An Easy DIY Air Filter for Smoke & Smog: Your Lungs Are Worth It!

Image: The Woolsey Fire burning toward Malibu, creating billowing clouds of toxic smoke and ash travelling for thousands of miles. Protecting yourself with this DIY air filter for smoke and smog is so important for your long-term health!

Image: The Woolsey Fire burning toward Malibu, creating billowing clouds of toxic smoke and ash travelling for thousands of miles. Protecting yourself with this DIY air filter for smoke and smog is so important for your long-term health!

STOP! If you live anywhere near the wildfires or are smelling smoke, you should read this. If you know a friend or loved one who lives near the fires, you should send this to them!

We have a simple, cheap hack for your air that you really need to know about! It’s a DIY air filter for smoke and smog … and you probably have everything you need in your home or simply need to go grab a high quality furnace filter from your local hardware store!

Right now the air quality is extremely dangerous for your lungs – more dangerous than you might think. As we all walk around outside in the hazy, yellowish sky and the smoke-filled air it’s easy not to see and feel the immediate effects of the smoke, but it is there!

This DIY air filter hack would also help dramatically improve the air quality of your home if you lived in a city with heavy smog in general (hands up LA!) or next to any kind of industrial manufacturing or chemical site.

We love each and every one of you and care about your long-term health, so we wanted to share this with you.

A quick breakdown of WHY these simple DIY air quality filters matter!

The smoke travelling thousands of miles across the state of California right now contains chemicals that cause direct injury when they contact your skin and mucous membranes.

These chemicals disrupt the normal lining of the respiratory tract and studies show they can do damage for up to a decade and even contributed to early deaths. Read about the study.

Oxygen is your body’s LIFE, and the chemicals damage the cells in your lungs that help bring oxygen in your body. It’s like they close the gates for your body to get oxygen. Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from fires and breathing in the smoke is creating the same toxic burden on your body, just on a smaller level.

It’s scary, but there are some simple inexpensive things you can do to help protect you and your family.

MAKE YOUR OWN AIR FILTER

Really good air filters can cost up to $800 or more! They actually work really well, bringing the chemicals and particulates in your air down to zero – but more of us can’t pay that AND when a fire happens you don’t have time to ship one in. You need cleaner air NOW!

So, if you have a fan of any kind or size, you can create your own air filter in under 5 minutes!

It’s incredible because for about 90% of the cost, you can create an air filter that is 90% effective (which is a huge win) simply by attaching a high-quality filter to the front of the fan! See just how effective it is in this video by the University of Michigan.

If you already have a furnace or AC filter, you can use that! But if you’re going to go out a buy a filter, getting the high quality filter is key to getting all the small particulates and fumes out of your home.


This filter from Honeywell is the highest rating for air filtration. Notice it specifically says it filters odors, most smoke, and smog particles. As a bonus, a high level filter like this is going to scrub your air of mold spores and even virus carriers. There will be a few dollars difference between the basic filter and the highest level filter and it’s worth. every. penny. You are investing in your future health and lung capacity!

This filter from Honeywell is the highest rating for air filtration. Notice it specifically says it filters odors, most smoke, and smog particles. As a bonus, a high level filter like this is going to scrub your air of mold spores and even virus carriers. There will be a few dollars difference between the basic filter and the highest level filter and it’s worth. every. penny. You are investing in your future health and lung capacity!

You’ll see several different air filter ratings depending on where you shop, including:

Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)

This is usually the most standard measure. Look for a rating from MERV 9 to 16. The higher the better.

Micro-particle Performance rating (MPR)

Look for a MPR1000 UP TO MPR2800 (which clears up to 97 percent of all airborne particles between 3 and 10 microns. Also, the higher the better.

Filter Performance Rating

Look for filters that that are FPR 9 or FPR 10, which remove smoke, microscopic allergens, odors, and smog.

Just make sure you choose the highest rating possible at the store or in your budget that can clear the air of combustion particles and fumes.

Basic filters clear dust, pollen, and particulates are usually over 10 microns. Ideally, you’ll find something that less than 10 or even down to 1 or 2 microns. Look for something capable of clearing fumes.

You simply attach the filter to the front of the fan using a cord or tape. We like to tape around the edges of the filter, so all the air is driven through the fan.

It’s a cheap, highly effective air filter to clear the air!

We move it around the house to better clear the air in each room and then have it in the bedroom at night.

Let us know if you try it! It really works and it’s affordable!

All you need to make your own DIY air filter for smoke and smog is (1) a fan (any fan) (2)) an air filter (any size… even one you already have on hand for your furnace or AC), and (3) some strong tape, or, in a pinch, even a cord or twine. You simply attach the filter to the fan to force air through it to be purified.

All you need to make your own DIY air filter for smoke and smog is (1) a fan (any fan) (2)) an air filter (any size… even one you already have on hand for your furnace or AC), and (3) some strong tape, or, in a pinch, even a cord or twine. You simply attach the filter to the fan to force air through it to be purified.

You really can’t do it wrong and you can use any filter size and almost any method to attach the filter to the fan.  Just seal off the space around the fan and the filter if possible to force all the air through and make sure you check which way air is supposed to flow through the filter.  There usually an arrow on the outside of the filter that says “Air Flow” and points in the direction that’s right.

You really can’t do it wrong and you can use any filter size and almost any method to attach the filter to the fan. Just seal off the space around the fan and the filter if possible to force all the air through and make sure you check which way air is supposed to flow through the filter. There usually an arrow on the outside of the filter that says “Air Flow” and points in the direction that’s right.

AIR MASKS

If you have to be outside or driving around in areas of heavy smog, smoke, or air particulates, please wear a mask! But not just any mask – make sure is is R95, which means it will block the chemicals and vapors from entering your lungs. You see people wearing bandannas on the TV, and while this is better than nothing, it helps mostly with ash and large particulates, it doesn’t stop any of the chemicals from entering your lungs.

Look at your areas emergency website and organizations because most people don’t know that evacuation shelters and emergency response organizations will have places you can pick up free masks!

USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SUPPORT

Your lungs are going to be very inflamed from all the exposure to smoke and chemicals. DO NOT believe anyone you hear saying that essential oil can clear the air from dangerous smoke and chemicals. We love essential oils, but they don’t work that way. Their best use is providing soothing relief to your lungs and body.

Try diffusing respiratory blends (we love this plastic-free, waterless diffuser) or single oils like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, globulus, pine, spruce, cypress, marjoram, and more.

It’s powerful to create a roller ball and roll the oils on your wrists and inhale - or you can roll on your chest and lungs and gently rub it in as well.

In the middle of terrifying, sad situations there are always ways we can support our bodies and health!

And those little choices can make all the difference in our long-term health and quality of life. That’s something to celebrate.

If someone you love is being heavily affected by these fires, they are already overwhelmed with survival, so consider helping them out by doing these solutions for them. Show up with a fan, air filter, mask, and oils or support them in any way you can. Any gesture of support in times like this means so much!

If you have any questions about any of these tips or when you make the DIY air filter for smoke and smog, please email us!

And to each and every of you dealing with immense tragedy and stress, you have all hearts and sympathy and all our prayers for safety and healing.

With love,

Heather & Jennifer