Imagine the time when you had been vacuuming the house for an hour and yet you already saw a layer of dust forming the furniture ten minutes after you’re done. It is a never-ending cleaning cycle that makes you feel like fighting a losing battle.
In your desperation, your best friend came offering to get you an air purifier to solve this issue. That’s really nice of her, but it does get you thinking, “Does an air purifier really remove dust?”
To answer that question, we first must understand the culprit – the dust itself.
What Is Dust?
You can read all about the definition and concept here, but in short, dust is a broad term to define dry, fine particles. It means anything can be categorized as dust as long as it is small enough.
Here’s what coal dust look like under the microscope.
Now, dust comes in various sizes. The following table list the common contaminants categorized as dust commonly found in homes and its size in microns. Note that one micron is one-millionth of a meter.
Out of all sizes, the particle pollution or particle matter (PM) that are most troubling are the fine particles commonly referred to as PM2.5. These particles are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. These nasties are the product of combustion, which includes wood burning, forest fires, industrial processes, and motor vehicles.
PM2.5 can be breathed very deeply into the alveoli of your lungs. They can stay there for a long time and cause severe damages. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 may cause increased rates of heart disease, lung cancer mortality, and chronic bronchitis.
Where Does Dust Come From?
Despite its seemingly magical way of appearing on every piece of furniture you just recently cleaned, dust does not appear out of thin air. There are two sources of dust: indoor and outdoor.
You see that carpet in the living room? That’s one source of indoor dust. The fibers from that carpet along with the ones from the furniture and bedding make up a portion of inorganic dust in your home.
There is also organic dust such as dead skin, pet dander, plus whatever bugs and insects in your house shed. The bad news about organic dust is that they attract dust mites. They just love to feed on shed skin cells.
To learn more about dust mites, have a quick look at the following video.
Most of the dust in your home, however, comes from outside. Outdoor dust makes its way to your home through the windows, doors, and vents. You also bring dust in when you enter the house. Have a look at the bottom of your shoes. Any dirt stuck there will dry up and settle on the carpet and floor.
Now, to get back to the initial question, “Does an air purifier really remove dust?”
We can say without a shred of doubt that an air purifier can really remove dust. An air purifier has a fan that actively sucks in contaminated air through its air intake.
The air then goes through one or more filters that trap any impurities like dust, pet dander, pollen, spores, and even finer smoke particles.
Please note that while most air purifiers you see in the market use HEPA filter, some only use HEPA-type filters. A HEPA filter can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns while a HEPA-type filter can only trap particles as small as 2 microns. That’s a huge difference.
Take a quick look at the table above. An air purifier with HEPA filter can trap all of them without a problem. A HEPA-type filter, on the other hand, may let slip some of those car exhaust fumes, fly ash, and talcum dust.
“What about the dust stuck deep in the carpet?”
Nope, sorry. An air purifier’s job is to take care of airborne dust. To take care of the ones already stuck deep in the carpeting, vacuuming is the only answer. Make sure the vacuum cleaner also uses HEPA filter so the dust that gets kicked off the carpet don’t end up blown off again across the room.
We also suggest deep-cleaning carpets and rugs at least once a year. Use a carpet steam cleaner or just hire a pro to do it.
Okay, that is all folks. We hope this short article has shed any little doubt you have about the effectiveness of an air purifier in getting rid of dust in your home. Now go and get one.