Cleaning and looking after your inhaler

Simple tips to help you keep your inhalers in working order.

Cleaning and looking after your inhaler

Cleaning and properly maintaining inhalers isn’t difficult. Following these quick tips will keep your inhaler in good working order.

Four easy steps for cleaning a ‘press and breathe’ metered-dose inhaler (MDI)

Follow the cleaning instructions that come in the box with your MDI. The most important thing to remember is to never wash the metal canister or put it in water – only wash the plastic parts.

  1. Remove the metal canister from the plastic casing of the inhaler and remove the mouthpiece cover.
  2. Rinse the plastic casing thoroughly under warm running water.
  3. Dry the plastic casing thoroughly inside and out.
  4. Put the metal canister into the plastic casing, test it by releasing a single puff into the air and replace the mouthpiece cover.

Cleaning a dry powder inhaler

  1. Wipe the mouthpiece of your dry-powder inhaler with a dry cloth at least once a week.
  2. Do NOT use water to wipe the dry powder inhaler because the powder is sensitive to moisture.

Cleaning your spacer

Read our advice on using, cleaning and storing your spacer

Tips and tricks for storing your inhaler

  • The patient information leaflet is the leaflet that’s included in the box with a medicine. It explains the best way to use, clean, store and look after your inhaler.
  • It’s best to avoid keeping your inhalers in your bathroom, as this might make the medicine damp – choose somewhere cool and dry instead.
  • The last thing you need is for dust or debris to get inside your inhaler – so, always try to keep the cap on. Do you find you keep losing it? Some people with asthma recommend saving old caps from your empty inhalers so they always have a spare.
  • Some people suggest keeping an inhaler in a see-through bag, so can find your inhaler in a rush (but note that spacers should not be kept in plastic bags as this will cause them to build up static).
  • Store your inhaler at the correct temperature. Extreme temperatures and/or high altitudes can affect the medicine in your inhaler. Check the label on your inhaler for storage instructions. Don’t leave your inhaler where it might get too hot or cold (for example in your car or on a sunny window sill).
  • Remember to store all your medicines out of reach of children and pets.
  • Speak to your GP about how to look after your inhaler if you're planning to go on holiday to a hot or cold country, or if you’re going mountain climbing.

Want to check your inhaler technique?

Watch our handy videos explaining how to use different inhalers 


Last reviewed November 2018

Next review due November 2021

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