Tips to Make Using Oxygen Tubing a Little Easier

Tips to Make Using Oxygen Tubing a Little Easier

Just breathe, passionate help for the PF journey

Using supplemental oxygen is a mixed bag. It is wonderful because it gives us the oxygen we need to keep our body healthy and to stay alive. It is hard due to many reasons I shared in a previous column, including dealing with the tubing.

I’ve discovered a few tricks over the last 3½ years of using supplemental oxygen that make wrestling with the tubing a little easier. It’s my pleasure to share them with you.

New tubing

I always love taking out a new roll of oxygen tubing. It is fresh and new, with no kinks … yet. The downside is that it is hard to get the coils out of the tubing, which makes it a tripping hazard. Here’s a trick I learned to make it stay flat.

  • Take the tubing out of the plastic bag and put it in a mesh laundry bag (the kind you use to wash delicate items in your washer).
  • Put the bag and 3-4 towels in your dryer, and set the heat at low.
  • Run the dryer for 10 minutes and take out the laundry bag.
  • Remove the tubing from the bag. It will be a little warm.
  • Take the tubing and stretch it out. You can do this with another person or by yourself. Make sure you don’t let either end touch the floor, to avoid germs.


Share your opinion and join the discussion about oxygen in our Pulmonary Fibrosis News forums!


I made a video to show you how to do this. It works great. The tubing will lie flat on the ground, and no more tripping!

Oxygen connectors

(Photo by Kim Fredrickson)

Most oxygen companies provide you with a solid plastic connector that joins your tubing to your cannula. This does the job, but it doesn’t help with the tubing getting easily tangled. Ask your oxygen provider if it has swivel connectors instead. If it doesn’t, you can buy them online. The kind I use is $5 for two. They help the tubing not get so tangled. I show you what they look like in the tubing video.

‘Y’ connectors

(Photo by Kim Fredrickson)

As your oxygen needs increase, you may need to connect two tanks or concentrators to give you the amount of oxygen you need. In the video, I show you how I hook two liquid oxygen tanks together to dispense 8 liters per minute of oxygen. Each of my tanks only delivers 6 LPM, so by hooking them together, I can go as high as 12 LPM. The connectors I use are $12 for five.

I hope these tips help to make using oxygen tubing a little easier.

I’d love to hear from you

What tips have helped you to make using supplemental oxygen a little easier? We have so much we can learn from one another.

Please leave a comment below, and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media. We’re in this together!


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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  1. Candice Cabral says:

    We found high flow tubing greatly helped. It’s not as narrow and was suggested by the respiratory therapist. (Ours was green.)

  2. Sherri Norton says:

    HI! I’ve been on oxygen for over 2 years. The absolute BEST thing I have discovered is OxyView glasses ( The tubing connects to the frame and there are small nasal pieces that deliver the oxygen to your nose. Most people have to look twice and finally ask if I’m on oxygen. You get the frames online, then have an optometrist make and install your prescription lenses.
    I also use a hydration style backpack for the smaller tanks… so easy to shop now. Hope y’all try this!

    • Peggie West says:

      Sherri, Thank you for sharing the info regarding the Oxyview glasses. I had read information about these glasses months ago but didn’t know anyone who had tried them. I’m excited to hear that you are using and would recommend these glasses and I intend to look at the website to order today! Please explain your reference to a hydration style backpack. Thanks again

      • Catherine Mills says:

        Go to Walmart, biking aisle. Bell makes a water bladder inside a small back pack. Just take out the bladder, and insert a C cylinder O2 tank.

    • Hi Sherri! I’ve heard they are wonderful. I checked them out, and was sorry to see they are only for 1 – 5 lpm flow. Wish I’d found them when I was on a lower flow of oxygen. So glad they are a blessing to you.

