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Does an Air Purifier Remove Dust?

Does an air purifier remove dust - featured. A small air purifier stands by a bed next to a houseplant

Everything you need to know about achieving cleaner air in your home

Many of us want to improve our indoor air quality, but does an air purifier also remove dust? They’re known to help filter the air within our homes, but few of us understand how air purifiers work and what they can remove from our indoor air.

Fine dust particles may not be visible, but as any allergy sufferer will know, airborne dust can irritate the lungs, eyes, throat, sinuses, and skin, so filtering dust from indoor environments can bring huge relief.

And with many air purifiers claiming to help remove other known irritants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon gas, pollution, and mold, in addition to dust particles, it may be possible to significantly increase our home’s air quality. Here, we find out whether an air purifier could be the solution to better health and an improved home environment.

What is an air purifier?

An air purifier, or air cleaner, is a small device that filters and sanitizes the air in an enclosed indoor space by removing tiny particles. It can be a battery-powered unit or one that uses USB, and is generally very portable.

Most models work by pulling air through a filter made from paper, mesh, foam, aluminum, or fiberglass, which physically traps any airborne pollutants thereby projecting cleaned air around the room. As well as cleaning the air, many units also continuously monitor the air quality, and some will offer further functionality in the form of tracking humidity and temperature or Bluetooth connectivity.

Who needs an air purifier?

Anyone concerned about their indoor air quality may benefit from an air purifier. Those of us living in busy, built-up urban areas will already be conscious of air pollution from vehicles, industry, and smog, but even in rural environments you can be exposed to harmful particles in the air from naturally occurring radon – a radioactive gas – and other irritants such as smoke, mold, VOCs from our furnishings, and, of course, dust.

While ventilation can be helpful, irritants such as pollen and nitrogen dioxide can enter the home environment as a result. Filtering the air from these particles is thought to reduce respiratory problems, allergies, and, potentially, even cancer, stroke, and cognitive issues.

What problems can dust cause?

Dust within homes is made up of human debris – fine particles of dead skin cells, hair, bacteria, and clothing fibers – as well as pet debris and airborne material brought in from outdoors. These tiny particles are considered air pollutants and have been shown to negatively affect our health, in particular in those people who suffer asthma and allergies. Inhaling these fine particles can irritate our airways and eyes, while dust can also carry viruses around our environment and pass on infections. Dust mites and their droppings can also cause skin and respiratory issues in their own right.

Does an air purifier remove dust?

It’s thought that some of the best air purifiers that use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can help remove up to 99.9% of harmful particles from the air, so look for a model using this technology where possible.

What are the other benefits of air purifiers?

Research shows that using an air purifier can deliver a whole host of benefits, including:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • A reduction in the number of airborne bacteria and viruses circulating
  • Reduced odors
  • Boosts immunity
  • Leads to a more pleasant breathing environment
  • Improves skin health
  • Increases productivity
  • Better wellbeing
  • Creates a more hygienic environment
  • May help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive disorders

Are there disadvantages to using an air purifier?

Some air purifiers have been found to emit ozone in harmful levels. Ozone can create respiratory issues and can be very dangerous to asthmatics. To limit this, look for units that include HEPA filters; avoid ionizing purifiers, which are the worst offenders in this regard.

Noisy operation can also be an issue with some models. Before purchasing an air purifier, consider the room(s) you’re likely to use it in and buy the biggest-capacity model you can – this means you can operate it efficiently on its lowest and quietest setting.

How else can I remove dust?

To limit the harmful effects of dust in your home, good hygiene is key. It’s important to regularly vacuum carpets, curtains and soft furnishings, and wipe down hard surfaces with a dust-gathering cloth. Bedrooms are a dust hotpot, so frequently washing bedding on a hot cycle, using mattress and pillow protectors, as well as vacuuming mattresses and in between the bed frame itself, are all necessary to avoid releasing excess dust into the air.

Keeping your indoor air humidity between 30 and 60% can also help to combat a buildup of dust – your air purifier may have humidity monitoring capability. If levels fall outside these parameters, consider a humidifier or dehumidifier, whichever is appropriate.

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