The current COVID-19 pandemic has everyone paying more attention to the air they breathe. Basic practices like washing hands, wearing masks and sanitizing surfaces are all important, but they don’t do anything about the air flowing through small businesses. Bipolar ionizers are like hand sanitizer for the air since they provide protection against airborne particles such as viruses and mold spores. These devices can thus help your customers breathe a little easier.

How it Works

Each person generates about 100,000 airborne particles per cubic foot, even when they aren’t moving. This figure increases exponentially when they begin moving, whether it’s to sit down, stand up or walk. Worse still is the number of airborne particles generated by rubbing two surfaces together, especially sweeping.

As a result, each cubic foot of indoor air typically contains more than 18 million particles. Many of these particles are much smaller than a grain of sand, including dust, skin scales and vapor droplets. These particles may contain pathogens like bacteria and viruses, which can cause disease.

Bipolar ionizers create free-floating ions and release them into the air. They have a positive or negative electrical charge that converts the electrically neutral hydroxide ion into charged hydroxyl ions. These ions are highly reactive and bond to the free hydrogen pathogens need to survive, thus rendering them inactive. Bipolar ionizers have already been clinically proven to be effective against the highly contagious norovirus, and research is now underway to investigate their effect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.


Global Plasma Solutions (GPS), industry leader in Indoor Air Quality, and Aviation Clean Air jointly conducted a laboratory study on the effect of bipolar ionizers against the 229E strain of SARS-CoV-2. This study was completed in March 2020, and the results were published in June. It’s the first of its kind, but researchers will be conducting similar studies in the near future.

The test simulated the ionization conditions of a commercial aircraft’s fuselage. It showed that 84.2 percent of the viruses were inactive after 10 minutes, based on viral titrations. 92.6 percent of the viruses were inactive after 15 minutes, and 99.4 percent were inactive after 30 minutes.


Bipolar ionizers provide a strong defense against airborne contaminants, including pathogens and allergens. Once the ions attach themselves to a particle with the opposite polarity, they also attract other nearby particles with that polarity. This collection of particles continues to grow until it’s large enough to be blocked by the building’s HVAC filters. As a result, particles are filtered from the air that would otherwise be too small, thus reducing the concentration of airborne contaminants.

Bipolar ionizers outperform other systems such as filters, photocatalytic oxidation and ultraviolet (UV) systems for all categories of contaminants. Bipolar ionizers typically have no moving parts, so they’re completely maintenance free. They’re also self-cleaning in most cases.


COVID-19 means that we can’t be too careful about the air we breathe, especially if you’re trying to keep your small business going. This ongoing crisis should serve as a wake-up call about the importance of maintaining indoor air quality. While we may have viewed this practice as a luxury in the past, we now need to treat it as essential.