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washing cpap -- really?
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #31
RE: washing cpap -- really?
It is recommended that you either replace or disinfect your toothbrush as you recover from a cold or other virus. They can mutate on your toothbrush and then reinfect you. The same precaution should be taken with your mask and hose.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
11-16-2013 07:04 PM
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archangle Offline
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Machine: ResMed S9 AutoSet
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Swift FX
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Post: #32
RE: washing cpap -- really?
I disassemble the mask and water tank and wash it in the dishwasher once a week. I use the hottest, longest cycle with an extra rinse cycle. I don't add a "rinse aid," since those leave a film.

Use caution with the mask. Some mask parts may not be dishwasher suitable. Some masks have foam, and I don't dishwash the headgear. If you want to be extra safe, wait until your insurance will buy a spare mask and dishwash the old one. You do want a spare of everything anyway.

I hook the hose up to the kitchen faucet and let hot water flow through it for a while.

I have two sets of everything, and let everything sit dry for a week after washing and then switch to it on the next wash cycle.

I dry the hose by hooking it up to my old CPAP machine and running it for a while.

I've washed my equipment for years like this with no problems.

I actually go a little further than this with the hoses, but it's complicated to do it right. I put them in the dishwasher, but I lift up one end of the hose so that water will come in one end, flow through the hose and drain out the other end. Otherwise, no water will get to the deep inside parts of the hose. I also rinse the hoses thoroughly by running hot water through them right from the tap before and after washing. Then I dry the hose out on the old CPAP and let it sit dry for the week.

BTW, non-heated hoses are really cheap on e-bay. I recently bought 4 authentic Respironics hoses for under $20 delivered.

Get the free SleepyHead software here.
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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.
11-17-2013 07:07 PM
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sir_sleeps_alot Offline

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Post: #33
RE: washing cpap -- really?
Interesting point.

Although I do "wash" (rinse) my toothbrush twice with each use... both before and after I use it. And then I sit it up right in a cup so that water drips away. It's in my mouth and in contact with germs for about 2 minutes. There's also a line of defense between your toothbrush and your body--your stomach. If you swallow bacteria/crud from your toothbrush, stomach acid is going to do a pretty good job of killing things. Lungs/sinuses don't have that same acid bath... or at least they shouldn't!

The cpap mask/hose/tube are in contact with germs and are provided with moisture and warmth for approximately 8 hours a day. If you aren't washing or at least drying, you're leaving moisture around for stuff to continue to grow for the remainder of the day.

I think the cpap is probably a bigger risk.



(11-16-2013 06:23 PM)zonk Wrote:  
(11-16-2013 02:14 PM)DocWils Wrote:  No, your "germs" are a threat to yourself as well - understand that anything that incubates outside your body can infect you, even if the original source was from your body.
We don,t throw away toothbrushes after each use yet toothbrushes harbor more germs than anything else and advised not to share with anyone as can be a risk of transmitting blood type diseases such as Hepatitis C
11-17-2013 08:45 PM
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archangle Offline
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Machine: ResMed S9 AutoSet
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Swift FX
Humidifier: ResMed S9 H5i
CPAP Pressure: 16-20
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead EncoreBasic

Other Comments: Happy PAPper

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Post: #34
RE: washing cpap -- really?
(11-17-2013 08:45 PM)sir_sleeps_alot Wrote:  Interesting point.

Although I do "wash" (rinse) my toothbrush twice with each use... both before and after I use it. And then I sit it up right in a cup so that water drips away. It's in my mouth and in contact with germs for about 2 minutes. There's also a line of defense between your toothbrush and your body--your stomach. If you swallow bacteria/crud from your toothbrush, stomach acid is going to do a pretty good job of killing things. Lungs/sinuses don't have that same acid bath... or at least they shouldn't!

The cpap mask/hose/tube are in contact with germs and are provided with moisture and warmth for approximately 8 hours a day. If you aren't washing or at least drying, you're leaving moisture around for stuff to continue to grow for the remainder of the day.

I think the cpap is probably a bigger risk.

Well, the toothbrush is rubbed around in your saliva and whatever food residue is in your mouth. Then after incubating for a while, you take it and rub it against the thin tissues in your mouth. Bleeding is not all that uncommon when brushing the teeth. Then you probably push it down deep between your gums with floss, with further risk of bleeding.

