This box fan filter hack is so easy - it's an inexpensive way to make a DIY air purifier for your home

How to improve the quality of your home's air without having to invest in a new piece of tech

a modern bedroom with art and curtains
(Image credit: Montse Garriga. Design: Patricia Bustos)

Since the Pandemic, we have all become more aware of the importance of air filtration, yet most of us don’t implement anything in our own homes.

Air quality is such an important aspect of your home that often goes neglected. It's vital not only for our health but the overall feel of our homes. Recent air quality deterioration in New York caused by Canadian wild fires has again made us acutely conscious of the issue.

It might be that investing in one of the best air purifiers is on your to-do list, but if you're looking for a solution for now, this box fan filter hack provides a great and inexpensive alternative that does the job. This is one DIY we can guarantee will transform your space. 

What is the box fan filter hack?

Although you may not have heard of it before the box fan filter hack is a popular way for improving indoor air quality. ‘Essentially, you attach a high-quality air filter to the back of an ordinary box fan. As the fan runs, it pulls air through the filter, capturing particles and contaminants in the process,’ explains James Mayfield, HAZMAT engineer and CEO of Mayfield Environmental Engineering. ‘This can include everything from dust and pollen to smoke particles, helping to clean the air you breathe.’ The box fan filter hack is an easy and cost-effective solution when you need a quick fix, and if you already have a box fan, it'll cost you less than $30 to DIY. 


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What are the benefits of air filtration?

Air filtration is all about improving the air we breathe by removing some elements that are harmful to our health. ‘The filter captures particles as small as 0.3 microns, including dust, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen,’ says Lori Jernigan, a specialist in innovative and sustainable interior design. ‘This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with allergies, asthma, or sensitivity to airborne irritants,’ she explains. I think it is clear to see that air filtration is worth the hype, especially if it calms hay fever season.

'My personal experience has shown noticeable improvements, especially in reducing allergens' says James. 'However, remember this is a basic hack and not a substitute for professional air purifiers, which incorporate multiple stages of filtration and can deal with a wider range of pollutants.'

How do I make a box fan filter?

Thankfully constructing one of these things at home is pretty straightforward. our expert Lori has provided some simple steps to follow. 

Materials needed: 

Box fan: Choose a box fan of suitable size and power for the room you want to purify. 

Filter: Use a high-efficiency air filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 10 or higher.


1. Place the box fan on a stable surface or mount it securely in a window frame, ensuring it has enough clearance for air intake and output.

2. Attach the filter to the back of the box fan, covering the entire intake area. Secure it firmly, so air is forced to pass through the filter.

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.