I’ve always had strong feelings towards my nose. Growing up, my nose irritated my mother to no end, especially on car trips. There I would be, perched in my assigned seat four rows back, happily plowing my way through Anne of Green Gables for the twentieth time when suddenly I’d perk up and sniff the air. Gum. Was that GUM that I smelled? “Mom! Mom! Can I have some gum?” As my mother hastily (and guiltily, my trained eyes could tell) tucked away the empty gum wrapper, my siblings would set up a clamor around me. “Gum! We want gum, too!”
That scene could, and did, play out many times with many different treats (chocolate, hard candies, peanuts, doritos – basically anything my longsuffering parents attempted to enjoy on the sly during these trips). And they never learned! As you can see, since I was a child my olfactory sense has always been top notch.
And then I grew up and got married to a man with stinky feet.
And then we got a cat who likes to pee on (not in, on) our laundry hamper.
And then we got 4 dogs who poo under the couch and then wipe their butts on the rugs.
And then we got 3 birds and I had to get rid of my Febreze sprays, candles, and air fresheners.
And then I had a nervous breakdown.
Somehow I found myself at 3:45 on a Saturday afternoon (when we were supposed to be at a Game Night with family starting at 4) in the middle of a monsoon (the rain was outdoors, of course, but it still adds to my image of pathetic-ness) pacing the electronics aisles of Target looking for air purifiers.***
I settled on this one:
It’s the Honeywell QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier. Now, I know that had I taken the time to order it online I probably could have found a better price, but I was desperate! My house – my beautiful, styled, comfortable & cozy home – was beginning to smell like a pee factory, and no amount of enzyme spray was helping. We spent (in store, online prices don’t always match store prices) $155 for the air purifier and another $17 for the extended 2-year warranty. Online reviews for this purifier were good but not perfect, and the main complaint seemed to be that the “oscillating” feature would sometimes malfunction and either rattle or stop working completely. Target only has a 1-month return policy on small electronics, so the extended warranty made sense.
When we got back home later that evening from the Game Night (we played Settlers of Catan and I won, if anyone was curious:P) I unboxed the air purifier and turned it on. It was plug-and-play and even though the results took a few hours to start coming in, I was immediately impressed. First, the unit is hefty! Not too heavy to be unwieldy, but the materials & construction feel like a quality product. Also, it was touted as being “whisper quiet”, and even with the fan on the highest possible setting I could barely hear it.
We turned the unit on at 8:30PM on Saturday and by the time I got up at 9AM on Sunday morning, every pet smell was completely gone. The unit had a faint, “chemical-y” off-gassing smell that according to a google search is the anti-microbial coating put on the plates inside the purifier and should dissipate within 24-48 hours. I would rather smell that than pee! I’m just saying.
Why I chose the Honeywell QuietClean Oscillating tower air purifier:
- It has a permanent filter. HEPA air filters can be expensive to replace, and in our zoo we would probably go through them even faster than usual! The filter in this unit is designed to be removed & vacuumed and then run under water to clean. Pop it back in and you’re good to go!
- It is Energy Star certified. I have left it on 24/7 so far and it’s good to know that it isn’t guzzling up the juice all day.
- It is ionic. This air purifier, instead of having a traditional HEPA filter that cleanses air as it passed through it, has metal plates with an electrostatic charge. As the dander, pollen, dust particles, and odor pollutants are sucked into the machine they pass by these metal plates and are also given a charge, causing them to stick to the plates. I decided on an ionic air purifier because I discovered in my research that they offer superior odor-destroying abilities over a regular filtered purifier. According to Wikipedia,
Air ionizers are used in air purifiers. Airborne particles are attracted to the electrode in an effect similar to static electricity. These ions are de-ionized by seeking earthed conductors, such as walls and ceilings. To increase the efficiency of this process, some commercial products provide such surfaces within the device.
Reasons why this air purifier might not be the right one for you:
- Air ionizers produce trace amounts of ozone. You know that fresh, crackly smell after a thunderstorm? That’s ozone. Ozone can actually be a lung irritant if you suffer from asthma, which is not good. However, the air purifier is well within the legal limit of ozone emissions (a properly functioning QuietClean 120-Q produces 2 parts-per-billion, legal limit is 50PPB). Also, since we have pet birds, I dug around and found several reviews for purifiers using ionic technology that specifically mention having pet birds, or even putting the purifier in their bird room.
- It’s not the best air purifier for small particles. It rates 100-132 for clean-air delivery rate (CADR) when some models can rate up to 300. In this case, higher is better. Obviously I want it to help with the pet dander and cat hair, and many reviews say that it does help with those (4/5 stars with over 300 reviews on Amazon = pretty good IMO), but the main reason I chose ionic was for it’s odor-busting abilities. I still plan to sweep, vacuum & dust like normal!
On an unrelated note, Kiwi’s cage has been permanently moved into the living room. Right now we have been struggling with his vocalizations and also with Cruiser’s reaction to him. Our other three dogs couldn’t care less about the bird, but Cruiser is obsessed with him and will try to jump up on the cage to sniff/lick/touch noses with Kiwi. Cruiser isn’t snarling or aggressive, I think he’s so incredibly curious about this feathered thing that he just can’t control himself. When he wears himself out (or we reprimand him) he’ll sit and stare at Kiwi’s cage, literally vibrating with urgency. We are hoping that by leaving the cage out here 24/7 the novelty will wear off and Cruiser will lose interest, and also that it will help tone down Kiwi’s screaming by making him feel more like a part of the family & the everyday chaos.
***Air purifiers are not intended to take the place of regular cleaning! I still sop up, hose down, wipe with vinegar & enzyme sprays, regularly launder all slipcovers, blankets, sheets & rugs, swiffer up pet hair and dust every flat surface, shampoo the dogs weekly, and remind myself daily (hourly!) that they may be my babies but they are still animals who will screw up and think that eating sh*t is perfectly acceptable. Which it’s not. Obviously.