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New Research Says That Paper Towels Are More Sanitary Than Hand Dryers

Little Sink
Hulton Archive

I’ve always thought that hand dryers kept bathrooms cleaner, and kept the hands you just washed, cleaner as well.

According to just released research, I’m wrong.

Biomedical scientist Cunrui Huang has discovered several facts worth noting in his review of 12 studies regarding the paper towel versus hand dryer debate. You might be surprised!

Paper towels get hands cleaner, faster. In just 15 seconds, hands are 99% dry. With a hand dryer, that takes 45 seconds, which is important considering that very few people stand at a hand dryer for more than a few seconds. Studies show that a woman spends 17 seconds at a hand dryer. A man uses a hand dryer for just 13.3 seconds.

Actively rubbing wet hands on paper towels also removes more germs. Hand dryers, on the other hand (no pun intended!), blow germs back onto the body. That could be a very serious consideration in a not-so-clean public restroom. According to Keith Redway, senior academic in Microbiology and Molecular  Biology at Westminster University, hand blowers “can increase the number of germs by an astonishing 255 per cent.”.

Studies have also shown that hand dryers are often contaminated by germs and bacteria at the outlet nozzle, and the heat generated by the dryer is the optimal temperature to encourage their growth.

Dr. Redway stresses “The message has to be to wash, and then dry your hands thoroughly, using paper towels, not the hot-air dryers.”

Do you trust this new research? Will this new information change the way that you and your family wash your hands?

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