CPAPs use continuous pressure to alleviate sleep apnea, which has many adverse health effects. However, the humidifier that CPAPs use creates warm, moist air that is then pumped through dark, difficult-to-clean tubing — creating a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Inhaling mold, especially over the course of an entire night, can potentially make you sick.
If you are suffering from any of the following, it may be a sign that your CPAP has mold in it:
- Coughing fits
- Respiratory & sinus infections
If you suspect your CPAP machine is making you sick, take it to a doctor with you as soon as possible to have both you and the machine checked out.
The FDA recommends cleaning your CPAP daily to prevent this kind of mold buildup. Before you use your CPAP, there are some warning signs to look for to make sure you’re not inhaling mold and bacteria when you put it on.
Mask and tubing discoloration
CPAP mask mold is not different from any other mold you may see in your shower or on the side of a house. The quickest and easiest way to identify it is to regularly check your equipment for discoloration. There is no one single kind of CPAP mask mold, so red, green, blue, or black discoloration or build-up may be a sign that your CPAP equipment is dirty and potentially dangerous.
Note: CPAP companions that use ozone can cause a slight yellowish-brown discoloration to masks over time. This usually happens when skin oils or cosmetics from your face stick to the mask and then come in contact with ozone during the maintenance cycle. It’s worth noting that any discoloration that happens because of this does not affect the integrity or functionality of the mask. Learn more here.
A dirty humidifier
The humidifier is what takes the liquid water of a CPAP and infuses it into the air. It’s essential for the use of a CPAP machine because it is very uncomfortable to pump dry air into your lungs. However, humidifiers need to be regularly cleaned. The good news is, these are usually pretty easy to maintain as they are made to come apart and be refilled. Make it a point to also check your humidifier every time you clean your mask and tubing.
Standing water in the tubing
Because most tubing is ribbed, there are lots of crevices for water to sit in. Moisture is one of the main things that bacteria and mold need to thrive, so the tubing makes an ideal place to grow. Always be sure to dry out your tubing so that there is no water inside that could attract or support mold.
Musty or moldy smell
The average person has a very keen sense of smell. If you put on your mask and smell something that isn’t right, chances are there is mold beginning to form. You may even be able to smell the mold long before you can see it. That’s especially helpful because with many CPAPs you can’t see down into the tubing that runs from the humidifier to the mask.
What we think of as dust can actually be a lot of things: dirt, hair, fabric, even stray skin cells. Which makes it that much more unsettling to think about your CPAP equipment getting dusty. This is the reason that proper storage of a CPAP is essential. Because lots of dust comes from organic material, it can quickly become a source for mold to form around. You can always clean the mask itself with Sleep8 Mask M8tes wipes, but you will need to use other methods to keep the tubing and humidifier free of dirt and dust.
Maintaining your CPAP equipment
Sleep8 uses the latest technology to maintain your mask and tubing and is compatible with virtually every CPAP model. It’s quiet, easy to use, and is compact enough to be packed in your bedside table or a suitcase should you need to travel. Visit here to learn more.