It’s like a bad science fiction movie. The camera zooms in on a calm scene in a typical living room, but as the camera closes in, magnifying everything in its path, there is something very sinister going on behind the scenes.
That sinister moment is a cloud of little creatures floating in the air, crawling on the furniture and having a party on your pillow and sheets.
It is the dust mite, the hidden consumer of all those dead skin cells you peel off each day.
They live on dead human skin, and on the dead skin of our pets. It is enough to set off a queasy stomach, but it is part of life.
Without dust mites, there would still be dust, but it would be more organic in nature since it would be dead skin cells themselves drying into dust, rather than the byproduct of dust mites eating that skin.
One extra fact that causes many people to cringe, the average queen sized mattress weighs 13 pounds more after five years of use than it did when you picked it up from the store.
That extra weight is dust mites, dead skin the mites haven’t eaten yet, and body perspiration. Makes you want to check into an old hotel, doesn’t it?
Does an air purifier help with dust
Now that we’ve set the stage with a few gross out stories, it’s time to take a look at how dust can be reduced in your home.
An air purifier is a great step in reducing overall dust in a home, but only if it’s a HEPA style filter. Ionization systems increase the level of dust by charging particles which makes them electrically attracted to oppositely charged furniture, floors, and other objects in your home. An ionization filter will greatly increase the level of dust in a home.
A mechanical filter, particularly a high quality HEPA style filter forces air through the fibers in a very tightly packed filter, trapping particles as small as three-tenths of a micron. To put things in perspective, those dust mites measure 50 to 100 microns, so they’ll be trapped if the filter is clean and working properly.
An air purifier used with regular vacuuming, regular filter change of the purifier, and regular filter changes in the household air conditioner or heater will greatly reduce the level of dust. Another option is a room humidifier. Moist air won’t hold the same amount of dust as dry air, so reducing humidity is also a part of the war on dust.
Do air purifiers remove dust?
Helping with the volume of dust is one thing, removing it entirely is another, do air purifiers remove dust? Yes, they do, if they’re a filter type purifier rather than ozone, ultraviolet light, or ionization filter.
A physical filter traps dust in the fine fibers of the filter. A HEPA filter, with the highest concentration of fibers in the filter, will trap 99.97 percent of dust floating in the air.
Dust is primarily dead skin cells with a few lightweight dust mites floating along for good measure, but it can also be pet dander, pollen, dirt, sand, and decaying organic material that is light enough to float on the air currents. Dust is a mix of many different types of material.
Do air purifiers remove dust mites?
Since dust mites are just marginally below the visual ability of humans to spot, they aren’t that small in microscopic terms. If a filter can capture bacteria, and some pollen that is much smaller than a dust mite, it can capture dust mites pretty easily.
A dust mite is a little spider looking creature with multiple legs, claws, and grasping jaws that consume dead skin. They are much more prevalent in the world today than they’ve ever seen since there are so many humans, and most of them live indoors where the mites can feast on all that skin shed from people and floating on the air.
A dust mite can be vacuumed up with a powerful enough vacuum cleaner. With a HEPA style air purifier the ferocious, little beasts don’t have a chance. They’re quickly caught in the fibers of a standard HEPA filter and they can be caught just as easily in an activated charcoal filter.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do air purifiers reduce dust on furniture?
For some people, especially the fastidious type, this is the biggest reason for getting and using an air purifier. There will be less dust with a HEPA style air purifier than without.
The other styles, ozone, ultraviolet light, and ionization won’t reduce dust at all. In the case of the ionization style purifier, the volume of dust will increase.
Pulling particles out of the air means they won’t drop onto furniture. A sealed house will have dust generated by dust mites eating dead skin cells, but an open house will also have dust from the outside, particularly plant based material.
Dust is dust whether it blows in, or if it’s a byproduct of dust mites. It can cause allergic reactions, red, runny eyes, and respiratory problems. Using an air purifier with a physical filter design will reduce the dust, and by default reduce the ailments people often suffer from dust exposure.
Air purifiers, the physical filter style, are the first line of defense against dust. Higher humidity and clean air filters on air conditioners and heaters help too, but it’s the filter that does the heavy lifting. Vacuuming aids in dust reduction as does regular dusting with a cloth that attracts dust rather than just spreading it around.
Any lowering of the dust level in your air will provide better health, even if you don’t suffer from allergies.
We were designed to handle a little bit of dust, the type that is generated outdoors, but our respiratory system is often overwhelmed by the levels of dust, allergens, and contamination in the air in our modern world.
A good, high-quality HEPA style air purifier will bring back those pristine days of living outdoors. At least as long as the filters are regularly changed.