Can you Clean Your Cpap Hose with Vinegar?

A CPAP machine is a device that blows air into your airway system and ensures proper breathing. It is used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Because it blows air directly into your body, it is crucial to keep the CPAP equipment clean.

When we say clean, we mean the daily cleaning of the equipment or cleaning after every use. If the equipment is dirty, chances are you’ll be inhaling all kinds of bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and other harmful particles, which can cause side effects and unpleasant conditions.

Not to mention that the equipment needs to be clean so that the device can work properly. So, the cleanliness of your CPAP machine is no.1 priority. But, how can you clean the equipment?

Well, CPAP cleaners have become a regular cleaning solution for the CPAP equipment. There are also mask wipes, tube brushes, sanitizing sprays, etc.

However, some people like to clean their CPAP equipment using natural ingredients; like vinegar, for example. If you’re wondering how in the world can you clean the equipment using vinegar, you’re in the right place! Let’s see how vinegar can have your CPAP hose and other equipment clean in no time!

What Is A CPAP Hose?

What Is A CPAP Hose
Image Source: Terry Cralle

Well, to know how to clean the hose with vinegar, we must first get familiar with this thing called a hose. Now, a CPAP hose is a hollow, plastic tube that connects your CPAP mask with the actual machine. Through the hose, the air moves and enters your airway system. There are different types of CPAP hoses, but the most common ones are the standard hose and the heated hose.

  • Standard Hose – A standard hose is the one you’re probably already familiar with if you’re using a CPAP device. It is usually 6ft long and is made of plastic. It has a cylindrical shape and it is not heated. Because of this, the hose is susceptible to condensation, also known as ‘rainout’. The cold air cools down the hose as it travels to the mask, and in the process the moisture turns to water, causing condensation.
  • Heated Hose – On the other hand, the heated hose has more intricate design; throughout the hose, there are heating coils which are heated by the electricity. Throughout the night, the hose is being continuously heated, which enables better humidification of the air. Because of this, the heated tube has no issues with condensation; the air temperature remains the same and it’s not able to form a ‘rainout’.

Now, a CPAP hose is probably the dirtiest part of the CPAP machine; mostly because of its function, and design which makes it hard to clean. However, the vinegar tip seem to be one of the best cleaning methods when it comes to the hose at least.

Why Clean With Vinegar?

Why Clean With Vinegar
Image Source: Terry Cralle

Vinegar is a famous cleaning agent that everyone has at their household. It is easily accessible and cheap. However, the reason people use it also lies in its efficiency. Because of its acidity, vinegar is effective against bacteria, viruses, mold, yeast, etc. Vinegar can kill all of these harmful particles because it creates a toxic environment where these particles can’t continue to live and develop.

When it comes to the cleaning of CPAP equipment, vinegar is especially useful because it removes all the build-ups, dead skin cells, skin oils, etc. It also disinfects and sanitizes, ensuring the equipment stays clean for a few days.

So, How To Clean The Hose With Vinegar?

What you will need for this little endeavor is the following;

  • White vinegar (at least 1 cup)
  • Warm distilled water (at least 1 ½ cup)
  • A bucket or a bigger container
  • A drying area, towels or cloth for wiping
  • Optional – tube cleaning brush
  • Optional – mild soap

Step 1 – In a bucket or a container, mix one-part white vinegar (1 cup, for example) and three parts of warm, distilled water. Mix thoroughly.

Step 2 – Disconnect the hose from the machine and the mask, and submerge into the water-vinegar solution.

Step 3 – Leave the hose to soak in the solution for approximately 30 minutes. There is no need to leave it in longer unless the hose hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. Some people like to use a hose-cleaning brush at first, just to ensure the solution gets to all the tricky parts of the hose.

Step 4 – Remove the hose from the solution.

Step 5 – At this point, you can rinse the tube thoroughly, or you can place it in some warm, distilled water mixed with mild soap. This way you can get rid of the vinegar smell if you don’t like it. Either way, during this step, the hose should be rinsed completely and thoroughly with clean water.

Step 6 – Prepare the drying area. You can place the hose onto a clean towel, or you can try to dry it with a cotton cloth. Let the hose dry completely, before connecting it back to the CPAP machine and the mask.

And that is it; your hose will look as if it’s brand new. Sure, the vinegar scent might be off-putting in the beginning, but it usually airs out completely right away.

