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A patient’s guide to nebuliser equipment – cleaning and maintenance

Read our guide below about cleaning and maintaining nebuliser equipment.

You can also download a PDF version of this patient information by following the link on the right.

What is a nebuliser?

It’s a drug delivery device that converts a drug solution into an aerosol mist by passing a pressurised gas through it. The drug goes directly into your lungs.

Nebulising a drug is a highly effective method of delivering drugs providing you use the correct equipment and gas flow with the appropriate drugs. We will lend you a nebuliser for a period of treatment, or may need to buy one for your long term use.

What does the nebuliser consist of?

Compressor unit

When in use do not leave it on the floor.

The compressor unit enables a nebuliser to convert the medicine into a gas.

The compressor forces the air through the drug solution into the nebuliser chamber where it’s converted into mist. You then breathe the mist in through a mouthpiece.

A mouthpiece delivers your nebuliser therapy. It’s connected to the nebuliser chamber and placed between your teeth and sealed by the lips while inhaling the medicine.

A mouthpiece prevents the medicine from getting into the eyes or causing irritation.

Nebuliser chamber

It’s where you put your liquid medication.


This part gets air from the compressor to the bottom of the nebuliser chamber.

How to use the equipment

Step 1 – filling the nebuliser chamber for single patient use.

Connect one end of the driveline to the outlet filter on your compressor

driveline to outer filter diagram

Step 2

Connect the other end of the driveline to the bottom of the blue nebuliser cup.

Step 3

Remove the nebuliser top from the cup and pour medicine into the cup (max 10ml).

Pour medicine diagram

Step 4

Screw the top back onto the cup.

Screw the top back on diagram

Step 5

Connect either the face mask or mouthpiece to the nebuliser top.

connect face mask or mouthpiece diagram

How to administer the medication

Step 1

Switch the compressor unit on.

Step 2

Sitting in an upright relaxed position, place the mouthpiece into the mouth and start breathing slowly. Do not breathe quickly.

Step 3

Switch off the compressor when the misting stops.

Step 4

Unplug the mains lead.

How to clean your equipment

To benefit fully from your equipment, you must keep the machine and accessories clean.

Ensure that you take the the medication chamber apart and wash it in warm soapy water after each use.

Rinse and dry.

Blow the jet holes clear by attaching the chamber to the air outlet from the compressor and running the machine for a couple of minutes.

Disconnect the tubing from both the outlet filter and the chamber after each use to prolong the life of the connector.

Once a week, soak the chamber in boiling water and washing up liquid for 10 minutes and dry thoroughly.

Changing the attachments

We recommend that you change the following disposable items at these intervals.

Change every 3 months

  • Nebuliser chamber
  • Inlet filter
  • Driveline
  • Facemask

Change every 12 months

  • Mouthpiece
  • Outlet filter

About our patient information pages and leaflets

This patient advice is intended as general information only. We aim to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please note that it is subject to change.

Always check specific advice on any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Buckinghamshire Integrated Respiratory Service (BIRS)
Opening times
Buckinghamshire Integrated Respiratory Service (BIRS)

01296 255670

Opening times

Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 6.30pm

Weekends and bank holidays, 9am to 4.30pm

If you need medical advice out of hours please dial 111.

In the event of an emergency please call 999.