British Lung Foundation
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Spacers. To clean or not to clean, that is the question!

I've had conflicting advice over this, a nurse told me they should be cleaned regularly, then a doctor said they should not be cleaned, they get 'primed' and work better. Who is right? And how often should a spacer be replaced? I use mine morning and night on two different inhalers, two puffs of each, so it is used 8 times each day. I am currently coming down on the side of it being 'primed', probably 'cos I'm lazy!

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22 Replies

I was told by respiratory nurse they should be washed weekly, I have 2 so I wash one and use one. They should be left to dry naturally not with tea towels or cloths because you can get fibres off them onto the spacer then you will inhale it.

Hope this helps


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I was told the same as pollyjj and this is what i do . If they are not cleaned everything puffed in sticks to the residue on the sides so you dont get the full dose .

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I was given the following advice :-

Wash in wam soapy water once a month rinse & air dry. Do not use a cloth to dry as this will cause static allowing too much of the medication to stick to inside of the spacer. it can also cause fibers to be left behind as polly said.The spacer should be replaced every 12 months.

It would seem that there is a lot of conflicting advice :-(

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I used to clean mine weekly with a bottle brush, my COPD told me not to do that but just to slosh it with warm water let it dry naturally change it yearly, two is better , so use one when the others being drip dryed! Kate

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I was told the same as Pollyj, my nurse also told me that you can put them in the dish washer but I haven't tried that yet.

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Thanks for all your help, I give in, will start washing it! I have two so can do as you do Polly, one in the wash and one in use. Not sure about the dishwasher, but it might be worth a try!!

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at my PR the nurse said they should be washed weekly and depending on type changed 6 monthly and not longer than 1 year.

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I agree completely. Common sense dictates they should be washed.

Paying particular attention to Pollyjj's advice about letting them dry naturally :)

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Hi Sylvsmum

Spacers should really be washed every week - as you use your inhaler the inside becomes sticky with the powder residue - this is turn can stop the full amount of drugs getting into your lungs.

Wash in warm soapy water, rinse and leave to dy naturally, drying with a cloth can cause fibres to stay in the spacer which can then be inhaled.

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes


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I was told once a month - now it's going to be once a week. Good question Sylvsmum.

Lib x

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I was told once a week also in warm sopy water then rince well and air dry.

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Jo-BLF, thanks for your helpful response. Weekly I Ieave my aero chamber to soak in warm soapy, leave for an hour then rinse and dry naturally. Should I wash it inside or not? Can you advise please? And I replace it every 6 months.

But surely the INSIDE is where it needs the wash, to clear out the powder residue?

No apparently not! Kate

Inside neads washing as Sylvsmum says, I use a clean tooth brush to clean mine.

Lib x

No again that is wrong, warm soapy water sloshed inside BUT no brushes kate

Hi, I soak mine in Milton steriliser tablets, works very well and is really fresh. Regards

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You need to talk to a COPD team or nurse, that is wrong kate

Surely you should have 2 different spacers, 2 for each inhaler, one to wash one to use! Kate

Just had a conversation this last week at my GP surgery, they have their own pharmacist and she looks after the COPD and Asthma patients. She said it was OK to use the one spacer, they should be replaced annually.

I wash mine regularly, using warm but not too soapy water. I have been using a piece of the 'one sheet' kitchen roll on the inside, to clear any residue, by shaking that up and down with some of the water. The cheaper roll tends to break up, not a good idea to leave bits of that inside. Then I rinse it and run some fairly hot water through the whole thing before leaving it to dry on it's own, stood upright on the draining board.

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Thanks Gordon, sound advice. Have started doing mine regularly, have one on the go, one 'drying out' and a third unused sitting in a drawer.

Interesting....the nurse at the clinic I attended said it was very important to keep inhalers clean as the build up of chemicals in the inhaler would make the spacer less efficient......Hope you can understand what I mean.

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