How to Achieve a Perfect Mask Seal for Your CPAP Therapy

Do You Struggle to Get the Perfect Seal for Your CPAP Machine? We’ve Got You Covered!

CPAP therapy is hailed as the gold standard for treating sleep apnea, offering numerous benefits such as increased energy levels, reduced daytime headaches, and improved sleep quality. However, achieving these positive effects hinges on one crucial factor: a proper mask seal. In this blog post, we'll explore why mask leaks occur and their impact on therapy, and provide actionable tips to ensure a snug and effective seal for your CPAP mask.

"Perfecting your CPAP mask seal is not just about preventing leaks; it's reclaiming the full potential of your therapy and restoring the quality of your sleep," says Robert Miller, Apria's Vice President of Sleep Business.

Why Mask Leaks Matter

Mask leaks are a common complaint among CPAP users, leading to a range of issues, including dry eyes, noisy disruptions, and ineffective treatment. These leaks compromise the prescribed air pressure delivered by the CPAP machine, rendering the therapy less effective and potentially reintroducing sleep apnea symptoms.

Tips for a Good Mask Seal

1. Choose the Right Mask

The Apria team and your Sleep Physician will work with you to ensure that you have the best mask that fits your preferred sleeping position and breathing style. For example, a full-face mask may not be an ideal choice if you sleep on your stomach due to its bulkiness.

2. Cleanse Your Skin

Wash your face thoroughly before bed to remove natural oils that can affect the mask seal.

3. Replace Old Masks

Inspect your mask, face cushions, nasal cushions & nasal pillows regularly for signs of wear and tear and replace them based on the recommended schedule to prevent leaks from worn materials. Over time the materials will wear down and little tears will form, sometimes small enough that you may not see them but they will still leak air nonetheless. Your mask should be replaced every three months, full face cushions every month, and nasal pillows or nasal cushions twice a month. 

4. Maintain Cleanliness

Keep your mask clean daily to prevent dirt, oil, and grime buildup that can compromise the seal. To help keep a good seal, clean your mask, specifically the cushion, daily with warm water, mild soapy water

For more information: The Dos and Don'ts of CPAP cleaning.

5. Use Mask Liners

Try using mask liners, these are a helpful, disposable accessory made to fit over your CPAP mask cushion and they form a barrier between your skin and the cushion. They do double-duty in that they help reduce any potential friction or irritation between the cushion and your skin as well as help create a good seal.

6. Invest in a CPAP Pillow

Use a specially-designed CPAP pillow. These pillows are designed with grooves and cut-outs that allows for the CPAP mask to sit comfortably without being dislodged or pushing back on to your face, helping to avoid mask leaks.

7. Position Yourself Correctly

Wait to put on your mask until you're lying down in your typical sleeping position to ensure a proper fit.

8. Make Adjustments Carefully

Ensure the mask fits snug without gaps around the cheeks or mouth, avoiding overly tight straps that may impede cushion inflation.

9. Utilize the Ramp Feature

If available, use the ramp feature on your CPAP machine to gradually increase air pressure, making it easier to maintain a seal.

Achieving a good mask seal is essential for maximizing the effectiveness of CPAP therapy and ensuring a restful night's sleep. By following these tips and incorporating them into your nightly routine, you can minimize mask leaks and enjoy the full benefits of your CPAP treatment. Don't let mask leaks derail your therapy—take proactive steps to achieve a perfect seal and reclaim your sleep quality.

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“CPAP Mask Leaks: Causes & How to Fix Them.” Sleep Apnea, June 5, 2023.
Dr., Sleep. “5 Reasons Why Your CPAP Mask Is Leaking.” Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, Inc., March 12, 2018.
“How to Prevent CPAP Mask Air Leaks.” Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, November 1, 2023.
Repasky, David. “CPAP Mask Leaks: Causes and Solutions - Why Does My CPAP Mask Leak Air & How to STOP MY CPAP Mask from Leaking.” Blog, February 13, 2024. 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is provided for general health education and informational purposes and to provide references to other resources only; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria Healthcare believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria Healthcare cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, “medical treatment”). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship.


Robert Miller

Robert has worked in the sleep and home respiratory healthcare space for over 29 years and is a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Robert has been married for 33 years to his wife, Laurie, has 6 children and 5 grandchildren. Robert leads sleep initiatives and strategies that improve the patient experience and promote better health outcomes so that our patients can achieve their best night's sleep—every night.

About the AuthorRobert Miller