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Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are an effective and widely used treatment for sleep apnea. However, if they are not kept clean they can be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and viruses. There’s no substitute for soap and water, but CPAP wipes can keep CPAP masks and other machine components clean between more thorough washing sessions. 

Through our in-depth research, we’ve found two brands of CPAP wipes that are likely to suit the majority of CPAP machine users. After introducing you to these brands, we’ll walk you through what you should know about buying and using CPAP wipes to help you determine if they’re right for you.

Our Top Picks

Why We Picked These

When choosing which CPAP products to feature, we conduct in-depth research that is informed by our team’s experience with sleep apnea products and other sleep-related accessories. We then contextualize our findings to provide education and make the buying process as easy as possible for our readers.

What You Should Consider When Choosing CPAP Cleaning Wipes

Not all CPAP wipes are the same, and a brand that works well for one person may not be the right choice for another. Just as choosing a CPAP mask takes careful consideration, it’s easier to pick a brand of CPAP wipes after evaluating it from a number of angles, since some factors are likely to be more important to you than others.

CPAP Wipe Considerations

PriceAlthough CPAP wipes vary in price, they are usually more expensive than ordinary cleaning or hand wipes. Most people use one to two wipes per day, so consider whether the monthly cost fits your budget. Buying in bulk can be one way to lower the monthly cost, particularly if done through a subscription service.
ResidueSome CPAP wipes leave residue that can irritate your skin, attract dust, and degrade your mask and other accessories. Certain wipes instruct users to rinse the accessories after using the wipes, so consider whether you’re willing to add another step to your cleaning routine before buying.
ScentCPAP wipes are sometimes scented with natural or artificial fragrances. For people who are sensitive to fragrances, scent-free CPAP wipes are likely the best choice.
DisposalCPAP wipes should be disposed of in a sealed garbage can. When flushed, CPAP wipes can cause serious plumbing problems in the home, as well as at water treatment facilities.
Environmental FriendlinessIf you prefer eco-friendly products, look for CPAP wipes made out of biodegradable cotton with natural ingredients. However, eco-conscious shoppers may prefer to stick with soap and water when cleaning their CPAP accessories, as this is the greenest approach.

Are CPAP Wipes Useful?

CPAP wipes, while not necessary for all CPAP users, can be practical when used between more thorough cleaning sessions or when traveling. They are particularly effective for getting rid of facial oil, which can attract dirt and cause CPAP masks to degrade more quickly.

While CPAP wipes may seem similar to baby wipes or all-purpose cleaning wipes, they’re free of additives that may damage CPAP accessories. Some generic non-CPAP wipes may also leave a residue that is harmful or irritating to breathe in. 

How Often Should You Clean Your CPAP Mask?

It is generally recommended to clean a CPAP mask and other CPAP machine components on a daily basis with mild soap and warm water, but at minimum it should be done weekly. Most people who use CPAP wipes use them daily, though some people save them for times when ordinary cleaning is impractical.

Cleaning a mask usually requires one wipe, while cleaning both the mask and other accessories may take two or three wipes. 

Types of Cleaning Wipes for Your CPAP Mask

Most CPAP cleaning wipes can be broken down into five categories. There is often overlap between the categories — for example, a wipe can be both unscented and natural — but they still provide a valuable place to start when considering which wipe might work best for you.

CPAP Wipe Types

Scented WipesScented wipes are formulated with artificial or natural fragrances and leave a fresh scent on the mask and accessories. Citrus scents are popular, as they smell clean to many people. When buying scented wipes, consider whether you will be happy with the smell every night.
Unscented WipesUnscented wipes do not have any added fragrance. They are the best choice for people who are sensitive to fragrances, as well as those with allergies. Some unscented wipes may have a smell due to other additives, but this usually dissipates quickly.
Sanitizing WipesSanitizing wipes are formulated to kill bacteria on CPAP masks and other accessories. People with sensitive skin or allergies may want to be cautious when using sanitizing wipes, as some use additives that can irritate the skin or airways.
Alcohol-Free WipesAlcohol is very effective at removing facial oil and is a natural disinfectant, but it can also degrade CPAP masks and irritate the skin. Alcohol-free CPAP wipes instead use other additives to keep things clean.
NaturalNatural CPAP wipes are usually made from 100% cotton or other natural fibers, with natural additives for cleaning. While usually more eco-friendly than other options, natural CPAP wipes are also generally more expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

CPAP wipes are an easy way to maintain your CPAP equipment, but understanding the different styles and ingredients can be confusing. If you have any questions about whether you should use CPAP wipes, your sleep specialist is the best resource for in-depth answers.

What are common ingredients in CPAP wipes?

Most CPAP wipes use a combination of water and glycerine to keep them moist and ready to use, but the other ingredients may differ significantly from brand to brand. Alcohol is rarely used, since it can irritate the skin and degrade CPAP equipment. The material used for the wipe itself also varies, though cotton and cotton-synthetic blends are the most common

Can CPAP wipes be used to sanitize?

Not all CPAP wipes are sanitizing, but some are formulated to kill germs. These sanitizing wipes can be a practical stopgap between more in-depth cleaning sessions, but CPAP masks and other machine components should still be washed with soap and water on a regular basis.

Do CPAP wipes kill bacteria?

Sanitizing CPAP wipes include ingredients that kill bacteria on CPAP masks and other accessories. However, sanitizing CPAP wipes shouldn’t be used as a substitute for a regular cleaning regimen with soap and water.

Can you use baby wipes to clean a CPAP mask?

Although baby wipes may seem similar to CPAP wipes, it is best to avoid them when cleaning your CPAP accessories. While baby wipes are typically very gentle, they may contain ingredients that can irritate the airways or leave residue on a mask.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a health care provider prior to starting a new treatment or making changes to your treatment plan.