If you use a CPAP device, you probably are taking steps to make sure that it is properly cleaned and maintained. But are you also cleaning the hose?
A lot of people don’t even think about this, even though they keep the rest of the parts clean. But it is just as important to make sure that the hose is thoroughly cleaned regularly, and you need to include it in your CPAP cleaning routine.
Our environment is loaded with bacteria and microbes, and the health of your immune system will be the main factor in whether or not you get sick from the harmful bacteria that you are exposed to daily. But there’s no need to expose yourself to any more bacteria than necessary. Just because you could be exposed through a dirty CPAP hose, it doesn’t mean that this has to happen.
All you have to do is learn how to clean it properly!
Condensation is the Enemy
If the CPAP hose is not regularly cleaned, you could potentially be exposed to bacteria that can grow inside the hose. This can eventually cause you to be exposed to germs that cause various sicknesses and infections.
Remember, bacteria love a damp environment, and a dirty CPAP hose is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes, especially if there is any condensation.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about condensation. Most devices that use water are going to end up with condensation at some point. But, it doesn’t have to lead to bacteria growth and health problems, as long as you are making sure that you clean the hose regularly.
Inspect the Hose
It is a good idea to get into the habit of inspecting the CPAP hose regularly. Things to look for include signs of moisture inside the tube, as well as any discoloration. If a tube cover is in use, you will need to take it off to make sure that the tube inside is clean. If you see any water inside the tube, take steps to drain it right away and then hang it to air dry so there is no chance of bacteria growing inside.
Keeping the Hose Dry
To get rid of water, some CPAP devices have a feature that allow you to blow any excess water out of the hose. Another way to get rid of water is to shake the tube, and then let it hang to dry. Never blow into the hose, because not only are you going to be blowing saliva into it, keeping it wet inside, you will also be blowing germs into it, even if they are your own.
Yet another way to clean a CPAP hose is to attach a piece of lint-free cloth to a length of fishing line that is longer than the CPAP hose. Place a weight such as a small bolt on the other end of the fishing line. Drop the weight into the tube, and pull it out from the other end. This will run the cloth through the tube, which will clean off any moisture. To make sure that it is completely dry, hang it to air dry.
Cleaning the Hose
In addition to making sure that the hose is always dry when your CPAP device is not in use, you should also get into the habit of cleaning it regularly. This can be done right in your sink or bathtub. Fill the tub or sink with warm water, and use a mild cleaner. Or, you can also use a soaking solution made with 50 percent bottled or distilled water and 50 percent white vinegar.
It is important to be gentle while cleaning the CPAP hose. But, there are tools you can use to safely clean the inside, such as a CPAP hose cleaning brush. You can get these where you get the rest of your CPAP supplies.
Once you have soaked the hose in the cleaning solution or the homemade vinegar solution, rinse it with clean, clear water, preferably bottled or distilled. Then you can take the proper steps to make sure that it is completely dry inside. Cleaning of the CPAP hose should be done weekly.
Replacing the Hose
Keeping the hose clean is going to limit your exposure to bacteria, and it is going to extend the life of the hose. But, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to replace the hose regularly. No matter how diligent you are about keeping it clean, it will get to a point where cleaning no longer works as well. Hoses can wear out over time, develop holes, etc. It is recommended that hoses be replaced every three to six months.
CPAP Care and Cleaning Checklist
While we are on the subject of cleaning the CPAP hose, we may as well go over cleaning the other accessories. Let’s take a look at the some of the things you need to do in order to keep your CPAP device clean and free of bacteria.
- Regular Cleaning – If you get into the habit of cleaning your CPAP machine regularly, it will soon become part of your regular morning routine. It will then have all day to dry out, so it is ready to use again at night.
- No Sunlight – Keep the machine and all accessories away from direct sunlight.
- No Bleach – Never use bleach or harsh cleaners on any part of your CPAP device.
- Water – Make sure that when cleaning most of the parts that you use either bottled or distilled water.
- Stock Up – Stay well-stocked on things like cleaning supplies, including detergents and replacement filters.
Your CPAP helps you to breathe better at night, and the cleaner it is, the healthier the air is that you are going to breathe. Getting into the habit of cleaning some of the parts, such as the hose, on a daily basis, will ensure that there is no chance that bacteria can grow inside, and end up making you sick.