All three manufacturers of the HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers note that the devices must be cleaned regularly to prevent buildup and blockage in the mouthpiece valve because they may be more likely to clog without regular cleaning than the CFC-propelled inhalers.
Although the cleaning and priming essentials are generally the same for all three products, you should carefully read the instruction for your specific inhaler as there are slight differences. Most require priming with 3-4 pumps prior to the first use, and priming again if not used for 2 weeks.
All HFA-inhalers should be washed at least once per week. The canister and mouthpiece cap should be removed and set aside. The aerosol canister should never be immersed in water. Wash the mouthpiece through the top and bottom with warm running water for 30 seconds.
To dry, shake off excess water and let the mouthpiece air-dry thoroughly, ideally overnight. All three manufacturers note that blockage from medicaton build-up is more likely to occur if the mouthpiece is not allowed to air-dry thoroughly.
Once the mouthpiece is dry, place the aerosol canister back into the mouthpiece and cap the mouthpiece.
The same cleaning process should be used if the spray from the mouthpiece appears to be weak or blocked, even if it is less than a week since the last cleaning.
If you need to use your inhaler before it is completely dry, shake off excess water, replace the canister and test spray two to three times into the air, away from you face. Then take your dose as prescribed. If you use the inhaler before it has dried completely, rewash and air dry thoroughly afterward.
Priming the aerosol oral inhaler is essential to ensure that the proper dose is delivered with each spray. All of the products recommend priming before using for the first time, and when the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks. Two of the manufacturers also recommend priming when the inhaler has been dropped. To prime, release three to four sprays into the air away from the face, shaking well between each spray.