CPAP Machine Smells Strange

I've been using a CPAP machine for over a year now. I clean it once a week, the water container, hose and nose pieces, and only use distilled water. My problem is, no matter what I clean it with it always smells strange when I use it. It's not a chemical smell or moldy. Is there anything I could add to the water to scent it, or is there anyway to get this odd smell to go away?


Kathy from Little Burg, WI

June 10, 20080 found this helpful

On my REMstar I occasionally pour about a half inch of 91% isopropyl alcohol in the humidifier tank and, covering the ports with my hands, swirl the alcohol until all surfaces are wetted.

I then install the tank, put the nosepiece out a cracked window to vent the alcohol fumes, and let the unit run for a few hours until the system is completely dry. I then sniff the air coming out of the nosepiece to make sure no alcohol fumes remain.

Since the alcohol is flammable at this concentration you will want to make sure you have no leaks or electrical issues with your unit. 70% isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) should work fine too and is not significantly flammable.

You may also try cleaning the air intake filter and check for anything lodged in the air intake.

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June 11, 20080 found this helpful

I was told by my medical supplier to use vinegar in my c-pap. Just rinse out the humidifier tank the hose and the mask with vinegar after you wash and then hang the hose to dry. The smell of the vinegar will go away when they are dry.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

The company that I got my CPAP machine from said for me to use a small amount of a non-oily shampoo or liquid soap with warm water to rinse my parts with & allow to completely dry before using. Sorry to hear you're having troubles with yours.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

You should call the company that you got it from, Ask them about it. They should have you bring it in to be checked. DH has his checked every year. Parts wear out and need to be replaced sometimes. Having it calibrated and inspected is required. Check with your Dr. or Suppiler. Don't wait.

Great Granny Vi

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

I've used one for over 20 years now. After you wash it let it sit it vinegar 1 part to 3 one cup vinegar 3 cups water. make sure if you have a filter that needs to be washed to. it might be picking up something where you have it sit at like by a trash can or something like that so make sure you have nothing sitting around it. But check the filter if it's foam wash it too.

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June 17, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with the writers above that have been told to use vinegar and water to wash the filter, hose, water vestibule area's of this instrument. But what my rep also suggested is to gently wash the face mask with mild soap and water, then rinse and dry. When I did this together with the cleaned tubing etc.then at night when the machine is running it blew a nice clean soap like fragrance onto my face. Also the face mask or face piece should be washed daily d/t face oil and make up etc that build up on a daily basis to avoid deterioration of the mask itself. Take care and good luck, Penny

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September 22, 20080 found this helpful

You need new filters. It takes 2 of them usually & should be changed monthly.

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August 5, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

A couple of times a month, I wake up with my nose burning from a strong odor from my CPAP machine. I can't describe the odor other than it burns my nose and has a very weird smell. The last machine did it and I returned it immediately to the company, which gave me a new one. But I still wake up a couple of times a month feeling smothered by the odor. Has anyone else ever experienced this?

If I wait a while to restart the machine, the odor is gone.


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August 6, 20120 found this helpful

Make sure that you are using distilled water in the humidifier of the machine. Tap water usually has an odor which is generally unnoticeable, but can become very strong when you are breathing it all night. You can get distilled water at any grocery store in the bottled water section.

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August 6, 20120 found this helpful

Do you clean the machine like you should? My husband uses one and he rinses the plastic tank with weak bleach water then with vinegar. Do you wash the hose? Mold can build up in these things and is unhealthy. Do you get new mask and hose every three to four months?

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August 6, 20120 found this helpful

I have used a cpap machine for a few years now. The only time I have an odor is when I get new nose pillows or new hosing. Have you tried changing the filter, cleaning all the hoses etc.?

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February 6, 20140 found this helpful

I had a bout of very strong, very odd smell in my nose that would not go away for hours. The first time it happened it really had me worried. I have found that what my problem was, was the oil buildup in my mask from my nose. Since I started using cpap, my nose an surrounding area gets very oily, I would guess from the humidifier.

Now, every night before I go to bed I clean the area that the mask covers with an astringent. I also wipe out my mask every night. I clean the tubing once a month. The worst time I had was when I turned the heat on in the tubing and I hadn't been doing the routine that I am now. Sometimes in the morning, I can wipe my nose with my finger and it feels oily, something that was not a problem prior to cpap.

If left alone for a couple of days, it is a disgusting sour smell, just when I wipe my nose. This circulates through your machine and bacteria forms, which is force into your nasal passages and creates a problem. Hope this helps. Your mask and tubing cannot be clean too many times.

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