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Can Air Purifiers Remove Household Smells?

Air purifiers have become a standard appliance in many households today. Many are relatively effective in improving indoor air quality by trapping airborne particles like allergens, pollen and dust.

But what about less visible impurities: Can air purifiers remove household smells?

Here we’ll take a look at the common types of household odors and how an air purifier can be effective in combating them.

Household odors can be harmful to your health

Bad household smells can be more than an annoyance — they’re a health hazard that should be rectified promptly. Some studies have shown that the effects of prolonging odor exposure may lead to numerous health issues such as the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Migraine
  • Dizziness
  • Lung discomfort
  • Breathing problems
  • Asthma

Aside from physical effects, it may also lead to mental problems like stress and anxiety. 

Common household odors

In a typical household, the most common odors you’ll encounter are:

  • Strong cooking smells, such as frying oil or fish
  • Fumes from household chemicals
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pet urine and feces
  • Stinky garbage
  • Clogged drains
  • Burnt food
  • Old dirty carpet
  • Heavy perfume
  • The putrid smell of dead rats or animals

How to get rid of household odors

To get rid of these foul odors, you’ll want to investigate the source. A proper garbage disposal can help avoid smelly garbage, while you can steer clear of a stinky clogged drain by using a mesh drain cover that prevents tiny particles from going down the drain.

An ounce of prevention can help in keeping your home environment clean and fresh.

However, there are stubborn odors that cannot be solved simply through preventive measures. The putrid smell of a dead rat or mouse may linger for days, even after you get rid of the trap.

Similarly, the unpleasant smell of tobacco smoke cannot be eliminated just by spraying air freshener (which actually only serves to create more indoor air pollution).

Likewise, cooking smells can linger for days on end. In these cases, you need an air purifier to clear out stubborn odors.

How can air purifiers remove household smells?

When shopping for the best air purifier to eliminate bad odors, there are a few important factors you need to consider.

CADR Rating

CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate, which is a figure of merit certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). It simply stands for the volume of airborne particles removed in given size distribution.

It is calculated by multiplying the efficiency of the air filter against the airflow in cfm. If an air filter has 80% efficiency with 100 cfm airflow, its CADR rating would be 80 cfm.

For dust, the highest possible rating is 400 cfm, while 450 cfm for the smoke. So, if you’re shopping for an air purifier that removes smoke, check the CADR rating and make sure it is above the rating for the smoke.

HEPA Filter

High-Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA, is a type of mechanical air filter that is tested according to high standards. It filters minuscule particles from 0.3 to 0.1 micron.

It comes in 6 different types, from Type A up to Type F. Minimum efficiency rating for Types A to E ranges from 99.97% to 99.99%, all measuring at 0.3 μm. The highest standard is the Type F HEPA filter with a 99.99% minimum efficiency rating at 0.1 μm.

An air purifier fitted with a Type F HEPA filter works by forcing air containing various contaminants to pass through the HEPA filter with ultra-fine mesh.

It can capture air particles up to 0.1 μm in size. Tiny dust particles, allergens, germs, and harmful bacteria bigger than 0.1 μm in size will be trapped in the filter. Subsequently, everyone in the household will enjoy the fresh air released by the device.

Activated Carbon Filters

This type of air filtration system uses activated carbon using chemical adsorption to eliminate impurities. Activated carbon filters are designed to filter gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as odor and tobacco smoke.

However, tiny particles like pollen, mold, and dust are already beyond its scope. That’s why you need to combine this filter with the other types for a more comprehensive scope of air cleaning.

Ready to freshen the air inside your home?

Now that you know the answer to the question “Can air purifiers remove household smells?”, you know that you can get rid of unpleasant household smells using an air purifier equipped with an activated carbon filter.

Combined with a HEPA filter, particularly a Type F filter, you can purify your indoor air of dust, pollen and allergens in addition to unpleasant odors.

Some air purifier brands are already fitted with HEPA filters with activated carbon. Such a device would be a perfect match for stubborn odors at home while getting rid of dust particles at the same time.

For more help figuring out which air purifier is right for your home, check out our Best Air Purifier Reviews.

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