How to Properly Maintain Your Portable Oxygen Concentrator

July 9, 2021

Individuals who have a chronic lung disease often need home oxygen therapy to help them breathe easier. Portable oxygen concentrators require routine cleaning to provide effective and safe oxygen delivery. You will find essential how-tos and tips for maintaining your portable oxygen concentrator below.

POC maintenance

Source: US Oxygen Sales

Maintaining the Portable Oxygen Concentrator Exterior

As with most medical equipment, the exterior housing of your portable oxygen concentrator gathers dust and dirt over time. Here’s a step-by-step explanation for maintaining the outside of your portable oxygen concentrator:

What you’ll need:

  • Soft cleaning cloth
  • Mild liquid detergent, such as Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • Soft hand towel

Steps:

  1. Unplug the portable oxygen concentrator from the electrical outlet.
  2. Wet the cleaning cloth and wring it out until damp.
  3. Add a drop of dish detergent.
  4. Wipe the outside of the portable oxygen concentrator; carefully work around the vents. To remove stuck-on grime, lightly rub the surface.
  5. Rinse the cloth with clean water and wring until damp.
  6. Wipe the surface again to remove soap residue.
  7. Wipe the surface with a towel to dry the housing.
  8. Make sure the portable oxygen concentrator is completely dry before use.

How to Maintain the Nasal Cannula on a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

nasal cannula

Nasal Cannula, Source: Mountainside Medical

Most manufacturers recommend cleaning a nasal cannula at least once a week, and it’s best to replace the nasal cannula every two months if used daily, three to six months if used less frequently. Remember to replace the tubing and nasal cannula after you’ve been ill.

What you’ll need:

  • Mild dishwashing detergent (liquid)
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Bath towel
  • Soft cloth

Steps:

  1. Add water and a little liquid dish detergent to a kitchen or bathroom sink.
  2. Soak the nasal cannula in the soapy water.
  3. Clean the nozzle that attaches to the cannula with a cotton swab to gently remove dust and debris near and around the nozzle.
  4. Remove the nasal cannula from the sink and set it on a bath towel on the counter.
  5. Rinse the sink to remove soap residue.
  6. Add white vinegar and water to the sink in a ratio of 10 to 1. The vinegar/water blend creates a gentle disinfectant that kills any remaining bacteria on the surface.
  7. Add the nasal cannula to the vinegar/water filled sink and gently move it around to rinse thoroughly.
  8. Hang to air dry keeping it out of the sun.

Keeping Your Portable Oxygen Concentrator Mask Clean

If you use an oxygen mask with your portable oxygen concentrator, it’s a good idea to give it a weekly cleaning.

What you’ll need:

  • Mild dishwashing detergent (liquid)
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Bath towel
  • Soft cloth

Steps:

  1. Detach the oxygen mask from the portable oxygen concentrator. Remove any parts or tubes as well.
  2. Add water and a little liquid dish detergent to a sink or large bowl.
  3. Soak the oxygen mask in the soapy water. Gently wipe with a soft cloth to remove dried mucus and dirt.
  4. Remove the oxygen mask from the sink and set it on a bath towel on the counter.
  5. Rinse the sink to remove soap residue.
  6. Add white vinegar and water to the sink in a 10 to 1 ratio.
  7. Add the mask to the vinegar/water filled sink. Submerge the mask and gently. Swish it about to rinse it thoroughly.
  8. Rinse the mask again in hot, running tap water.
  9. Hang the mask to air dry, away from direct sunlight.
  10. Reattach the mask to the POC and use as normal.

Maintaining the Portable Oxygen Concentrator Gross Particle Filter

POC filter

Source: Direct Home Medical

Like a home’s heating and cooling system, the Gross Particle Filter pulls in air from the room and then converts it to clean oxygen. A portable oxygen concentrator’s Gross Particle Filter removes dust, dirt, and pollen from the air so it can quickly become dirty. A once-a-month cleaning of the filter can increase the life of the unit.

What you’ll need:

  • Mild dishwashing detergent (liquid)
  • Water
  • A bath towel or 2 paper towels
  • Soft cloth

First, refer to your owner’s manual before attempting to clean your portable oxygen concentrator’s Gross Particle Filter. Below is the general method for cleaning the filter:

  1. Turn the unit off and unplug it from the electrical outlet.
  2. Remove the filter. If you’re not sure about the filter’s location, refer to the owner’s manual to locate and remove it.
  3. Fill your sink with warm water and a little mild dishwashing detergent (liquid).
  4. Gently dip the filter into the soapy water.
  5. Gently wipe the filter with the soapy washcloth to remove dust, dirt, and allergens.
  6. Remove the filter from the soapy water and place it on the counter, on a bath towel.
  7. Rinse the sink to remove soap residue and fill it with tap water.
  8. Place the filter into the clean water. Gently move it about, under the water, to rinse and remove soap residue.
  9. Remove the filter from the water. Set it on the second dry bath towel to absorb excess water and to dry. Make sure the filter is fully dry before placing it back in the unit.

How to Clean Portable Oxygen Concentrator Air Vents

For proper airflow, it’s important the portable oxygen concentrator’s vents remain free of dust and debris. Use a cotton swab to gently remove dust and debris in and around the vents.

Additional Portable Oxygen Concentrator Maintenance Tips

Frequently check the condition of the flexible tubing for signs of wear or damage. If the tubing shows signs of wear, replace it immediately. Use an alcohol wipe to gently clean the nasal cannula, tubing, and facemask, daily.

Whether your portable oxygen concentrator has an internal or removable battery, it will eventually need to be charged or replaced. Portable oxygen concentrator batteries last approximately two years, or for three-hundred charges. Keep a back-up battery stored in case of a power outage or travel delay.

Always refer to your portable oxygen concentrator owner’s manual before cleaning.