Germs from your CPAP machine have to become airborne before they can get into your lungs. Even though there may be moisture, there's little or no nutrients on the surface of the CPAP machine for germs to feed on. Germs need nutrients to multiply, not just water.

Also realize that viruses can't multiply outside of living cells, so they usually can't multiply inside your CPAP equipment.

Don't forget your body is used to breathing whatever airborne germs are floating around the air in your house 24/7. Unless there are different germs or higher concentrations getting airborne and coming out of your CPAP, you're not increasing your risks.

I'd still like the CPAP equipment to be clean and relatively germ free, but don't get overly paranoid about it.

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.
11-18-2013 12:22 AM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #35
RE: washing cpap -- really?
love it when non microbiologists argue with doctors about germ theory :-).

Look, it is very simple - would prefer to risk it and have something very nasty growing in your lungs or play it safe, do the simple things to keep things clean and then live long and not have to see me to excise part of your lung for the dirt ball or fungus growing there? Sure, the risk is small, if all is done within reason, but the risk grows exponentially to the lack of hygiene. If it didn't, I would be out of a job. Yes, your lungs have filters in the form of mucous, but that is given that there is NOT a closed system forcing potentially infected air into you.In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, your machine parts will last longer, because they won't get covered in muck or other stuff. And to be very clear, I got curious about this a while back and went over to look at the techs at the Unispital disassembling and cleaning out some CPAPs, and did bac and pilz smears on tanks and hoses, and you would not believe the number of these had to be discarded due to not only the calk deposits mucking things up, but bacteria and fungus growths - all these due to lack of correct hygiene for the parts affected. One tank, even though it was washed out every day and air dried, had little red "dots" of something that were resistant to all cleaning methods. And a lot of them had restricted air flow because of deposits of calk in the hose near the humidifier outflow. So simple precautions - fridge cooled and seal distilled water, drying the whole thing out each day with forced air, changing your filters regularly, keeping the bits that come in contact with your body cleaned with some regularity and of course, washing your hands with soap and hot water and changing your hand towels at the most every four days and washing them in at least 60c (hot cycle for the Americans) - these are relatively easy to achieve, and why wouldn't you try then? Nothing I am suggesting is either expensive or onerous. And washing your hands is something I should hope you don't need to be reminded to do, but I encounter people all the time who don't wash their hands after using the toilet, and I most often encounter them in my surgery.

And then I have to treat them, and wash my hands afterwards.
(This post was last modified: 11-19-2013 06:39 AM by DocWils.)
11-18-2013 08:54 AM
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sir_sleeps_alot Offline

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Posts: 58
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Machine: ResMed S9 Autoset
Mask Type: Nasal mask
Mask Make & Model: Mirage FX
Humidifier: Hi5
CPAP Pressure: 14 cm h2o
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

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Sex: Undisclosed
Location: New England

Post: #36
RE: washing cpap -- really?
Excellent point. That's why I wash my toothbrush both before and after I use it. I also replace it every 2 to 3 months. I'm not nearly as concerned about my cpap as I am my toothbrush.

The point I was trying to make is that the cpap, particularly the cpap humidifier, is hospitable to growth (warm, dark, and moist) for a much longer period of time than the toothbrush is.

What I'm taking from all of these messages is that it's important to keep the cpap clean, but it's not vital to scrub it down every day per the DME company's guidelines.


(11-18-2013 12:22 AM)archangle Wrote:  Well, the toothbrush is rubbed around in your saliva and whatever food residue is in your mouth. Then after incubating for a while, you take it and rub it against the thin tissues in your mouth. Bleeding is not all that uncommon when brushing the teeth. Then you probably push it down deep between your gums with floss, with further risk of bleeding.

Germs from your CPAP machine have to become airborne before they can get into your lungs. Even though there may be moisture, there's little or no nutrients on the surface of the CPAP machine for germs to feed on. Germs need nutrients to multiply, not just water.

Also realize that viruses can't multiply outside of living cells, so they usually can't multiply inside your CPAP equipment.

Don't forget your body is used to breathing whatever airborne germs are floating around the air in your house 24/7. Unless there are different germs or higher concentrations getting airborne and coming out of your CPAP, you're not increasing your risks.