    • Richard says:

      Sherri, i have been looking for a hydration back pack for my LM6 oxygen tank. So i can continue with golf. Where did u find hydration backpack? Tia. Richard

  3. Isabel Mickle x says:

    Thank you so much for making the video clip about the tubing and the connectors. I had no idea about the swivel connectors. I will have to check those out.
    One huge problem I have we live on one floor home so we have this crazy long cord which keeps getting tangled under my feet. I wish there was a way that the hose would retract like the cord on a vacuum cleaner.
    What you do for PF warriors is wonderful. When I was first diagnosed they said 6 months. Well made it up to 3 years. They said I had excellent results on my meds. Ok so now we think 3-5. Some rough times but passed that. This March 2018 it will be 15 years. My health has declined to be expected but I do what I can, pray for comfort, understanding and to help others with this awful disease. A large part of my life is I live for my grandkids. They cheer me on the phone on bad days and just give me energy and a boost when they come over. Kids 13-2 years gives me a whole range of things to be there for, to watch and to cheer on.
    You keep what your doing as you are beating the odds. Congrats on being cancer free and beating the odds with this too. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Take care and god bless.

    • Ray Hastings says:

      my wife and i have a 2year old grandson that we take care of several days a week. he is a hand full bu helps us by helping to keep us moving around . he is really smart and has learned about having my O2 in my NOSE. he can turn on my and if I ur off the o2 machine he will stick 5wo ifingrs into his nose to remind me to hook up my hose to the o2.

  4. Russel J Fabre says:

    Great tips! I plumbed my house with discreet plugs in each room, but I have found using several 7 foot sections connected with swivel connections works well for me. I leave some sections in each room to I can lengthen or shorten my hoses as needed. Some days I just don’t feel like plugging in and out when I go into the rooms, so I just make-up one big line and connect it into the middle room. But, pull that big line around with me during the day reminds me why I took the time to plumb the house in the first place.

  5. Nuzzi says:

    years now. Just went to the Veterans and they gave me the concentrator, POC, small tanks and a larger one the I can use to go grocery shoping. Thanks to the Va. It makes it easier for me. I am out an about every day. I have IPF, I do not take any med for this. Tried one and it did not agree with me. Enjoy every day to the fullest.

  6. Rick Ballmer says:

    I would like to ask (Sherri Norton) 2/13/18 4:37pm If she had a picture of the Hydration Style Backpack she was talking about. Thank you.

  7. Peggie West says:

    Kim, thank you so much for these helpful comments and videos you provide. We had not thought to put the tubing in the dryer but will certainly try that. Also the connector hints are great. My experience, when first needing oxygen about 3 years ago, was that it came with very little information on how to use, or any helpful hints. I would highly recommend that anyone new to oxygen use read you comments on this IPF page. You make it very easy to understand and you are a user of oxygen so you know from experience what you are talking about. Thank you so much for filling a void in this medical to patience learning curve. Blessings to you. You inspire me to be better.

  8. Marj Pedigo says:

    I have PF as well as stage IV lung cancer and am now on 7L of O2 and crank it up for exertion. My problem is getting out of the house now – wasn’t an issue when I was on 2-4 liters. Tanks don’t last long enough, so what are other people doing to get out of the house and stay mobile and social?

  9. Susan Hunt says:

    Thanks for all the information you provide. I have had IPF for 2 and 1/2 years. I’m taking Ofev and I’ve noticed my hair thinning recently. I would like to know if anyone taking Ofev is having the same problem.

    • Hi Susan! Good Question! So sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m not on Ofev, but am on cellcept. I have experienced the same thing, and I really hate it. We’re dealing with so much and hair loss too! Ugh. Hopefully those on Ofev will respond as well. Blessings, Kim

    • Jewell says:

      I have COPD and am on oxygen. A longtime beautician told me oxygen caused hair loss. Mine is certainly thinning.

      • Grace says:

        Hi Jewel. I had not heard that. I lost my hair with my first round of treatment for lung cancer (I also have COPD) almost 4 years ago. I have been on oxygen pretty muc since. My hair has come back thin and is hardly growing. I guess the oxygen not helping lol. I am on my second round of opdiva (immunotherapy). I guess my question is does anyone know if getting a perm would harm my hair?

