Improvised air purifier

Improvised air purifier

Allergy season is upon us, and dust is a year-round problem. Jon has a solution to those problems and it will not break the bank. This is a lot cheaper than those “ionic” air cleaners, and for some reason I think it will work better. Although, I am sure the noise would kill me after a while.

I hate air purifiers. They’re shoddy excuses to sell you replacement filters. They die quickly and they don’t move much air. I got tired of throwing them out and decided to improvise my own based on much cheaper and more widely available furnace filters. I’ve been using one of these for about six months and it works way better than any of the purpose-built air purifiers I’ve ever owned.

Learn more about the Improvised air purifier

24 thoughts on “Improvised air purifier

  1. Mark says:

    Might as well take advice from Alton Brown and put some strips of meat in there to make some beef jerky.

  2. Mark says:

    I used to recycle heat and moisture from my dryer in winter by running the exhaust into a 5 Gallon bucket with 6″ water in the bottom. The water would catch large lint particles. Air would blow out the top of the bucket after passing through about 6″ of furnace filter folded to fit into the top of the bucket. The snap on lid held the filter in place and allowed easy access to add water/change filter.

    It reduced my winter heating bills and moisturized the air at the same time and made my house much more comfortable in the winter months. It also motivated me to not let the laundry pile up- every time I ran the laundry the house became so much more comfortable! It cost about $5 to make- just a kitty litter bucker, a dryer vent, and some duct tape.

  3. Gary says:

    Just remember that the dryer also adds the products of combustion if it is a natural gas powered dryer. CO2, etc. If it is electric, that won’t be a problem.

    Also, you should try to move the bucket as far away from the dryer as is practical, say 6 or 8 feet or a different room if possible, to try to keep the exhaust mosture from going back into the dryer intake!

    As long as the clothes are reasonably clean when put into the dryer your system should work well, but beware of previously mildewed or otherwise badly contaminated clothes goint into such a system. It might cause the water to become contaminated. IMHO

  4. Jack Dubious says:

    Someone with more knowledge of fluid dynamics might be able to back me up on this, but I believe this system would work better if the filter was spaced farther from the fan. e.g. build a plywood or cardboard box between the filter and the fan so it moves the filter maybe 6-12″ away from the fan.

  5. Marc de Vinck says:


    For some reason, and I am not a physicist, I think you are right. Although that would make this build take more than 30 seconds.

  6. CRS says:

    I did this back when we renovated our 1st house. When tearing out plater walls, we put a box fan in the window purging air out with an open window on the other side of the house. When all was done and when sanding new drywall mud, we had this micro filter & fan in the work area to filter the dusty air in the house. (if you ever tore out plaster & put up drywall, you know the dust issues)
    Funny, with just the fan purging air out the window, neighbors thought the house was on fire.

  7. Marc de Vinck says:


    I just did drywall….and I wish I thought of using that. I used a shop vac hooked up to a 5 gal bucket to trap most of the particulate, but the fan/filter would have been a nice backup.

  8. missionable says:

    great article. if you want to read air purifier reviews go to

  9. adbox says:

    that contraption is genius! — although still unsightly…
    Still I bet it works just as good if not better than the rest.

  10. Air Purifier Guide says:

    The ionic air purifiers do not work well but something with a strong fan and a HEPA filter do work. The problem with the system pictured above is that air follows the least resistance. I am afraid since the filter and fan area are not enclosed that you wont’ get much effectiveness out of this setup.

    1. Pet Peaver says:

      I am highly sensitive to mold and allergens, so I can quickly detect them just by the effect they have on my breathing.  Several years ago, before we fixed the water leak in our basement, we had a terrible mold problem that circulated throughout the house, and made it very difficult to breath.  As a quick relief system, I made a device like the one pictured above.  It definitely does reduce mold, dust, and allergens, if used with an allergen rated furnace filter.  I’m not sure why APG concludes it won’t be effective, since you can visibly see the particulates stuck to the back side of the fan, that would otherwise have been floating around in the air. I know the ones I made gave quick allergen relief. It sure beats the $75.00 it would cost to replace three HEPA filters on a commercial system.

  11. 8013618 says:

    The Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is
    one of the most compact and tough Katadyn water purifiers that you can carry
    around in your bag. This Katadyn Microfilter is made of heavy duty materials,
    thus making it perfect for using it outdoor. The durability offered by this
    portable water filter is incomparable, because the cartridge of an average
    Katadyn Pocket Microfilter will last up to 13,000 gallons of water.

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