Choose your country

Can air purifiers remove odors?

Can air purifiers remove odors?

We understand that dealing with unwanted odors in your home can be unpleasant and embarrassing. It can even create problems for people with certain health issues. 

While air fresheners may mask the smell temporarily, they are not a permanent solution.

The quick answer is yes. But this largely depends on the type of filter used, and the specific technologies employed. Before we can judge air purifiers, we need to know what smells are and how they can impact us.

Understanding Odor: Types, composition and perception.

What is odor?

Odor is a complex sensory perception, triggered by the presence of volatile chemical compounds in the air. When smells go into our nose, our smell sensors detect them and send signals to our brain. 

This signal can warn us of a threat in our environment (fire, burning, mold, etc.). Smells can trigger memories because they are linked to the brain's emotions and memory areas.

What bad smells do you find in your home?

Pet smells: Although we love them immensely and try our best to keep them clean, our pets tend to smell! Even if you clean your pets and their things often, they can still make your home smell stronger than usual. Pets also shed fur and dander that can cause problems for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Kitchen, cooking and food smells: Cooking with fish, strong spices or burning anything accidentally can result in unpleasant odors. These usually continue for a long time after we leave the table! 

Garbage smell: Trash cans can smell bad for a long time if people don't take them away quickly. The smell depends on how hot it is and how long it's been there. But it can also linger in the surrounding area for weeks at a time. Nobody likes the smell of garbage!

Cigarette and Marijuana smell: Cigarette smoke has a strong smell that sticks to everything, like clothes and furniture. The same goes for marijuana.  

Diaper smell: The smells newborns emit can sometimes overpower even the latest airtight diaper disposal technology.

Musty or moldy odors: An excess of humidity in the home can easily lead to mold growth that produces an unpleasant musty odor.

Chemicals and VOCs, like cleaning products, paints, and new furniture, can cause smells that we can detect. 

Strong smells can harm people with sensitivities, asthma, and allergies.

Can air purifiers remove odors?

How do air purifiers work?

Air purifiers operate by circulating air through filters that trap particles and pollutants. There are many types of purifiers and filters, some of which are used to eliminate bad odors. 

Which type of air purifiers remove smells?

HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) catch particles in the air by using a fine mesh when air passes through them. HEPA filters are very effective at capturing microscopic particles, including pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and even tobacco smoke. Their effectiveness rate is around 99.97% for particles (larger than X microns). Unfortunately, even the best HEPA filters cannot capture any smaller, more odorous molecules, which mostly come from food.  

Activated carbon filters, also called activated charcoal filters, are filters that use processed carbon with small pores. These pores increase the surface area available for absorption or chemical reactions, making activated carbon highly effective at trapping certain chemicals and impurities.

Generally, people consider these the best for eliminating unwanted smells. 

UV light air purifiers: UV technology is another option that can be effective against household odors. These air purifiers have lamps that emit UVC and UVV wavelengths that help eliminate even the smallest particles other filters miss. UV technology, while primarily targeting microorganisms, can indirectly contribute to reducing odors caused by bacteria.

You can find UV air purifiers for your home here

Ionic air purifiers 

Ionic air purifiers emit charged particles into the air to clean it. These ions attach to airborne particles such as dust, pollen, smoke, and pet dander, making them larger and heavier. Charged particles are gathered on a plate or settle on surfaces in the room in electrostatic precipitators.

Considerations When Choosing an Air Purifier for Odors.

When you select an air purifier specifically for odor removal, you must take several critical considerations into account to ensure effectiveness and satisfaction.

Type of odor 

Firstly, identify the type of odor you are dealing with, as different odors may require different filtration technologies. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters are good for getting rid of smells from pets or cooking. They can absorb and neutralize many different odors.

Room size

Secondly, the size of the room plays a crucial role in the selection process. Designers create air purifiers to effectively work in specific room sizes, which are measured in square footage. Choosing a unit that matches the size of your room ensures efficient and effective purification. It's important to note that an undersized purifier may struggle to remove odors effectively in a larger room.

Maintenance and cost implications 

Lastly, consider the maintenance requirements and the cost implications of the air purifier. Some purifiers require frequent filter replacements, which can add to the long-term cost. Certain filters cost more at first but remove odors better and last longer, saving money in the long run. 

You can pick an air purifier that meets your needs and solves indoor odor issues by considering these factors. This will help you address the problem in a sustainable way.

Limitations of air purifiers in odor removal

Air purifiers help with indoor odors, but they have limits in removing smells that users should know about. Air purifiers are effective at removing particles in the air. However, they may not completely eliminate smells from surfaces or fabrics. Air purifiers alone may not completely remove strong smells from carpets, furniture, or walls.

Don’t forget to address the source of the smell!

Air purifiers can remove bad smells, but the best solution is to deal with the source of the odor directly. For best results, it is ideal to use air purifiers in conjunction with cleaning the source of the smell.

Want to see some success stories? 

Find a Sanuvox Specialist

To find the nearest installer or distributor in Canada or the United States

North America

North America