Puffer and Spacer

A puffer, or pressurised ‘metered dose inhaler’ (MDI), is the most common type of inhaler.  

When using an MDI puffer, remember to inhale the medicine slowly and deeply.  

Puffers can also be used with a spacer to get more of the medicine into the lungs. See tips below for how to use a spacer with your puffer.



Blue/grey reliever puffers require cleaning every week to prevent becoming blocked from a build-up of medicine. 

Step 1:

  • Remove metal canister  
  • Do not place in water

Step 2: 

  • Remove the mouthpiece cover 
  • Wash the plastic casing – rinse through top and bottom under warm running water for at least 30 seconds
  • Wash mouthpiece cover  

Step 3: 

  • Allow plastic casing and mouthpiece cover to air dry or dry inside and out with a clean dry cloth  

 Step 4:

  • Reassemble – replace metal canister and mouthpiece cover 

Preventers, dual purpose relievers and combination puffers don’t usually need to be washed. Puffers that don’t need to be washed should only be wiped with a dry tissue.


Spacers can only be used with pressurised metered dose inhaler (MDI) puffers. Pressurised MDI puffers work by pressing down on the metal canister to get a dose of your asthma medicine.  

Spacers won’t work with breath-activated puffers, such as Accuhaler, Autohaler, Breezhaler, Ellipta, Respimat, Spiromax, and Turbuhaler. 

Find out here why we think using a spacer is a good idea. 

There are two techniques (ways)for using a spacer and both work well. 

1 (deep) breath technique – most common for adults in daily use 

4 breath technique – helpful for all people when feeling breathless (short of breath). Recommended for Asthma First Aid, during flare-ups and for children. 

No matter what technique you are using, make sure you only put one puff of medicine into your spacer at a time.

Why? If you put in more than one puff, some of the medicine sticks together and then drops to the bottom of the spacer before you have time to breathe it in. 


How to use a Spacer with a mask 

Using a mask with a spacer helps make sure that the asthma medicine is taken in through the mouth or nose. A spacer and mask is used for children under 4 (or any other people) who may find it harder to take a breath in through their mouth. 

How to use a disposable cardboard spacer 

These spacers can be handy for First Aid kits and when out and about. They have a limited number of uses with a puffer and need replacing regularly. 

Both spacers and masks are available in our online shop

Purchase your spacer now, Asthma Australia, echamber