Note: It is essential you clean the hose at least once a week!

Can I Clean The Rest Of The Equipment With Vinegar?

CPAP Mask And Headgear

Using the same water and vinegar solution, you can clean the mask and the headgear quite easily. Make sure the mask is disconnected from the hose and the headgear. Then, soak it in the solution for approximately 30 minutes. You can even scrub the mask, but make sure to do it gently so you don’t damage it. Rinse the mask thoroughly with clean water and leave to dry. You can repeat the same process with the headgear, or you can use cleaning wipes in case the headgear is covered in fabric.

CPAP Humidifier

To clean the humidifier, you will need more water; so, you’ll need one part white vinegar and five parts of warm, distilled water. Before cleaning, make sure to dispose of the water in the humidifier. Then, soak the humidifier for approximately 30 minutes in the solution. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly with only distilled water.

Note: check with the company or the manufacturer of your CPAP device whether the humidifier can be washed in a dishwasher. Also only use distilled water when cleaning and rinsing the humidifier.

Also Read: Is A CPAP Humidifier Necessary?

Other CPAP Parts

When it comes to other parts of the CPAP machine, they can’t be washed with a vinegar solution. For example, the filters simply need to be replaced, or if they can be reused, then only washed in mild, soapy water.

On the other hand, the CPAP device itself cannot be soaked in water, not to mention soaked in vinegar. The device itself can be sanitized using specialized sanitizing sprays or sanitizing wipes. You can even clean the body of the machine with a damp cloth. Always make sure to dry the device with a clean cloth or towel to remove any moisture or liquid from the spray or wipes.

Final Words

Cleaning your CPAP equipment, like the hose, with vinegar is very efficient and budget-friendly. It is essential you clean the equipment regularly. This way you will ensure your device is functional and durable. Moreover, you will prevent the side effects that usually occur with the use of dirty CPAP, like sinus and throat infections, skin allergies and rashes, etc. Your CPAP machine is your way to a good night’s sleep, so make sure to keep it clean.

More You Should Know: The Dangers Of Using A Dirty CPAP

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  1. Thank you for these instructions. I’m so grateful to have this machine while I work on ways my doctor has given me to regain and keep my health. Thank you again! I’m off to the fitness center!

    1. I’ve always used tap water and mild free and clear soap to clean my equipment ….. I use of course distilled water in the water chamber …My insurance replaces my equiptment every 3 months … I have never had a problem:)

  2. Hi

    Are there any negative effects of soaking a cpap hose in vinegar for top long. I filled my hose up with vinegar and forgot about it for a few weeks.

    Is this bad?


    1. Hi John! Thank you so much for reaching out! Regarding your question, we’d advise you to purchase a new CPAP hose. Since you’ve left the hose submerged in vinegar for several weeks, the vinegar probably damaged the hose, especially if the hose has some rubber parts that help it connect to the machine. Also, since the hose is made from plastic, the hose could have started to leach chemicals, retain the vinegar odor, and everything that the vinegar has managed to ‘clean’ during the first few hours of soaking.

  3. where in the world did you hear to only wash and rinse water chamber with distilled water? The manufacturers site, my home health care company, no one has said to wash it this way. I would go thru a bottle of distilled water daily. this sounds absurd. I know the chamber would be filled with distilled water only, when running humidification with the cpap machine, but this is the only time i was instructed to use distilled water.

    1. Hi! First of all, thank you so much for reading our article and providing feedback; we appreciate it when our readers engage, ask questions, and point out information that requires further clarification in some cases.

      Regarding your comment; the reason we mentioned distilled water is the following;

      If you use filtered or tap water to clean your CPAP machine or its parts, you’re using water that already contains potentially harmful contaminants and microorganisms. Now, when these microorganisms come in contact with the machine and your therapy, there is a possibility you might inhale them through the humidified pressurized air, and this can make you sick in the long run. Filtered or tap water can also promote the buildup of mineral deposits and cause damage to the machine. Distilled water, on the other hand, cannot cause any of the aforementioned issues, since it is purified and has no impurities, contaminants, and minerals.

  4. I have a heated hose. Should I leave the end that connects to the machine out of the soaking water? The connection end has some metal on it so I’m concerned the water/vinegar may damage it

  5. I didn’t realize it — but when cleaning with vinegar I poured a whole load of vinegar eels into the bowl with my hose and other parts. Can I safely rinse everything with distilled water?

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