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One popular question CPAP users search online is, “Can you use purified water in a CPAP machine?”. The correct answer - it’s best to use distilled water since it’s pure water. Pure water means all minerals are removed. Whereas purified water means although the water has been filtered, trace amounts of minerals still remain.

Continue reading to learn why distilled water is the best choice, what to do if you have to use purified water, and tips on traveling with distilled water.

Your #1 Choice Should Be Distilled Water

Distilled water is the recommended choice by CPAP manufacturers to extend the life of your CPAP machine and prevent mineral buildup. If the CPAP machine gathers mineral buildup, it can prevent the humidifier’s heating plate from properly warming the water. Then it doesn’t provide enough moisture for your nasal passage, and you’ll wake up with congestion.

What is Mineral Buildup?

Mineral buildup is caused by water that contains high amounts of dissolved minerals. Distilled water goes through a distillation process to remove those minerals (inorganic compounds and microorganisms), and only pure water remains.

Some minerals remove include:

  • Bacteria
  • Calcium
  • Heavy metals
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

In a Pinch, You Can Use Purified Water in a CPAP Machine

Even though purified water does go through a purification process (called reverse osmosis) that makes the water safe to drink, it does leave a small amount of minerals behind.

So, can you use purified water in a CPAP machine? If you’re in a situation where you don't have access to distilled water, you can use purified water in your machine (only once or twice). Ongoing use of purified water in a CPAP machine can cause mineral buildup that will damage your machine and impact your sleep therapy treatment.

Important Steps to Follow If Using Purified Water in a CPAP Machine

Make sure to follow the below steps to prevent any mineral buildup from forming.

  1. Fill the water tank with extra water for the night – If the water tank dries out, any water-sediment will stick to it.
  2. After waking up, immediately empty the water tank, wash it with tap water, and leave it air dry.
  3. Examine the water tank for any sediment. If you see any spots, clean the filter with mild soap or detergent.

Other Waters to Avoid Using in Your CPAP Machine

Like purified water, there are different types of water available that are safe to drink but not safe for your CPAP machine.

  • Tap Water – This water varies depending on location, so it’s unclear what minerals might be found in it.
  • Bottled Water – It contains trace amounts of mineral contents.
  • Boiled Water – Boiling water will kill the bacteria; it doesn’t remove the minerals found.

3 Tips for Traveling with CPAP Distilled Water

Here are a few CPAP travel tips to prevent you from running out of distilled water during your travels.

#1 Determine How Much Water You’ll Need

The amount of water you’ll need will depend on your travel destination. Take the following factors into consideration.

  • Is your destination a dry or wet climate?
  • What is your respiration rate?
  • What humidity setting will you be using?

#2 TSA Requirements

Currently, TSA allows you to bring 3.4 ounces of distilled water as part of your carry-on bag and an unlimited amount in your checked bag.

#3 Order Ahead or Buy Your Distilled Water in Advance

Prebuy your distilled water and pack it with your suitcase or order your water ahead of time and have it shipped to your travel location.

For additional tips, read How to Travel with a CPAP Machine

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