Air

How Our Air Purifiers Destroy Viruses (And Keep You Safe)

Cleaning your indoor air is one thing. Sanitizing it is a whole different story. Many air purifiers clean the air inside your home by removing unwanted particles (like mold spores and pet dander), but it takes a unique filtration process with revolutionary UV-C technology to sanitize it. We know it’s hard to believe that an invisible light can actually reduce bacteria and viruses, so we’ll let the science do the talking.

THE HISTORY OF DESTROYING GERMS

People have been using UV-C technology to reduce germs since the 1800s, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

1801Johann Wilhelm Ritter discovered ultraviolet light on the electromagnetic spectrum.

1877British Physiologist Arthur Downes and scientist Thomas P. Blunt found that ultraviolet light can prevent microorganisms from growing.

1882 – Physician and scientist Robert Koch discovered that tuberculosis was caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis, which would die upon being exposed to sunlight.

1933 – American scientist William F. Wells found that infections can be spread through airborne particles.

1935 – William F. Wells also found that UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation), also known as UV-C, can efficiently inactivate airborne microorganisms.

1936 – High-intensity UV-C was used at the Duke University Hospital to disinfect the operating room air, and the study found that post-surgery infection rates lowered.

1972 – It was discovered that air movement and ventilation should be considered in the destruction of germs through UV-C.

1987 – HoMedics® was founded in Detroit, MI, and would go on to utilize UV-C technology in their wellness products.

2014 – The Mayo Clinic began using UV-C robots to clean patient rooms and saw a 30% decrease in C. diff bacterial infections.

2020 – HoMedics® innovated personal-use air purifiers with UV-C technology.

THE SCIENCE OF DESTROYING GERMS

So, how does UV-C technology reduce germs? Well, germicidal short-wave UV radiation carries the energy needed to inactivate microorganisms like viruses and bacteria on contact, according to ACS Photonics. They say it’s effective because the energy from the UV-C wavelength is absorbed into the RNA and DNA of the germ’s cell, stopping it in its tracks. These short and energetic wavelengths damage the nucleic acid, destroying the DNA and neutralizing the germ so it’s unable to reproduce. (Whoa.)

The moral of the story? If you don’t want bacteria and viruses living in your air rent-free, then you need an air purifier that uses UV-C light in its filtration process. Keep in mind that while UV-C technology works the same way in every room, the size of your room will determine which size air purifier you need. Take a look at our size guide to find out which one is right for you.

SIZE GUIDE

Our air purifier size guide is based on rooms with 8-foot ceilings. If your ceilings are higher than 8 feet, the EPA recommends that you estimate your square footage with that in mind.

Extra Large: Up to 343 sq. ft.

Large: Up to 246 sq. ft.

Medium: Up to 195 sq. ft.

Small: Up to 170 sq. ft.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

SOURCES

The History of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation for Air Disinfection, The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2789813/

A Critical Review on Ultraviolet Disinfection Systems against COVID-19 Outbreak: Applicability, Validation, and Safety Considerations, ASC Photonics: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsphotonics.0c01245

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-07/documents/guide_to_air_cleaners_in_the_home_2nd_edition.pdf

Mayo Clinic Uses Robots Against Hospital Germs, News Network: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-uses-robots-against-hospital-germs/

The Health Benefits of Ultraviolet Light, Science Museum: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/how-does-ultraviolet-light-affect-our-health#:~:text=In%201882%2C%20German%20physician%20and,killed%20quite%20rapidly%20by%20light.

Ultraviolet, Cosmos: https://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/u/ultraviolet#:~:text=Ultraviolet%20light%20was%20discovered%20by,electromagnetic%20spectrum%20darkened%20silver%20chloride.