Dust mites look scary.
And apparently they’re probably in my home, since they’re in most people’s homes. A survey found dust mites inand .
Yet it’s hard to know for sure whether they’re in our homes or not because they’re mostlywith our eyes. The more I write, the more OCD I’m becoming.
Will Purifiers Capture Dust Mites?
I should say I’m NOT an expert in air pollution. I’m just a dedicated data nerd who was doing psychology research in Beijing and then got (kind of) forced intoto fight the crippling air pollution I was breathing.
During that process, I started—these guys.
Most air purifiers use HEPA filters, so let’s start there.
These fiber filters capture over 99% of particles 0.3 microns and above. That’s good news for my probably-dust-mite-infested home because.
That’s easily in the range that HEPAs capture. Now, I’m not sure if getting stuck in a filter would kill a dust mite. They, and getting constantly blown by air might do the job, but that’s speculation.
Bottom line: Most air purifiers will capture dust mites, but may not kill them.
Wait, Dust Mites Need to Be in The Air
Hang on, dust mites need to be in the air for an air purifier to capture them. The problem is they live in, so they’re not usually floating in the air.
It turns out dust mites do get thrown into the air. When we walk on carpeting, sweep the floor, dust our homes, and change our bed sheets, dust mites get thrown into the air. And because they’re so small, they.
That means purifiers can capture dust mites if you have the purifier on while dusting, changing sheets, or even walking around. If you’re try to target dust mites, you might want to scuff your feet along the floor.
Dust Mites Create Even Smaller Allergens
But the picture gets more complicated for people with allergies. Dust mites create allergens by ejecting poop particles and “.” In other words, their waste is smaller than their bodies.
These particles are as small asor .
We’re in trouble now, because HEPA filters capture particles 0.3 and above (according to).
Fortunately for us air-breathers, this is. This misconception would lead people to conclude that HEPA filters DON’T capture dust mites.
You’ll see purifier companies use this myth to try to justify when you need their “proprietary technology” instead, like.
A glance at(or the data I share in ) reveals that HEPA filters capture lots of particles below 0.3 microns.
Heck, even pollution masks like this one I’m wearing( ).
Bottom line: HEPA filters will capture dust mites and the smaller dust mite allergen particles they create.
View the original article on Quora here.
Thomas is an Associate Professor of Behavior Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the founder of, a social enterprise to help people in China breathe clean air without shelling out thousands of dollars for expensive purifiers.