The Debate Gets Settled: The Hand Dryer vs. Paper Towels

Hygiene is of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to making sure that harmful bacteria is kept at bay so that you can lead a healthy, happy life. Washing our hands is one of the daily rituals that we perform that, if done incorrectly, can lead to bacteria, germs and free radicals being ingested and sickness to occur.towels

In every public bathroom across the country, the option of completing the cleanliness routine by washing our hands often presents a pretty tough decision. Do you use the paper towels, or do you air dry them? Many opt for the air dry as they feel it’s more convenient, efficient (saving paper each time), as well as an all around better option.

Well, according to recent studies performed by epidemiologists, the blow drying option is actually not as good at removing bacteria as you may think.

Air dryers have a tendency to take quite a lot of time to completely dry the hand, and many people who use them, often in a hurry to resume anything else but being in the bathroom, leave with damp or even still wet hands. When this is the case, it is an even greater breeding ground for bacteria and germs. In fact, the electric blower actually uses more energy than it does to make one sheet of paper towels.

The Mayo Clinic has since published an all-encompassing study of every known hand-washing study performed since 1970. The study concluded that drying the skin completely, is vital to thwarting bacteria, and that paper towels are in fact far superior to dryers. Paper towels are more efficient, as they don’t spread germs as dryers are known to do when they are equipped with powerful air blowing capacity, and they also do not completely dry out the hands themselves.

The paper towel is actually multi-faceted, especially for those who are looking to get the best out of cleaning their hands. Some even use the paper towel to open the door as they exit the bathroom to ensure the hands are still clean, as well as going as far as using it to turn on the faucet before washing. All of these things and more, are exclusive to the list of germ-fighting properties that the paper towel has, and not the hand dryer.

You may be thinking that the technological advances in these areas, such as the invention of the non-touch, automatic faucet and air blower, help to eradicate these issues, but this is actually not true. Air dryers actually spread bacteria of a range up to six feet from the actual device and person using it; and automatic faucets are one of the leading causes for contamination and Legionnaires’ disease.

So when in doubt, use paper towels and be cleaner and safer, as much as your environment will allow.



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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Erich Ferdinand