How To Clean and Maintain a Nasal Cannula

How To Clean and Maintain a Nasal Cannula

Starting oxygen therapy can feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially with all the equipment that comes with an oxygen concentrator. One of the most important concentrator accessories is the nasal cannula. This smaller piece of tubing goes over your ears and under your nose so you can breathe easily and move around while using your concentrator.

Since this piece goes inside your nose, it’s crucial to keep it clean and maintain it. Keep reading to learn how to clean and maintain a nasal cannula.

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning your oxygen concentrator and accessories will become an essential part of your routine as you adjust to oxygen therapy. Your nasal cannula is one of the important accessories to clean regularly.

It’s wise to have more than one cannula so you can still wear your oxygen while cleaning your accessories. Since you’ll also be cleaning parts of your oxygen machine, such as the filter, you may need two oxygen machines or another system in place that allows for cleaning while you maintain oxygen flow.


Plan to clean your nasal cannula, along with the outside of your machine and the filter, every week. Make it a part of your weekly routine to avoid using dirty equipment. If you’re ill, wash and change your nasal cannula more often.

How To Clean Your Cannula

Once you’ve created a cleaning schedule for your machine, you can get to cleaning at the appointed time. Fill a clean container or clean sink with warm water and mild liquid dishwashing soap. Turn your concentrator off and disconnect your tubing. Carry the tubing to the sink and submerge it in the warm water and soap. Use a lint-free cloth to gently scrub the angles of the cannula. Rinse thoroughly and try to keep water from getting deep into the tubbing, as it may not dry.

Sanitizing Your Cannula

After you’ve washed your cannula, you can leave it to air dry. However, if you want to sanitize it further, you can mix 10-parts warm water with 1-part white distilled vinegar and soak your cannula for a few minutes. Rinse it thoroughly afterward and allow it to air dry. Finally, reconnect to your oxygen machine or safely store it once it’s dry.

Maintaining Your Cannula

Keeping your nasal cannula clean will help it last and prevent sickness. You can further maintain your cannula by inspecting it regularly for damage. This inspection is especially vital if you use long tubing to walk around your home. Try to protect your cannula and tubing and prevent damage so that these issues do not compromise your oxygen access.

As you clean and maintain a nasal cannula and tubing, remember to stick to your cleaning schedule and maintain your cannula as best you can. It’s essential to keep this oxygen accessory in working order as long as possible. Although wearing a nasal cannula with your recent oxygen prescription is a big change, you’ll soon adjust to wearing and caring for this crucial accessory.

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