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What Type of Water to use for CPAP Machine

If you have sleep apnea, you are probably using a continuous positive airway pressure machine. CPAP is a wonderful invention to assure you get safe, peaceful sleep. But, maintenance can be a real pain. 

You can reduce the time you spend cleaning your CPAP if you use distilled water. Using distilled water in your CPAP will ensure that you are breathing healthy air. On top of that, your machine will last longer.

In this article, we will teach you why distilled is the best water for your CPAP. Plus, what to do if you don’t have access to distilled water while away from home. 

one gallon bottle of distilled water and cpap machine
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Why distilled water for CPAP?

First, most (if not all) manufacturers of CPAP machines recommend using distilled water. High powered “stills” process source water by boiling until it reaches the point of steam. The still discards the solids, minerals, chemicals, and contaminants. The remaining purified steam is then cooled and returned to the original liquid form. 

The finished product is now purified and ready for use in your CPAP machine, humidifiers, and more. Distilled water is an optimal choice for the following reasons: 

  • Reduce or eliminate bacteria growth
  • Creates optimal air pressure
  • No microbes, minerals, or other contaminants
  • Reduce or eliminate mineral scale build up
  • 99.9% purified
  • <1ppm total dissolved solids

These characteristics make distilled water a top choice for manufacturing, labs, irons, humidifiers, and a gazillion other uses. 

How long does distilled water last?

Since distilled water is purified, it has a very long shelf life. Most manufacturers will list a best buy date on the bottle. If you store it properly, you can keep distilled water for up to two years. You should store it in a cool, dark area such as a closet or a pantry. Once it is open, it is best to keep it in the refrigerator but not required.

cpap machine mask
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How much distilled water is needed for a CPAP machine?

The amount of water you will need for your sleep apnea machine depends on the size of the chamber. The average is 16 ounces. This is a convenient size since most single-use bottles are around 16 ounces. Yet, it is more economical to use a larger size bottle. There are 128 ounces in a gallon. So, there are eight 16-ounce bottles in one gallon. Five-gallon bottles are another option to ensure you always have a supply of purified water for your CPAP.

Can I use bottled water in my CPAP machine?

It depends on what type. Bottled water does not automatically denote distilled. Rather, it is a broad category with a variety of flavors. Just like soda is a type of drink, there are many variations. Bottled water can be filtered, spring, mineral, or purified. For more confusion, some is actually distilled but the manufacturer adds minerals back in the final product! Usually, the label will say something like, “minerals added for taste.” You should only use genuine distilled water with no minerals in your CPAP machine. Most users opt for 1 gallon distilled water. 5-gallon distilled water bottles are another great choice. However, you should be sure to keep your water dispenser clean if you choose this option.

woman in bed putting on cpap mask
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Can I use filtered water in my CPAP?

Filtered water is not suitable for use in your CPAP. Filtering will remove some minerals and other contaminants. But, dissolved solids will remain in the water. Filtering reduces the hardness of water and improves the taste and smell. It is not purified.

Can you use spring water in a CPAP machine?

Spring water is naturally filtered by rocks and sand. Which increases the mineral content. This is the complete opposite of what you need. You should not use spring water in your CPAP machine. 

Can I use reverse osmosis water in my CPAP?

Reverse osmosis is a suitable alternative for distillation to use in your CPAP. Reverse osmosis is 99% purified water. It also has <1 PPM total dissolved solids. If you are using an at-home RO filter, make sure you change the filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Otherwise, you may be adding unwanted contaminants to your CPAP. 

woman sleeping in bed with cpap mask on
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Can I use tap water in my CPAP machine for one night?

Traveling with distilled water is not always feasible. You can only bring 3oz on a carry on bag if you are flying. You can check as much as you like but, who has room for that? It is likely best to buy distilled water at your final destination. If you find yourself without any for a night, try this instead. 

  • Boil tap water for 20 minutes.
  • Allow it to cool. 
  • Once it has reached room temperature, you can use it in your CPAP machine. 

Boiling water is not a long term solution. Nor is the water quality anywhere near that of professionally manufactured distilled water. But, it is a good alternative in a pinch. 

Distillata has been producing the best distilled water in Cleveland since 1897. It all started four generations ago with George Miller. A pharmacist who believed distilled water was the answer for safer hydration.

Watch this video to learn about the many uses of 5 gallon distilled water:

Additional resources:

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