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CPAP cleaners claim to use UV light or ozone to clean your CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP machine without water or elbow grease. However, the best cleaner for your CPAP machine and accessories is mild soap and warm water. Water-free CPAP cleaners are not approved by the FDA, which has spoken out about these products due to concerns about their safety and effectiveness.
While ozone — also known as activated oxygen — is capable of killing harmful bacteria, this is only accomplished at levels that are unsafe for humans. Ozone that has leaked into the room, or that remains in the CPAP hose before use, can cause or seriously aggravate breathing problems. Damage from UV light may seem easier to avoid, since it requires users to expose their skin to the light or look at it directly, but the FDA has raised doubts about its ability to sanitize opaque hoses and other CPAP parts. Overuse of UV light may also degrade CPAP parts and shorten their lifespan.
Despite these concerns, cleaners are a popular accessory for CPAP users. Some people choose to use them despite the risks because lack of time or physical limitations make it otherwise impossible for them to keep their CPAP components sanitized and clean. Anyone who chooses to use a CPAP cleaner should be aware of the risks and well-informed about its limitations, so we’ll thoroughly examine this complex topic.
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The Sleep8 CPAP cleaner uses ozone, also known as activated oxygen, to sanitize CPAP components on a daily basis. Instead of the bulky all-in-one system used by most CPAP cleaners on the market, the Sleep8 uses lightweight filter bags and a device that weighs only 0.58 pounds. Other than this difference, the Sleep8 functions in much the same way as other ozone-based cleaners: users connect their CPAP tube to the filter bag’s universal port and place their mask and hose inside the bag to be sanitized. The bags are reusable, but the manufacturer suggests replacing them every 90 days.
Many customers are rightfully concerned about the potential dangers of ozone. The Sleep8 offers more safety features than most of its competitors, including one-way valves and an automatic shut-off that engages when the cleaner is not properly connected to the filter bag. This latter feature is intended to reduce the risk of ozone leaking into your room. Customers who have chosen to purchase an ozone-based CPAP cleaner are likely to appreciate these features, but it is still important to remember that the FDA has not evaluated the Sleep8’s safety.
The Sleep8 is powered by a USB-rechargeable battery that takes one and a half hours to fully charge, though it can be used during charging. The filter bag is large enough for your mask and tubing, as well as a — removed and dried — water chamber. The manufacturer provides free shipping and a 30-day trial period, as well as standing behind their product with 24-month warranty. The charger and filter bag have separate warranties for 12 months and 90 days respectively.
Runner Up Pick
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The SoClean 2 CPAP cleaner uses ozone, which it claims sanitizes CPAP masks, hoses, and water chambers by destroying 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and mold. At 6 pounds, the SoClean — which has a white and blue plastic casing — is an average weight and size for a tabletop CPAP cleaner. Your CPAP machine tube can be attached to either the right or left side, and components are simply placed in the plastic chamber for sanitization. Each sanitizing cycle takes 7 minutes, and the machine has a light indicator to show each stage of the cycle. Some CPAP models may require an adapter, and users must replace the filter and check valve every 6 months.
Like most of its competitors, the SoClean 2 does not offer ozone-specific safety features. The manufacturer does note that people with underlying lung or cardiovascular disease should not use their product, as these disorders can increase ozone sensitivity. Users indicate that there is a distinct smell of ozone near the machine during use, and a lingering ozone scent on CPAP components. However, they do also note that the smell dissipates from the mask and hose if the machine is set to run for 10 minutes before use.
The SoClean 2 has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, allowing customers plenty of time to ensure it works for them before committing. Customers are responsible for shipping the cleaner back to their retailer, who will issue a full refund excluding shipping charges. The manufacturer also provides a 2-year warranty to cover manufacturing defects.
Best UV Cleaner
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3B Medical’s Lumin CPAP cleaner uses ultraviolet light to sanitize the surface of CPAP masks and removable water chambers. (The manufacturer also suggests using it to sanitize other objects, such as toothbrushes and dentures.) These components are placed in an easy-to-open tray, and the sanitization cycle starts with the press of a single button. The cycle takes 5 minutes, and the components are immediately ready to use after the cycle completes.
UV light is used to sanitize items ranging from airplane seats to hospital equipment, and the Lumin has been FDA-certified to clean N95 masks in healthcare settings. However, customers should still be aware that it lacks FDA certification for CPAP cleaning. UV light can only sanitize the surface of objects, so the Lumin is best used for CPAP masks and water chambers rather than hoses. If you wish to sanitize both the inside and outside of your mask, it is best to run two cycles and turn the mask over between each one. The machine has an opaque white plastic housing to reduce the risk of accidental UV light exposure.
The Lumin must be plugged into an outlet and — at over 5 pound — is intended for tabletop, rather than travel, use. Most third-party retailers do not allow for returns on this product, but purchases made through the manufacturer’s site are eligible for a 30-day trial period. 3B Medical also stands behind the Lumin with a 2-year warranty that is provided whether you buy the machine through them or a third-party retailer.
The FDA, as well as most CPAP machine manufacturers, suggest cleaning your CPAP components with mild soap and warm water on a daily basis. This process is risk-free and ensures that all contaminants — including dirt, dust, and debris — are cleaned away. CPAP cleaners, on the other hand, use ultraviolet light or ozone (also known as activated oxygen) to sanitize components. Despite their name, CPAP cleaners leave debris and only target bacteria, viruses, and mold.
