Image credit: Pexels/
Image credit: Pexels/
Hand dryer versus good old-fashioned paper towels: with so many different points of view on the subject, it’s hard to know what the best way is to get those germs off our hands before we make our next sandwich.
A recent study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal found that the hand dryer might be sucking in faecal matter in the air and blowing the poop-filled air all over your freshly washed hands.
However, the research itself has been criticised as the scientists didn’t actually study a normal bathroom environment, but rather one with lots of additional bacteria they added.
So, what should we be using, and are hand dryers showering our hands with poop particles? As it stands, the consensus is that, generally, paper towels are the better option when drying your hands and the reasons aren’t really what you’d expect.
Typically, hand dryers have been shown to spread bacteria from your hands while you dry them, and spread it surprisingly far. However, technically that’s mostly down to poor hand-washing techniques.
If everyone washed their hands properly, there shouldn’t be any bacteria left to distribute via the hand dryer. An excellent way to up your hand-washing game is to make sure you are washing them with soap for at least twenty seconds.
According to the studies, it is critical to ensure that your hands are completely dry after using a hand dryer or a paper towel.
This is one of the more obvious failings of the hand dryer, there’s never enough of them, so you end up with social pressure to get out of the hand drying line as fast as possible.
Now walking around with moist hands you are much more likely to pick up bacteria from anything you may touch. Hand dryers, in theory it seems, are not much more hygienic than paper towels but in practice tend to lead to more problematic behaviour with the potential to spread bacteria when hands aren’t washed properly.
If you want to make absolutely sure that you’re safe, invest in a self-drying alcohol-based hand sanitiser to get rid of any unwanted particles on your skin when you wash your hands. Dry whichever way you see fit and then use hand sanitizer for good measure to nuke any germs that managed to survive.