Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Readers tell us: Do you or your partner use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?

By Emily Woodbury

OK, so this isn’t a recent poll, but there’s a reason we’re bringing it up again. In August of 2018, we asked if either you or your partner use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. The results surprised us, and they’ve come up quite a few times since then.

CPAP machines provide an effective solution to obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Are there concerns with using the machine while RVing? Sure. You, of course, have to maintain a dependable source of electricity, which can be an issue. Also, many RVs don’t have an outlet near the bed, so how is that going to work?

Before I get into why we’re talking about this, I’ll break down the results for you. More than a third of you, 35 percent, told us that you use a CPAP machine. Additionally, another 15 percent of you said that your partner uses one, and another 8 percent of you told us that you both use a CPAP machine. That means, combined, 58 percent of you use a CPAP machine in your household.

Now, as soon as we saw these poll results, we immediately wrote up an Amazon ad for a cleaning device. You’ve probably seen it.

It’s time to clean your CPAP machine!
One of our past surveys told us that 58% of you (or your partner) use a CPAP machine. Wow! When was the last time your machine was cleaned thoroughly? They get very dirty! This highly rated cleaning kit will get out all those yucky germs and bacteria. The extendable brush will expand to 7 feet, but folds up into a small plastic bag so as to not take up too much room in your RV. If you use a CPAP, you’ll want to order this here.

Looks familiar, right? Good, you’ve been paying attention. Anyway, the article I received this morning from the FDA said that CPAP cleaning devices that are treated with UV light or ozone gas don’t adequately clean the machine, and they’re not even approved by the FDA. These are the two main types of cleaning devices being sold! Yikes!

According to the article, the FDA writes, “Germs from your lungs, throat, or mouth can get into the CPAP mask or hose as you breathe in and out during sleep, or germs on your skin may get transferred to the CPAP mask or hose. Dust, mold, or other allergens may also get into the CPAP mask or hose.

All types of CPAP machines need to be cleaned regularly so that these germs and contaminants do not grow inside of your equipment and make you sick. Dust and dirt can also cause problems with the machine, making it more likely to break or need replacement.” You can read the rest of the article here.

Yeah, I mean, I don’t even want to think about the germs that hang out inside of those things.

So, that being said, we still recommend the product above (this one). It’s a soft, extendable brush that does the job just fine. Who says cleaning has to be fancy? No one.


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.



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Bob p (@guest_67894)
3 years ago

When I was driving truck over the road I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and had to use an APAP machine which is the same except the air pressure is adjustable. Every night I put the mask on and went to sleep. Each morning I awoke and the mask would be someplace in the bunk but not on my face. At some point during the night I would remove the mask in my sleep and the machine would immediately go to full flow to compensate for my absence from breathing. When I left truck driving I never put it back on and I’m still alive so I must be still breathing the way God created me. My two sons use them and swear by them, but I guess I went too many years before trying to use one to get my mind to accept a mask on my face.

Brenda (@guest_67777)
3 years ago

I guess I should also disinfect my nose hairs each day to get rid of the germs? They are also an air filter…and quite efficient.

I only change filters on my home air unit every few months. No problems there.

My CPAP? I submerge the hose and mask parts in a large bowl of water and vinegar, then zap it in the microwave for a few minutes. Rinse well. Hang to dry. Easy and cheap.

Stephen Willey (@guest_67470)
3 years ago

Should point out that some Cpap machines run on 12 volts. Some on 24, each with its own power converter cord for AC power to the low voltage the machine uses. If you have a 12 volt model, and when in the RV are not using a heater/drier or other accessories, it takes very little battery power when a direct 12 volt cord is used rather than inverter and the factory power supply.

Jana (@guest_67379)
3 years ago

How do germs get into the hose when the is a continuous outflow of air from the machine? Do the germs swim upstream?

Tom Wenzler (@guest_67444)
3 years ago
Reply to  Jana

Bacteria, mold and viruses attach to solid or vapor particles in the air. These can grow in water particles left over in the hose. Just be safe. Happy Trails

Cheryl Bacon (@guest_67377)
3 years ago

That high of a percentage of poll takers with sleep apnea was shocking! Why are there so many with sleep apnea should be addressed as well as cleaning methods.

Ron (@guest_67371)
3 years ago

The product you’re recommending ONLY cleans the tube…. what about the mask, face seal, head gear, humidifier water container….the machine itself? I do use an ozone cleaner regularly for my mask, tube and humidifier water container; however, I replace the face seal once a month and the mask, head gear and tube quarterly and the water container yearly. So far this has worked for me and between my Medicare and Blue Cross secondary insurance, the cost is minimal and very affordable for the replaceable items. I just recently replaced my cpap machine (that was about 5 years old) with the new state of the art Philips Respironics Dreamstation unit that is very programable and provides all types of information on my sleep conditions and habits.

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