Maintaining and Cleaning Humidifier Reservoirs

If you use a humidifier with your oxygen concentrator, it would be dangerous for your health to neglect cleaning it and taking care of it. With the warmth and moisture present in the tubes and the humidifier reservoir itself, they can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. You would then be breathing this bacteria into your lungs while using your oxygen concentrator, exposing yourself to potentially life threatening lung infections. Getting any kind of lung infection, let alone pneumonia, is even more dangerous for someone with low lung function.

Many health professionals and the American Association for Respiratory Care, believe that most of the time, humidifiers on oxygen concentrators are unnecessary, and conclude that only those using a flow of 4 LPM or higher really need it. You might feel otherwise, if you feel your airways getting dryer during the winter or during the dryer months of the year. Some people also say that the humidifiers for oxygen concentrators don't produce enough moisture for it to count. If you are on the go with your portable oxygen concentrator and you feel dry, then there is definitely a need for it.

Thankfully, maintaining and cleaning the humidifier for your portable oxygen concentrator isn't too hard, and you don't need to do it every single day. Of course, you should always follow the manual instructions that came with your oxygen concentrator or the humidifier, but these are some general guidelines.

When refilling your humidifier to use your concentrator after down time, don't be tempted into only top off the old water with new water. The standing water in the humidifier may have already gotten the chance to become a home for bacteria. Empty the reservoir of the old water, rinse it out, and refill with new water. Always use distilled water, since you can count on it not having any metals or other traces that could harm you or cause damage to the humidifier.

Clean the humidifier bottle every 3 days with a mild detergent. Start out washing with warm water and the soap, and then be sure to rinse all trace of detergent away with hot water. It's a good idea to give it a soak in a vinegar and water solution for a minute or two, to make sure there are no remaining bacteria. Vinegar is an effective bactericide and fungicide, without being a harsh chemical that can cause damage over time. Dry the bottle as much as you can with a paper towel and let it air dry on a clean surface.

Scrub any tubes attached to the humidifier with the mild detergent, and use the same hot water rinse and vinegar method that you used for the bottle. Scrub it with a plastic brush that is only used for cleaning your humidifier. Keep this scrub brush clean by cleaning it with bleach and allowing it to dry completely.

2 thoughts on “Maintaining and Cleaning Humidifier Reservoirs”

  • Fran

    What do you scrub with a brush and what does the brush look like

    • Danielle Jason

      For unit specific information regarding maintaining your unit or accessories, it is always best to refer to the owners manual. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 877-303-9289.


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