Once you've mastered the art of using CPAP machines and masks and actually making it through the night, you've overcome a huge hurdle in your sleep apnea treatment. But wait... there's more! Yes, your next challenge is to figure out how to clean & maintain the CPAP equipment. A regular cleaning schedule has great benefits including Preventing illness. When my CPAP cleaning schedule slips I tend to get colds and sinus infections more often. Especially in the winter - keeping the equipment clean will keep the germs away. Shortening illness duration. My colds tend to last longer if I am using dirty CPAP equipment. The bugs that my body is trying to reject simply get transferred to my mask and the first few inches of my tubing. Maintaining a cleaning schedule - and even more cleaning - during illness will help your immune system do its job. Optimizing mask performance. The mask seal tends to degrade as oils from your face collect on the mask. Regular cleaning keeps mask leaks to a minimum and optimizes your sleep apnea treatment. The basic steps in CPAP equipment cleaning & maintenance are simple, but advice on CPAP cleaning differs with each person or expert you ask. The following routine has worked for me successfully for at least five years: Mask pillows & seal parts. All the masks I've used allow me to remove just the part that touches my nose & face directly. That feature makes it easy to clean this part every other day or so. I just bring it with me to my first bathroom visit of the day and wash it along with my hands and let it sit to air-dry all day. Mask & Headgear. I wash these once a month or so. Plastic parts get a similar treatment as described above (or a wash with dish soap in the kitchen sink). Headgear straps get removed from plastic parts and thrown in the laundry. I also use strap covers that prevent redness on my cheeks; these go in the laundry, too. They're small, but I've never lost one in the wash yet!. Tubing & Humidifer water container. I wash these once a month in a plastic bucket in the kitchen sink by dipping them in a mix of 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar. Then I set aside the parts, empty the plastic bucket of the vinegar mix, and refill the plastic bucket with fresh water (cold or lukewarm okay, but not hot). I rinse the tubing and humidifer water container by dipping them in this fresh water several times. Finally, I let the humidifier water container air-dry and let the tubing hang to dry on a nearby hook. Actually, there's one extra step with the tubing, but I am a little embarassed to say to tell you. I take it outside, grab the tubing by at the center of its length, swing it around and around as fast as I can and then let it hang to air dry. This is my own method of the spin dry and it works pretty well. Filters. I change the foam and paper filters once every three months. You can clean the foam filter with soap and water, but my equipment provider gives me enough filters that I can just throw out the old ones.