Are Air Purifiers Necessary in Protecting Our Homes Against COVID-19?

Kuala Lumpur, October 19 – With the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) being reimplemented to some areas in Malaysia due to the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases and certain areas of the country already under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), people are looking for more ways to protect themselves as well as their families. The World Health Organisation has mentioned that COVID-19 may never go away[1] and since then, sales of certain items, such as air purifiers have also skyrocketed[2]. However, is an air purification system effective in fighting the virus, or is it just another appliance that provides a false sense of security?

PerfectLifes, founded by a former building consultant Dean Liew in 2007, is one of the main manufacturers of medical-grade sanitisers and air purification systems in Malaysia. Dean is looking to correct the misconceptions surrounding the usage of air purifiers and has a few tips for those looking to improve their indoor air quality for a better quality of life.

The Importance of Filters

Apart from its main function which is to clean and purify the air, not all air purifiers are the same. Depending on the filters that are present in the machine, some air purifiers might be better at blocking contaminants compared to others.

A good air purifier should have a pre-filter, which is the first line of defense and traps the larger dust particles and contaminants in the air; a good High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that would be able to trap at least 99.97% particles as small as 0.3 microns; and a Carbon filter which neutralises and eliminates bad odour in the air using a process called “adsorption” (when the particles in gas/air get deposited to a solid material, for example when water molecules in the air are adsorbed by silica gels).

All these filters, used together, will make for a good air purification system with the ability to block out bacteria, dust, pollen and bad smells, making it effective to purify and cleanse the indoor air. The notion that an air purifier would be able to protect you from COVID-19 however, is inaccurate, due to the extremely small size of virus (COVID-19 virus is around 0.065-0.125 micorns[3]), even the most powerful air purifiers would struggle to remove it from the air. Even if the air purifier managed to capture it, it would likely survive for quite some time.

This however doesn’t change the fact that a good air purification system will bring about a myriad of other benefits, especially for those with breathing problems, asthma patients, those with allergies, and for homes with babies and pets as the triggers will most likely be captured by the filters.

Choosing the Best Air Purification System for Your House

The best air purifier is the one that fits your purpose of buying it. For example if you or your family members have allergies to dust/pollen, then make sure to get one that can trap and capture these contaminants in the air.

In fact, it can even be dangerous as air humidifiers work by blowing cold mist out, and you might run the risk of having the trapped contaminants being blown out by the humidifying part of the machine.

Dean also advises getting an air purifier that has no combined functionality. One might think getting a 2-in-1 air purifier, combined with an air humidifier might save you some money, but more often that not that is not the case as some of these 2-in-1 machines are more expensive. Some might think that it saves space as you only need to have space for one appliance instead of two, but 2-in-1 machines aren’t as effective in doing its job, either as an air purifier or air humidifier.

At the end of the day, there are many air purifiers in the market, and you can probably get a cheap one from dollar stores and variety stores, but there is no guarantee of the effectiveness and quality. As a machine that is supposed to improve your quality of life, consider spending more to get a machine from a reputable manufacturer with experience in the market. Also consider the after sales service as you would need to change the filters after a set period of time.


[1] https://www.straitstimes.com/world/covid-19-could-be-here-to-stay-who-expert

[2] https://3wnews.org/uncategorised/1256261/covid-19-impact-on-hepa-air-purifier-market-by-excellent-opportunities-industry-growth-size-and-statistics-forecasts-up-to-2026/

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090123220300540

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team
We take our responsibilities seriously as a provider of free parenting resources. Our published articles are therefore written based on evidence-based information parents can rely on. Parenthood is hard. But it’s also the most rewarding. Our first goal is thus to make sure our content is concise, accurate and accessible.