For many people living with respiratory conditions like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, oxygen equipment is a necessity for daily life. Even for those who use oxygen less frequently, it is always important to keep a clean oxygen mask and other oxygen supplies handy if needed. For steps to keep your oxygen equipment clean, read on:

Why Clean?

Since oxygen masks, cannulas, and tubes are put directly near the face, there’s bound to be some form of bacterial buildup eventually. Even though some devices-- especially cannulas-- may only last a short time, it is important to clean them to prevent illness. In some instances, cleaning your equipment may also prevent mold growth, which can severely affect the lungs.


Before cleaning your device, there are a few things you’ll need to gather:

  • A clean washcloth and towel
  • Gentle laundry detergent or soap
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Clean water
  • Gloves, if necessary
  • A face mask, if necessary

All forms of respiratory equipment need to be wiped down before cleaning to remove dust, dirt, or pollen that may be on the device. While your device is drying, you may need to use another. It is always best to have multiple sets of masks, cannulas, or tubing for this purpose.


Cleaning Your Filter

All oxygen devices have filters to prevent mold, dust, pollen, and the like from entering the lungs. Thus, they will need to be cleaned regularly, or replaced, depending on the device’s instruction manual. While most doctors recommend cleaning your filter once a month, it is okay to clean more frequently or as needed. To clean your oxygen filter, make sure your machine is off, and remove the filter according to your device’s instruction manual. Then, you can place the filter into a bowl or container filled with warm water and your gentle soap. Let the filter soak for a moment if necessary, and gently scrub it with your washcloth. Rinse your filter under running water, and place the filter on a towel to air-dry. Always let your air filters dry completely before reinserting them.

Cleaning Your Oxygen Mask

To clean your oxygen mask, you’ll need to disassemble the device as much as possible. You can reference the device’s instructions if needed. Just like cleaning your filter, place the mask parts in warm, soapy water, and let them soak for several minutes. After soaking, rinse each piece thoroughly with running water. Then, soak the parts in a vinegar mixture. This mixture should consist of three parts water to one part vinegar. Rinse each piece again after soaking for twenty minutes, and place the pieces individually on a clean, dry towel.

Cannulas and Tubing

It can be especially difficult to clean oxygen tubing and cannulas, so the process of disinfecting them is a little different. The best way to clean tubing is to wipe the outside of the tube with a damp cloth as needed. For cannulas specifically, wipe down the device with a warm, wet washcloth and some gentle soap. You may also clean the cannula by using a water-vinegar mixture (one part vinegar to 20 parts water). Let the cannula hang to dry, and let it dry completely.


To browse more respiratory care products that can help you breathe with ease, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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