Modern nebulizers don’t resemble the clunky machines of old – they’re small, easy-to-use, and offer quick treatment times. Even with these recent innovations, human errors can result in an ineffective treatment, wasting medication, money, and time. By far the biggest culprit is improper cleaning; if you don’t keep your nebulizer in top condition, bacteria can grow in the tubing and console, clogging it up and increasing your risk of infection. Obviously, this isn’t very good – so here are some step-by-step instructions to ensure that your nebulizer treatments stay safe, sanitary and effective!
After Each Use
- Disassemble your nebulizer by removing the mask/mouthpiece and t-shaped connector from the cup. Remove the tubing and place it to the side for now – since the only thing passing through it is clean air, it does not need to be washed.
- Rinse the mask/mouthpiece and t-shaped connector under warm water for 30 seconds. If possible, use sterile water. Shake off the excess water, and lay the components on a paper towel to air dry.
- When the components are dry, reassemble the nebulizer kit and connect it to the compressor. Dry the inside of the nebulizer by running it for 10-20 seconds.
- Disconnect the tubing, and store the nebulizer in a sealed bag. Place the compressor in its storage bag, or cover it with a towel.
- Rinse the neb kit using the steps outlined earlier, but wash the mask with a mild dishwashing soap.
- If your neb kit is dishwasher-safe, feel free to wash it in the machine rather than by hand – but do not attempt to clean the tubing in this manner (water deposits inside the tubing can harbor bacteria, and besides, the tubing is sterile already).
- Clean the mask/mouthpiece and t-shaped connector as you would daily.
- In a clean bowl, prepare a cleaning solution consisting of one part white vinegar and two parts sterile water.
- Soak the aforementioned parts in the solution for 30 minutes. Throw the solution out afterwards.
- Rinse the nebulizer parts under warm running water for 1 minute. If you can, use distilled water.
- Shake off the excess water, and lay the components on a paper towel to air dry.
- When the components are dry, reassemble the nebulizer kit and dry the inside of it by connecting it to the compressor and running it for 10-20 seconds.
- Clean the surface of the compressor with a damp washcloth or disinfectant wipe. This sounds obvious, but don’t wash the compressor (unless you want to shell out a lot of money for a new one).
- Cover the compressor with a dry towel, or stow it away in its carry bag.
And that's it!
When you stick to a regular cleaning routine, you’ll find that your nebulizer treatments are more effective, take less time, and best of all, are super safe! And that’s good news for your lungs, your wallet, and your loved ones. Stay vigilant, and stay healthy!