Do Air Purifiers Clean Air of Viruses? – All You Need to Know About Air Purifiers as Disinfectants

Prevention is better than cure.

Although bacteria or viruses cannot be removed solely by an air purifier, it is still a smart idea to use them to lower the risk of contamination. In fact, if used properly, air purifiers can be a great way to reduce the chances of getting sick from viruses.

But how does an air purifier achieve this purpose? And what does it mean to use air purifiers “properly”? We will answer these questions and more in this post to make things easier for you. 

So, let’s dive in.

Do Air Purifiers Remove Viruses From Air?

The one-line answer would be yes, they do. But it’s not that simple.

So, let’s first take a brief look at how viruses spread.

How Do Viruses Spread?

Viruses become airborne due to coughing or sneezing, and remain in the air until they are killed or unless you have an excellent ventilation system. Unfortunately, considering how rarely we let our air-conditioned homes be ventilated, the latter is often not the case.

As a result, almost every house has airborne viruses and bacteria. When inhaled, this contaminated air can cause breathing problems, asthma, allergies, flu, etc.

 In addition, kids, the elderly, or anyone with a weak immune system is most likely to get sick due to these contaminants.  

Now, this is where air purifiers come in.

Air purifiers are of different types. Each type works differently and is thus best suited to perform a particular task. Here’s what we mean by this: 

just because air purifier A is good at performing a task (removing odors and toxins, for instance) doesn’t mean that air purifier B will also be just as efficient at achieving the same task – and vice versa.

Since this post is about air purifiers cleaning the air against viruses, we will focus only on air purifiers best suited to this job.

HEPA Purifiers & UV Air Purifiers for Air Borne Viruses

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter air purifier is probably the most commonly used out of all air purifiers.

A true HEPA purifier can filter contaminating particles of sizes up to 0.03 microns. This means that they can filter out airborne dust particles, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, etc. 

We highly recommend investing in a true HEPA filter or a UV purifier to reduce airborne viruses inside your home. However, be mindful of your room size and the purifier’s filter quality while purchasing.

While buying an air purifier, make sure to check its CADR (clean air delivery rate). This number is a measure of how much clean air is produced. Buy a purifier with a smaller CADR if you have a small room, and a bigger CADR if you have a large room. The numbers are usually around 200 for the former and 400-500 for the latter.

Air purifiers come in different capacities and sizes, so it is essential to find one that is best suited to your room’s size. 

HEPA purifiers use mechanical filters to clean air. Unwanted particles get trapped in these filters. Therefore, you would need to regularly clean or replace them to get the most out of your purifier. Considering the results, this is not too big of a task.

Air purifiers with a HEPA filter are far more effective than a regular air filter.

On the other hand, UV air purifiers work a bit differently. They don’t use filters to trap contaminants. Instead, they use a short wavelength UV light to disinfect the air. UV purifiers suck in air, pass it from a UV light which destroys the DNA of viruses to kill them, and pushes disinfected air out from the other end.

This type of air purifier is also highly effective for getting rid of viruses. In addition, since they don’t have filters, they require relatively lower maintenance than HEPA filter air purifiers.

Do Air Purifiers Help Avoid COVID-19?

The answer to this is both yes, and no. So let’s dig a bit deeper.

The virus SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for causing COVID-19. This airborne virus is big enough to be captured by an air purifier’s filter. So yes, an air purifier can help decrease the risk of catching the deadly virus.

However, it is not a fool-proof way to avoid coronavirus. Air purifiers keep indoor air clean and are most efficient when all doors and windows are shut so that contaminants from outside don’t make their way inside the house. Unfortunately, this means that any infectant inside the house would also be trapped and can affect the people inside.

Indeed, the air purifier’s responsibility is to keep indoor air clean. Still, it would not be reasonable to rely on it completely to keep your house COVID-free. The virus can become airborne due to someone coughing, sneezing, talking, etc. 

So, just because you have an air purifier running with all windows and doors closed does not mean that the virus cannot originate from inside. If it is not filtered by the air purifier right away, you or your family could easily get it. 

This is why when it comes to protection against COVID, outdoors are deemed safer for crowds while gatherings in confined spaces are highly discouraged. Ventilation is the most important to minimize the risk of COVID.

Nonetheless, if you are staying indoors, then air purifiers can be the best tool to clean the air around you. There is no other way to disinfect the air with close to zero side effects. Spraying disinfectants and chemicals in the air doesn’t just kill viruses but can also harm your own health. Fortunately, there is no such fear or side effect with air purifiers.

Can Air Purifiers Help with Allergies and Flu?


In fact, people with bad cases of asthma who have trouble sleeping should definitely consider investing in an air purifier. They give your lungs fresher air to breathe and help reduce breathing problems.

Cleaner air also means less airborne pet dander and hair, pollens and mold spores – all of which can cause allergies. Air purifiers filter out these contaminants and help reduce allergic reactions.

Can Wearable Necklace Air Purifiers Help Against COVID-19?

Before we wrap up this post, let’s look at an interesting type of air purifier: portable or wearable necklace purifiers.

As the name suggests, necklace purifiers are meant to be worn around the neck. They are lightweight, smaller in size, portable and comparatively lower in price. Owing to these benefits, they have become quite popular, especially in times of COVID-19.

But can they actually help against the virus? Unfortunately, not really.

Wearable air purifiers are neither HEPA nor UV type. Instead, they are ionizer-type air purifiers that work by releasing charged ions into the air and sticking to contaminants. The contaminants, weighed down by the ions, become unable to float around and fall down. This keeps them from going into your lungs as you breathe.

However, ionizers are insignificantly effective against viruses and can also create health risks. 

Necklace purifiers create ozone which is harmful to us to breathe. Even though every purifier produces different volumes of ozone, none of them is completely safe. 

Moreover, these purifiers are so close to your body that they can react with personal care products. The ozone produced by them can have adverse effects if it reacts with the chemicals contained in these products.

Remember I said that charged particles get stuck to pollutants and weigh them down? As a result, these harmful particles fall down and stick to the nearest surface. In the case of a necklace purifier, this surface could be your body, clothes or face. Needless to say, this is the opposite of what you would want an air purifier to do.

If you want to use air purifiers to protect you against viruses or at least decrease the risk, HEPA filter purifiers and UV purifiers are the best ones to get.

Final Word

Indeed, you cannot solely rely on air purifiers to avoid viral diseases. Still, these machines help improve overall air quality and minimize the risk of infection.

As discussed in detail, HEPA purifiers and UV purifiers work the best for this purpose. If bought in the right size and maintained properly, these purifiers can prove to be an excellent purchase.

In a world with COVID-19 and other viruses, the importance of gadgets like air purifiers cannot be ignored. Air purifiers, along with the proper vaccinations and precautions, help maintain sound health.

Got Questions? Please feel free to reach out, and we will get right back to you. Stay healthy, stay safe!