Today more than ever, indoor air quality is a topic of concern, and for good reason. Poor air quality can lead to a number of different health issues, but air purifiers can be expensive and bulky. Fortunately, bamboo charcoal air purifier bags have offered at least a partial solution to this problem.
In this article, we review some of the science behind bamboo charcoal bags as well as share the results of our hands-on tests for humidity, odors, VOCs, and particulate matter.
In this article:
- What Is A Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifier Bag?
- Can Bamboo Charcoal Reduce Humidity?
- Can Bamboo Charcoal Remove Bad Odors?
- Can Bamboo Charcoal Filter VOCs From The Air?
- Can Bamboo Charcoal Filter Particulates From The Air?
What Is A Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifier Bag?
A bamboo charcoal air purifier bag is a bag that contains activated bamboo charcoal. Charcoal is highly porous, which allows air to pass through. Air pollutants get trapped in the pores while air continues to pass through, resulting in cleaner air.
Charcoal can be created from a number of different sources, however, in this case, it’s activated bamboo. Activated bamboo charcoal is regular bamboo charcoal that has been exposed to very high temperatures. This causes more charing within the bamboo and creates more pores. The process of activation can also be accomplished with chemical or physical processes.
Does Bamboo Charcoal Actually Work?
There are many different research studies that show bamboo charcoal’s ability to filter different molecules from the air. These molecules include odors, humidity, VOCs, and particulate matter to name a few.
While these results are promising, we can’t exactly say bamboo charcoal is an effective air purifier for our homes. The reason is that all of this research is based on well-built laboratory setups.
Also, many of the charcoal bags used in laboratory settings are made by the researchers. They select the charcoal material, activation methods and details, and bag materials that are best for showing the intended results or what is available to them.
In other words, the conditions used in these studies may not be the best representation of the conditions in our homes or the bamboo products available to us.
For this reason, we ran our own tests to see if bamboo charcoal air purifiers can really clean the air in our homes.
Can Bamboo Charcoal Reduce Humidity?
Activated charcoal, including activated bamboo charcoal, has a proven ability to remove humidity from the air. There are several different research studies that show bamboo charcoal’s ability to remove humidity in a range of applications. However, research is limited on the exact ability for bamboo charcoal to control moisture in our homes, particularly when it comes to air purifier bags.
Humidity is not exactly a pollutant itself, but high humidity levels are uncomfortable and can cause an increase in various pollutant levels. One major pollutant of concern in our homes is VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. I’ll go into more detail on VOCs later. Controlling humidity also helps prevent bacteria, mold, and mildew, which are all potential sources of pollutants.
Our Tests for Humidity Control
Bamboo charcoal air purifier bags are not great as a short-term solution to humidity, even in small spaces. If you need fast dehumidification, you’ll need to look elsewhere. For example, our tests show that air conditioning was a fast solution to humidity since it lowered the humidity significantly over the course of an hour or so.
When we left a bamboo charcoal bag in a small box with a humidifier, it did little to reduce the humidity levels in the box over a few hours, or even over a day. After a full day in a humid environment, the air purifier bag didn’t weigh any more than when it started.
The only expectation to this was under extremely humid conditions. Even in this case, the charcoal bag removed about 5 mL of water from the air. This is very little compared to how much moisture was in the air.
Under the right conditions, bamboo charcoal can be a useful option for controlling humidity.
It does show promise as a longer-term solution though. If the above trend continued for a few days, or even weeks, its possible the bag would have removed a significant amount of water.
Can Bamboo Charcoal Remove Bad Odors?
Bamboo charcoal bags are marketed as a product that can remove bad odors from the air and rightfully so. Our tests showed they are an effective tool for controlling odors.
The benefit of using charcoal bags over other forms of deodorizing such as using air fresheners is that they are reusable and don’t require energy or ongoing resources. In addition, air freshener spray contains known hazardous chemicals so they may make the air quality worse simply to make the air smell better.
This makes air purifier bags a good option for people with chemical sensitivities, or those who don’t like to use such products. Air purifier bags remove odors rather than cover them up.
Our Tests for Odor Control
To test this out, we put the charcoal air purifier bag into one of two smelly sneakers. Both of the shoes smelled equally bad to begin with. I don’t have a way to detect odors (other than my nose!), so I gave both shoes an initial “Bad Smell Rating” of about 5/10. It’s not a horrible smell, but not great either.
I put the air purifier bag into one shoe and left it there for one hour. Once the hour was up, I smelled each shoe again.
The shoe with the air purifier bag had a noticeably better smell than the shoe without the bag. I would give the shoe without the air purifier bag a score of 5/10 still. But, I would give the shoe with the air purifier bag a score of 8/10. There was maybe only a hint of sneaker smell, but pretty much all of the bad smell was removed.
Out of curiosity, I put the air quality meter in the shoes while running this test. As you can see from these charts, the particulate matter readings were high in the smelly shoe. I then switched the air quality sensor to the “clean” shoe to see if it would detect a lower reading. Clearly, there was an improvement to the particulates, which could be what we smell when shoes smell bad
Also, bamboo charcoal filters are great for capturing odors from indoor compost bins. I’ve been using one on my compost bin for a long time and it does a great job at preventing odors. If I remove the filter from the lid, the room quickly smells of a strong bad odor. So, when it comes to odors, I have found that bamboo charcoal works very quickly as a short and long-term solution on these types of smaller applications.
Can Bamboo Charcoal Filter VOCs From The Air?
Long-term exposure to VOCs is bad for your health. Examples of VOCs include benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. VOCs are found in everything from paint and furniture to cleaning supplies and cooking fumes. Studies have found that benzene levels in the home are twice that of outdoor air, indicating there are sources of benzene pollution in our homes.
These studies show how smoking, fossil fuel pollution from outdoors, and use of certain products are the main sources of VOCs inside.
Our Tests for VOC Control
Bamboo charcoal bags are able to remove VOCs from the air, even in as little as 24 hours. In our tests, we placed an open bucket of paint primer in a small enclosed box with the air quality meter. The concentration of VOCs immediately shot up to very high, unsafe levels. After 24 hours, the concentration had started to level off. After placing the bamboo charcoal bag into the box, the air quality continued to improve to the point where it was once again within an acceptable health range.
Interestingly, once the bamboo charcoal bag was removed, the concentration of VOCs in the air went back up into levels considered to be in need of ventilation.
Therefore, we have strong evidence that bamboo charcoal air purifier bags are helpful when trying to remove VOCs from the air. You may want to stick a few of them in a room while painting or using products that emit VOCs.
Can Bamboo Charcoal Filter Particulates From The Air?
During the Canadian Wildfires, particulate emissions spread across the east coast of the US for several days. The bamboo charcoal bags may have had some effect in improving the air quality in a small space. However, they were not effective at controlling particulates in a larger area, such as a living room, which is to be expected.
On the other hand, bamboo charcoal was able to keep the levels of particulates lower that came from bad odors in the short run. So, under the right uses, bamboo charcoal may be able to help in the short term as well.
Interestingly, many electric air purifiers use an activated charcoal filter. So they definitely have potential in the long run and overall picture of removing particulates.
AirJoi Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifier Bags
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Want To Make Your Purchase More Sustainable?
If you want to make your purchase even more sustainable, consider doing all of your Amazon shopping while purchasing the AirJoi purifier bags. Also, consider having all items delivered to your home one the same day. Doing so reduces the carbon footprint associated with processing, packaging, and shipping your order.