How To Clean a CPAP Humidifier

How To Clean a CPAP Humidifier

December 25, 2009 | |

Why Use a CPAP Humidifier?

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the throat muscles to collapse during sleep, preventing oxygen from traveling to the brain and lungs. Left untreated, this disease has been linked to a number of serious health risks

During CPAP therapy, pressurized air is delivered to a patient’s airway to keep it open throughout the night. The pressurized air of CPAP can lead to sore throats and nasal irritation in the morning, especially for patients living in dry or elevated climates. Humidifiers introduce moisture into CPAP therapy to help hydrate the air for more comfortable therapy and fewer side effects.

Why Clean a CPAP Humidifier?

Calcium and other minerals bond to similar molecules, eventually collecting on the surface of the humidifier water chamber. Eventually, these deposits become large enough to see either on the surface or floating in the water. Calcium and other minerals can cause damage to the water chamber, rubber, and silicon O-ring sealers if not properly cleaned.

Users of CPAP machines with humidifiers should following a cleaning schedule to properly maintain their water chambers. We suggest the following schedule to improve the service life your CPAP humidifier and water chamber.

How to Clean a CPAP Humidifier?


Be sure to rinse any excess water from the water chamber after each use. Reusing old water can lead to a buildup of germs and bacteria that may cause illness. Follow your device’s specific instructions for removing the water chamber before emptying the water. Do not empty your water chamber with the humidifier still attached to your CPAP machine.


Select a day to use approved CPAP cleaning supplies to clean all surfaces inside and outside the water chamber. Inspect O-ring seals for any damage and look for cracks in the water chamber. If any components are not correct, replace them immediately. Using damaged parts can cause leaks that can damage your entire CPAP machine.


Select a day each month to use distilled vinegar and water to clean and disinfect the water chamber. The monthly process should be as follows:

Hard plastic parts should be boiled in a mixture of one part distilled vinegar and one part distilled water for 10 minutes. Let air dry completely.
Soak the rubber and silicone O-rings in a mixture of one-part distilled vinegar and one-part distilled water for 30 minutes. Brush each with a soft bristle toothbrush to remove the loosened deposits. Let air dry completely. Once components are dry, reassemble for use.

Following these procedures will extend the life of your CPAP humidifier and water chamber. If you need to replace any part of your humidifier, contact our knowledgeable customer care team for assistance. We provide replacement parts for a number of CPAP manufacturers. Call 866-414-9700 or email today.

This post had an update from its original version on March 29, 2021.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.