Are Hand Dryers Hygienic? Learn the Facts.

Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels – Hygienic Hand Drying Solutions

The great debate whether hand dryers are hygienic remains despite many independent research projects. The truth is that sensor-activated, hands-under, high-speed, energy-efficient hand drying is absolutely a hygienic way to dry hands after washing—and is an extremely efficient and environmentally friendly option, as well.

Why is it important to Choose A Hygienic Hand Drying Solution?

We, at Excel Dryer, wish to help set the record straight. Here are the top five reasons why healthcare facilities, restaurants and other health- and hygiene-conscious facilities around the globe rely on high-speed, energy-efficient dryers in the Excel line to keep germs at bay.

  1. Germ removal happens through proper handwashing, regardless of drying method. A comprehensive study comparing four different hand-drying methods conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that “There are no differences in the efficiencies of removing bacteria from washed hands when hands are dried using paper towels, cloth towels, warm forced air or spontaneous evaporation.” With that said, it is important to fully dry your hands after washing. Hand dryers present a faster and more hygienic means to ‘dry’ over paper towels because the dryers are able to evaporate the residual moisture on hands whereas paper towels cannot.
  2. According to the CDC and WHO, the best defense against the spread of germs and viruses is proper hand hygiene – thoroughly washing and completely drying hands. The CDC Website states, “there is currently not enough evidence to determine if using a clean towel or an air hand dryer to dry your hands is more effective at reducing germs on your hand.”
  3. After an exhaustive two-year study, researchers from the University of Arizona have announced the publication of their work, Comparison of electric hand dryers and paper towels for hand hygiene: They found no empirical data to support one hand drying method over another from a health and safety perspective
  4. Think that brown paper towel is going to leave hands sparkling? Think again. According to an independent third-party study by the American Journal of Infection Control, (AJIC) unused paper towels (that’s right unused paper towels) made from recycled fibers are home to between 100 to 1,000-fold more bacteria than a wood pulp brand. The bacteria found during the study included the flu virus, Bacillus, and Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, the main cause of food poisoning.
  5. Dry or damp paper towels don’t often find their way into the trash bin. Instead, they may be thrown into the toilet. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) paper towels are the most common cause for clogged toilets which can create a lasting source of bacterial infection if dirty water gets on the floor.  In places where hygiene is of the utmost importance such as hospitals, the installation of a XLERATOR Hand Dryer can help keep a restroom sanitary and significantly reduce labor, maintenance and waste.
  6. Excel Dryer offers the industry’s most complete line of optional accessories including a HEPA Filtration System that removes 99.999% of viruses from the air stream as proven by LMS Technologies April 2020 testing. The MICROBAN® Wall Guards are antimicrobial and are made specifically to fit underneath XLERATOR Hand Dryers. The guards have a special coating that protects walls from water droplets and kills germs.

Remember, it all comes out in the wash. Proper handwashing can prevent the spreading of infectious diseases. On its Clean Hands Save Lives website, the nation’s anti-illness authority says that handwashing “is like a do-it-yourself vaccine.”  Many people ask “What is the proper way to wash and dry hands?” Here’s the step-by-step method the CDC recommends:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold). Turn off the tap and apply soap. (Editor’s note: ideally, auto sensors control the tap and/or soap dispenser.)
  • Lather your hands completely. Don’t neglect the backs of hands, wrists and under nails.
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Duration is key; this is where many fall short. Don’t feel like counting? Hum all of “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Rinse well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel, or air dry. (Editor’s note: ideally, the restroom’s wall bears an XLERATOR® Hand Dryer.)

Wherever you go, your hands go, too. So why ever leave effective hand hygiene behind? At home, at school, at work or anywhere out in the world, stay mindful of the way you wash—and, when the choice is yours, of the way you dry.

For more information about the independent studies or for other hygiene resources, visit Excel Dryer’s page about hygienic hand dryers.