Since you were little you‘ve always been told to wash your hands, but why is that? Well, it‘s simple improper hand hygiene can cause serious complications to your health. Hands play a huge role in cross-contamination and are one of the largest risk factors in the spread of pathogens.
Did you know that 80% of infections such as the flu are spread by hand?
When it comes to proper hand hygiene drying your hands is as important as washing them, and this got me thinking – which hand drying options are more hygienic for you: paper towels or hand dryers?
Paper towels can be found in washrooms all over the world, and come in a variety of methods and dispensing formats, but what makes them so great?
Why are paper towels important?
- Quick and easy to use
- Avoid cross-contamination
- Great user experience
Quick and easy to use
There is no doubt that paper towels have a very high absorbency level. On top of that research into the effectiveness of paper towels has suggested that ten seconds of drying with a paper towel is as effective as 40 seconds of using a standard hot air hand dryer.
Since paper towels are extremely quick at drying your hands, leaving the washroom with damp hands is less likely. This is one of the issues surrounding traditional electrical hand dryers, which take a long time to effectively dry your hands, especially as people often do not have the patience to wait until their hands are dry.
The issue with leaving the washroom with damp hands is that you increase your risk of catching germs, rendering the time you spent washing your hands pointless.
Bacteria thrive in damp conditions, so although you have thoroughly cleaned your hands, leaving them damp attracts more germs.
Great User Experience
Paper towels offer a great personal and discrete user experience. Paper towels come in a range of different thicknesses, more often than not washrooms that offer individual, the high thickness of paper towels produce an enhanced user experience by providing a sense of luxury and also pampering.
If a washroom isn‘t equipped with a paper towel dispenser, then chances are there will be an electric hand dryer available.
There are two types of electrical hand dryers both of which dry your hands via the use of high powered air, blowing excess water and moisture off hands:
- Hot air
- Cold air
Hot air hand dryers
Soft blow type of dryer, that can make it frustrating to wait for hands to be completely dry. However, recently hot air hand dryers have entered the jet dryer space with air flow on hands at high speed to blow wetness off a user’s hands quickly and efficiently.
Cold air hand dryers
Cold air jet hand dryers were the first to project air at a high speed. The high powered sheet of cold air dries the user’s hands by scraping the wetness off their hands.
The 3 benefits of hand dryers over paper towels
There are some areas in which hand dryers are more beneficial to use than paper towels as follows:
Practical and low maintenance
Compared to paper towels, hand dryers require far less maintenance. New high-speed dryers eliminate both the stress of facing an empty paper towel dispenser and a washroom littered with used paper towels. Discarded paper towels can disperse germs and bacteria across the washroom if proper disposal of paper towels is neglected or insufficient bins are not provided.
Many people believe if hand dryers are more environmentally friendly than paper towels. For one they are not reliant on single-use materials (paper), which constantly need to be replaced to be effective. Not only does this mean fewer trees need to be used, but it also reduces the greenhouse gases emitted in the production of paper towels.
You might be thinking “hand dryers use electricity, that‘s not very environmentally friendly”. Some of the newer jet hand dryers are designed to be using low energy than the conventional ones.
Hand dryers or paper towels: which one better?
Well, the real answer is neither. Both paper towels and hand dryers provide effective hand drying.
At the end of the day, the real issues with both drying methods come down to the user. Hand dryers and paper towels can both fail to adhere to proper hand hygiene methods when they aren‘t used to their full potential.
This can range anywhere from not thoroughly drying your hands with a paper towel, to not spending enough time using a hand dryer.
Why is drying your hands important?
Drying your hands is an essential part of the handwashing process and contributes greatly to proper hand hygiene. Did you know damp hands can spread 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands?
Bacteria and viruses love damp and thrive under these conditions. After you‘ve spent the time thoroughly washing your hands with warm water and soap, eliminating the germs and bacteria you have come in contact previously. If you tend to neglect the hand drying process, meaning you are at higher risk of catching and transmitting bacteria.
Contact us today for a quick consultation on the best hand drying solutions for your business.