What Does an Air Purifier Do? Explained


We often get in a room and notice the air feels stuffy. Often, we reach to open a window or a door, but that doesn’t really work in polluted areas. That’s why our scientists have created devices to clean the air in our indoor spaces. These devices are called air purifiers, and they help us by working independently and without you having to glimpse at them. Let’s look at how air purifiers work and how to get the most out of them.

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

Air purifiers have become almost essential devices in our daily lives. Their multifunctional system works in many different ways and levels to clean the air in the room where they’re located. Some of the essential functions of the air purifier are removing pollution, clearing the air of viruses, bacteria, and mold spores, and determining your indoor air quality. Below, we will explain these functions more thoroughly. 

Remove pollution

Air purifiers remove pollution from bacteria, viruses, or other pollutants. Their job is to clean the air in the room or place you are staying. But, you can’t expect the air purifier to do all the work for you. They clean the air, but they don’t remove pollutants from hard surfaces, so, unfortunately, you will still need to mop.

Clear the air of viruses, bacteria, and mold spores

Covid-19 made us ask many questions about air purifiers and encouraged us to stay more aware of our air sanitation. Tiny particles that drop from speaking, coughing, or sneezing spread in the air, and those particles stay around for some time. Fortunately, an air purifier can kill viruses and the bacteria spread. But, when these droplets reach hard surfaces, the air purifier is no longer effective. 

The same applies to mold spores, considering they also spread through the air. But once again, mopping, sweeping, and other cleaning processes can not be replaced if you want to live in a clean and healthy environment. 

Determine your indoor air quality 

It is essential to know that random activities pollute the air around us, be that cooking, painting, or spraying. Along with their other functions, air purifiers have sensors that determine the levels of pollution in the room they are located. 

The device will show these levels with numbers, colors, or particular units. Air purifiers usually have the option to work automatically, and they use these sensors to decide when to work and when not. This will also contribute to your awareness of your indoor air quality.

What Can’t an Air Purifier Do?


Even though air purifiers have several functions, there are still some things they can’t do effectively. For instance, air purifiers can’t guarantee frequent air changes in your home, keep your home free of germs, remove pollutants from surfaces, or filter out all dangerous chemicals. We will provide more explanation below. 

It can’t guarantee frequent air changes in your home

The air purifier does not ensure frequent air changes in your home. Their circulation system is not as strong. As mentioned above, opening a window or a door is the best way to replace the air in your home. However, an air purifier can help in small rooms because the amount of air circulated is significantly smaller.  

It can’t keep your home free of germs

An air purifier can effectively get rid of germs in the room it is located in. However, other parts of the house without an air purifier may remain untreated. 

Also, the pollutants that end up on hard surfaces will not be able to get through the air purifier’s filters. For that, other hygiene remedies remain essential. Washing your hands, sweeping the dust from hard surfaces, and more will add to the purity of your indoor air. 

It can’t effectively filter out all dangerous chemicals

We all know the smell of paint, new furniture, sprays, etc. We know they are hazardous to our health, and we try to avoid staying in a room with such compounds as much as we can. Even though air purifiers are effective devices, they can’t be expected to remove everything. That’s why it is important to wear a face mask and leave the windows open as long as possible when we’re in contact with such chemicals.

It can’t remove dust accumulated on surfaces 

The word air in ‘air purifier’ is self-explanatory. We mentioned before that you would need to sweep and wipe off dust regularly if you want to keep your house clean. The air purifier captures germs floating around in the air, so you must clean those on hard surfaces manually. 

Do Air Purifiers Really Work?

This question is worth discussing, but the answer relies on the interest in the air purifier and what you want to use it for. So, usually, air purifiers cannot remove all chemicals, dust, and other molecules from hard surfaces. However, you cannot expect a device to do all the work even if its help is significant; there are some things you have to take care of yourself.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

So, air purifiers are designed to purify the air in a room. Internally, they are equipped with a filter that takes the molecules and filters them. After that, it spreads purified air back into the environment. Simple but effective would be good words to describe an air purifier. 

HEPA Filter:


Now that we know what air purifiers are, how they work, and what they do, we must look at some types of filters. HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air) is one of the most efficient air filters out there. It removes 99.97% of germs, including dust, bacteria, pollen, and other mold spores, with a size of 0.3 microns. This makes the filter very efficient with a high rate of productivity. Because of its abilities, the HEPA filter is one of the most used air filters. 

Activated Carbon Filter

Carbon filters are commonly used to remove gases. They only filter particle pollution from the air. Activated carbon removes odors and clears the air of harmful molecules and scents, which is a different way of operation compared to HEPA filters.


An air ionizer uses ions to get rid of particulates and odors from the air, differentiating this device from the previous ones that used fans and filters to remove pollutants and other scents.

Ionic filters are best used to remove dust, smoke, pollen, and household odors, significantly impacting people who suffer from seasonal allergies. However, their counteract is ozone production.  

UV Light

Sterilization using UV is effective only if the germs stay floating in the air for some minutes because that’s how much time it takes for the UV light to kill them. However, that’s very unlikely to happen because particles stay in the air for some seconds or a minute at best.

Are Air Purifiers Worth It?

Air purifiers are worth it, indeed. The air circulating through them gets cleaned, and the environment gets cleaner. But, keeping the hygiene in your home is more than that. The traditional ways of cleaning are still effective and will probably stay like that for many years to come.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of air purifiers out there. It’s up to you to choose the one that makes the difference for you; they all have one common purpose: cleaning the air and creating a more breathable environment. 

Even though an air purifier doesn’t remove everything, it reduces air pollution, making it beneficial, especially for us allergic citizens of the world. At the end of the day, a fresh breath of air is all one needs to leave behind the stress and start living better days.

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