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The Dangers of Sleeping With Dirty CPAP Equipment

The Dangers of Sleeping With Dirty CPAP Equipment

Doctors and CPAP specialists don’t tell you to clean your equipment as a suggestion. They ask you to keep up with its maintenance because it improves the machine’s performance and prevents you from suffering from a severe medical ailment.

There are several bells and whistles to your CPAP machine. It includes a mask, humidifier, water chamber, and tubing system. All these pieces are in danger of developing mold and bacteria because they all come into contact with water.

Warning Signs

Since mold and bacteria can quickly develop, it’s essential to pay attention to some of the warning signs that alert you of the dangers of sleeping with dirty CPAP equipment. Recognizing these signs is critical to preventing a severe illness, especially when following helpful cleaning tips and tricks.

You Notice a Smell

One of your five classic senses helps you know if your CPAP equipment is less than stellar. If a pungent smell is stinging your nostrils, it’s a strong sign that bacteria and other dangerous pathogens have made themselves at home on your equipment.

It helps to get a second opinion to see if you are the only one who recognizes the room’s smell. If the stench is noticeable for all the parties involved, you’ll want to clean all the moving parts immediately, and you may even have to replace them.

Irritated Skin

When your face is in constant contact with your mask, it can start to feel irritated and develop a rash. However, these blemishes may also form from your skin responding to certain toxins that remain on the mask. Thus, if your face is breaking out unexpectedly, it’s a telltale sign that your gear is dirty.

Frequently Under the Weather

You know your body the best, so you will understand if you start feeling ill more often than usual. Consistently breathing in dirty, contaminated air offers a one-way road for germs to infect you and your immune system. Ergo, if you feel you are getting a head cold frequently, your equipment likely needs a soak and a rinse.

Serious Illnesses

Now that you know the red flags that your dirty equipment is affecting your health, you need to learn about the repercussions you may face if you slack with your cleaning efforts. All these conditions are preventable if you are proactive with maintaining your equipment, so hopefully, you will never fall victim to any of these circumstances.

Sinus Infections

Sticking with the theme of feeling ill more often than usual, you may develop a sinus infection if you don’t replace or clean your machine and its accessories. If you already have issues breathing at night, you’ll want to avoid this ailment because it’s hard to breathe when your nose is stuffy. Although you know the sinus infection will go away, time stands still when you feel this sick.

Respiratory Infections

You also allow other respiratory infections to make their presence known, most notably an ear infection. If you don’t remember your last ear infection, considering it was more common when you were a youngster, it’s most definitely one of the most unpleasant experiences imaginable. Therefore, don’t allow your equipment to gather dust, which leaves the door open for this type of condition.

Allergy Symptoms

It’s possible to confuse an illness with common allergies, so you will likely know when it’s more significant. Machines that attract some dust clouds, affecting your device, can bring on some headaches, sneezing, and other sinus irritations.


Avoiding pneumonia at all costs is vital for one’s health, which is why you shouldn’t skimp out on a regular cleaning schedule. Suffering from pneumonia may require a trip to the hospital if it ends up being critical. Furthermore, the aftereffects of pneumonia may make your OSA even worse.


In the most extreme circumstances, one may suffer from pneumonitis. If this illness develops, your lungs may have permanent damage. Additionally, heart failure can occur if it goes untreated.

Tips for Using Your CPAP Device Properly

The doom and gloom are over. If you adhere to the following tips for handling your CPAP device, these extenuating circumstances will be nothing more than scary forethoughts.

Don’t Use Tap Water

Filtered water is crucial to use for your CPAP humidifier. Under no circumstances should you use water from the tap, even if you are out of the distilled variety. Get a filtration system for your sink to avoid this situation, as unfiltered water will cause calcium buildup within the chambers.

Heated Tubing

Heating tubing helps you inhale warm water before it cools off. Moreover, a heated tube shields you from any condensation that develops inside the breathing mechanism. Limiting the condensation prevents mold and bacteria from spreading.

Replace Filter

Your machine will usually have two filters. You should replace the disposable filters monthly and the reusable filters at least twice a year. New filters do a better job at removing all the allergens that are flying around in your room.

Thorough Cleaning

Athletes rarely wear the same athletic gear for every sport, game, and activity they do unless they are superstitious. No one likes wearing and using dirty, greasy, smelly garments or accessories, which is why you need to clean and replace your things. You can check out various CPAP machine cleaning devices, so it feels like you’re putting on a new item every single time.

Empty Water From Humidifier

If you were a humidifier owner in the past, you probably left the water in longer than you should have. However, you will need to ensure that your humidifier chamber never has leftover water in it. If you don’t, mold will develop. If you haven’t noticed, mold is a common theme if you let things go untreated.

Disinfect Pieces

Washing, rinsing, and drying aid in your efforts, but the last step of disinfecting everything ensures that germs aren’t a threat. Make it a routine to disinfect everything at least once a week, eliminating anything clinging to your accessories. The whole process should take no more than an hour, guaranteeing fresh air through your tube as you doze off.

Visit our store at CPAPnation to prevent the dangers of sleeping with dirty CPAP equipment. As you read, having tidy equipment can be the difference between being healthy and sick. And no one likes to feel ill, especially if it’s consistently happening.

The Dangers of Sleeping With Dirty CPAP Equipment


Disclaimer: The information provided on is solely for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. Reliance on any information provided by is solely at your own risk.