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What Happens If I Don’t Clean My CPAP Supplies Regularly? (Part 1)

Whether you are a new CPAP user, or a CPAP machine has been helping you sleep better for years, it’s crucial that you maintain your equipment properly to ensure it’s safety and efficacy. But let’s be real, when life gets hectic, it is not uncommon for CPAP users to neglect routine cleanings or to use parts well beyond their replacement date. This may seem harmless as long as the machine still works, but there are a variety of consequences that can come from not properly taking care of your CPAP equipment.

The main problem with failing to properly clean and maintain your CPAP machine is that this can allow viruses, bacteria, and even mold to grow in your equipment (gross!). This is why it’s super important that you clean and disinfect your CPAP equipment on a regular basis, as breathing in these pathogens can lead to several unsavory health problems. If you are a CPAP user who sometimes forgets to take care of proper maintenance and disinfection, here is a look at just a few of the problems that can arise from doing so.

An Unpleasant Odor

One particularly unpleasant side effect of not cleaning your CPAP equipment frequently enough is that this could cause your equipment to develop an unpleasant smell. If you notice a stale or musty aroma coming from your CPAP equipment, it is likely that there is some kind of mold, mildew, or bacteria growing inside of your CPAP machine or tubing.

Not only can these odors make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, but exposure to mold, mildew, and allergens in a dirty CPAP machine can also cause allergy symptoms that can leave you miserable during the day as well. Additionally, if your equipment goes unattended long enough, the smell could even begin to disturb your partner’s sleep. Foul odors are a clear sign that it is time for CPAP maintenance and disinfection.   

Skin Irritation

If you’ve slipped on your CPAP cleaning chores and let your CPAP equipment get dirty, it is likely that your skin will pay the price. The skin on the face is particularly sensitive, and a dirty mask can wreak havoc on your moneymaker. If you’ve been battling acne lately and cannot explain why, it’s likely that the skin cells and oils that collect on your CPAP mask are being absorbed through your skin, causing irritation and breakouts. 

A dirty CPAP mask can also cause skin irritation, soreness, rashes, and breakouts. This makes it critical that you clean your CPAP mask regularly. This should usually be done at least once a week, however, you should consult the instructions that came with your equipment for a specific cleaning guide. 

And if you need a refresher on when to replace your CPAP supplies, check out our handy dandy infographic.  

Chronic Sinusitis 

Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, are a type of infection that causes inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Sinusitis can be particularly painful and lead to headaches, facial pain, and nasal congestion. While acute sinusitis is not uncommon and will often resolve itself within a week or two, chronic infections can last up to 8 weeks or more. If you have been suffering from frequent sinus infections, and/or you have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you may want to consider how well you are cleaning your CPAP equipment.

For those with sleep apnea who rely on a CPAP machine to achieve a good night’s sleep, proper CPAP cleaning and maintenance is essential. If you do not clean your CPAP equipment regularly, this can lead to a variety of unwanted side effects including potentially dangerous health problems.

We’re focusing on Spring CPAP Cleaning all month, so look out for our next post as we continue to examine the dangers of improper CPAP maintenance, such as chronic respiratory problems. To help ensure your equipment is free of dust, germs and other bacteria and celebrate Spring, we’re offering two great deals the entire month of March: get a free pack of SoClean Unscented Wipes ($10 value) with the purchase of $50 or more* and get 10% off† the purchase of a single CPAP cleaning item. No codes necessary.*

And remember, we are always here to help answer any questions about your CPAP therapy, help you find the right sleep system, or get you started on your sleep journey. You can call us at 833-216-CPAP, shoot us an email at, or Live Chat with us right on the website!

*Discount good for one (1) pack of SoClean Unscented Wipes per customer. Customer must add product to cart. Cart total must be more than $50.00. Offer ends 3/31/2021.

†Offer good on a single cleaning product per cart. Discounted automatically applied to the highest-priced item. One use per customer. Only good on cleaning supplies. Offer ends 3/31/2021.

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