FAQs on mask cleaning, comfort & fitting

Do you have questions about how to clean and disinfect ResMed masks and mask components? Find answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

 

FAQs on mask cleaning

Every day, or after each use, patients should:

  • Disassemble the mask components (refer to the mask user guide for instructions). Patients using a nasal pillows mask should disassemble the pillows from the frame.
  • Thoroughly handwash the separated mask components (excluding headgear and soft sleeves) by gently rubbing in warm water (approximately 30°C/86°F) with mild soap. To optimise the mask seal, facial oils should be removed from the cushion after use.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean the vent, or any rotating parts on your mask such as the swivel, swivel ring or ball joint that require cleaning.
  • Inspect each component and, if required, repeat washing until visually clean.
  • Rinse all the components well with drinking-quality water and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight.
  • When all components including the vent are dry, reassemble the mask (see the mask user guide for instructions).

Every week, patients should:

  • Handwash the headgear, including the soft sleeves if these form part of the mask.
  • Rinse well and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight.

Please note that the headgear can be washed without being disassembled and that the dye used in the headgear may run during the first wash. If any component remains unclean after cleaning, or if there is visible deterioration of a system component (cracking, discolouration, tears, etc.), that component should be replaced.

We recommend that your patients use natural or pure products/solutions to clean their mask, as the residual vapours that are left behind from non-natural cleaners can be inhaled if not rinsed thoroughly.

ResMed has recommended and validated procedures in accordance with ISO17664 for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising masks for multipatient use in a sleep lab, clinic or hospital. Please refer to the following Disinfection and sterilisation guide to see which parts:

  • Must be replaced between patients
  • Can handle high level thermal disinfection at 93°C
  • Can handle high level chemical disinfection
  • Can handle sterilisation

Please note that not all components require disinfection. The headgear does not require disinfection and should not be washed in disinfection chemicals.

Other components also do not require disinfection and should not be washed in disinfection chemicals. This applies to:

  • AirFit N10 / AirFit N10 for Her – Soft sleeves
  • AirFit F10 / AirFit F10 for Her – Frame, Soft sleeves
  • Quattro Air / Quattro Air For Her / Quattro Air NV – Frame
  • Quattro FX / Quattro FX for Her – Spring frame, Soft sleeves
  • Quattro FX NV – Spring frame, Soft sleeves
  • Mirage FX / Mirage FX for Her – Frame

Thoroughly washing the headgear and the above components between patients is acceptable.

  • Handwash the headgear in warm 30°C water using mild soap.
  • Rinse well and allow it to air dry out of direct sunlight.

FAQs on mask comfort

If your patient’s mask is uncomfortable, try re-fitting it or try a different size or type of mask.

  • Fit. Mask discomfort can be caused by an incorrect fit, so we recommend that you re-fit the mask using the fitting instructions in the mask user guide. You should fit the mask while your patient is in sleeping position: our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep. It’s always best to fit masks while your patients are in their usual sleeping position, whether they sleep in a bed with no pillows or in a recliner. You can also check out the mask fitting videos found in our CPAP mask product section.
  • Size. If your patient can only get a good seal by tightening the mask until it’s uncomfortable, then the size of the mask may be wrong. Please note that sizing across different models is not always the same.
  • Type. If the patient still finds that wearing the mask is uncomfortable, you might need another type of mask. ResMed offers full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows; you’ll find that some mask types and models may suit better than others. View ResMed’s complete range of masks here.
  • Headgear. Your patient’s mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. If the patient feels the headgear strap is too loose or too tight, try re-adjusting it or replacing the headgear if it is old or worn out.
  • MicroFit™ Dial. If your patient is using a ResMed mask that has a MicroFit™ Dial, make sure the dial is set at the optimal position. Making significant adjustments to the position of the dial will change the fit and might result in discomfort or less effective treatment.

If you experience difficulties in fitting your patient’s mask, please refer to the mask user guide for instructions.

If your patient has facial hair, some masks might work better than others. Contact us to find out whether a different style of mask might offer more comfort or a better fit.

Everyone is different! Full face masks cover more of the face, while nasal masks and nasal pillows masks cover less. It really does come down to personal preference and which type of mask best suits your patients’ needs.

Our full face masks are a good option if your patients suffer from nasal congestion or tend to breathe through their mouth when they sleep.

When discussing mask types with your patients, you might want to consider factors such as their facial anatomy, their facial hair, whether or not they wear glasses or are claustrophobic, whether they like to read or watch television while wearing their mask, etc.

If your patient’s mask is leaking air, there’s probably a problem with the seal or the fit. Reasons for mask leak, and suggested solutions, include:

  • Poor adjustment or fit. We recommend that you re-fit the mask using the fitting instructions in the mask user guide. You should fit the mask while your patient is in sleeping position: our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep. You can also check out the mask fitting videos found in our CPAP mask product section.
  • Incorrect assembly. Please see the mask user guide for information on assembling the mask. You can download the user guide from the mask support page.
  • Wrong size of mask. Consult the mask sizing guide for instructions on sizing.
  • Wrong type of mask. If your patient’s mask is the right size and is properly fitted but is still leaking, another type of mask may be needed. For example, a full face mask can completely eliminate mouth leaks. View ResMed’s complete range of masks here.
  • Needs replacement. Your patient’s mask might be leaking because it’s old or worn out. Please see the mask user guide for information, or  read our article on mask replacement.
  • Cleanliness. Dirt, oils and residues from your patient’s skin and surroundings can build up on the mask if they are not removed daily. Your patient should clean the mask every day to optimise the seal and efficiency.  Read our article on mask cleaning replacement.

