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CPAP/BiPAP/AVAPS Cleaning, Maintenance, and Care

If your child has a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), or average volume assured pressure support (AVAPS) machine, it is very important to keep the machine clean and germ-free. When your child breathes out air into the device, it also includes moisture. This can create environments for bacteria to grow.  Signs of bacterial overgrowth include a foul odor or visible growth.

Maintain your equipment as recommended, including routine cleaning and replacement of supplies. Call your durable medical equipment (DME) company for any questions regarding supplies or maintenance.

It is important that you care for the device and equipment on a regular basis. This will ensure cleanliness and decrease risks for air leaks or buildup of bacteria. Follow the directions below to clean your equipment every day, every week, or every other week.

Clean Every Day

  1. Remove and empty water chamber.
  2. Allow chamber to air dry completely on clean surface.
  3. Wipe mask and headgear with clean cloth dampened with warm soapy water. Repeat with only warm water.
  4. Allow to completely air dry.

Clean Every Week

  1. Wash chamber with warm water and standard dish soap or place on top rack of dishwasher.
  2. Rinse chamber again with hot water.
  3. Allow chamber to air dry completely.
  4. Take mask apart and wash all pieces and headgear in warm water with standard dish soap.
  5. Allow mask and headgear to completely air dry and then reassemble.
  6. Remove tubing from pressure valve or air outlet port.
  7. Soak tubing in sink filled with hot soapy water.
  8. Rinse tubing with hot water until all soap removed.
  9. Hang tubing to air dry completely.
  10. Check the light blue ultra-fine filter and replace every 30 days or sooner if dirty.
  11. Clean the pressure valve in warm water with dish soap.
  12. Rinse pressure valve off with hot water.
  13. Allow pressure valve to completely air dry.
  14. Make sure valve works by pressing and then releasing the internal blue disk several times. The disk should return to normal position.

Clean Every Two Weeks

  1. Remove dark blue pollen filter.
  2. Separate it from light blue ultra-fine filter.
  3. Replace dark blue pollen filter with clean filter.
  4. Wash used (dirty) filter with warm water.
  5. Shake filter to remove extra water.
  6. Allow to air dry completely.
  7. Store supplies in a clean dry container.

Replace any equipment that is torn, cracked, cushion is not soft, or equipment not cleaning well.

When would my child need to change pressure therapy equipment?

Reasons that might indicate a need to change the pressure therapy might include:

  • weight gain or loss
  • having previously felt refreshed by sleep with use and now waking un-refreshed
  • return of daytime sleepiness

When should humidifier levels be adjusted?

Humidifiers can be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of moisture according to your child’s comfort level. You may need to adjust this frequently at first, but then might only change it with seasonal weather changes.

Try INCREASING the humidity if your child has:

  • dry, irritated nasal passage or throat.
  • runny, drippy nose or sneezing fits after using PAP.
  • nasal congestion during or after PAP use.

Try DECREASING the humidity if there is:

  • excessive condensation or
  • “rain out” in the tubing or mask

Keep the tubing warm during the night by running it underneath the blankets or pillow.

What should I do when traveling?

Always take equipment with you. If flying, bring the equipment with you as a carry on. Medical equipment does not count as a carry on. If you travel internationally, the machines take 110-240 voltage. The only adapter needed is the adapter that will fit into the receptacle (outlet). You may also want to bring an extension cord as many hotel rooms have limited outlets at the bedside. Do not travel with water in the humidifier chamber.

What else do I need to know?

Please bring device with any hospitalization. If anticipating surgery be sure to discuss with the surgeon and anesthesiologist that your child has sleep apnea and use positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.


This information is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic.

Reviewed 2/2020

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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