Hand Dryers: Effective or Just Hot Air?
Have you ever wondered about hand dryers in public restrooms? Not only are they loud and obnoxious, they usually take forever to properly dry your hands. Most of us give up before the job is done because a line is forming to use the machine and people are getting impatient.
The truth is, even if hands are cleaned properly, bacteria will remain if they are not dried properly. And to make matters worse, that bacteria is more easily transferred from wet hands than from dry hands.
What that means to your employees – especially during cold and flu season – is more chance of getting sick when using restrooms with hand blowers rather than paper towels.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that single-serve towels remove water more efficiently. After 10 seconds of drying with a paper towel, the residual water left on hands was reduced to 4%. Use that towel 5 seconds longer and you’ve removed all but 1% of the water on your hands.
On the other hand (so to speak) hot air dryers took four times as long to get a similar result; after 45 seconds the residual water was reduced to 3%.
With this in mind, consider how much time people generally spend drying their hands. A study from the Department of Medicine – University of Auckland, NZ revealed some interesting statistics when it comes to drying times. On average, men spent 3.5 seconds with a paper towel and 17 seconds under a hot air dryer. Women used the towel for an average 5.2 seconds while they used a hot air dryer for 13.3 seconds.
Since these real life numbers are much lower than the laboratory suggested times, we’re left wondering what is the best method?
Considering that normal use of a hot air dryer will achieve 55% dryness for men and 68% dryness for women while a single use towel can generally achieve 90% or more dryness for both sexes, we conclude the towel is the way to go.
However, dryness of hands is not the only factor to consider. When using a hand dryer in a washroom, there is another obvious function of the facility. It’s no secret that flushing a toilet causes tiny particles of fecal matter to fly into the air. With the constant whir of hot air dryers, those particles just keep flying around before possibly landing on you.
Public Health Ontario confirms that disposable paper towels provide the lowest risk of cross-contamination. Using hand towels, particularly dispensers with motion sensors, provide users the least opportunities for cross contamination of germs and bacteria left behind by others. Public Health Ontario goes on to recommend paper towels and a waste container is available beside the exit so that patrons can avoid recontamination when opening the door.
As you work to provide your employees with the best options for their health and safety, we suggest stocking your restrooms with paper towels. They will get hands dryer quicker and help cut down on the spread of bacteria.
Our Cascades PRO Tandem Roll Paper Towels are perfect for restrooms, breakrooms and cafeterias. The one at a time dispensing of the paper towels help to reduce waste, while its 100% recycled fiber make it the sustainable choice at an economic price.
Checkers prides itself on providing products you can trust and a partner you can count on. Contact Checkers today to discover how we can help meet your cleaning and maintenance needs on a budget that works.