Are you looking for the most hygienic option for your workplace bathrooms? The science is clear: Single-use paper towels are a more effective and hygienic way to dry your hands after washing compared to jet air dryers.
Jet Air Dryers vs Paper Towels
Source: Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene Supplies
95% of adults don’t wash their hands long enough to remove bacteria and germs, so they remain on their hands after washing. If they dry their hands with a jet air dryer afterwards, the germs and bacteria blow off in water droplets. These water droplets can travel as far as 6.5 feet and remain in the air for up to 15 minutes.
Jet Air Dryers can increase the germ count on fingers by up to
42% as compared to not washing them at all.
The Science is Clear: Paper Towels are Good Hygiene
A University of Westminster study found high-speed and warm-air dryers can harbor bacteria on surfaces and inside dryers. This could lead to cross contamination if users reach inside and touch the surface of the unit or when bacteria could be carried in the airstream and deposited on wet hands.
And the bacteria they found? It included fecal bacteria such as E. coli, as well as Staphylococcus. YUCK!
An article in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings Journal also examined the hygienic efficacy of these hand-drying methods. Mayo’s recommendation? Paper towels are the best hand-drying option in locations where “hygiene is paramount,” such as hospitals and clinics. The study concluded, “From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers.” While the study may just have been talking about hospitals and clinics, all businesses can take note to ensure their facilities have good hygiene as well.
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Sources For More Information:
The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence, Mayo Clinic Proceedings
E.L. Best, K. Redway, “Comparison of Different Hand-Drying Methods: The Potential for Airborne Microbe Dispersal and Contamination,” Journal of Hospital Infection, 89 (2015)
P.T. Kimmitt & K.F. Redway, “Evaluation of the Potential for Virus Dispersal During Hand Drying: A Comparison of Three Methods,” Journal of Applied Microbiology, 120 (2016)
E.L. Best, P. Parnell and M.H. Wilcox, “Microbiological Comparison of Hand-Drying Methods: The Potential for Contamination of the Environment, User and Bystander,” Journal of Hospital Infection, 88.4 (2014)
WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care, Published by the World Health Organization
Observational Study at ISSA/Interclean Amsterdam 2016, Published by the European Tissue Symposium