You don't need us to tell you that you need to keep your CPAP machine clean. Not only does a routine maintenance program keep your machine running better. It also keeps you healthier.
For every day that you put off cleaning your CPAP mask, tubes and water chamber, bacteria and germs continue to multiply by the millions. It's only a matter of time before they begin to make you sick.
What's not always so obvious is which CPAP cleaner to use, or what makes one better than another. Allow us to show you a few of your top options to help you decide which one is best for you.
The Most Basic CPAP Cleaner
Before we talk about sanitizing machines, however, we need to get into a little bit of fine print. That is that you don't necessarily need to have a cleaning machine. You can use soap and water and manual labor to clean all of your equipment.
Cleaning manually with hot water and soap will take time, and experts warn that it is very easy to miss spots (especially inside tubing). So your efforts are not going to be 100% effective.
Rather than taking apart their equipment, cleaning it and reassembling the whole thing, most users opt to purchase some sort of CPAP cleaning machine and or daily cleaner. Here are some of your full-size, travel-sized and daily-use cleaner options. All of these CPAP cleaners have pros and cons, but all of them have been shown to work.
Full-Size Sanitizer Machines
There are three types of sanitizing machines you can choose between. The differences are in the cleaning agent used by the machines. Some machines use chemicals, some use activated oxygen (aka ozone) and some newer machines use UV light.
Which one is better? While all three types have been tested and proclaimed "the best" by one company or agency or another, there is no clear study that shows a winner. The UV technology is the newest of the three and therefore has even fewer reviews.
1. Soclean 2 CPAP Cleaner Sanitizer
The Soclean 2 machine destroys 99% of germs, bacteria, and pathogens. It cleans without the use of chemicals or water. Instead, it uses activated oxygen otherwise known as ozone. The machine sanitizes your mask, hose, and reservoir all in one cycle.
Ozone machines are used in hospitals and water treatment facilities where the standards are set extremely high. It is FDA registered and has been extensively lab tested.
You can even schedule the Soclean 2 to run at preset times if you don't trust yourself to remember. Some users have reported that there is a "smell" to the ozone, but it is not described as unpleasant.
2. Sani Bot CPAP Mask Sanitizer Cleaning Machine
Sani Bot uses plain tap water and disinfectant tablets to clean your mask. This system is capable of cleaning a wide range of mask sizes and is highly rated by users. Total cleaning time is about 30 minutes, but the process is completely automated. To operate you simply fill the tank, drop in a tablet and submerge your mask. It will thoroughly clean and sanitize your equipment while you go about your day.
3. VirtuCLEAN CPAP Equipment and Mask Cleaner
The VirtuCLEAN machine uses ozone to disinfect and kill bacteria in about 30 minutes. People like how quiet it is. However, some users say that ozone does leave an odor. Costs about half as much as the other cleaners. However, it is also the smallest of the cleaners (more of a portable size).
4. The Lumin CPAP Cleaner
The Lumin cleaner uses UV-C instead of ozone or water. UV-C is so high on the light meter that it is lethal to germs. Its high-powered germicidal lamp deactivates the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens so they can't reproduce before it kills them.
Because it relies on light waves, the process is fast. Your mask is ready to use in just five minutes. This cleaner can also be used to clean dentures, hearing aids and toothbrushes.
Portable Cleaning Machines
You don't leave your snoring or sleep apnea problems at home when you go traveling, so you can't leave your machine cleaning supplies behind either. Here are a couple of your leading portable CPAP cleaning and sanitizing machines.
If you're traveling by air, the TSA suggests that you keep your portable CPAP cleaner in your carry-on luggage. They will need to inspect it (just as they do laptops), but that way you know there's no chance of it getting lost.
1. Soclean 2 Go
This portable cleaner works just like it's big brother above. The only differences are that it operates on batteries. An indicator light on the top of the bag will tell you when your cleaning cycle is complete, but it's recommended that you leave your equipment in the unit for at least two hours to fully sanitize everything.
This portable cleaner also uses ozone. You can clean your mask, tubing and reservoir in the bag all at one time. Just fill your bag and hit the activate button on the top of the SolidCleaner. Like the Soclean portable, the indicator light is the only thing that will tell you the cleaner is working.
Sprays and Wipes
What are the best sprays and wipes to use? Here are a few of the top choices.
1. Clean Smart Daily Surface Cleaner
This is a spray designed for people who want to clean their machines manually. It doesn't leave any residue but still provides a deep cleaning. It can be used for other sports equipment, humidifiers and anywhere else that's moist and warm.
2. RespLabs Mask Wipes
Designed for daily use, RespLabs Mask Wipes prevent the build-up of dust, grease, and grime. Pull out moist wipes anytime you need to clean the inside or outside of your mask. They dry quickly and unlike some products that advertise themselves as unscented, these truly leave no trace of scent behind.
Pick Your Favorites
So there you have it. We've shown you eight of the leading CPAP cleaner options. While there is no definitive study that shows one type of cleaner is more effective than another, you'll need to make your choice based on more subjective things.
We do recommend that you select one cleaner from each of the three categories we've covered; home, portable and daily-use. That way you can be assured that you've done everything you can to keep yourself healthy and your CPAP machine working at peak efficiency.
If you need more information on each of these options, here's a great resource. This buying guide even includes information on of all the accessories you need to maintain your CPAP machine,