Cleaning and looking after your inhaler

Simple ways to help you keep your inhaler in good working order

Health advice > Inhalers, medicines and treatments > Inhalers and spacers

Find out the best way to clean and store your metered-dose, dry powder, or breath actuated inhaler.

On this page:

Cleaning your metered-dose inhaler (MDI)

metered dose inhalerIt’s a good idea to clean your inhaler at least once each week. Even if you can’t see any medicine build-up, it’s important to keep your inhaler clean so that it doesn’t get blocked. The most important thing to remember is to never wash the metal canister or put it in water - only wash the plastic parts.

Your inhaler will come with its own cleaning instructions, but here are the main steps for cleaning an MDI:

  1. Remove the metal canister from the plastic casing of the inhaler and remove the mouthpiece cap.
  2. Rinse the plastic casing thoroughly under warm running water.
  3. Let the plastic casing air-dry overnight, making sure you have a spare, clean inhaler if needed.
  4. Put the metal canister into the plastic casing, test it by releasing a single puff into the air, and replace the mouthpiece cap.

If you use a spacer with your MDI read our advice on using, cleaning, and storing your spacer.

Cleaning your dry powder inhaler (DPI)

dry powder inhaler

Your inhaler will come with its own cleaning instructions, but here are the main steps for cleaning a DPI:

  1. Wipe the mouthpiece of your dry-powder inhaler with a clean, dry cloth at least once a week.
  2. Never use water to wipe the dry powder inhaler because the powder is sensitive to moisture.

Cleaning your breath actuated inhaler (BAI)

breath actuated inhaler

Your inhaler will come with its own cleaning instructions, but here are the main steps for cleaning a BAI:

  1. Remove the top of the inhaler by unscrewing it. Always keep this top part dry.
  2. Remove the metal canister and keep this away from water.
  3. Rinse the plastic casing of the inhaler with warm water.
  4. Let the casing dry overnight if possible, making sure you have a spare inhaler if needed.
  5. Once dry, put the canister back into the bottom of the inhaler, place the cap on, and screw the top back on.

Storing your inhaler

Your patient information leaflet (included in the box with your inhaler) should explain the best way to clean, store, and use your inhaler. You should always remember to:

  • Keep the cap on your inhaler. This keeps dust and debris out meaning you won’t breathe it in.
  • Keep your inhaler at the correct temperature. Extreme temperatures and/or high altitudes can affect the medicine in your inhaler. Don’t leave your inhaler where it might get too hot or cold - for example in your car or on a sunny windowsill
  • Keep your inhaler somewhere dry. Keeping your inhaler in a bathroom can make the medicine damp.
  • Store all medicines safely, out of reach of children and pets.

Want to check your inhaler technique?

Watch our inhaler videos to help you use your inhaler correctly.

You can call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (9am - 5pm; Mon - Fri) to talk to a respiratory nurse specialist about cleaning and looking after your inhalers. Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.

Last updated November 2021
Next review due November 2024

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