Saving money on and cleaning your CPAP machine

Saving money on and cleaning your CPAP

CPAP machines can be really expensive to maintain. Replacing the tubing, humidifier or water tank, masks, etc. when your machine recommends it to you really does add up, and is awful for the environment as much of it is not recyclable. If you have sleep apnea, and take good care of your water chamber, mask parts and shop savvy, you can really save some money and the planet!

*Please note that all items in this article may void the warranty of the machine or parts. Please check with your supplier or warranty before doing this. Fk fodmaps takes no responsibility should something go awry!*

Cleaning mineral deposits, calcium, limescale and hard water descale from your water tank

Lets face it, some of us are lazier than others and don’t do the weekly maintenance. This means that a really nasty buildup of calcium deposits, or a thick white powder or white residue can form on the bottom of your vaporiser. 

This can be anything from the hard water mineral resources or deposits built up like limescale, calc (calcium buildup) and more. They tend to look like a yellow-ish layer over the top of the bottom metal of your water chamber or vaporiser. 

There are a few ways you can clean this off and make it almost like new for cheap – like less than $3 cheap!

  • Vinegar
    • Take 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts warm water and let it soak for 15-30 mins.
    • After this time, clean with a toothbrush to get the best results. 
    • Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended here. It may be too harsh, and we don’t want to ruin these parts!
  • Citric acid – for really stubborn limescale or calcium buildup, get yourself some citric acid. 
    • Take about 1-2 tablespoons of citric acid and mix with enough warm water to cover the entire base of your water tank, the metal part at the bottom
    • Pour it in and let it sit for about 30mins/half an hour. You’ll notice it will bubble and fizz, and parts of the calcium build-up will start to disappear.
    • After 30 minutes, give the base a scrub with a toothbrush, then tip out the water.
    • If there are still bits stuck on, do the same steps again, and the second time there should be hardly any left. 
  • Scrubbing and rust
    • If you have small rust spots, clean these off with whatever you would use on stainless steel pots that won't scratch the surface. A scrub daddy or copper cloth should work.

Save money on CPAP parts

There are so many parts to buy semi-regularly for a CPAP machine. You can buy these items at a far cheaper rate if you know what you’re looking for. Take a look below at some of the items you can save on.

  • CPAP filters – in Australia, branded filters can sell for up to $3 each. A quick eBay search shows you can get just as effective, exact same sized filters for about $1.30 each, in a pack of 12. That's a saving of $25-ish per year just there!
  • Headgear/straps – these straps stretch over time, meaning you’re pulling the velcro higher and higher. These straps and headgear easily sell for $50 or more when buying branded, or from official sellers. Again, a quick eBay search of ‘cpap headgear’ or ‘cpap strap’ will bring up many sellers in your country, selling unbranded items for under $10.
  • Hose tubing cover – if you’re in a cold environment, be it winter or airconditioning, your tube may build up with water and make a glugging noise. It also may cause condensation around the elbow between the mask and tube, which leads to water waking you up. This can be solved by covering your hose in a blanket type material. Search for CPAP tube cover on eBay or Etsy to find local sellers making these at very reasonable prices.
  • Mask pillows – while not recommended, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. I have had the silicone come off my full face mask while on holiday at Christmas, meaning my mask was not working. I needed a quick fix to get some sleep and save the other people in the room from my snoring while I ordered a new one to meet me back home.
    • For this, I used some very strong super adhesive that is suitable to bond to many types of surfaces. Something like Tarzan’s grip or a quick grip that is fast drying.
    • I did this first thing in the morning to ensure there were many hours between the glue setting and it going on my face. 
    • I put the glue on outside, and let it sit for a few hours out there. 
    • After it was set, I soaked it for half an hour in vinegar and water to try to ward off the fumes.
  • Full face mask covers and liners – these are so expensive, but they save the silicone on your mask really well. The official ones from your CPAP maker cost somewhere in the region of $50 for 30 or something, and they’re not reusable. There are a few ways to buy reusable though! Realistically you'll need more than 3 of these to make sure they stay pretty clean
    • Snugz run for about $40-60 each
    • RespLabs Full Face CPAP Mask Liners are around $20-30 for 4, check out Amazon, Walmart and google for your local
    • Etsy has a load of sellers who make these for really cheap. Support small business!