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Using microwave to sterilize nasal pillow
11-15-2014, 09:51 AM
I am inquiring to find out if anyone has tried using a microwavable baby bottle/nipple sterilizer to sterilize their nasal pillows. After many years of being a grand-daddy daycare raising my grandchildren, I've always used the microwave sterilizer. The nasal pillows seems to be made of the same material (silicon) as the baby nipples. If it works for the nipples, I don't see why it wouldn't work for the nasal pillows. Has anyone discussed this on the AP Board forum before? Lacking the sterilizer, when on travel and to sterilize a baby bottle and nipple, I just use a plastic container (one you get at restaurant and food establishments) with a lid and fill it with about half-inch of water and drop the items in it and microwave on high for four minutes. The lid to the container is just place **loosely** on the container. Four minutes in the microwave kills all microbes, bacteria and viruses. I use this method for all of my sponges used for dish washing and baths. Being new to the Apnea treatment regime, I am looking for easier ways to sanitize the plastic/rubber/silicon parts to the CPAP, of course not the machines themselves.
I was not aware of that product so I had to Google it, but it looks perfect. I've found that boiling with baking soda helps remove skin oils and eliminate leaks. I only boil the water and then add the mask cushion after taking it out of the microwave, so my method wouldn't sterilize it. (I didn't think of boiling it for that reason but it makes sense.) I've seen reports of other people heating it up on the stove or in the oven but it works the same way for them.
Just try it when you're ready to throw out your old pillows and you have nothing to lose.
Edit: There is a limit on how many times you can boil them so I wouldn't do it every day. I'm not sure how many times is OK. (half dozen?)
11-15-2014, 01:36 PM
Oh boy - am I way out at the other end. After all these years, my mask is lucky to get paper towel and Windex once a month.
Of course - more often, and (LOL) a better method than I use would be 'cleaner'.
I can say that most all DMEs say a mild soapy water wash *only*, and to do it daily. Like 'Dawn' or 'Joy', and *NOT* to use anti-bacterial soap as it will break down the mask.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.
"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
11-15-2014, 04:11 PM
There's no reason to "sanitize" it. The only germs you are getting are your own. Simple soap and water are all you need.
The silicone for nasal pillows are no where near as sturdy as for bottle nipples. They used to be but not any more. If you wanted to do the sanitizing route, I would bet they would last longer with boiling with baking soda than in the microwave. Even then, probably could only do it a few times before they started falling apart. Some folks do it to give life back to the silicone every few months or so.
And if your pillows have gel in them like the Nuance? They'd probably not survive even once. In the microwave, they'd probably pop.
Oh, I see a new experiment coming on. How long would it take to pop a pillow in the nuker? Next time I am really bored, I just may try that.
Apnea Board Moderator
Breathe deeply and count to zen.
Always have a spare before doing any such experiments, but most of the stuff can take an occasional dip into boiling water. I'll boil a big pot of water on the stove, turn off the heat and drop things in.
I've damaged the new style ResMed S9 non-dishwashable tanks. Some hoses may be damaged as well. I'd never boil foam parts or "foamy" headgear.
Control III disinfectant is recommended for CPAP parts by Supplier #1. Read the directions. The diluted solution you use is reasonably safe, but the undiluted concentrate from the bottle is nasty.
Remember that neither boiling nor Control III kills all germs.
I agree that anything more than "normal" cleaning is unnecessary unless you have a used piece of equipment or it's got dirty in some other way. Also, boiling it too often might be a problem.
BTW, be careful if you boil water in the microwave. Sometimes, the water will boil suddenly like opening a champagne bottle if you drop something into it. Turn the water off and let it sit for a while before dropping anything into microwave boiled water.
I clean my stuff in the dishwasher once a week or so. I also have two sets of masks, hoses and tanks. Once I clean a set, I set the clean ones aside for a week to dry out and let the germs die and use last week's set. I get pretty good lifetimes out of my stuff.
11-15-2014, 04:32 PM
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I would think the pillows would be too delicate to put into the microwave.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and much success to you with your CPAP therapy.
11-15-2014, 05:19 PM
(11-15-2014, 04:30 PM)archangle Wrote: BTW, be careful if you boil water in the microwave. Sometimes, the water will boil suddenly like opening a champagne bottle if you drop something into it. Turn the water off and let it sit for a while before dropping anything into microwave boiled water.
Actually the same thing can happen from boiling water normally although once it is actually boiling it will not occur. It would have to be just before it was ready to start boiling that one might cause an eruption.
That is especially dangerous when stirring soup immediately after nuking it. Well, maybe not especially dangerous but more like especially messy. BTDT, got the mess to prove it.
11-15-2014, 07:21 PM
Thanks all for your inputs. Points well made! And yes, I do let the water sit for at least two minutes before pulling it out of the microwave (also recommended on the microwave sanitizers) or always include a plastic spoon in the cup/mug of water when nuking to boil water so it doesn't explode. It is good to know that I have all you have compatriots in this journey of Apnea treatment.
11-17-2014, 08:59 PM
Yeah, I think the parallel between sanitizing bottle nips and your NPs is not that strong, and probably not recommended.
First, microwaves sterilize nothing. Microwaves in an oven vibrate water molecules causing friction that creates heat, and the heat is the only thing doing any sterilization. So at a minimum, don't try this without water in the equation.
Hot water, a little baby shampoo maybe, that is all you need. You don't need to boil the NPs in your microwave, and you probably are shortening the life of the delicate plastic by doing that.
Bottom line, its overkill.
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