My Health Blog Methodist Health Home
Keeping your CPAP equipment clean
last updated:
Tue, 10/23/2012 1:59 PM

Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is the standard treatment option for moderate to severe cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and is a good option for mild sleep apnea. CPAP blows air into a person’s windpipe at a set, steady pressure. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing pauses in breathing and restoring normal oxygen levels.

Patients who require CPAP supplies can order them conveniently online by clicking here.

Whether you are a patient who has just started CPAP treatment, or a patient who has experienced the benefits of this treatment for many years, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how to clean and disinfect your respiratory equipment. Check out these tips from for how to keep your equipment in pristine working order.

Cleaning and disinfecting your respiratory equipment is essential to the life of the equipment and to your health. Whenever moisture is present, from water supplies, from body humidity, or any bodily fluid, bacteria can grow. If your equipment is not properly cleaned and dried, bacteria builds up and can lead to infections in your body, especially in your airway passages. Also, the oils in your skin and the minerals in tap water can cause premature breakdown in the materials used to manufacture your CPAP equipment, especially your mask. Therefore, we recommend the cleaning and disinfection schedule be followed diligently.

Daily cleaning removes dirt and oils that may harbor germs. Disinfection actually kills germs that may lead to infection. Remember to always wash your hands prior to handling your CPAP equipment.

To wash your CPAP equipment:
Only use a mild, non-lotion detergent. Do not use soap or strong dish washing detergents such as Dawn or Joy. Avoid detergents that use strong perfumes or dyes. We recommend using a dishwashing detergent like Ivory Clear, Palmolive, or Dial Anti-Bacteria for cleaning your equipment.

To disinfect your equipment:
Mix 1/2 oz. (1 tablespoon) of Control III with 2 quarts of water in a plastic container. The solution can be reused for up to 14 days. If the solution becomes visibly dirty, make a fresh batch. First wash and rinse your CPAP equipment, then soak it in the Control III solution for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly (allow water to run for 3 minutes) with tap water and then allow to air dry. Cover dried parts with a clean towel until the equipment is reassembled. To dry your CPAP tubing, hang over a doorknob or hanger. Alternative to Control III - Wash equipment with warm, soapy water, rinse and then soak equipment in a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse well and dry as instructed above.

Drying Hints:
Always hang tubing away from direct sunlight, as this will cause the tubing to become yellow, brittle and crack over a period of time. DO NOT attach the wet tubing to your CPAP unit to blow-dry it. The moisture from the tubing can drain back into your machine. Moisture in your unit can cause sudden pressure increases or short circuits.

Cleaning the CPAP unit:

  • Unplug the unit before cleaning it.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Using a cloth slightly dampened with water and dish detergent, wipe the outside of the unit.
  • Using a cloth dampened with water only, wipe the outside of the unit again.
  • Use a dry cloth to wipe the unit and then let it air dry.
  • Make sure the unit is thoroughly dry before plugging it in.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Humidifier:

  • Empty any remaining water after each use.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Immerse the humidifier in warm, soapy water.
  • Fill the humidifier with the soapy water and shake the humidifier vigorously.
  • Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry.


  • Mix disinfecting solution (1 tablespoon disinfectant per 2 quarts water).
  • Soak the humidifier in disinfectant for 10 minutes.
  • Be sure the disinfectant completely covers and fills the humidifier.
  • Remove the humidifier and shake out the excess solution and rinse with distilled water.
  • Allow to air dry.

DO's and DON'Ts:

  • Don't use alcohol-based products to clean your mask, because it can cause the materials to become hard and brittle.
  • Do follow the recommended cleaning schedule.
  • Don't use any caustic or household cleaning solutions such as bleach on your CPAP equipment.
  • Do change your disposable filter frequently.
  • Don't put headgear in the washer or dryer.

CPAP Equipment Cleaning and Disinfecting Schedule


Cleaning Frequency


Disinfecting Frequency

Non-Disposable Filters (gray)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Not Required

Disposable Filters

Change as needed 1 to 2 months

Do Not Wash

Not Required

Hose (without humidifier)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Not Required

Hose (with humidifier)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Once a week

Mask / Nasal Pillows


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Once a week


As Needed

Hand wash, Mild soapy water, Rinse, Dry

Not Required



Empty water daily; Mild soapy water, Rinse well, Air Dry

Once a week


As Needed

Dust with damp cloth, No detergents or sprays

Not Required

If you or your loved one requires CPAP supplies or any other home medical equipment, please visit the Methodist Home Medical Equipment Online Store at

Making the Most of Home Care
last updated:
Tue, 9/25/2012 3:31 PM

While we’d all like to think that a discharge from the hospital leaves us at 100 percent, often recovery time and medical equipment is needed for complete recovery at home.

