Whenever you walk into a restroom there are usually one of two ways to dry your hands: paper towels or hand dryers. If you’re managing a building or managing workers’ health you should understand the difference between these hand drying methods. But first, let’s address why hand drying is so important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of all infections are transmitted by hands. Handshaking is notorious for spreading diseases. And, if your hands are wet, you are at an even greater risk of spreading germs because germs can spread more quickly from a wet hand. Because germs are less likely to transfer from a dry surface, it’s important to make an effective hand drying method available in your workplace.
The best hand drying method for your workplace will depend on your needs. To help you decide, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of the two most popular hand drying methods – paper towels and hand dryers.
There are many pros to paper towels. First of all, paper towel removes bacteria off the hands more effectively. You are using somewhat of a scrubbing motion to dry off your hands. Secondly, paper can be used for multiple purposes either drying your hands, turning off faucets, and opening public restroom doors.Thirdly there are automatic paper towel dispensers which dispense the right amount of paper for each user so there is what you need there. Lastly, if there is paper towel in the bathroom, it can be used for other things such as drying your your face after washing it, stopping a small bleed etc.
There aren’t very many cons for paper really except maybe the outlay for the cases each month. And also sometimes people use a bit more paper than they should meaning you have to order more often.
Hand dryers don’t have to be refilled like paper towel dispensers do, so this is a time saver if you have a small janitorial staff. The other pro is that being as the dryers are hands-free, it means not touching the dryer with your wet hands and passing germs on.
Even some of the most quiet hand dryers seem to make noise which results in some noise pollution. The germs that have been “blown” off can remain in the air for over 15 minutes. This means that at the average height of a small child germs are still swirling around for quite some time. The other issue towards this is that the fast method to dry your hands by rubbing them together actually encourages bacteria within the skin to surface. This is why you want to follow the correct procedure for hand washing.
There already some critics of the spread of germs: some like James Hamblim have started “the fist bump manifesto”. Although most of us are not quite so “strict” there are a lot of studies out there showing that washing your hands and to do so in the correct way is extremely important.
This comparison should help you decide whether you want hand dryers or paper towels for your facility!