and start running the cleaning cycle. Ozone will flow through the tube (cleaning as it goes), while also thoroughly disinfecting the mask and humidifier chamber. No part of your equipment will be missed, as can sometimes happen when trying to hand-wash it.
The VirtuCLEAN’s screen displays how much time is left on the 30 minute cleaning cycle. If you’re going to be home, this allows you to come back and check on the system so you can know when everything is done. Otherwise, you can go about your day and not worry about taking your components out of the bag until you get home. The timer will let you know that the cleaning cycle is finished.
With cleaning complete, you can simply take the sanitized CPAP parts out of the bag and reattach them to the machine. Once you refill the humidifier chamber, everything is ready for another night of therapy. By making the entire cleaning process much less time-consuming, it becomes much easier to stay consistent with your equipment care guidelines.
Other Advantages of the VirtuCLEAN
While the VirtuCLEAN’s set it and forget it 30-minute cleaning cycle is certainly a boon to busy CPAP users, this is hardly the only thing that makes it a great addition to your therapy routine. After all, there are other CPAP cleaning devices available. However, the VirtuCLEAN has a few additional noteworthy features that help it stand out from the rest.
Portability is a key difference-maker. Measuring a mere 4.5” x 1.7”, the circular device can fit wherever you need it. It also only weighs half a pound. Whether you’re leaving it on your night stand or packing it for your next big trip, the compact nature of this device ensures that it won’t take up too much of your precious space.
Rather than needing to be constantly plugged into the wall, the VirtuCLEAN uses a rechargeable battery that provides up to 10 hours of power on a single charge. When you do need to recharge the battery, it can reach full charge in as little as 2 hours. The VirtuCLEAN also comes with all needed adapters so you can easily plug in the device.
The VirtuCLEAN bag does require a filter as part of the activated oxygen cleaning, but the filter only needs to be replaced every 6 months. The filter is also quite affordable, at only $9.99. The device also operates very quietly during its short cleaning cycle, ensuring that it won’t bother anyone who happens to be home during the cleaning process. It also comes with a cleaning reminder feature so that you won’t forget to use the VirtuCLEAN for your CPAP equipment each day. This way, you’ll always be able to keep your equipment germ-free.
The device itself does not require any maintenance, and even comes with a 24-month warranty. You can have confidence that it will live up to your expectations, providing efficient and reliable cleaning for years to come.
Additional Cleaning Considerations
While the VirtuCLEAN’s ozone cleaning system is extremely efficient, it doesn’t negate the importance of replacing your CPAP masks, tubing, and humidifier chambers in accordance with the manufacturer guidelines.
As the previously mentioned study noted, one of the biggest factors contributing to bacterial buildup on CPAP equipment is its age. As masks and other equipment get older, they not only become more likely to accumulate germs, but their performance may also suffer.
Seemingly small issues like cracks and deterioration may not be immediately visible, but they can contribute to improper mask fit or other issues that compromise the delivery of pressurized air. Cracks can provide new bacterial breeding grounds that are harder to clean.
Because of this, you should closely follow manufacturer guidelines for replacing masks, tubing, and other components. Doing so will ensure that your sleep apnea therapy continues to deliver the desired results.
Keeping your CPAP equipment clean may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning for the ways that using these devices will transform your life. But if you wish to enjoy all the benefits of sleep apnea therapy without potential negative side effects, few things can prove to be more important.
Of course, while getting a cleaning device like the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner can greatly streamline your CPAP care responsibilities, affording this and other equipment isn’t always easy.
This is where Help Medical Supplies can make a difference. For starters, we offer the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner, as well as other CPAP devices and accessories, at a discounted price. We also provide free shipping on all orders over $89. This enables you to save money right away on your new equipment purchase.
If your total purchase exceeds $500, you can also potentially qualify for financing through CareCredit. Breaking your purchase into smaller monthly payments can make it easier to fit into your budget, and if you pay off the purchase in full within six months, you won’t have to make any interest payments.
Regaining the quality sleep that so many others take for granted doesn’t have to break the bank, even when you don’t have insurance coverage or your policy doesn’t fully cover your purchase. By working with Help Medical Supplies, you will be able to get the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner and any other equipment you need for your sleep apnea therapy at a price you can afford.