We are all becoming more and more savvy when it comes to our health. Beyond what we put into our bodies, we pay more attention to the invisible exposure that we come into contact with on a daily basis. Essentially, “we’ve gotten hyper-clean,” says Cult Beauty co-founder Alexia Inge. “And as we seek out functional items to meet new needs – cleanliness, safety, protection – these once half-hearted categories will attract new attention.”
Hygiene is the new luxury as we seek to filter out toxicity. Now, more than ever, this applies to our homes and especially indoor air. “The house has been reinvented for maximum well-being,” explains Alexia. “Setting up your pad as a womb-like place of static escape, food and safety is the new ‘wellterior’ trend and a burgeoning Pinterest concern.”
Follow the rise of smart technologies, like air purifiers, to give us concrete ways to improve our safety. Before you invest, here’s what you need to know about air purification…
Why do we need an air purifier?
When we think of contaminated air, the first thing that usually comes to mind is pollution. The outdoors – especially busy roads and high-traffic areas – have a bad reputation for air quality, while our homes allow us to close the door to it all, don’t they? In fact, it is not. A study commissioned by the Clean Air Day campaign in 2019 found that indoor air pollution is more than three times worse than outdoor air pollution. Cooking, wood-burning stoves, dust, pet dander, and outdoor pollution (which gets indoors) create a buildup of ultrafines inside our homes that take much longer to disperse because there is much less ventilation.
What is an air purifier used for?
Air purifiers clean the air, making it healthier to breathe by trapping ultra-fine airborne particles like pollutants, allergens and toxins that cause allergies, odors and irritations, while letting the air through. ‘fresh air.
How does an air purifier work?
Air purifiers typically combine a filter with a fan to draw in polluted air, pass it through filters that trap contaminated particles and clean it of pollutants and odors before it’s pushed back into the room. Other air purifiers neutralize particles in the air without using a filter by emitting ions that attract and cancel out pollution particles.
What is the difference between an air purifier and a humidifier?
Air filters are the opposite of humidifiers which add particles (eg water molecules) to the air. Instead, air purifiers remove particles from the air.
What are air purifiers good for and what aren’t they good for?
Most air purifiers are good at removing irritating particles like pollution, smoke, dust, pollen, and pet dander, but they don’t tend to pick up certain gases, like radon and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are emitted by paints and cleaning products. They also cannot remove allergens that land on hard surfaces or upholstery like our bedding, carpets and curtains, allergens must be airbound.
Can an air purifier help with mold, allergies and cough?
Yes. Especially when combined with a filter, they can help remove particles that cause problems like asthma, irritation and mold. Prevention is better than cure after all. That said, they can’t fix everything – there are particles and allergens they can’t remove (mentioned above). Additionally, there is little medical evidence directly proving their health benefits, as it is difficult to isolate the effect of air filters among other environmental and genetic factors. But if you suffer from allergies and asthma, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can be very useful.
What is a HEPA filter?
HEPA (or High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are made up of thousands of tiny fibers that intertwine to create a net. The different spacing in the net allows them to catch larger and microscopic particles. This gives HEPA filters the ability to capture almost 100% of particles in the air.
What should I look for in an air purifier?
Check what type of air purification system your air purifier uses. If he uses a filter, it is worth checking whether the filters are reusable. If they are not reusable, you will have to buy replacement parts which can be expensive. If they’re reusable, you may need to wash them regularly to ensure they’re working properly, which can take time.
If they use a filter, check what kind of filter they use. To catch tiny particles, be sure to choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
If it is a neutralizing air purifier, which uses ions to remove contaminating particles, make sure that the ionic system does not produce ozone (this should be indicated on the packaging and description ) because ozone can make lung problems and asthma worse.
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Pay attention to the CADR rating which measures the clean air delivery rate (how efficiently and quickly particles are removed from the air). The higher the rating, the better it removes particles. A good CADR rating is all above
Finally, make sure the air purifier is an appropriate size for your space. A small air purifier won’t cover an entire house or a very large room, so you might need more than one, or you might need to rotate where you place it.
For more from our associate beauty editor, Elle, follow her on @elleturneruk.
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