Do Air Purifiers Remove Formaldehyde – (Truth Revealed)

Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling, colorless volatile organic compound (VOC) commonly found in indoor air. Because of the potential health risks associated with this chemical gas, it is crucial to take steps to reduce its levels in homes. Air purifiers are a popular solution for improving air quality, but can they remove Formaldehyde?

Yes, air purifiers can remove Formaldehyde from the air. However, not all units are designed to capture VOCs. To effectively remove Formaldehyde, an air purifier must have a high-quality activated carbon filter capable of adsorbing gas molecules. 

Want to learn more about how air purifiers can help improve air quality and reduce formaldehyde levels in your home? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know!

Health Effects of Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a toxic gas that can cause various health issues when inhaled. The extent of these issues depends on the level and duration of exposure as well as individual sensitivity. Short-term exposure to this VOC can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as coughing and wheezing. In some cases, it can also result in skin irritation and allergic reactions, which is why it is essential to limit exposure.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), “Formaldehyde has been found to cause myeloid leukemia and rare cancers, including cancers of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and nasopharynx.” However, the risk of developing cancer from exposure to this chemical gas is usually associated with high levels of long-term exposure, as in the case of industrial workers who are regularly exposed to Formaldehyde.

Lastly, long-term exposure to Formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma, as well as neurological effects such as headaches and memory loss. Children, older people, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions may be more sensitive to the health effects of Formaldehyde exposure.

Do Air Purifiers Remove Formaldehyde?

Air purifiers can be an excellent solution for removing Formaldehyde from homes, but it’s crucial to select a suitable model specifically designed to tackle this volatile organic compound (VOC).

Only air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters can effectively remove Formaldehyde from the air. These types of filters use a process called adsorption, which draws in and traps VOC molecules in the filter’s tiny pores. The larger the filter’s surface area, the more Formaldehyde it can capture.

It’s worth noting that although some air purifiers come with HEPA filters, which are excellent at trapping tiny particles such as dust and allergens, they may not be as effective at eliminating Formaldehyde. Therefore, investing in an air purifier with a high-quality activated carbon filter is the way to go if you want to capture and remove harmful indoor gaseous pollutants effectively.

Additionally, it’s also essential to keep in mind that air purifiers should not be used as the sole solution for reducing formaldehyde levels in your home. By combining different strategies, you can significantly get rid of this toxic chemical gas in your indoor air and improve your overall health and well-being.

Do HEPA Filters Remove VOCs?

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is commonly used in air purifiers to remove airborne particles like dust, allergens, and other small pollutants from the air. However, when it comes to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), HEPA filters may not be the best solution. 

VOCs have a high vapor pressure at room temperature, so they quickly evaporate into the air. Because of this gaseous nature, the HEPA filter does not effectively capture these compounds, which is designed to trap airborne solid particles mechanically.

As mentioned earlier, activated carbon filters are one of the most effective air filters for removing VOCs, as they use activated carbon to adsorb the gas molecules from the air. So, if you want to effectively remove VOCs from your home, consider using an air purifier with both HEPA and activated carbon filters. This will provide comprehensive air cleaning and help remove particulate matter and gaseous pollutants.

Where is Formaldehyde Found in the Home?

  1. Building Materials: Plywood, particleboard, and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is commonly used in the construction of homes and often contain Formaldehyde as a binding agent. Over time, these materials can release this gaseous pollutant into the air, especially in warm and humid conditions.

  2. Household Products: Formaldehyde is often used as a preservative in various household products, such as cleaners, air fresheners, and cosmetics. It may be listed on product labels under different names, such as methylene glycol or formalin.

  3. Tobacco Smoke: Cigarette smoke contains many harmful chemicals, including Formaldehyde, which can be released into the air and contribute to indoor air pollution. Secondhand smoke exposure can also increase the levels of Formaldehyde in the air.

  4. Gas Stoves: Natural Gas stoves can emit Formaldehyde and other pollutants when they are used for cooking. It is crucial to ensure good ventilation when cooking with gas stoves.

  5. Carpets and Textiles: Some carpets and textiles, particularly those made from synthetic fibers, may contain Formaldehyde due to the manufacturing process. This is often done to make these materials more durable.

  6. Insulation: Formaldehyde is commonly used as a binder in the manufacture of insulation materials, such as fiberglass insulation. As a result, this VOC may be present in the air if the insulation is not properly installed or if it degrades over time.

  7. Paints and Coatings: Some paints and coatings, especially oil-based ones, may contain Formaldehyde as an ingredient.

Other Methods to Remove Formaldehyde

While air purifiers can effectively eliminate Formaldehyde from indoor air, they should be combined with other strategies to reduce exposure. Here are some additional methods that you can apply:

Improving Ventilation:

Good ventilation is vital in reducing Formaldehyde levels in the air. It can be achieved by opening windows and doors to let fresh air in during the day, especially when the weather is good. Using exhaust fans in areas prone to Formaldehyde emissions, such as the kitchen or bathroom, can also help remove this gas from home.

Using Formaldehyde-Absorbing Materials:

Certain materials, like activated carbon, zeolite, and silica gel, can help absorb Formaldehyde in the air. Activated carbon is often used in air purifiers but can also be used in standalone filters or as a powder spread around the home. Zeolite and silica gel are often used in sachets that can be placed in areas with high Formaldehyde concentrations, such as the closet or the car.

Reducing Sources of Formaldehyde:

Reducing the sources of Formaldehyde is another effective way to lower its levels in homes. This toxic gas is commonly found in building materials, furniture, and household products like cleaners and air fresheners. Choosing products with low Formaldehyde emissions, such as those with low VOC (volatile organic compound) content, can help reduce Formaldehyde levels in the home. Airing out new products before use can also help reduce the emissions of this chemical compound.

Don’t Smoke Indoors:

Smoking indoors is a significant source of air pollution, releasing Formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals into the air. It is essential to avoid smoking indoors to prevent exposure to these harmful chemicals, which can lead to serious health consequences.

Bottom Line

Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that can be found in indoor air, and exposure to it has been linked to a range of health issues. The best way to address this issue is through activated carbon filtration, which effectively removes Formaldehyde and other harmful VOCs from the air.

It’s essential to stay informed about the sources of Formaldehyde in your environment and take action to ensure that your indoor air is as clean and healthy as possible. Regular maintenance and replacement of Activated carbon filters are also crucial to ensure their continued effectiveness in removing Formaldehyde from your home.


How Long Does It Take for Formaldehyde to Dissipate?

Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year for Formaldehyde to completely dissipate. However, using air purifiers, improving ventilation, and reducing sources of Formaldehyde can help speed up the dissipation process and improve air quality.

What type of filter is capable of eliminating Formaldehyde?

The only type of filter that is capable of Formaldehyde removal is an activated carbon filter. These filters are designed to capture and adsorb Formaldehyde molecules, effectively removing them from the air.

Is Formaldehyde a significant concern for indoor air quality?

Yes, Formaldehyde is a severe indoor air quality issue. It is a common air pollutant that can cause various health problems, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat and more severe respiratory issues. Long-term exposure to Formaldehyde has also been linked to increased cancer risk.

What are the signs of being exposed to Formaldehyde?

Exposure to Formaldehyde can cause a range of symptoms, including irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation. It may also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

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Ellie Sanders

Ellie is our talented content writer. With her exceptional attention to detail and unwavering commitment to thorough research, Ellie ensures that our articles and guides not only meet but exceed the highest standards of accuracy. She researches each topic in depth, ensuring that the content is well-researched and easily understandable.