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How to Clean a Nebulizer: A Step-By-Step Guide

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Dec 02 2022.

A nebulizer is a portable electronic device that converts medication into a mist, making it easier to inhale into your lungs. Daily and weekly maintenance can prevent harmful bacteria from growing and keep you from getting sick. This step-by-step guide explains how to clean your nebulizer and keep it in tip-top shape.

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a persistent respiratory problem, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may prescribe medications that require a nebulizer.

A nebulizer is a portable electronic device that converts medication into a mist, making it easier to inhale into your lungs. Like any medical device, it’s important to keep your nebulizer clean. Daily and weekly maintenance can prevent harmful bacteria from growing and keep you from getting sick.  

This step-by-step guide explains how to clean your nebulizer and keep it in tip-top shape. 

How often should I clean my nebulizer?

If you use a nebulizer, cleaning and maintenance are crucial. Without daily washing and sanitization, the unit is more likely to get clogged, break, and spread germs.

After each use, follow these steps:

Step one: Disassemble the nebulizer

Most nebulizers have five pieces:

  • Motor 

  • Tubing

  • T-shaped connector 

  • Mouthpiece or mask

  • Medicine cup

When you finish taking your medication, turn the nebulizer off and remove the mouthpiece/mask and T-shaped connector from the medicine cup. Next, disconnect the tubing from the medicine cup and put it on top of the motor.

Step two: Clean the mouthpiece/mask, medicine cup, and T-shaped connector

Handwash your mouthpiece, medicine cup, and T-shaped connector with a clean sponge, hot water, and mild dish soap. Rinse each piece thoroughly and lay them on a drying rack or a clean hand towel. 

Some nebulizer components are dishwasher safe. If that’s the case, feel free to place the pieces of your nebulizer in your dishwasher’s top rack. 

Remember to keep the tubing dry. Air is the only thing that passes through it, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned out.

Step three: Reassemble the nebulizer

After the mouthpiece, medicine cup, and T-shaped connector finish drying, reassemble your nebulizer and let it run for 20-30 seconds. Then, disconnect the tubing and keep it inside a case until your next medicine dosage.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a case for your nebulizer, cover the motor with a clean towel or a cloth to keep dust from building up.

What if my nebulizer needs a more thorough cleaning?

Even if you wash your nebulizer after each use, you should thoroughly clean it once a week. Doing so reduces your risk of upper respiratory infections, like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean and disinfect your nebulizer:

Step one: Take the nebulizer apart and handwash each piece

Make sure your nebulizer is off and unplugged. Remove the tubing and keep it in a dry place. Handwash the mouthpiece/mask, medicine cup, and T-shaped connector with mild dish soap and warm water. Rinse the pieces off and place them on a towel to dry.

Step two: Fill a bowl with one-part white vinegar and two parts distilled water

Once the solution is ready, soak your mouthpiece/mask, medicine cup, and T-shaped connector for 30 minutes. 

Step three: Rinse the components off with warm, distilled water

After the nebulizer components finish soaking in the vinegar solution, rinse them with warm, distilled water. Shake off any excess water and let the pieces air dry.

Step four: Reassemble the nebulizer

When the components are dried, reassemble the nebulizer and run it for 30 seconds. 

Last, wipe off the motor with a damp washcloth or a cleaning wipe. Remember to keep it inside a carrying case or cover it with a clean towel to protect it from dust buildup.

Now you know how to keep your nebulizer clean!

Routine cleaning and maintenance make treatment easier and safer if you take medications with a nebulizer. It also keeps your medical device in great shape, so you don’t have to worry about fixing or replacing it. 

Need help choosing a nebulizer or nebulizer components?  You’ve come to the right place! 

Need help choosing a nebulizer or nebulizer components?  You’ve come to the right place! At Carewell, our friendly and knowledgeable Care Specialists are familiar with each and every one of the products we carry. Just let them know what you’re looking for and your needs, and they can recommend nebulizers. 

Our Care Specialists speak English and Spanish and are available 24/7. You can call (855) 855-1666 or email support@carewell.com.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.