In this article, we’re going to explore whether humidifiers help with dus?
And as it turns out, dust is not only a constant irritation for neat people. It does pose a variety of health concerns.
I’m sure you’re thinking of allergies, hypersensitivity, maybe hay fever, a dry throat, or watery eyes and a tight chest when I mention dust.
But, unfortunately, that’s not the end of it.
My research for this article has me concerned about the levels of dust in my home. And, more importantly, about what makes up the floating particles we refer to as dust.
Some of the conditions dust can cause are way more serious than sniffles and an uncomfortable cough. I’m talking about chemicals that settle into your bloodstream and even cancers.
Prevention is always better than cure – especially when dealing with your and your family’s health.
So, keep reading to find out if humidifiers help with dust, how, and how much.
Do Humidifiers Reduce Dust In Your Surroundings?
The primary function of a humidifier is to lift the moisture levels in the air and then keep it at a constant, comfortable level.
But they also help to control dust and the pesky microscopic organisms that fester in it.
Primary among these dust parasites are dust mites, and they thrive in humid conditions. If the humidity in your home ranges between 70 and 80 percent, these pests are at their happiest, and they do pose a variety of health risks.
When the humidity in your home is too low, however, the dust increases.
So, how do humidifiers reduce dust in your surroundings, and how do they assist with the various health risks associated with overly dusty interiors?
Firstly, it helps to suppress dust particles by making them heavier. The math is quite simple.
Humidifiers release microscopic water particles into the air. These bond with the dust particles and quite literally soak them through, making them heavier.
Gravity does the rest. So, instead of having clouds of dust particles swirling through the atmosphere in your home, the waterlogged particles will drop to the floor instead, where they can simply be vacuumed up, or swept away with a good broom.
What Causes Dust To Form?
The particles that make up dust can vary substantially from home to home, and even from room to room.
Generally, house dust comprises particles of dirt, a good wallop of dead skin cells which we all shed during our waking days, and various fibers that come from furniture, fireplaces, pers, rugs and carpets, and even books.
Some dust naturally migrates from the exterior of your home, and the composition of these particles could be smoke, exhaust fumes, sand, pollen, and general dirt.
Back in 2010, Professor Paloma Beamer from the University of Arizona penned an article in Time Magazine, in which he said, “Dust is generally a hodgepodge of all sorts of things. It would be impossible to make a list of all the possible items.
Professor Beamer conducted a study in which she found that the age of a building, the regional and local climate, the number of occupants, cleaning, cooking, and, of course, smoking, all contribute to the dust that originates inside the building.
Why Is Dust A Problem?
The dust in the atmosphere of your home contains particles that vary greatly in size. And, ironically, the most hazardous dust particles are often the least visible.
The technical term for particles that end up in your body, is inspirable dust particles. These are often deposited in the upper respiratory tract, and the throat. From there, the remaining particles can travel deep into your lungs, they often cause all kinds of health issues.
A common example is respirable silica dust particles. These cause minuscule scars in the lung tissue. Lead dust, which is also more common than we’d like to think, especially in residential and industrial areas developed until the late nineteen fifties, can cause damage to the central nervous system!
There are a host of diseases that result from dusty environments, and most of these only become noticeable decades later.
Lead, Cadmium, Manganese, and Zinc are metal particles commonly found in dust. When breathed in, these cause systemic toxic effects.
Organic and inorganic chemicals, and even certain types of wood, end up in the dust that collects in our homes. Breathing these leads to hypersensitivity and allergic conditions.
Viable organisms and spores from outside thrive in dust and commonly cause bacterial and fungal infections.
And, the biggest concern of all, is high concentrations of Chromates and Asbestos, which have been proven to cause a variety of cancers.
How A Humidifier Reduces Dust
While humidifiers don’t act like vacuum cleaners and actively suck up and remove dust, they do perform a valuable secondary function. They’re often called the second line of defense.
Dust hangs in the air. This is because the particles are so minute and weigh next to nothing. The effects of gravity are so tiny, that it looks as if the dust floats – even though it is making its way to the floor, just super slowly.
As soon as you charge up a humidifier in a room, the increased moisture inside the space soaks into the dust particles, making them waterlogged, and thus heavier. The effect of gravity is then greatly increased.
The result is that you have less airborne dust, and cleaner, healthier air to breathe.
There are several humidifiers on the market that couple as air purifiers. That means you get the best of both worlds – better air quality, and more balanced and healthier humidity levels.
If you or your family struggle with allergies or general irritations of the respiratory tracts, it may well be that you’re breathing in particles that are too tiny for the naked eye to see. A humidifier can greatly improve these kinds of health conditions while providing a host of other benefits too.
As mentioned, a humidifier shouldn’t be your first line of defense if you have a dust problem. But it does provide an invaluable support function.
The nasties that live in the dust (think dust mites and the allergies and nasal irritations they cause,) and the metals, silicone, and chemicals that also enter your home in the form of minuscule particles, can have serious health implications.
And I’m not only talking about worsening allergic conditions or hypersensitivity. I’m talking about stuff that ends up in your bloodstream – chemicals that your body has no natural defense against. And, of course, the carcinogens.
These dangers are easily averted by running a humidifier in your home. Besides, you’ll improve the general quality of the air you breathe, and just make being in your home generally more comfortable.
Dust in our homes is one of the things we have previously little control over. If you think about Professor Beamer’s study – the local climate, the age of the structure you live in, the character of the neighborhood, and traffic (think exhaust fumes and rubber left on the road from fast-moving tires,) all play a role. And that’s just stuff that enters your home from outside.
Add to that the foot traffic through your house, especially if you have kids, the microscopic muck that’s left behind from the soles of shoes, and the dust created by cooking and cleaning, and you can understand that vacuuming and dusting will never get the job done on their own.
This is where a humidifier may just be the helper you’ve always dreamed about!