I'd still like the CPAP equipment to be clean and relatively germ free, but don't get overly paranoid about it.
11-19-2013 02:01 AM
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Sleepster Offline
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Machine: ResMed AirCurve10 VAuto
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: F&P Simplus
Humidifier: HumidAir and SlimLine Hose
CPAP Pressure: MaxI 13.6 | MinE 5.2 | PS 4.4
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

Other Comments: Diagnosed Nov 2011. Conquered aerophagia.

Sex: Male
Location: Houston, Texas

Post: #37
RE: washing cpap -- really?
(11-19-2013 02:01 AM)sir_sleeps_alot Wrote:  What I'm taking from all of these messages is that it's important to keep the cpap clean, but it's not vital to scrub it down every day per the DME company's guidelines.

+1

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
11-19-2013 08:41 PM
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i-want-my-sleep-back Offline

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Post: #38
RE: washing cpap -- really?
i wash my water tank every day or other day 50 50 vinegar and water vinegar sanitizes

and it breaks ups build up and cloudiness

mask i wash daily rag with tiny drop of soap and plain water at other end

alcohol products do damage to seal and other part never use it on machine mask or any part look it up or get owners manual

im ocd so i keep my stuff super clean my machines look and smell new

my water tanks i store up Medicare sends them every6 months or so

but the 50 50 solution keeps it clean clear and looking new just check the plastic rivets on the metal plate any machine it the rivets melt distort etc throw it

my dead resperonics bilevel i had 3 or four tanks

the hose 50 50 vinegar or ebay has tube cleaning crap but be careful some of the tube brushes have a point if not careful can poke a hole in tube

i do house every couple of weeks or longer depending on my health

50 50 vinegar you can use tap water the vinegar takes the crap out of water so its safe

always use distilled water in tanks not only stains but water chemicals into your lungs

thats my habit

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11-20-2013 12:40 AM
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archangle Offline
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Machine: ResMed S9 AutoSet
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Mask Make & Model: ResMed Swift FX
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CPAP Pressure: 16-20
CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead EncoreBasic

Other Comments: Happy PAPper

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Post: #39
RE: washing cpap -- really?
(11-18-2013 08:54 AM)DocWils Wrote:  love it when non microbiologists argue with doctors about germ theory :-).

I hate it when someone argues based on being a doctor, instead of arguing the facts.

If there's one thing we've learned on these boards is that many doctors don't know much about how CPAP works.

ResMed, who sells the machines and works with them all the time doesn't recommend distilled water if you have the cleanable tank. Even with the uncleanable tank, where they do recommend distilled water, they don't recommend refrigeration or glass bottles.

However, I am in favor of clean CPAPs. I'm just opposed to being overly fearful of potential risks without properly considering the relative costs and benefits.

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.
(This post was last modified: 11-20-2013 01:49 AM by archangle.)
11-20-2013 01:47 AM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #40
RE: washing cpap -- really?
Would you like me to send you some of the case files on my desk? I am all for minimising the risk, and there is a minimal risk, as I said, and greater risk of damage to the tank and hose. Look, I see lung damage all the time, and I am very familiar with what particulates forced into lungs can do. That's the reason you need to swap out your air filters on your cpap all the time. Keep the entire machine clean and free of particulates or other nasties, and you are smiling. Limit the possibilities of growth in the hard to keep clean regions and you are smiling even more - and distilled water limits that possibility more than tap water will. Most important, either way, is keeping the whole thing dry, which is why you are well advised to let the machine run on a bit to dry out the hose and tank each day. That is your best line of defence against any growth.

I am for anything that means I have a lighter patient load. I am in a profession that wishes it could go out of business. So do the simple smart things and you won't need to see me, and I am really glad of that. I had a patient in the other day who I last saw five years ago, just for check up - I greeted him like an old friend, and was surprised, until I explained that my favourite patients are the ones who don't need me. Stay healthy, do the healthy things and you'll be all right. It doesn't take much, btw, just sensible little steps.

You don't have to get paranoid about cleanliness, but if you get into the habit of doing simple things to keep it clean, like I suggested, then you won't have to do big things to keep it clean - I laid out a set of simple ideas that minimise your need to maintain your system's cleanliness. And it works.
11-20-2013 09:44 AM
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