How to Transition Your Public Bathroom from Paper Towels to Hand Dryers

Are your public restrooms used often? Do you find it difficult to keep up with cleaning and maintenance? Are you spending more on paper towel refills than a year ago? If yes, it might be time to consider transitioning from paper towels to electric hand dryers. In addition to a cleaner restroom and lowering your carbon footprint, you can realize the paper goods cost savings of hand dryers vs. paper towels and provide a more hygienic experience for employees and patrons alike. 

Successfully making the changeover from paper towels to hand dryers in your public bathroom should not be an overwhelming process. Many businesses have made the switch, from the Red Sox at Fenway Park and Grand Central Terminal in New York City to Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurants. In fact, research has shown you can realize a 95% cost savings when switching from paper towels to hand dryers. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you plan and execute the switch in your facility for a positive experience in your restrooms. 

Step 1: Evaluate the Feasibility

Assess the current state of your public restrooms, including the availability of power.  Excel hand dryers are hard-wired and require a dedicated circuit (with the exception of the XLERATOReco hand dryer, which you may have two on one dedicated circuit).  Keep in mind that concrete walls may require conduit.  If you currently have existing conventional model hand dryers (likely more than 15 years old) are likely not energy efficient.   Determine if your restrooms are suitable for installing hand dryers and if any modifications or upgrades are necessary.

Step 2: Research and Select Suitable Hand Dryers

Explore different hand dryer models available on the market. Consider factors such as energy efficiency, noise levels, durability, hygiene features (e.g., HEPA filters), and touchless, sensor activated. Do you need to upgrade to ADA-compliant hand dryers? Choose hand dryers that meet your specific requirements and are well-suited for high-traffic public restrooms.

Step 3: Plan the Installation Process

Develop a detailed plan for installing hand dryers in your public restrooms. Consider factors such as the number of dryers needed (1 hand dryer to 2 sinks), their optimal placement, and any necessary electrical work. Also, consider any accessories that may add functional or aesthetic value, such as a recess kit or custom hand dryer covers customized for your business. Ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations.

Step 4: Communicate the Switch

Inform restroom users and staff members about the upcoming switch from paper towels to hand dryers. Clearly explain the reasons behind the transition, emphasizing the environmental benefits and improved hygiene. Address any concerns or questions that may arise.  Consider posting messaging such as our “Going Green” sign (shown at right), as it was proven in a recent Metrix Lab survey that when customers were educated about the benefits of hand dryers over paper towels, they were more likely to use hand dryers.  

Step 5: Provide Adequate Training

Adjustment knobs on electric hand dryer for heat, range and motor speed.Train restroom staff on the proper use and maintenance of hand dryers. