Hand Dryers Exposed
Everyone knows that washing hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to combat the flu and other viruses.
But even so, according to Michigan State researchers, 95 percent of people do not wash their hands well enough to kill infection-causing germs.
Furthermore, most people don’t know that drying your hands contributes to better health just as much as washing them. And some hand-drying methods actually cause more harm than good, especially when hands aren’t being effectively cleaned to begin with.
In a 2016 study, microbiologists at the University of Westminster in London compared three hand-drying methods – jet air dryers (that force air out sideways at ultrahigh speeds), warm air dryers (that work by evaporation), and paper towels (that work by absorbing water).
Participants in the study first washed their gloved hands with MS2 bacteriophage, which mimicked inadequate hand washing. The participants then dried their hands using one of the three hand-drying methods.
The findings are alarming:
- Jet air dryers disperse 20 times more virus than warm air dryers and over 190 times more than paper towels.
- The impact of the virus was greatest at 2.5 to 4.1 feet, which is about face-level for a small child.
- The jet air dryer sent out 20 times more virus than the warm air dryer and over 190 times more virus than paper towels, at nine different distances.
To conclude, the study found that paper towels were hands-down the best method because they not only dry hands without dispersing germs, but the friction also helps to remove bacteria and leaves your hands cleaner.
Paper towels are also more likely to remove the most water from the hands because it doesn’t take as long. Paper towels take about 15 seconds, whereas conventional hand dryers need an average of 45 seconds. Additionally, most people don’t spend enough time using a hand dryer. A Mayo Clinic study concluded that men spend an average of only 17 seconds under hot air dryers, and women spend approximately 13 seconds. People are then leaving the restroom, touching door handles and other surfaces with dirty water.
While everyone is affected by the results of these studies, businesses that are highly impacted include industries where “infection prevision concerns are paramount, such as healthcare settings and the food industry.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most effective way for eliminating germs and to clean your hands includes the following five steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the faucet, and then apply soap.
- Lather your hands well, making sure to get the back of your hands, between your finders, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds – about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” two times.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Because paper towels remove extra bacteria with “physical action,” are the quickest drying method, and do not disperse germs throughout the restroom like hand dryers do, they are the perfect solution for maintaining cleaner hands and a cleaner restroom facility.
CITY helps clients in all industries to combat germs. We offer a fully managed service that includes handling inventory and restocking a variety of paper and soap products to suit the needs of your business. Contact us today for a customized solution.