Keeping your CPAP Hose Clean

Keeping your CPAP hose clean is something that many CPAP users do not practice or even think about.   It is something that should not be overlooked in your CPAP routine.  The nature of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is to apply pressurized air into your respiratory system.  If your CPAP hose is not kept clean, this can potentially expose you to harmful bacteria or other microbes that can grow in the hose and cause you to become ill.   Bacteria and other microbes tend to thrive and multiply in moist environments, and if you experience condensation or rainout from your CPAP hose, your hose is now an excellent environment for bacteria to grow. 

Ideally in a world without tube condensation, the CPAP hose should rarely need cleaning.  Without condensation, the environment in the hose should be dry, as the continuous airflow should keep any exhalation backwash and moisture from entering the tube.   However, most things in life are less than ideal and if you do experience rain out, your CPAP hose now becomes a very fertile environment for bacteria to live.

You should regularly inspect your CPAP hose to look for any signs of moisture or discoloration within the tube.  If you use a tube cover, it is important to take the tube out to see if it is clean or if there may be something growing in there.  If you notice water in the tube, it should be dried out immediately to prevent growth of bacteria or other microbes.  You can run the CPAP machine to blow the water out if your CPAP machine allows for you to do this.  Some machines will stop blowing when there is no resistance and you won’t be able to use it for clearing out moisture.  You can also try shaking the hose out to remove the moisture.  Another handy way to dry your CPAP tube is to tie some fishing line to a piece of lint free cloth on one end and to a weighted balance on the other end like a bolt or a hex-nut and drop the weighted end of the fishing line through your tube.  You can then pull the fishing line through the tube and the lint-free cloth will be pulled through the tube, drying it as it goes.

It is not a bad idea to regularly wash the tubing with a mild cleaner.  You can rinse the tube out by running the spigot through the tube and letting it drain into the bathtub.   You can use RespiSoak and soak the tubing and then dry it out.  After soaking, rinse again and dry your tube as described above.

It is also recommended to replace your CPAP hose every 3-6 months just to be on the safe side and to make sure that your hose is always new and clean.

There are always bacteria and microbes in our environment.  Whether we get sick or not from exposure to bacteria can depend on many factors such as the amount of exposure or how healthy you are when you are exposed to harmful bacteria.  Your body’s immune system can naturally fight off bacteria and other pathogens, but there will be times when your immune system is weakened and your body is more vulnerable to become sick with exposure to microbes.  It is best practice to keep your CPAP equipment and hose clean to minimize your exposure to microbes and to minimize your risk from getting sick.

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