How to make your own workshop air cleaner

Written by richard kalinowski
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How to make your own workshop air cleaner
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

A home workshop allows you to take on carpentry and mechanical projects in the privacy of your own home. Though this is convenient, a home workshop comes with a crucial downside. Unlike industrial workshops, many homes are not fitted with the appropriate air filtration for cleaning sawdust, metal shavings and other particles from the air. But there are ways of improving the air quality in your home workshop. With just a few steps, you can take proper safety precautions and find the right air filtration unit for your workshop.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shop vacuum
  • Fans
  • Air filtration unit

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  1. 1

    Use a shop vacuum in tandem with your tools. This is especially important for sanding, cutting, filing or other tasks that typically produce dust or shavings. Position a shop vacuum near the workspace to suck up dust as it is created; this will eliminate air impurities at the source.

  2. 2

    Make use of fans to properly circulate the air. Most home workshops tend to be in garages, basements or other areas of the home that have poor air circulation. Position fans to blow air from heavy work areas into the more empty portions of the room, thereby more evenly distributing dust and creating fewer areas of dense, unclean air.

  3. 3

    Look for an air filtration unit that performs multi-stage filtration. After vacuuming up impurities and ensuring proper circulation, further air cleaning requires the use of an air filtration unit. Air filtration units can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Three-stage air filtration is ideal, but two-stage filtering works adequately for most workshops. When air passes through multiple filters, the smaller particles are more likely to be removed for safer, cleaner workshop air.

  4. 4

    Choose an air filtration unit that has washable pre-filters. While filters can be replaced cheaply and easily after they get dirty, pre-filters are typically not replaceable, so it’s important to make sure the product in question has washable pre-filters.

  5. 5

    Pay close attention to Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, ratings as you select an air filtration unit. Commonly used to measure the filtration capacity of heating and cooling units, MERV ratings are also used to describe the filtration efficiency of workshop filtering units. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filtration will be. According to, MERV ratings of 9 and above will remove most fine dust from the environment, whereas ratings below 9 are only suitable for removing larger dust and debris, such as cement dust. For the absolute best filtration, ratings of 13 and up are able to remove even smoke and microscopic bacteria from the workshop.

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