Which Is More Hygienic, Hand Dryers or Paper Towels?

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Business Hygiene

If you are given a choice between using a hand dryer or paper towels, which should you choose? This has been a source of many discussions and arguments over the years. This topic may seem to be silly, but it can be extremely important when it comes to such things as which one is appropriate in a healthcare facility.

Let’s examine this issue from both sides. Let’s see which of the two options are more suitable for good hygiene.

Hand Drying Is Very Important

Let’s start off by emphasizing how important it is to dry your hands. When you wash your hands thoroughly and then dry them, you have done something that is very effective in terms of controlling viruses and bacteria and stopping the spread of diseases such as Covid-19.

Why is this true? It’s true because germs love surfaces that are both damp and wet. They can very easily go from one damp, wet surface to another. They also have the ability to reproduce. It’s a lot easier for bacteria and viruses to spread diseases if the skin is wet. It’s much harder for them to spread and reproduce on dry skin.

Imagine yourself in a public restroom. Also imagine that you washed your hands, but you did not dry them. Touch the door handle with your wet hands. The germs that were on that handle just jumped onto you. You may as well have not bothered washing your hands at all. Those germs will leap onto your hands far more readily if your hands are wet.

What’s More Hygienic, Using a Paper Towel or Using a Hand Dryer?

This may disappoint some people, but there is no definitive answer to that question. While there is no certain answer, there are some things that people need to think about.

How Much Contact Do They Require?

The fewer surfaces you touch before you dry your hands, the better off you will be. Paper towels sometimes require pulling the lever before you can tear the towel off of the roll.

In order to use some hand dryers, you must first turn them on.

Of course, some paper towel dispensers don’t require contact with anything else but the towel. With many air dryers, you only need to place your hands properly in order to activate them. Anything that’s touch-free is automatically more hygienic.

How Clean Are Your Hands Before You Dry Them?

This hardly needs to be said, but the effectiveness of paper towels or hand dryers is totally dependent on having clean hands before you dry them. The tool that you choose to dry your hands with won’t matter if those hands aren’t clean.

How Much Contamination Gets Blown Through The Air?

It has been said that hand dryers can blow a lot of contaminants onto your hands. Modern hand dryers are built such that this doesn’t happen.

Which Is More Hygienic?

That answer depends. At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Both can be hygienic if they are used properly.

If you are in a public restroom, look at what’s available. Many offer both hand dryers and paper towels. If the paper towel dispenser requires you to crank a handle whereas the hand dryer is activated automatically, you should use the hand dyer.

The important thing is to wash your hands properly.

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