We surveyed more than 3,500 people and asked them which is the best hand drying method in public washrooms - paper towels or hot air dryers? Since writing this article, 75% of the votes were in favor of paper towels, and we received hundreds of comments debating the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
There are countless studies on this topic, and it seems everyone has an opinion. The studies, however, all tend to say the same thing. From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to hot air dryers. In fact, a single-use disposable paper towel is the preferred drying method and can help improve hand hygiene adherence.
The key hygiene advantage of paper towels is its effectiveness in the removal of bacteria from the hands through friction. Hand drying is a crucial component of hand hygiene and CDC hand washing best practice is always recommended.
Sometimes however, you don't have an option when it comes to drying your hands and you need to use what's available. Have you ever considered what you are exposed to when drying your hands in a washroom.? A recent study looked at the potential for microbial contamination from various hand drying methods and the risk of airborne microbe dispersal. The key results of the study are summarized in the following video.
According to the study, "Cross contamination in public washrooms is a legitimate public health concern. These findings clearly indicate that single-use towels spread the fewest microbes of all hand-drying methods."
Want to give your input? You are welcome to vote here and share your comments below.
Patrick Boshell is the Marketing Director for Deb Canada and the managing editor for Deb Group's Hand Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Food Safety blog. He's been actively involved in the Canadian commercialization of several Deb innovations including Optidose InstantFOAM Hand Sanitizer for healthcare and GrittyFOAM Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner for manufacturing and industrial applications.
Patrick is an advocate for making hand hygiene contagious in the workplace. He is also a social media enthusiast, using tools such as LinkedIN and Twitter to help educate the importance of effective hand hygiene and skin care to a global audience. To connect with Patrick, please contact him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.