Cleaning Respiratory Equipment

Some respiratory equipment may need to be cleaned but not disinfected. These items can be cleaned often with liquid soap and hot water. It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions for all equipment used for inhaled medicines or airway clearance techniques.

Cleaning Your Nebulizer Equipment

  1. Clean your hands
  2. Clean nebulizer parts
    1. The parts cannot be disinfected until they are cleaned.
    2. With a new paper towel, wash the inside and outside of the nebulizer parts with liquid dish soap and hot water.
    3. Throw the paper towel away, and rinse the nebulizer parts with water.
    4. Clean the nebulizer right after it is used to keep the medicine and debris from drying.
    5. Once debris dries, it is difficult to wash off.
    6. You also can clean the nebulizer parts in an automatic dishwasher, if the nebulizer’s manufacturer’s instructions allow.
  3. Disinfect nebulizer parts
    • Do not use vinegar. Vinegar is not strong enough to kill the germs.
    • Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see what option is best for your nebulizer.
    • If the manufacturer’s instructions allow, disinfect the nebulizer parts using one of these options:
      • Boiling for 5 minutes.
      • Microwaving (in water) for 5 minutes.
      • Dishwasher, if the water is hotter than 158° F for 30 minutes;
      • Soaking in a solution of 1 part household bleach and 50 parts water for 3 minutes.
      • Soaking in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes.
      • Soaking in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes.
    • Do not use a nebulizer that cannot be disinfected using one of these options.
  4. Rinse nebulizer parts
    1. If you disinfect using bleach, isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, rinse all parts well.
    2. Use sterile water for the final rinse. You can make water sterile by boiling it for 5 minutes. Use this water once, then throw it out. f you disinfect by boiling, you do not need to rinse the nebulizer.
    3. Do not use water from the faucet. Use bottled or distilled water.
  5. Air dry nebulizer parts
    1. After the final rinse, drain the parts on a clean surface covered with new paper towels.
    2. Replace wet paper towels with dry ones and fully air-dry all part.
    3. Remember, germs will grow on anything that stays wet, so store the dry nebulizer in a clean, dry bag in a clean, dry place.

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