CPAP Guidelines/Cleaning Instructions

Your Doctor has ordered CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for you to use when sleeping.  This involves a constant pressure into your airways to help keep them open while you are sleeping.  The pressure set on your machine has been determined by your doctor and can be changed only with his/her order.

The following guidelines may be useful as reference for the use and care of your CPAP:
  1. To turn the machine on or off press the on/off button. 

  2. After turning on the machine, press the Ramp button. This will lower the pressure to make it more comfortable for you to fall asleep.  Put the mask and headgear on after pressing the ramp button. Over a period of 15-20 minutes the machine will slowly increase the pressure to your ordered level.  If you are still awake after this time you may hit the ramp button again to lower the pressure while you fall asleep.

  3. When you wake up and wish to turn off the machine, remove the mask and headgear first, and then turn off the machine. 

  4. If there is a foam filter on the back of the machine, it should be removed and cleaned at least weekly. Simply rinse the filter and allow it to air dry.  Do NOT put the filter back wet.  You MAY also have a white fine particle filter under the foam filter.  This CANNOT be washed.  It should be changed at least monthly.  This filter is not required, but may be helpful for people who have asthma, allergies, or are particularly sensitive to dust.  These are available through our office, but will require a physician’s prescription if you wish to have them charged to your insurance.   

  5. Some machines do not have a foam filter, rather a mesh-like filter that CANNOT be washed. This should be changed when it gets dirty-generally at least monthly.  

  6. The mask and headgear (or nasal pillows) should be cleaned at least weekly in warm soapy water.  

  7. The tubing and humidifier (if used) should be cleaned at least weekly in a 1:4 solution of white vinegar and tap water.For example: use 1 cup of white vinegar with 4 cups of tap water.  Soak the equipment for 20-30 minutes, rinse and allow to air dry. Many humidifiers may also be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.Check on your specific unit.  

  8. If a humidifier is used it should be filled with distilled water to the fill line. The water should be emptied and replaced each day.

  9. If a heated humidifier is used, the recommended starting heat level is the middle setting (for example, if your heater ranges 1-5, start at 2 or 3).  You will need to adjust this up or down depending upon the humidity level of the room in which the CPAP is used.

  10. If your heated humidifier attaches to your machine, be sure to disconnect it from the machine before packing for travel to prevent any residual water from entering the machine.  Humidifiers chambers should always be emptied before transporting your CPAP.

  11. When traveling, CPAP should always be a carry-on, NOT checked luggage.