How do I have open windows in Manhattan without making my apartment grimy?
October 7, 2012 8:19 PM   Subscribe

I live in Manhattan. Now that it's Fall, I want to have my window open without having a black layer of dirt coating all the surfaces near the window. Do they make air filters that I can just fit into my open window to let the fresh air in and keep the dirt out? Should I have find an adjustable HVAC filter and jam it in there? How do you keep your windows open while not having your apartment look like a tail pipe?
posted by AaRdVarK to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately my solution has been to just remove the soot as it builds up. I keep some handiwipes, well, handy.
posted by samthemander at 9:54 PM on October 7, 2012

Any filter which would stop dirt that fine will also largely stop the air flow. It would take a powered fan to get any substantial amount of air through the filter.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:18 PM on October 7, 2012

A century ago, it was so much worse! Unpaved streets and construction created dust, coal and wood smoke created ash and soot. That's what lace curtains and sheers were for back in the day-- acting as screens or filters for the air. You'd have to wash them every week.
posted by ohshenandoah at 10:37 PM on October 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

I had the same problem in Manhattan and have it now in LA. I bought shear fabric to cover my window screens in the relevant room to provide extra protection, with the intention of washing the fabric regularly, and then got lazy and never followed through with the whole plan.

That said

In NYC, it gets hyper cold, so filters in your windows won't look great, but will probably do the trick and keep some heat in, too.

I was hoping for better answers in this thread because I'm in a similar boat.

Go for a sheer linen fabric if you can find it for your window screens. Canal street?
posted by jbenben at 10:52 PM on October 7, 2012

Something like these? First hit while searching "window filters."
posted by Marky at 11:06 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

How do you keep your windows open while not having your apartment look like a tail pipe?

A cleaning person.

NO BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS. I mean yes that is my serious answer but I've also considered a pollen filter for spring. Although I like the SCIENCE GIFS on this page.

(I've repressed it so I don't remember the arcane and haphazard way we dealt with this in the week following 9/11, but there were definitely multiple layers of fabric involved at the windows, ugh. Also the wearing of bandannas indoors.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:06 AM on October 8, 2012

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