No machines are FDA-cleared for sanitizing CPAP components. There are issues with both ozone and UV light-based models, with safety and effectiveness being the primary concerns. However, CPAP cleaners have gained popularity and many people believe their benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Ozone has been shown to destroy bacteria and other dangerous microbes, and ozone-based CPAP cleaners are intended for use with masks, water chambers, and hoses. However, ozone is dangerous to human health and can cause or worsen breathing issues. People with underlying lung or cardiovascular disorders tend to be more sensitive to ozone.
UV light is also a powerful sanitizer, though it only destroys microbes on surfaces exposed to the light itself. Because of this, UV-based cleaners should not be relied upon to clean hoses or opaque components. UV light can also damage skin and eyes, though most CPAP cleaners using this technology enable users to avoid accidental exposure.
Even once someone has decided a CPAP cleaner is right for their needs, choosing the right model can be a confusing process. To simplify the process, focus on the most important features and consider which machines suit your price range.
Making a purchase is always easier once you have broken down the factors to consider. For CPAP cleaners, these considerations begin with the style of sanitization — UV light or ozone — as this decision determines both safety concerns and what CPAP components can be sanitized. Other factors may be more or less important to each customer, so it’s critical to focus on the details that are most applicable to your needs.
Water-free CPAP cleaners use either ozone (activated oxygen) or ultraviolet light to destroy harmful microbes on CPAP components. Both options have distinct upsides, downsides, and safety concerns. If you choose to purchase a CPAP cleaner, your choice of sanitization style should be based on both your cleaning needs and any underlying conditions you may have.
Ease of Use
Most CPAP cleaners are relatively easy to use, making them an appealing choice for people with physical limitations. The most common design for a cleaner allows users to simply place their components in the cleaning chamber before pressing a button to begin the sanitization cycle. Other models, however, may have more settings or use bags instead of a plastic chamber.
Cleaning Cycle Time
Different styles of sanitization require different lengths of time for cleaning, with UV-based cleaners taking less time than those that use ozone. However, nearly all CPAP cleaners have cleaning cycles that take under 15 minutes.
The vast majority of CPAP cleaners are tabletop models that weigh over 5 pounds and are intended for use at home. However, customers looking for a CPAP cleaner to use while traveling have some options for lightweight models powered by rechargeable batteries.
Depending on the model you choose, a CPAP cleaner can cost nearly as much as some CPAP machines. While there are less expensive options, users should avoid budget machines with minimal safety features.
Well-reviewed CPAP cleaners are almost always backed by a manufacturer’s warranty. This usually lasts for 2 years and covers manufacturing defects or flaws, though the owner is usually responsible for the cost of shipping their CPAP cleaner to the manufacturer for review. If your CPAP cleaner has individual accessories, these may be covered under separate warranties.
Like CPAP machines themselves, CPAP cleaners sometimes require additional accessories to function properly. The most common accessories are adapters for various CPAP models — while most cleaners come with adapters to fit the majority of CPAP machines, some will require you to make a separate purchase. Filters and valves often require replacement over time, as do bags for some cleaners without plastic cleaning chambers.
Not all CPAP cleaners are compatible with all CPAP machines, even with the use of an adapter. Customers should double-check that a cleaner will work with their machine before making a purchase, particularly if the retailer does not accept returns.
CPAP cleaners range widely in price, but most cost between $150 and $400. As they are not considered durable medical devices and are not approved by the FDA, CPAP cleaners are not covered by insurance providers. The majority of third-party retailers offer discounts on CPAP cleaners, whether consistently or during special sales events, and some manufacturers also provide rebates or discounts when purchasing from them directly.
In addition to their initial costs, CPAP cleaners also require users to replace some components over time. Nearly all models require filter replacement every 90 days to 6 months, with some cleaners also requiring valve or sanitizing bag replacement. While these components tend not to be prohibitively expensive, potential customers should be aware of these costs before making a purchase.
Depending on the manufacturer or third-party retailer, CPAP cleaners may be available with a satisfaction guarantee or risk-free trial. While customers are usually responsible for the cost of shipping their cleaner back to the retailer or manufacturer, these trials allow for testing a cleaner without making a major commitment. Most CPAP cleaners also offer a warranty that covers manufacturing flaws and defects.
CPAP machines are complex enough, but deciding whether or not to purchase a CPAP cleaner comes with its own set of questions. As with other parts of your CPAP treatment, you should bring any further questions or concerns to your healthcare team.
The FDA has not approved any commercial CPAP cleaners and recommended CPAP users rely on mild soap and warm water to clean components on a daily basis. Ozone-based models may leak or retain unsafe levels of ozone, while UV-based cleaners may be ineffective and run the risk of exposing users to dangerous ultraviolet rays.
CPAP cleaners claim to use ozone (activated oxygen) or ultraviolet light to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and mold on CPAP components. Both ozone and UV light are used for sterilization in many contexts, but the efficacy of CPAP cleaners have not been confirmed or approved by the FDA.
Unlike CPAP machines, CPAP cleaners are available to purchase without a prescription. They are usually available for purchase through the manufacturer, as well as both brick-and-mortar and online third-party retailers. CPAP cleaners are not covered by Medicare or insurance providers.
CPAP cleaners can usually work with all PAP therapy devices. However, customers should always double-check whether a cleaner will work with their machine, either with or without an additional adapter. Some CPAP cleaners may also void your PAP machine’s warranty.
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