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I have only just worked out how to take my humidifier tank apart after nearly 2 years. The brown sludge on the bottom was pretty disgusting and probably explains why the air from the pump smelled so bad!

Is there any consensus on how often you should clean out the tank and wash your mask etc? My sleep clinic says twice a week but some of the videos I have seen on YouTube recommend daily cleaning?

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Nah, I just clean the hose and the tank once a week if I remember, but I have seen it two weeks before I clean it.

The mask on the other hand gets a daily wipe with alcohol free baby wipes.

I have Nasal pillows so it is just as quick to take my pillows out as they are two separate pillows and put some detergent on them and run them under the tap.  However, when I did use a mask I cleaned it every day with a baby wipe paying special attention to the seal, I also used it after that to wipe my face where the mask would contact it.  It did help to keep the seal between the mask and my face.  Pay attention to the vents on the mask, they have a tendency to have mould growing on them,  So make sure you clean the vent.  I would wipe down the mask every day and do everything else every week.  You can get away with every two weeks if north of the border, otherwise clean every week to stop a build up of the type of deposit you get inside a kettle, rule of thumb, if you get a build up in a kettle do it more often, if not once a week or every two weeks if you are not to fussy.  But clean the hose and mask every week.

Do you not have a manual for your machine?  If not look on the Internet to see if there is a manual for it and the humidifier.

If you are prone to infection clean it more often, but I don't think you can be or you would be in trouble from all that gunk at the bottom of your humidifier tank!

Thanks for the reply. Your cleaning routine sounds sensible without being obsessive. Yes I do have a manual but I tend not to RTFM!

Iain Noble said:

Thanks for the reply. Your cleaning routine sounds sensible without being obsessive. Yes I do have a manual but I tend not to RTFM!

lol     typical man.

Read only as last resort.

Hi Iain.  The humidifier chamber should be emptied everyday if there's any water left in it, and given a quick rinse.  Once a week you should do a more thorough clean though, and this will differ as to where people live as to how hard or soft their water is.  I live in a hard water area, so cleaning is more important to prevent limescale.  The masks need cleaning everyday to completely remove facial oils, or it can cause skin reactions and mask leaks.  In fact I'll copy and paste the section below from the website about mask cleaining which is taken from this link http://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/tips-for-problems-sleeping-with-cpap-or...

"Cleaning:  Daily cleaning of the mask cushion is so important, as any facial oils left on the mask cushion or nasal pillows can cause mask leaks.  Contrary to what even some manufacturers and clinics advise, cleaning the masks in washing up detergents such as 'Fairy Liquid' is not adequate!  The extra conditioners that 'leave hands soft' etc., eventually build up a residue film on the mask seal which in itself causes leaks.  This is why I use the CPAP Mask Wipes every day and the Mask Spray once a week, and why most people, after having tried them, continue to use them.  The wipes are big enough to be cut in half with most masks, for cost-effectiveness, and the spray lasts a long time!   If you do use a dishwashing detergent, make sure it is a cheap unbranded one without all the extra additives claiming to give us 'soft hands' etc.  They may be good for the hands (although that's debatable), but are NOT good for our masks!  Baby wipes should be avoided, as they either contain lots of moisturising additives and often even alcohol (disguised in the ingredients list), and the ones that claim to contain no additives are, therefore, not strong enough to clean the masks and are no better than using plain water!  Also avoid any anti-bacterials wipes or cleaners, which contain alcohol and other harmful additives.'

Many thanks for all the useful information. It looks like I will have to spend a little more time and effort on keeping my equipment clean. I have ordered some wipes and spray.

You're welome Iain, and it wasn't really meant to be a plug for people to spend money, but of course our charity does appreciate sales to help us in our work :)  I use both the wipes and spray myself, but I only use the spray once a week (one bottle lasts for absolutely ages).  The day I use the spray is the only day water touches my mask cushion when I need to rinse it off.  I also put some of the spray in a bowl of hot water and agitate it to get it a bit frothy, then I soak my hose in it (this is just my routine and everyone will find their own way of doing it).  When you wash your tube, always use that day to examine it as small air holes can appear which affects the pressure going into the mask.

Also try to get rid of all that brown sludge from the humidifier as it really is important to your health.  Some people use white vinegar/water (but I can still smell it).  Lemon juice works well or soaking in a solution of Milton and then a good rinse afterwards.

Iain Noble said:

Many thanks for all the useful information. It looks like I will have to spend a little more time and effort on keeping my equipment clean. I have ordered some wipes and spray.

Yeah, I should have said it is important to empty the humidifier everyday.  Bacteria can build up in the water if left warm and sitting in the humidifier chamber.

I empty my tank every morning (it splits in two) and leave it to dry.  I have a water softener (and previously used bottled water) and lime scale isn't much of a problem.  Once in a while I tip some vinegar in to the tank and give it a quick shake before rinsing it out.

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