Do Air Purifiers Get Rid Of Smells?

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No one likes bad smells, so it’s natural to turn to products to get rid of them. There are lots of claims about air purifiers being able to help get rid of smells, but are those claims true? Do air purifiers get rid of smells?

Only one type of air purifier can help with smells and that’s an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon filters trap some gases against their surface, but once that surface is full they can begin releasing those gases back into the air. It’s important to get an activated carbon filter that’s as big as possible and to replace it according to manufacturer recommendations. There are other ways to help with smells too. Plants, such as snake plants, can help trap some gases, for example. Cleaning with natural cleaners, improving ventilation by opening windows and doors, and removing the causes of the smells are all good ideas too.

Questions And Answers: Do Air Purifiers Get Rid Of Smells?

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What Causes Smells?

Various sources release gases in our homes, offices, and elsewhere. These gases are the smells we like or don’t like. Most of the time these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For gas to be a VOC it must become vapor at normal room temperature and pressure, contain the element, carbon, and be made up of two or more elements total. As an example, propane is a VOC because it contains carbon and hydrogen and becomes a gas at normal temperatures and pressures. For a more technical overview of VOCs, please see this article by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.

Besides propane, some other VOCs include butane, formaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol. In a home or office, some likely possibilities for VOCs are pesticides, chemical cleaners, mold, mildew, butane, propane, paint, smoke, perfume, hair spray, and more. It should be noted though that not every VOC gives off a smell. Either way, with all these VOCs in the air, how do they affect our health?

Can Smells Cause Health Issues?

Yes, they can. The kinds of health issues smell cause depends on several things. One is what sort of health conditions you have already. People with asthma, for example, are going to struggle more with smells than people who don’t.

Some other things to consider are what’s causing the smell, how much of the smell there is, and how long you’ve been exposed to it. For example, if mold is causing the smell and the smell has been going on for a while, the possibility of your health being affected can go up. If the smell comes from a chemical cleaner used once, you still have to be careful, but the cleaner’s effect on your health may be relatively small or nonexistent due to the short time frame.

List Of Possible Symptoms Caused By Smells

  • Eyes, nose, or throat irritation
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat

More severe symptoms are possible and can include things like cancer or damage to the kidneys as they try to keep your body healthy. Please note that these symptoms do not cover all possible symptoms that could occur. We recommend seeking professionals in the event you experience any of these or other issues.

How Do Air Purifiers Help With Smells?

There’s only one type of air purifier that helps with smells: an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon filters can trap some gases against their surfaces, but they do have limits. Once that limit is reached, they start releasing those gases back into the air.

To help with this, purchase an air purifier with a large amount of carbon. Also, follow all manufacturer recommendations for replacing the filter.

What Are Some Other Ways To Get Rid Of Smells?

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Improving Ventilation

Ventilation is when outdoor air makes its way inside. It’s also how well that air moves through a room or building. Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC system will already provide some ventilation for your home or office. There are some ways to improve that further, though.

One way to improve that is by scheduling an appointment with an HVAC technician. They can help you figure out if your HVAC system is working properly or if it needs to be updated. It’s recommended that you get your HVAC system serviced at least once a year. That could be an opportunity to discuss your concerns.

Another way to improve that is to open your windows. Having more open windows and opening them for longer allows even more fresh air inside than normal. You can also open doors if you feel comfortable doing so.

You’ll also want to pay close attention to ventilation when you’re doing anything that increases pollutants in the air. These are activities like painting, cooking, sanding, and so on. Besides wearing proper safety gear and following all manufacturer recommendations, having proper ventilation gives those pollutants a way to get out of your home.

Cleaning Regularly And Safely

Cleaning is a regular and necessary part of a healthy life. It not only keeps where we live and work looking nice, but it also gets rid of the things that can pollute our air. Some examples are cooking messes, dirt buildup in the bathroom, and dust. The problem is that cleaning chemicals can release even more pollutants into the air.

The pollutants these cleaners release are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are a variety of gases that can end up in our air and then in our lungs. Ventilation gives VOCs a way out of our homes and offices, but choosing more naturally based cleaners helps too.

Attacking The Source

Sometimes the best thing you can do is find out what’s causing these smells and remove them from your home. This is especially important in the case of things like mold, mildew, and so on. While sometimes this is an easy cleaning job, other times you’ll want to contact a professional so they can take care of it.

Some Plants Can Help Remove Smells Too

Some plants, such as snake plants, can help remove gases from the air (although in very, very small amounts). Although you won’t want to rely on plants alone, they can supplement these other methods and add a nice decor to the room.

Key Takeaways: Do Air Purifiers Get Rid Of Smells?

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Air purifiers can get rid of smells, but only if they have an activated carbon filter. There are other ways to get rid of smells such as improving ventilation or using more natural cleaning products, but when it comes to air purifiers they need that activated carbon filter.

So, what do you think?

What’s making you want to get rid of the smells in your home?

Let us know in the comments below!

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Hello, this is Randy Jones. I am the owner of this website “Home Air Wiki” which will inform you about all the latest home gadget tools like Air Purifiers, it’s related accessories, use, and maintenance information.

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