How to Remove a Musty Odor From a CPAP Machine

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Sleep apnea occurs when a sleeping person’s airway closes many times in the night and partially wakes him to leave him very tired the next morning. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine forces air down the throat of people with sleep apnea to keep their airway from closing at night. Air and moisture collect in the tubing that the air travels through from the unit to the CPAP mask. This can produce mold spores with a musty odor in the tubing and mask. Cleaning all parts with a vinegar solution disinfects the CPAP components and eliminates the odor.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Washcloth
  • Cup or pitcher
  • Towel

Pull the tubing off the CPAP machine and mask. Place the tubing in the kitchen sink.

Pull the filter off by pinching it between a forefinger and thumb. Place the filter in the kitchen sink.

Mix a vinegar and water solution of 1 quart vinegar and 3 quarts of water. Pour it into the sink and swish the tubing and filter back and forth. Allow the tubing and filter to soak in the solution for 30 minutes. Rinse the tubing and filter under a stream of cold water from the kitchen faucet on the other side of the sink until the vinegar odor is no longer present. Hang the tubing over a doorknob with the center on the knob and each of the two ends hanging down.

Dip a washcloth into the vinegar and water mixture in the sink. Wring the washcloth out and wipe the interior of the CPAP mask or pillows.

Pour the water out of the humidifier if the unit has one. Dip a pitcher or cup into the vinegar and water solution and fill the water tank. Let the solution soak in the tank for 30 minutes. Pour the solution out, wipe the inside with a dry towel, and refill the tank with distilled water.

Let all items dry thoroughly before attaching them onto the CPAP machine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean and disinfect a CPAP machine in the morning after waking to allow ample drying time before use at night.

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