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Used CPAP machine...what's involved in sterilizing it?
This may not be helpful, but I'll throw it out there anyway. As the years go by, I've become more and more of the opposite of a germophobe. I don't give a whiff about germs anymore. Reason for this is because I've come to realize that I come into contact with so many germs every day and I have no control over it. Germs come to me on money, mail, door handles, shopping carts, the dog park gate latch, my dog's paws, items I buy in the supermarket, the pen on the card reader, my credit card when it is handed back to me at a restaurant, etc etc. Impossible to avoid germs in my environment.

I've stopped using antibacterial soap, I've thrown away the can of Lysol spray, and you won't find any latex gloves in my house. I never clean my CPAP except for the humidifier (which I clean when it gets grungy and replace when it gets super grungy.) I used to get sick pretty often (colds, flu, sore throats, and whatnot) and never went a year without using up all my sick days at work. Since becoming an anti-germophobe, I don't get sick anymore! Yeah, weird. Could it have anything to do with my immune system? You be the judge. But I've literally not been sick for a single day in the last 4 years.

When buying a used CPAP machine, which I've done several times, I do pretty much what Stiffdoc suggests. Change the filters, wash the humidifier, discard the old hose, and go with it. Now, as a qualifier, I will add that I don't have any medical problems like many of the folks on this forum. I'm generally robust and healthy, and other than orthopedic issues, and sleep apnea, and obesity, there's nothing wrong with me.
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Maybe the boost to your immune system comes from treating your apnea... Apnea is a known immune system killer Smile
هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
Tongue Suck Technique for prevention of mouth breathing:
  • Place your tongue behind your front teeth on the roof of your mouth
  • let your tongue fill the space between the upper molars
  • gently suck to form a light vacuum
Practising during the day can help you to keep it at night

هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
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(11-22-2015, 08:15 PM)Stiffdoc Wrote: Zonk: no offense, but I don't think that your rehab process actually achieves true sterilization. (I'm a pathologist and I taught Universal Precautions and sterilization methods for about 15 years).
No worries, the information from Supplier #2 website, they sell new and used machines

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Let's get the terminology correct here.

Machine - the thing that blows the air. Let's call it the "blower unit" to be clear.
Water tub
Hose and mask.

Machine/Blower unit. No sterilization or cleaning is necessary. Replace the filters.

Air flows from the machine to the patient, not the other way. Your exhaled air won't go up the tube far enough to get into the machine. The blower unit is not a good place to grow germs anyway. It's dry and there's nothing for them to feed on in there. Germs require moisture, and some sort of food in order to reproduce.

SoClean does NOT!!!! clean or sterilize the blower unit. The ozone from the SoClean only gets into the water tub, mask, and nose, NOT the blower unit. I'm skeptical about SoClean in general, but the ozone does not get into the machine itself.

Check the Useful Links in my signature line below for links to ResMed's sanitation guidelines for water tanks, hoses, and masks.

You can buy Control III disinfectant online and use it to help sanitize masks, hoses, and water tanks. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. It's pretty benign once diluted, but the full strength solution is a strong chemical.

Depending on the mask, you may be able to disassemble it and drop the parts into a pot of boiling water and leave them there until the water cools down. Turn the heat off before you drop the parts in. Some water tubs do fine with the hot water treatment, some don't. Some masks may be damaged, but if you're about to throw it away anyway, it's worth a shot.

Even boiling water won't kill ALL germs, but it gets most of the ones that are likely to be a problem.

I also put my disassembled mask and water tank parts in the dishwasher, except for any cloth or foam parts like headgear. For foam or cloth on used masks, I wet them with rubbing alcohol and let them soak overnight in a sealed tupperware bowl so they stay wet for a while.

There's a hot water treatment guideline for hoses in the links below. Basically it involves a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Some hoses get "crunchy" if you put them in boiling temperature water. If it's not a heated hose, they're pretty cheap anyway, especially online or through e-bay.

What manufacturer and model of machine are we discussing? Tell us the manufacturer, and EVERYTHING it says on the front or top.

Also, how long has it been since the machine has been used? Most, but not all, of the nasty germs that could conceivably be lurking in the machine don't survive that long in a dry environment. Also turn it on and leave it on for a few minutes. You might also leave it in a reasonably hot car for a while in the sun.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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Suppliers 27 & 28 will take your machine apart and clean it. I think it's unnecessary, but if it bothers you, then go for it. If the former user was a smoker, they have to actually replace the insulation to eliminate that odor.

Hospitals don't sterilize the machines either. They wipe it down, replace the filter, and on to the next patient. The mask is sterilized the same as they do other equipment. Only the hose is replaced and they replace it with a really crappy piece of stiff plastic.

If you have germ phobia, which apparently you do, then best leave the machine to someone else. You'll just make yourself crazy.
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New filters, new tube, new mask (or your old tube and mask), and new water chamber/tank. Wash gaskets, and then I don't think there's that much more to do. I have had four used machines down through the years. Two from individuals, one from a pawn shop and one from Supplier #2. Never a problem. Just make sure not form a smoking house unless yours is already a smoking household.

You typically can't "back breathe" into a running machine, and if you could, it would not likely make it back down 6' of tube.

If you did a sleep study titration, I am betting that was a used machine that had not been "sterilized". Probably the tube and the mask had been cleaned in a sterilzing solution, but probably not much else.

And if that freaks somebody out, think about a hospital bed. Or the bed in the last hotel you stayed at. Or the fork you stick in your mouth at the restaurant. There is nothing inherently wrong with used stuff. Unless it's toilet paper or facial tissues, or needles, etc.

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SoClean is an ozone generator for home use. It is reported to be damaging to masks and other plastics and is very expensive.

I have purchased two used machine in the past year. I cleaned and sanitized them, changed filters and disinfected the humidifier tanks. I do not re-use hoses or masks from other people. Within the blower circuit, there is not much opportunity that these surfaces will support pathogens. I did use Ozium vapor to clean out one machine that had smoke odor.

I think the risk of using a used machine is negligible, but not zero and your tolerance to risk will probably determine if you can be comfortable with a used machine.
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I use a SoClean. Don't know how "effective" it is, but I don't see or smell any growth. There is a distinct ozone smell for a while after cleaning, but it doesn't bother me. It dissipates after running the CPAP for awhile.
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(11-23-2015, 02:42 PM)Sleeprider Wrote: SoClean is an ozone generator for home use. It is reported to be damaging to masks and other plastics and is very expensive.

I haven't noticed any damage to the plastic. The silicone does oxidize faster than normal, but not appreciably if the mask is changed every 3 month as recommended. And just rinsing the mask with warm water and putting it in the SoClean is easier than cleaning mask tubing and tank on a regular basis. My humidifier tank has never become grungy since I have started using the SoClean.
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I wouldn't think twice about it, clean it up and go. I'm all about keeping the greed out of the supply line and taking care of my self but.... Is not the official standing of this site that it is a prescription only end of story? Maybe we should have another site for that subject, but this one needs to help people without suggesting otherwise. Don't ask don't tell?
Good Luck!

Doc J (despite my nickname I am not a doctor)

Remember to donate to the board if you can, it has helped a lot of people including myself.
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