If your patient is still having problems with leaks, why not try using a  heated humidifier or one of the latest  positive pressure (PAP) devices? Our PAP devices automatically measure and compensate for unintentional leaks to ensure the correct pressure is maintained. Heated humidifiers can greatly reduce mouth breathing and nasal congestion, both of which are associated with leaks.

If your patient needs to over-tighten the mask to obtain a seal, the cushion size may be wrong or a forehead support might be incorrectly adjusted. Please refer to the question above for suggestions on identifying and resolving problems with fit.

Most ResMed mask cushions are made from silicone. True allergic reactions to silicone are extremely rare. In fact, skin irritation, pressure sores and blisters are more commonly caused by other associated factors rather than the silicone material itself.

If your patient is suffering from skin irritation, it might be that:

  • The headgear strap is too loose or too tight. Try re-adjusting it, or replacing the headgear if it is old or worn out. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal.
  • The mask doesn’t fit well, because it’s the wrong size or an unsuitable style. Consult the mask user guide or quick-fitting guide for instructions on fitting. A different style of mask may provide a better fit.
  • The mask is old and worn out. Inspect the mask cushion and frame for wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks. Replace either the mask or parts that are worn out. You might find it helpful to read our article on mask cleaning & replacement.
  • The mask is dirty. Silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from skin. Extended contact with these contaminants during the night may irritate the skin. Your patients should wash their masks daily according to user guide instructions with mild soap or diluted liquid detergent and warm water (30°C/86°F). We also recommend that patients wash their face before bed to remove excess facial oils, ideally with a pH neutral soap, and avoid using facial lotions and creams where the mask comes into contact with their face as these products may interfere with mask seal and potentially degrade the quality of the cushion over time. You might find it helpful to read our article on mask cleaning.

If your patient is still having issues with skin irritation, it might be helpful to place porous hypoallergenic skin tape over sensitive or irritated areas to create a barrier between the skin and the mask.

If your patient is suffering from nasal irritation, a heated humidifier might help. Constant air flow, especially at high treatment pressures, can lead to dryness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds. Humidifiers provide relief from nasal irritation and dryness by adding warmth and moisture to the air delivered by the CPAP or bilevel system.

Nasal oil products can also be used to help treat and prevent dryness.

Patients whose masks leave marks on their face or who experience soreness on the bridge of their nose, are probably having to strap the mask too tightly to make a seal. Please see the answers to the questions above on this page for suggestions on improving the fit and seal of the mask.

If these problems persist, why not suggest SoftWraps or Gecko nasal pads? SoftWraps are gentle cloth padding for the mask’s silicone headgear that help to stop your patient’s mask slipping and reduce the appearance of strap marks on the face. The Gecko nasal pad is a comfortable, soft strip that is placed across the nasal bridge to help reduce skin irritation and facial sores, minimise mask leak, and improve overall mask comfort.

If your patient’s eyes are sore, it may be due to a mask leak. This is a common problem that can arise if the mask doesn’t seal properly or doesn’t fit the face properly. For suggestions on how to resolve this problem, please see the answers to the questions above on this page.

FAQs on mask fitting

If the mask is being removed during sleep, it may be because your patient suffers from nasal congestion. If your patient has a history of sinus and allergy problems, a full face mask and/or humidification may offer better treatment.

If your patient finds it difficult to sleep because the mask gets in the way, your patient might find a  Contour CPAP Pillow helpful. With the Contour Pillow, the mask is less likely to rub or press on the face, which increases comfort and can also reduce leakage caused by distortion. The Contour Pillow helps patients sleep more comfortably while wearing their CPAP mask whether they sleep on their side, their back or their stomach, and it also helps to create a more open airway for easier breathing.

ResMed is happy to offer fitting templates for many of our masks. Click on a mask below to open a PDF file of the fitting template. Please note the following when using these templates:

  • Read the directions on the template carefully before cutting and using them.
  • Mask fitting templates should be used to aid in the fitting of masks. The use of these templates is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional, sleep technician or equipment supplier.
  • Altering the size or dimensions of the original PDFs in any way may compromise the quality and accuracy of these template printouts. To avoid this problem, ensure you are printing at the actual size by turning off all page scaling in your printer settings. You may also refer to the ruler within the printout to ensure the printout is the accurate size.

ResMed nasal mask fitting templates:

AirFit N30i  (513kb)

AirFit N20  (518kb)

ResMed full face mask fitting templates:

AirFit F30  (126kb)

AirFit F20  (535kb)

If your patient’s mask is noisy, it might mean that it doesn’t seal properly. See our recommendations above: make sure the mask is properly fitted, correctly assembled, clean and in good condition. If your patient is still having problems, try a different size or type of mask.

Remember to fit the mask while your patient is in sleeping position: if they sleep lying down with no pillows, fit the mask like that; if they sleep in a recliner, fit the mask that way. This is important because our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep.

Mask noise can also be an indication that your patient’s mask is leaking air. This is a common problem that can arise if the mask doesn’t seal properly or doesn’t fit your patient’s face properly.