Several Arduino projects use optical dust sensors like GP2Y1010AU0F to measure indoor air quality. I would like to do the same in living room, bedroom and kitchen. I am interested mainly in PM2.5-PM10, but I would be interested also in pollens, meaning up to PM100 (according to Wikipedia). Going below PM2.5 may be difficult and not worth the effort.

However, in the kitchen there is risk of particles sticking to the measurement sensor, altering the baseline: when cooking, it's normal to have some oil particles in the air, even if the sensor is not directly exposed to the cooking area.

The datasheet of said sensor explicitly states:

Please don’t do cleaning, because there is a case that this device is not satisfied with its characteristics by cleaning"

It's probably translated from another language, but it's clear: no cleaning recommended.

Also, the datasheet states:

Dust adhesion

There is a case that this product does not detect the dust density correctly, since the dust adhered to the inside of the dust through hole may project into the detecting space which consist of emitter and detector light axis. Please take the structure and mechanism of the equipment into consideration to avoid the influence of adhered dust. And when the dust is adhered, please consider the maintenance such as vacuuming or blowing off the dust by air. In addition, please pay attention to structure and placing location of the application to avoid any adhesive particle like oil, etc. to gets into the device. If it sticks to optical part, malfunction may occur.

What should I use to measure dust/particles in the kitchen?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very similar sensors are used in cheap smoke detectors. These are also not recommended for use in a kitchen unless you're prepared to suffer many false alarms. You could try mounting the sensor in the kitchen but as far away from the cooking area and also at the highest possible spot. Then maybe you will not get false alarms. But no guarantee. It is simply a limitation of this kind of sensors. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ The quantity of random dust particles is inversely related to the size of the particles from what I have experienced using a Royco 16 channel Laser particle counter. Adverse conditions like cooking will bias the distribution of moisture laden dust particles and cause clumping. Smoke detectors use a mild radioactive emitter to make dust particles energized and conduct microamps of current enough to be easily detected, by varying the circuit design to be linear, may give you some useful data but may need log compression. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ What range of particle quantities AND sizes per cubic foot, would you like to detect? ( i.e. how many octaves of range and size and what lower limit?) Without a spec, how do you know if it does what you want? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TonyStewart.EEsince'75 updated with PM2.5-PM10, or up to PM100 if possible. PM1 not really required. \$\endgroup\$
    – FarO
    Jan 17, 2017 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Laser air shear deflection is based on mass with an assumption for airborne dust density. Good luck getting 2.5um on a budget \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


The quantity of random dust particles is inversely related to the size of the particles from what I have experienced using a Royco 16 channel Laser particle counter. "10 µm diameter has approximately the same mass as 1 million particles of 100 nm diameter, but much less harmful" ... Wiki

The $?k Royco uses a controlled flow and lesser shear wind-tube speed to deflect the particles onto 16 spaced detectors in a linear array to count the particles with a laser deflected onto a PD method. Air flow is scaled by the counts to measure in particles per cubic foot. Class 10 is < 10 ppcf < 0.5um which it can easily measure both smaller and larger in octave ranges. They use a certain latex dust to calibrate this instrument for this inverse quality and quantity. I suspect this is way outside your budget.

I suggest you adopt the Sharp sensor and flow control mechanism. Then experiment with other emitters using UV LED's. IR is more sensitive to their detector, so other detectors may also be needed. Consider that the definition 10 micrometers or less is PM10 uses IR wavelength of ~0.86 micrometers or about 12x the IR wavelength you will have to consider UV LED emitters and detectors to improve detection of smaller particles.

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These sensors are suitable for smoke detectors where very fine dry smoke is involved, for kitchen purpose it would be difficult to maintain (Also in high humid places). The smoke in kitchen which is mostly oily (or the dust in high humid area), would definitely stick/accumulate inside the small hole blocking the IR light & leading to malfunctioning. About cleaning, a vacuum cleaner would be best choice.


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