Hand dryers vs Paper towels
What is the issue?
The debate between which is better: hand dryers or paper towels has gone on for a while now. Whilst at first it may appear to be a farcical debate, surely they do the same job so there’s no difference right? That couldn't be further from the truth as depending on the environment they are found the issue can be matter of life and death.
Hand drying is a critical phase of the hand cleaning process, as wet or damp hands are far more likely to help the spread of harmful bacteria. This means that in environments where people are more vulnerable to infections such as hospitals, nurseries and nursing homes, drying hands correctly can save lives.
Facts don’t lie or do they?
A study carried out in Australia by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in 2012 found that paper towels were better than hand dryers for drying hands. The study concluded that paper towels: dry hands faster, remove more bacteria and are less likely to cause cross-contamination. So paper towels are better then right? Well details of the methods used in the study where never actually revealed. This makes it difficult to discern whether or not paper towels are indeed better.
Plenty of studies have shown a wide range of results from conclusions such as: jet air dryers and hot air dryers increase the number of bacteria to hot air dryers are better the best kind of dryer to remove rotaviruses and E. coli.
Which one to use?
In the end preventing the spread of bacteria and infection from wet hands comes down to one thing: proper hand drying procedure. If you make sure everyone who uses the washroom follows these steps:
1. Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub well, making sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
3. Continue to do so for at least 20 seconds.
4. Rinse your hands well under running water,
5. Dry your hands thoroughly using paper hand towels or a hand dryer.
Then you will almost completely remove the danger of bacteria spreading. In the end the choice of which one you use will be dictated by numerous factors. Mainly (as so many things are these days) it’s a matter of price you need to know roughly how many times your washroom is used each day then take into account the cost of waste removal and maintenance for either solution. It adds up!
If you are struggling to decide which is the most cost efficient hand drying solution for your business then give Principal Hygiene a call on 01772 817600 we stock both the latest hand dryers and a wealth of paper towels so you can get the best for your business.