(Last Updated On: April 27, 2023)

Air purifiers offer an alternative to more traditional methods you may have used in the past to either eliminate or reduce dust. They are effective in the removal of airborne pollutants and allergens from indoor air. While they are effective, their level of performance depends on many factors, including airflow rate, particle size, and the type of filter.

A Woman Dusting and Cleaning her Bookshelf

How do HEPA Air Filters Combat Dust?

High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) is a type of air filter. It was originally used to prevent airborne radioactive contaminants from spreading. During the 1950s, it became commercialized. Since then it has evolved to serve the needs of homeowners, hospitals, high tech industries, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and nuclear power.

It is considered to be one of the most efficient air purifiers. In fact, HEPA filters are able to reach the same standard of filter efficiency as respirator filters. Because the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has such strict standards, many companies use the marketing term “True HEPA” to assure consumers that the air filters are certified and meet HEPA standards.

There are several requirements that must be met in order for an air purifier to meet the HEPA standard. The filter must be able to remove 99% of all particles that pass through and must satisfy the standards of the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

HEPA filters are able to capture smaller pollutants and particles compared to other air purifiers. The particles are trapped by a combination of the following three mechanisms: interception (particles that go through the air stream adhere to the interior fiber), impaction (larger particles are not able to avoid fibers so they embed in one directly), and diffusion (which raises the probability that particles will become stopped through the interception or impaction mechanisms).

In medical settings, HEPA is crucial in preventing the airborne viral and bacterial organisms from spreading. These airborne organisms can oftentimes result in causing infection. Medical HEPA filtration systems use high energy ultraviolet lights to trap viruses and bacteria that become lured in by the filter media. Many of these HEPA filters have efficiency ratings as high as 99.995%.

Some vacuum cleaners also use HEPA in their filtration system. For those who suffer from allergies and asthma, this can be quite beneficial. These efficient HEPA filters trap even the finest of particles. These include dust mites and pollen, which are the direct source of asthma and allergy symptoms. Whether they are installed in the HVAC systems or used in portable air cleaners, the vast majority of air purifiers have good efficiency ratings. They have been proven to be particularly effective in the removal of larger particles, including dust and dust mites. When searching for the right air purifier to eliminate dust in your home, the appropriate type can be chosen by looking at its MERV rating. This rating system rates the removal of airborne particles from the airstream that goes through it. MERV ratings also compare air filters that are made by different manufacturers. Generally, flat or panel air filters with a MERV rating between 1-4 have lower efficiency on small airborne particles, but have good ratings for large particles. Extended or pleated surface filters that have a MERV rating between 5-13 have better efficiency ratings compared to panel filters and are good at eliminating small to large airborne particles. To top it all off, true HEPA filters with a MERV rating between 17 and 19 have an efficiency between 99.97% and 99.99%.

When it comes to finding the best air purifier to reduce dust, be sure to do thorough research. Find reliable sources of information and brands that have a long standing reputation for quality and effectiveness. Many companies make promises that the simply cannot deliver on.

If you’re still wondering which filter is best for your family, visit our Air Purifier Filters page to learn more.