Households contend with a variety of smells on a regular basis, and not all of them are fragrant. Dealing with undesirable odours at home can be unpleasant, embarrassing, and can create problems for people with certain health issues. While air fresheners may mask the smell temporarily, they are not a permanent solution.
Find out whether air purifiers can eliminate unpleasant odours and which solutions are most effective in this article from the experts at Sanuvox!
What are smells?
Before we can assess the effectiveness of different types of air purifiers, it’s important to understand what smells are and how they affect us. A smell is created when a substance releases molecules that spread through the air and find their way into our nose. Upon entering the nose, the odour molecules are detected by our olfactory receptors, which send signals to a part of the brain that assesses their chemical composition.
Our sense of smell is sensitive by necessity, as it serves as an early warning system for threats in our food and environment. It is also connected to the brain’s emotion and memory centres, meaning that odours can affect the way we feel and how we remember things. It’s important to note that strong smells can have negative health effects on people with sensitivities and conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Common household odours
There are many common household odours that can linger despite our best efforts to eliminate them.
- Cooking smells: Cooking with fish or strong spices or burning anything accidentally can result in unpleasant odours that last long after the meal has been devoured!
- Garbage: Depending on the ambient temperature and the length of time that passes before it is taken away for disposal, the smell can linger in the trash can and the surrounding area even after the refuse is removed.
- Tobacco smoke: Cigarette smoke has a very distinctive smell that permeates everything it touches, including clothing and furniture. Fortunately, there are types of air purifiers that are designed specifically to eliminate smoke.
- Dirty diapers: The smells newborns emit can sometimes overpower even the latest airtight diaper disposal technology.
- Pet odours: Despite your best efforts to wash the dog and clean out the litterbox regularly, pets may leave your home smelling muskier than it would otherwise. Pets also shed fur and dander that can cause problems for allergy and asthma sufferers.
- Musty or moldy odours: An excess of humidity in the home can easily lead to mold growth that produces an unpleasant musty odour.
How different types of air purifiers work against smells
When it comes to eliminating odours, not all house air purifiers are created equal.
Air purifiers with HEPA filters
Air purifiers with HEPA filters use mechanical filtration to clean the air. While the fine mesh of a HEPA filter can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns with 99.97% effectiveness, odour molecules are typically hundred to a thousand times smaller, making them impossible to filter mechanically. Even the best HEPA filters cannot capture any odorous molecules.
However, HEPA filters are very effective against small particulates such as dust, dander and mold spores, so depending on your situation, it may be worth investing in an air purifier that is equipped with both a HEPA filter and other air purification technology.
Air purifiers with activated carbon filters
The air purifiers that are generally considered to be the best for eliminating unwanted smells are those equipped with activated carbon filters. These filters are made up of charcoal treated with oxygen, which creates millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms that chemically attract gases as they pass through.
Just like a sponge getting wetter and wetter when absorbing water until it gets saturated and cannot absorb anymore, carbon filters tend to get saturated with odor molecules and must be changed often.
Air purifiers with UV technology
UV technology is another option that can be effective against household odours. The air purifiers are equipped with lamps that emit UVC and UVV wavelengths—the former destroys microorganisms, and the latter degrades chemicals by photo-oxidation, which are responsible for different types of unwanted odours.
Don’t forget to address the source of the smell!
While there are air purifiers that can effectively eliminate unpleasant smells, the best way to solve the problem remains addressing the source of the odour directly. Ideally, air purifiers should be used in conjunction with cleaning the source of the smell for best results.
Keep your home smelling fresh with Sanuvox
Sanuvox is a global leader in UV light air purifiers. Our air purifiers use state-of-the-art UV technology, often in conjunction with other high-quality filters, to address all kinds of common household pollutants and provide our customers with cleaner air. Contact us today for air purifiers that pass the smell test!