Do Air Purifiers Help With Dust? How Effective Is It?

Living in a dusty area and it's literally raining dust every day? Fret not as an air purifier can remove dust in the air and improve your home air quality. How effective is it though in making airborne dust particles go away? Do you still need to vacuum every day with the device turned on? Learn more about the wonders of air purifiers and how to create a dust-free environment here.
Short answer
Air purifiers do remove dust.


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Do Air Purifiers Get Rid Of Dust?

Yes, an air purifier does remove dust in the air as it is designed to trap the particles before it falls and settle on a surface e.g. carpet, shelves, bed. Without the pesky dust lingering in the air, you will enjoy breathing in clean air while having less dust buildup in your home to worry about. The pre-filter and HEPA filter combination can trap 99.97% of the airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. In general, dust particles are range between 2.5 to 10 micrometers in size. For comparison, a human hair is between 60 to 100 micrometers, a whopping 24 times larger than dust. As dust particulate matters are lightweight and float around the house, you will need a dependable, mechanical air purifier that can cover an entire room. That means the CADR must be at higher ratings preferably above 200 cfm.

An air purifier will pull in nearby dust particles that are floating in the air. Incoming dust like fur and hair will be forced into a series of mechanical filtration and stays trapped starting with the first-stage pre-filter. The remaining allergens that manage to bypass the pre-filter will then be captured by the True HEPA filter. With all dust particles trapped, only clean, purified air will be distributed out. The stronger the airflow, the more dust particulate matters an air purifier can capture. You will less likely to breathe in harmful dust irritants and trigger dust allergies. The only downside to an air purifier is it cannot capture dust that has settled on the ground.

feather duster

We Americans spend 90% of our time indoors, it is inevitable that we are at constant exposure to dust in the air. As what goes up must come down, airborne dust will eventually fall on the couch, carpet, drape, bed, ceiling fan blades, shelves, wall, wardrobe, and floor. Without regular vacuuming, the settled dust can be stir back up again into the air. We will be putting ourselves at a higher risk of dust allergy and asthma. An air purifier can rectify all that by removing dust in the air and before it has a chance to settle down.

What is Dust Made of?

Dust is a composition of microscopic particles from multiple sources. While many believe that household dust is mostly formed from human skin cells and hair, that is actually far from the truth. According to Environmental Science & Technology Journal, 60 percent of indoor dust is originated from outside. The sources would vary from household to household and comprises some unexpected elements. For example, a house with pets would have dust comprised of pet dander and fur that is not found in a non-pet home. Other factors such as location, the numbers of people, or even food we consumed help shape the types of dust. Dust also comes in a wide array of sizes that is usually between 1 to 100 µm in diameter. For example, dust mites are range from 100 to 300 microns, pollen is about 10 microns, makeup powder can be less than 1 microns, and chemical residues can be as small as 0.01 microns. Despite the ridiculously small sizes that cannot be seen by our naked eyes, an air purifier can effectively trap airborne dust and protect our lungs from health hazards.

To recap, dust is not just made of grey dirt and dead skin cell. Dust can be found everywhere and is part of the indoor air pollution composed of inorganic or organic compounds as below.

  • Soil/ debris
  • Outdoor particulate matter (CO, CO2, lead, arsenic)
  • Organic matter
  • Allergens (mold, mildew, pollen, spore)
  • Cigarette smoke remains
  • Skin flakes/ dead skin cell
  • Hair/ fur/ fibers
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Food debris
  • Insects/ feces

Lastly, dust and dust mites are not the same thing even though they are often group together. Dust mites are tiny bugs that eat organic debris like flecks of skin from dust particles. Most allergic reactions are triggered when you inhaled to the dust mites dropping together with other dust particles. Similarly with pet hair, a person hypersensitive to dust is allergic to the protein found in pet dander or skin flakes, not dust itself.