    • Harvey says:

      I was diagnosed with IPF December 2016. I was given Esbriet. Probably March 2017, in June it caused severe photo-sensitivity. I was then started on OFEv with the same result. Changed doctors and after lots of testing my diagnosis was changed to NSIP..non specific interstitial pneumonia. We have tried a couple meds. with little result. I’m back to 30mg prednisone daily. Like most it is becoming increasingly harder to get out much. 5 lpm resting , 10 lpm with exertion.

  10. Debi Chavez says:

    Hi Kim,
    My name is Debi Chavez today is June 29,2018. I just read this article about tubing & it was really helpful. I’ve been on oxygen for almost 4 years (since November 2014) I have IPF & I am on 2-3 liters. I’m looking forward to reading some more from you & others.

  11. Wanda says:

    My husband has IPF. He puts tubing behind his head and secures it to his shoulder with the tubing (just below first joint from cannula) enclosed in large safely pin clipped to his shirt at shoulder.Makes sleeping easier with no loss of Oxygen.

  12. Charmaine Nygaard says:

    Hi Kim,
    I have an airline flight on Delta Airlines and saw something about Delta offering oxygen to passengers in need. Could you send me the link. I have sent two days just getting portable tanks to my house. Thanks so much! You are amazing . Charmaine

    • Hi Charmaine,
      I’m not aware that any airline provides oxygen, except perhaps from USA and Europe (and visa versa), so I don’t have any links to share. Appreciate your encouragement.

      • Gail Ketner says:

        Hi Kim, it’s been several years since I have had to fly in a airplane but when I did the company that supplied my oxygen to me gave me a portable oxygen machine to use on the plane. I was told that all portable tanks had to be approved by the airline company. The company even gave me a letter to the airline stating there machines were approved by any airline company. It worked just great and I didn’t have any trouble at all with it. I also used it during the day and night while I was gone. Please check with the company you get your oxygen from.

  13. Kim menzel says:

    For my oxygenator I put hardware store j hooks under cabinets along walls ect,where ever I have to go in home. You have to teach yourself to unhook and rebook the line as you go. No more tripping over tubing on floor!

  14. Frieda Barefield says:

    Thanks for the hint to warm new tubing in the dryer to get rid of coils. This works great and solved an annoying problem. I was diagnosed with PF after a lung biopsy in July and need all the practical hints and tips available. I appreciate your providing this resource.

  15. Janet Gamel says:

    I have COPD and use a 7ft soft chord with a swivel attached to a 25ft green chord. I tuck my chord into my pants circling under my belly and coming out of my pants just slightly to the back on the left of my waist. This keeps the chord behind me when I walk around, no more tripping. Also I step (and tell others too) on my chord when ever it is laying across in front of me. That way no one trips.

  16. Dan Egan says:

    Thanks all for great info.
    I am looking for info on retractable home medical oxygen reels. Can you help? I am in Australia.

  17. Debbie says:

    In response to a backpack for the portable oxygen concentrator—I ordered mesh backpacks Amazon that have worked great. That way POC can get air to process. They are durable as they typically are used for books.

  18. Linda Bissett says:

    Hi,Thank you for posting this. It helped the green hose by at least 98%. I call my husband’s oxygen supply company and they had the swivel connections and so I ordered them from the supply company. May help if someone doesn’t have enough money to order online.

  19. Terry_D says:

    Thank you soo much for the dryer tip! I’m caring for my sis, and in addition to havin end stage COPD, she is physically incapacitated to a great degree. She uses a rollator, and I watch her feet intensely when she has new tubing. This tip will save me so much aggravation.

  20. Jeanine Teetz says:

    WOW! Never thought about the dryer. Will try. Also didn’t know about swivels but will ask. Have had COPD for 20+ yrs but refused to quit smoking. Finally did but now it’s end stage. Dr. said I’m doing well since retiring on disability but harder to function. Have a small ranch home but tubing still annoys me. BTW: Finally bought a portable concentrator 2 yrs ago so I could continue working. Had to pay outrageous amount cuz insurance said I had a regular,full size one at home. Ask your doctor to write script for strictly portable one.