Your medical care team, which includes physicians, home health aides and social workers, can give you a list of equipment and supplies you will need. It also might be beneficial to look into a care coordinator for your family. A care coordinator can take stock of your situation, help you access the right services, counsel you and your family, then monitor your progress with an eye toward channeling your energy and abilities as effectively as possible. Having the help of a care coordinator (often called a care manager) could make your life easier and less lonesome, and help you be a more capable family caregiver.

Depending on your condition, the following are possible medical supplies that your loved one could need at home:

  • Aerosol supplies
  • Apnea monitors
  • CPM machines
  • Crutches
  • Group 2 mattresses
  • Hospital beds
  • Incontinence products
  • Oxygen
  • Portable Oxygen concentrator
  • Patient Lifts
  • Tens Unit
  • Urological Products including bedside commodes
  • Volume & Pressure supported Ventilators
  • Power Wheelchairs
  • Wheelchairs & Accessories
  • Walkers

All of these supplies are available online, at Methodist Healthcare accepts most major insurance plans, including:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • TennCare
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Most private insurance

It’s a good idea to have the required equipment delivered and in working order before your discharge from the hospital. The Methodist Home Medical Equipment office is open for equipment pick-up from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday (with the exception of major holidays). Delivery is available 24 hours a day for new referrals.

By having everything ready in advance for your loved one's return you will help ensure a more comfortable transition home.

Methodist Home Medical Equipment
Phone: (901) 516-1999
(800) 541-8277
Fax: (901) 382-1979

National Family Caregivers Association

7 Ways to Prepare for Physical Therapy
last updated:
Thu, 4/08/2010 3:40 PM

Hello. I am Dawn Caldwell, PT. I have worked as a physical therapist for 19 years and work in the homecare environment with my patients. Some people refer to PT as pain and torture but it refers to a physical therapist. There are some things you should know before you are referred to physical therapy. 

If you go to your doctor with a problem and he says, "we are going to try some physical therapy to help you," you need to educate and prepare yourself so you know what to expect. Here are some ways to be ready for that first physical therapy visit:

  1. Ask your doctor what type of therapy you will be doing and what to expect.
  2. If you have a specific problem like a wound, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lymphodema, chronic pain, stroke, orthopaedic problem, then ask the doctor who he recommends because therapists have different training, specialties and certifications. 
  3. Ask your friends if they have had physcial therapy, what their experience was and if they would recommend their physical therapist. You must still be referred by your doctor, but this will give you a name to start with.
  4. Go and visit the facility. When you make your appointment, do it in person and meet the therapist. Look around and see if the facility is clean, see if the therapists give the patients one on one, or if it is like a gym and fitness center.  
  5. Make sure your insurance covers the physical therapy and the clinic where you were referred. See what your out of pocket expense will be. 
  6. Before your appointment for your evaluation, write down your problem in detail.  Therapist are usually good listeners and like facts on your history, medications, sleeping patterns, recent changes in activity, what can you do and don’t do, why are you here for therapy—in addition to the fact that the doctor sent you. 
  7. Think about your goal. What do you want to accomplish? What is the realistic outcome of therapy? Communicate all this with your therapist because it will help establish a plan of care that will meet your needs.

When you arrive for your first physical therapy appointment, wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes for your evaluation and therapy sessions. Relax and talk to your therapist. It is important that you feel comfortable talking to him or her about what is going on. I have talked with patients and found that the reason for the cramps or pain in their legs might be due to not taking their potassium as ordered, that another doctor has ordered a new medicine with pain as a side effect, not sleeping at night. When they saw the doctor this was not addressed.

So, the most important thing you can do is COMMUNICATE with your physical therapist and your doctor so you can get the best treatment for yourself.


Dawn Caldwell is a Physical Therapist with Methodist Healthcare. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.


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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000