boiling nebs and water?


New member
We had a water issue in toledo ohio about microcystin bacteria in the water so we are not able to use our tap water. So I boiled my nebs with gallon water I got at the store and my nebs have a white powder substance all over them. How do you boil your nebs? What should I do now?


Staff member
I boil nebs for 10 minutes. Have duplicate nebs, so I can boil all at once, once a day over my lunch hour. We have hard water and have a water softener, so if we need to put softener salt in, sometimes we get white residue (calcium deposits) on the nebs. So I soak, rinse them in vinegar before boiling and it takes care of the residue.


New member
Do you do hypertonic saline? If so, that leaves a magic salty dust hehe! I use regular tap water BOILED, then rinse my needs with soap water and dry them.

I hope this is the right thing to do. I have tried baby bottle sterilizers like the one that comes with cayston, but after 2 uses USING DISTILLED WATER, LIMESCALE build up, and it won't come off.

I hate cleaning nebs, its more time,. so I leave all my day and night clean nebs out, the clean them last thing at night ready for the next day.


Use distilled water...the mineral content in my tap water leaves white residue on everything I boil...actually has white stuff floating in the bubbles.. now I buy bottled distilled water and have no issues. It's also what is recommended for the steam sterilizer.


Super Moderator
Just like the other posters - We see the hard water deposit on our Nebs - it shows up on everything as a white powdery substance. It means it's time for more salt in the water softener. But even when the softener is working, it's effectiveness is not complete. So either way, we put about a tablespoon or two of white vinegar in each pot of boiling nebs. I put it in the water before it even begins to boil. It should keep the powder off your nebs. Once you've boiled your Nebs for 10 minutes (in the water with the vinegar), do not rinse them in any kind of water, soapy or otherwise. The danger is the potential contaminants in tap water or distilled water itself. Only the boiled water is sterile. Instead just air dry them .... preferably covered by a fresh paper towel to avoid contaminants in the air too.
The basic process recommended by the CFF is here:


Super Moderator
RockyLass - are you saying that you boil your nebs and THEN rinse them in soapy water before drying? The recommendations are to rinse or wash them in soapy water FIRST, then boil them for 10 minutes, then air dry them. Do not rinse them after you boil them. Just put them out to air dry, and cover them with a paper towel. After they dry, you can store them in a closed container if you like too.

Your soapy water rinse contains soap - you don't want to nebulize soap residue into your lungs; and your tap water or even distilled water is not sterile - so if you rinse after boiling, you are re-introducing contaminants including potential bacteria to your nebulizer surfaces if you rinse them after sterilizing. You can use filtered or distilled water to avoid the hard water issue, but neither filtered nor distilled water is sterile. Water of whatever kind - tap water that meets local health standards or bottled distilled water - once boiled for 10 minutes (perhaps the actual time is 5 minutes? but I go overboard) is sterile water. At least immediately after boiling it for the requisite amount of time. And do not try to "save" your boiled water. It does not stay sterile . . . . and I can't imagine any container you could put it in would remain sterile either.


New member
Wow. that is a lot of work to keep them clean. I don't do any of that. Not sure my method would be safe for those with a seriously weakened immune system, but I keep two neb cups to alternate. Immediately after use, I rinse to get the sticky meds out, then shake out the water, and blow through parts to get the water out. I just leave it to air dry for 24 hours. That is why I have 2 sets. About once every month, or sometimes less frequently, I soak all the parts in warm water with 3 or 4 tablets of sanitizing denture cleanser (like efferdent). I have never had any problems. Again, it's not the recommended protocol, but so far no issues. Then I replace the cups every 6 months. Been doing this way for over 20 years.


Super Moderator
The link above and the guidelines for cleaning nebulizers are the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control. They were formulated by a CFF committee reviewing all the latest research on infection prevention and control. I don't know how we go about testing their efficacy. But my personal assumption is that if you have a bug you're fighting and you nebulize, you're transferring the bug onto your mouthpiece and elsewhere on your nebulizer. If you don't sterilize your nebulizer afterward, the bug lives in and even grows. Next time you nebulize, you reinfect yourself with more of the bug you're fighting. Talk about spitting in the wind......! As for me and mine, we will sterilize as the Guidelines suggest.