The Restroom Hand Drying Decision – Paper Towels vs. Hand Dryers: Don’t Blow it!

New Studies Investigate Connection between Hand Dryers and Bacteria

When you finish washing your hands in the restroom, you’re next automatic objective is drying your hands while keeping them clean.  This is easier said than done, especially if your restrooms are utilizing a hot air hand dryer – spoiler alert: they’re blowing it… it being bacteria and more particles you shouldn’t want on your freshly washed paws.

Educational publications are overflowing with more and more studies pointing out just how disgusting these contraptions can be. Forbes for example, reported one such study from the University of Connecticut Health and Quinnipiac University earlier this spring. The study consisted of bringing 36 bacteria culture plates into men’s and women’s restrooms and exposing them to hot air dryers for just 30 seconds.  As a control, they also exposed plates to the restroom air without the dryers running for 2 entire minutes.

The Results:

Following exposure to the hot air blown form the hand dryers, the team found an average of 18-60 colonies of bacteria on each plate, including bacteria known to cause disease in humans.  The control plates; however, contained an average or 1 or less colonies.  The scary part – these results have been mirrored in countless other studies.

One such study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection aimed to point out how these dangers increased when subjects didn’t wash their hands properly. To do this they dried contaminated hands with hot air dryers, jet dryers, and paper towels. Their findings showed that the jet hand dryer spewed 4.5 times more bacteria than the already dangerous hot air dyers had and when compared to paper towels, hand dryers were spewing an astonishing 27 times more bacteria.

It’s not just bacteria either… a study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology showed that hand dryers could also disperse viruses from inadequately washed hands up to 3 meters away.  Proving this is not just a restroom problem, but one that can affect your entire facility.

The expanding knowledge of this issue is even prompting individuals to conduct their own experiments. Just check out this Facebook Post that went viral.

Paper is Safer… and Also More Practical

Aside from being shown as the clear cut safety option for restroom hand drying, paper towels also serve more needs.  When a bathroom is without paper towels, you don’t have anything to wipe your face, protect your hands when grabbing something dirty, or blowing your nose.

Good hand hygiene is regarded as a best practice for the prevention of catching and spreading infectious diseases.  Hand dryers: however, seem to be doing just the opposite.  We’re not trying to blow smoke up your rear end, but these hand dryers very well could be blowing stuff from your rear end all over your facility.

How Johnston Can Help

Johnston can audit your current processes and procedures to identify areas of concern that may be deteriorating the health of your facilities or causing inconsistencies in your processes.  We can work together with you and your staff to generate and implement corrective actions and strategies to ensure the health and safety of your team as well as your patrons.

Reach out to us to learn more about how Johnston can be of help to your organization. Visit our contact page today!

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