Can a HEPA Filter Vacuum Protect Against COVID-19?

We are still learning a lot about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Beyond wearing face masks and keeping social distance when you’re out around others, one of the most common questions that comes up is how to make sure you keep your family safe when you’re at home.

There are some measures that are important to take, such as wiping down door handles and other high-touch surfaces after someone has been outside or in a place where they could have been exposed to the virus. Other home cleaning, such as vacuuming regularly and sanitizing surfaces could also help. While there have not been any studies about the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters to protect against the virus, it’s important to know a little more about how HEPA filters work and how they could be effective in your efforts to keep your home clean.

What is HEPA Filtration?

The acronym HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air, so a HEPA filter is designed to trap 99.97% of air particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. HEPA filters are designed with various interlaced fibers that create a “maze” to trap particles so they can’t get through. Particles that get stuck inside the filter won’t be circulated into the air for you to breathe.

A single COVID-19 particle is about 0.125 microns, which is smaller than the 0.3 that a HEPA filter can trap, but the virus particles cannot travel on their own, they must be attached to something to travel, such as water droplets (aerosols) made up of mucus protein, water, and other materials that we form when we speak, cough, sneeze, or talk. The particles are usually at least 1 micron in size.

Your Vacuum Filter

While there are no specific studies about whether a vacuum filter can prevent COVID-19, a HEPA-filter vacuum can potentially pick up harmful particles around your home and trap them inside, preventing the spread to your family.

There is also no specific evidence of whether the virus can be transmitted through vacuuming, but poor quality vacuums that lack HEPA filters could potentially pick up virus particles in the environment and disperse them into the air. That could potentially be a concern if someone in your home is infected with the virus and you’re trying to keep others from contracting it. It could also be a problem for businesses, offices, and community spaces where multiple people pass through each day and where cleaning crews could unknowingly disperse virus particles into the air through vacuuming. For that reason the CDC recommends that any cleaning is done when the lowest number of people are likely to be exposed (at night or after closing). You may also want to remove small rugs or other areas that could trap small virus particles and would be more difficult to disinfect than hard surfaces.

In addition to the potential to trap coronavirus particles, HEPA filters also provide superior filtration for a wide variety of common pathogens and contaminants, so it’s a great investment to get a HEPA-filter vacuum if you don’t already have one. Contact Vacuums360 today to learn more about our selection of vacuums with HEPA filters.

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