    • Hi Jeanine,
      So glad my tip was of help. Congrats on quitting smoking. That is very hard to do. Thanks for your advice about getting a portable POC. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! ~ ~ Kim Fredrickson, Author of “Pulmonary Fibrosis Journey: A Counselor and Fellow Patient Walks with You.”

  21. Tim Lucas says:

    There is a relatively new remote control oxygen tube reel that you might be interested in. The website for information is It is a very simple and affordable solution to this very real and dangerous problem!

  22. Lowell Whipp says:

    I’ve been trying to find a y connector with one female and two male connections. Has anyone seen one like that? I’ve searched the net with no luck

  23. Jessica Hammerbacher says:

    My husband just recently was put on oxygen for bilateral pulmonary embolisms in his lungs. I’m trying to find a solution for the irritation where the nose piece rubs the middle of his nose between his nostrils.
    For his ears I’ve found this very thin foam wrap that’s meant for ankles or wrist injuries. I’ve taken a small length of it, and it comes in all sorts of colors, and wrapped it around the tubing that goes over his ears and used a tiny bit of hot glue to hold it in place and it’s been amazing. Those foam tubes with the slits pop off too easily.
    Also, I am wondering if there’s some sort of tubing cover for the lengthy tube that goes from the machine/tanks to the nose piece. We have cats and a puppy that like to attack it and are putting holes in it. I wish there were one of those braided cord covers like youncan get on some cell phone charger cords. Also to help with the kinks in the line. Anyone know anything like this?

    For the nose irritation I’m attempting to make a solution where I’ve cut the nose piece in two, cut it to where it goes up the nose, blocked the open holes with hot glue and an trying to create some sort of half hoop connector that would not touch the nose at all.
    Desperate for some solutions for him.

  24. Catherine Mills says:

    Go to Walmart, biking aisle. Bell makes a water bladder inside a small back pack. Just take out the bladder, and insert a C cylinder O2 tank.

  25. Stacie Kelly says:

    Does anyone know if or how the “soft” cannula prongs can be re-softened once they start to become hard and lose their suppleness?

  26. Angus says:

    Thank you for having such a wonderfully informative website! Life is so difficult. The other day I was noticing that I was vacuuming with a cordless vacuum and I’m the one that’s hooked up cord! Your advice about the dryer as excellent I shall try this today. I have COPD and I am so sorry about how people with cystic fibrosis are suffering as well as COPD it is not an easy life is it but we have to do everything we can to obtain and retain the utmost of quality to our lives. I find it the minute I stopped or don’t brush my teeth or don’t floss or don’t shower that it just starts to go downhill even quicker so it’s important to just keep it going despite all of the problems that were having. just thought I’d throw it out there and it sounds like so many people here on this site have it together. it has been a great comfort to read all of the replies and the original website about the tubing so thank you thank you thank you!

    • Jen White says:

      Hi we moved the concentrater to the lowest level in our home. It now goes up 2 small sets of stairs. Since then we keep getting moisture in the tube. This never happened before. Could it be from oxygen flowing upward? We did not add any extra tubing to do this it’s 50 ft.

  27. Michael B says:

    Thank you for the tips! I personally do not wear an oxygen tube but I care for my father who was recently put on oxygen due to COPD and heart related issues. As a “newbie” I suppose, I have a few questions. Are there any premium cannula hoses you can recommend? My dad complains if comfort and I would spend whatever it takes to make this more comfortable for him.

  28. Mrry Wat says:

    When bringing tubing out from the oxygenerator, find a small, straight stick, (length: 6″ +/-; circumference: similar in size to the tube) and tape the stick to the tubing just exiting the machine. This will keep the tubing from becoming crimped from its own weight and therefore needing replaced more often.

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