Do air purifiers help eliminate dust?


With pollutants like dust, bacteria, and smoke mixing in your home, it’s no surprise that air purifiers are considered an affordable solution to eradicating unwanted pollutants. But how well do air purifiers help remove dust and why should you care?

You may already be digging up dirt from air purifiers because you’re tired of allergy flare-ups. After all, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dr. Clifford Bassett, an allergist and immunologist, also claims that small particles such as dust irritate your lungs and nasal passages, which may well trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

By filtering the offending particles in a single room, the best air purifiers should capture pollutants such as dust. However, before we take the first air purifier off the shelf, let’s study exactly how effective they are. Specifically, how useful are they for people allergic to dust and dust mites?

Do air purifiers help eliminate dust?

Take a look at the fine print on the packaging of any air purifier and you’ll see lots of promises. Some air purifier companies claim to eradicate up to 99.9995% of dust and viruses, while others claim to permanently cure dust allergies. In reality, the science behind air purifiers is a bit more complex.

Although you may think that the root of your allergy problem lies in the dust itself, dust mites are the instigators. Dr Jay Portnoy, an immunology professor who has developed guidelines for treating dust mite allergies, says the tiny creatures are almost the same size as most dust particles and feed on dead human skin in carpets. , furniture and beds.

Although air purifiers are effective in removing the majority of offending air particles from a single room, they certainly do not remove all particles, and certainly not those that have buried themselves in walls, floors and furniture, says Dr. Alana Biggers, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

They are also not effective for people sensitive to dust mites, as dust mites live in carpets and bedding.

How do air purifiers help with dust?

This calls into question, do air purifiers help themselves with dust particles? For starters, if you were to take apart an air purifier, you’d find something different inside depending on the type you purchased.

In theory, the fibers in a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter will filter out 99.97 percent of airborne particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size, according to the EPA. So that covers your typical pollutants, including dust, pollen, mold and bacteria – all of which are fine particles mostly smaller than 2.5 microns, and the most troublesome for causing health issues.

“While a standard air purifier typically has a pre-filter and HEPA filter to combat these types of particles, other air purifiers may push air through an electrostatic filter or repress chemicals and pollutants. odors by absorbing them and trapping them in a carbon filter,” says Bassette. These carbon-based filters are better suited to dealing with particles and odors than things like dust and dander.

So, while air purifiers with HEPA filters seem to have a better chance of filtering dust from your home, there are still other steps you need to take to combat dust. Without other dust control methods like proper ventilation and stopping pollutants at their source, the EPA suggests that air purifiers are pretty powerless at reducing levels of indoor air pollution — dust included.

Do air purifiers help with dust mites?

No one wants to share their home with unwanted intruders, and unfortunately it’s not uncommon for dust mites to take an interest in your home. In fact, a survey found that dust mites had hidden in 84% of beds in the United States. For dust mite allergy sufferers, this poses a whole new pattern of problems, including sneezing and a stuffy or runny nose.

For many people, it’s the proteins in dust mite feces rather than the mites themselves that cause symptoms, according to scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Once the mites have had a good squeak of your dead skin cells, the enzymes they use to break down food come out the other end into little fecal pellets, which are incredibly potent allergens, according to Portnoy.

Feces are caught in “dust traps” such as carpets, blankets and curtains. So rather than relying on an air purifier, scientists say the best way to get rid of dust mite droppings is to steam dry furniture and upholstery, vacuum carpets and replace your bedding with an allergen-proof alternative.

How will you know if air purifiers help remove dust?

Once you’ve put your air purifier into action, it can be hard to tell if anything is going on. After all, we can’t actually see dust particles with the human eye. You can quantify how well your purifier is helping remove dust by pausing before you make your purchase and noting your symptoms. After purchasing an air purifier, do the same and compare your ratings.

The higher the clean air delivery rate (CADR), the more ground your air purifier can cover and the more efficient it will be, according to the EPA. CADR is based on airflow and removal efficiency. This is the amount of clean air your device spits out in cubic feet per minute, so it’s important to buy the right size air purifier for the job.

Above all, personal experience can be your best indicator of effectiveness. You should notice that the sniffles and itchy nose that troubled you have started to improve. This would suggest that there are fewer dust particles, dust mite droppings and other pollutants causing an allergic reaction. Check out our guide to the best air purifiers for allergies if you’re looking to breathe easier.

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