A Quick Guide for Taking Care of Your Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Once you have your portable oxygen concentrator, your doctor will most likely go over its functions with you. You will also have a manual to consult when you need to know something specific to your model. Just in case you misplace your manual or you can't get a hold of your doctor, here is a guide to the basics of taking care of and maintaining your portable oxygen concentrator.

Safety first! Shut the oxygen concentrator off and make sure it is not plugged in or charging before you start cleaning it.

There are certain things you shouldn't use to clean your portable oxygen concentrator. Do not use any cleaning solutions that are alcohol based or chlorine based, as they will cause surface damage to the plastic cabinet. Oil based cleaning products such as Pine Sol will also cause damage to the cabinet of the oxygen concentrator. If the smooth surface of the machine is damaged, it will begin to cause tiny pores to form in the plastic, which will become filled with dirt and become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Any other type of cleanser that contains ammonia should also not be used.

You also should not spray or wipe the outside of the machine with any kind of cleaning liquid. Drops of liquid can too easily find their way into the openings for the air intake or the battery door. The best way to clean the outside of your portable oxygen concentrator is to wipe it down with a clean, soft lint free cloth. If there is more of a build up of dirt, very lightly dampen a soft microfiber cloth with water. You should barely be able to notice the dampness on the cloth and it shouldn't be dripping at all.

Once a week, remove the oxygen filter from the air intake to clean it. Inspect the filter to make sure there are no holes or tears if the oxygen concentrator is older, and get a new one if there is any damage. Clean it with a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any clumps of dust or debris.

You can get the filter wet just enough to wash away any remaining dirt and use mild dish soap, just be sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove the soap. Allow it to air dry completely in a dust free environment before you put it back into place. Depending on the model and the supplier's instructions, you might need to clean the filter more often than once a week.

Keep the nozzle for the cannula tube free of dust by wiping it with a lint free cloth as often as it needs it. You might need to do this every day or every few days if you are in a very dusty environment. Make sure no moisture enters this opening.

Detach the cannula from the rubber tubing to clean it once a week, or as often as you notice a build up of anything inside the tubing. Wash it out with hot, running water and mild detergent and be sure to rinse it out thoroughly. You can also go a step further and rinse it out with a solution of one part vinegar to ten parts water to kill any bacteria that might have tried to make a home in your nasal cannula. Rinse with hot water again and allow it to dry.

Clean out the humidifier every other day with hot water, mild detergent and the vinegar and water solution.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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