Microbiology in the bathroom

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Posted by Chase Russell on 05/13/2021

Air Dryers vs. Paper Towels

It's not looking good for hand dryers—at least, not according to microbiologists. Multiple studies in the last few years have compared the contamination rates of drying washed hands with a paper towel versus a jet or warm air hand dryer.

One such study shows that 5-15 times as many germs end up on the floor, sink, and surrounding surfaces (people?) when using an air dryer.

Another shows that from whatever germs remain on the hands after washing, 10 times as many of them are transferred to high-touch points like doorknobs and elevator buttons when using an air dryer or just shaking off your hands instead of drying with a paper towel.

The takeaway? There might be compelling reasons to use an air dryer in your facility, but cleanliness isn’t one of them.

 

Sources:

CleanLink (2021)
Journal of Hospital Infection (2014)
Journal of Hospital Infection (2018)

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