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Sleep and Respiratory

Tips and best practices

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September 2017 feature

Tips for proper  nebulizer cleaning and storing

A recent survey revealed that pulmonologists recommend hand-held small volume nebulizers (HHSVN) for patients with more severe COPD symptoms; and that patients prefer using them.1


However, only 53% of patients said they were extremely or very knowledgeable about the use and maintenance of HHSVNs.1 In addition, cleaning and storing their device was noted as they topic discussed least at appointments with their pulmonologist, despite the majority of clinicians believing device decontamination was essential or very important.

This article outlines proper maintenance, cleaning, and storage – key to optimizing HHSVN performance and life expectancy.


Failure to clean the device according to instructions may compromise the nebulizer’s performance such as clogging of the jet holes in the jet nebulizer or holes in the mesh which reduces the output of medication or result in the device not working properly. A nebulizer is also a medium for bacterial growth if not cleaned and disinfected properly.Use the tips and instructions below to help your patients keep their Philips nebulizers on track.


General care considerations

Nebulizers require rinsing after every use, daily cleaning and disinfection weekly or otherwise based on clinician recommendation. All nebulizer parts should air dry fully prior to storing and patients should consult instructions regarding the proper replacement schedule for their nebulizer as aerosol output may deteriorate as the system ages.

Useful links


Here are some resources to care for and maintain your nebulizer:





Cleaning the Sidestream plus

Proper cleaning and storage of     InnoSpire Go3 mesh nebulizer systems:

Cleaning the Innospire Go

It is important to follow instructions for mesh nebulizers otherwise the mesh may become clogged with dried medication.


After every use:

  1. Pour away any leftover medication from the medication chamber
  2. Press the release button to separate the mouthpiece assembly from the handset*
  3. Rinse the mouthpiece assembly thoroughly under running water
  4. Shake off excess water, place on its side and leave to air dry fully before storing

* Do not wash the handset



  1. Wash the mouthpiece assembly by hand in a bowl of liquid dish washing soap and warm water
  2. Rinse the mouthpiece assembly thoroughly under running tap water
  3. Shake off excess water, place on its side and leave to air dry fully before storing


Weekly disinfection:

  1. Boil the mouthpiece assembly in water for ten minutes
  2. Make sure the medication chamber lid is open and there is enough water in the pan to prevent the mouthpiece assembly from touching the bottom or boiling dry
  3. Shake off excess water, place on its side and leave to air dry fully before storing


Once a week:

  1. Cleaning the handset by wiping it with a  clean damp cloth weekly or whenever needed
  2. If using a mask, once a week wash it in warm soapy water for two minutes or leave to soak for ten minutes



The mouthpiece assembly can be cleaned (boiled/disinfected) up to 52 times over 12 months. To keep the InnoSpire Go working at the optimum level, the mouthpiece assembly should be replaced every 12 months.


Watch the instructional video for adult devices ›

Watch the instructional video for pediatric devices ›


Proper cleaning and storage of  SideStream and SideStream Plus jet nebulizer systems:

After every use:

  1. Remove the plastic tubing from the medicine cup and take the system apart.
  2. Wash all parts, except the tubing*, in hot soapy water using a regular liquid dish detergent
  3. Rinse under clean running water
  4. Shake off excess water and leave to air dry fully before storing

*Tubing does not need to be washed



Once each week or as often as your healthcare provider recommends you should disinfect the nebulizer parts, however do not disinfect the tubing or mask

  1. Boil the parts in soapy water for a maximum of ten minutes
  2. Rinse under clean running water for 2 minutes
  3. Shake off excess water  and leave to air dry fully before storing



It is recommended that the reusable SideStream and SideStream Plus nebulizer is replaced every six months.  It should also be noted that there is a disposable version of the SideStream that should be replaced every 2 weeks.  The reusable SideStream has a light blue top and mouthpiece.  The disposable SideStream has a dark blue top and white mouthpiece.   

1 Braman Sidney, MD, professor, critical care and sleep medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Webinar. COPD and Inhalation Devices: Pulmonologist and Patient Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviors. March 2016, ATS and Sunovian Pharmaceuticals companion survey.

Fink JB, Ari A. Aerosol drug therapy. In: Wilkins EL, Stoller JK, eds. Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. 10th ed. St Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

3 Philips InnoSpire Go is pending 510(k) approval. Not currently for sale in USA.