Users of CPAP machines end up maintaining the system by having to clean the mask, the accompanying air tube, and humidifier. Not only is this a hassle, but for many patients with sleep apnea this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, causing them to abandon the therapy. As CPAP is impressively effective for treating sleep apnea and many of its cardiopulmonary consequences, it’s disappointing that compliance with it is so poor.
We were offered the opportunity to try out a new device called SoClean that pretty much automates CPAP equipment cleaning. We borrowed a CPAP machine, unpacked the SoClean, and followed the accompanying instructions. The following is our experience with the SoClean.
Design and first impressions
The SoClean is a stylish machine, at least as much as this kind of equipment can be. It’s a box into which you place the mask right after waking up in the morning without having to unplug it from the CPAP machine. You simply stuff the mask, including the straps, into the SoClean’s cavity, close the lid, and you’re done. The SoClean turns on automatically at a pre-programmed time, disinfects the mask, tube, and the humidifier’s water reservoir while you go about your day.
While the setup turned out to be pretty easy, the instructions that came with the SoClean were confusing and the pictures failed to clearly relay what had to be done. In reality, a simple connection had to be made between the CPAP and the SoClean, the machine plugged into a regular wall power outlet, and a little spacer placed to cover up a hole on the side opposite the hole through which the CPAP tube will go through. The device works with most CPAP machines and may require an adapter to properly connect it to certain CPAP models.
Once the hardware is ready, using a couple of buttons on the front you set the time and select when the SoClean should run the cleaning cycle. The cleaning time may be important to give some thought to, as the machine is kind of noisy and it’s best for it to run when it won’t bother anyone. As a matter of fact, the machine is so loud that we can imagine an irritated dog barking at it every time it goes off.
Once the initial setup is complete, using the machine is simply a matter of stuffing the mask in and closing the lid. It will turn on when you set it to run every day. It takes about ten minutes to operate as it generates ozone and pumps it through the connected CPAP equipment. Of note, ozonation is a well established method of disinfection and is understood to be safe when produced in low quantities. Though the SoClean’s pumping process only takes about ten minutes, the mask has to remain inside the SoClean for another two hours for the disinfecting process to complete properly.
We have to say that we really liked the SoClean. It’s easy to setup and to use on a daily basis. There’s little to think about once it’s ready to go. You take the mask out at night and put it back in the morning. We didn’t do any bacterial sampling, so we can’t attest to its effectiveness, but the manufacturer has some data backing up the machine that you can peruse through here: https://www.soclean.com/support/soclean-lab-results/
The SoClean is a bit loud for a few minutes as it operates, but most people can set that to happen when they’re out of the house and it won’t bug anyone. The instructions is pretty much the only aspect that we thought needed improvement, and it should be easy to include better pictures and text that more clearly describes what needs to be done.
At $299 it seems to be slightly expensive, but not having to clean the equipment is a big deal to most CPAP users. If it’s in your budget, we certainly recommend the SoClean.
Product page: SoClean…