Remember Queen's hit song another one bites the dust? You should never do that literally as inhaling to dust will have an adverse effect on our health. A little dust is relatively harmless to our body as our lungs can filter it out. However, lengthy exposure to a small concentration of dust would cause irritation like red eyes, cough, hay fever, and sinus. In the long run, it could reduce our lung capacity and lead to respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis. Dust can enter into our body through the nose or mouth and will influence the type of respiratory system diseases. People with a heart disorder, COAD, emphysema, or asthma would be at an even higher risk. Dust particles may even dissolve into the bloodstream and the toxicity will spread to vital organs such as the brain and kidney. While it’s impossible to stay in a 100% dust-free environment, vacuuming is the most essential step to begin with. By routinely vacuuming, you can prevent settled dust from being disturbed and shoot right back in the air. While you're at it, ensure filters in HVAC, air conditioner, and air purifier is clean regularly to prevent dust congestion.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Why Is It Important To Remove Dust?

As dust is literally everywhere, exposing to an excessive amount of dust is harmful to our health. In the short run, dust can cause breathing difficulty, cough, irritation to the eyes, throat, and skin rash. In the long run, it can lead to many respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. The most common lung disease is Pneumonitis, where the inhaled dust particles cause inflammation or fibrosis to the lungs. There is is no cure for Pneumoconiosis so prevention is the best solution. Other lung diseases associated with dust include silicosis, hard metal disease, asbestosis, coal pneumoconiosis, and siderosis. An air purifier can protect our lungs by capturing the dust contaminants so we would not breathe into it.

Will Air Purifiers Work for Dust Allergies?

Air purifiers can help with dust allergies as long as it is equipped with a pre-filter and HEPA filter. Dust is notorious for aggravating asthma and worsen allergies symptoms. By pulling in nearby dirty air, an air purifier will trap 99.97% of the dust particles as small as 0.3 microns and circulate back clean air in a room. Without dust triggering allergies, one will breathe more comfortably and experience fewer allergic reactions. So if your home is very dusty with cabinet, shelves, and tabletop are coated with a thick layer of dust, it is time to turn on the air purifier.

Which Is The Best Air Purifier For Dust Removal?

Plenty of air purifiers would be able to do the job in reducing dust, but we only want the absolute best. The filtration must come with a Pre-filter and HEPA filter that can trap dust particles as small as 0.3 microns. Electrostatic, ionizer or god forbid Ozonator should never be in your consideration list. The air purifier must also have the capacity and airflow to take in a large amount of dust and debris cosntantly without fail.

  1. Blueair Pro XL Air Purifier
  2. Coway Mighty Air Purifier
  3. Airmega 300 Air Purifier
  4. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
  5. Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier

In short, an air purifier can effectively remove dust, debris, and all the tiny particles attached to it. With fewer dust particles suspends in the air, you are less likely going to suffer from dust-related allergies and sickness. To see the complete list, specification and our full review, head over to our best air purifier for dust page.

How To Reduce Dust In Your Home

There can never be a dust-free home. When it comes to dust, it is a never-ending chore in every household. While there are a ton of ways to deal with dust, we compiled the most common and effective way to reduce dust in a home. The less dust there is to deal with, the faster the chore can be completed., and less cleaning is needed. You will enjoy cleaner air and have more time doing something you loved.

  • Improve ventilation by opening more windows. Not applicable for dusty environment.
  • Run the HEPA air purifier 24 hours a day to capture all airborne dust even when you are not at home.
  • Vacuum daily with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Avoid using duster as it only moves dust from one place to another. Clean surfaces with a damp cloth or rag instead.
  • Mop the floor once or twice weekly after vacuuming.
  • Clean bedding weekly to wash away dust mites, skin flakes, and, hair. Wash bed linens, sheets, and pillowcases with hot water for better results.
  • Clean dirty HVAC filter and air conditioner filter periodically to prevent clogging.
  • Upgrade furnace filters with better forced-air heating or cooling systems.
  • Never wear shoes indoor to avoid bringing dirt and materials from outside.
  • No clutter mess. Avoid dust buildup by storing everything in the container box, cabinet, and wardrobe.
  • Toss away old clothes, books, and other objects that will deteriorate and release fiber.
  • Use fabric softener on sheets to reduce static charges released from electrical appliances.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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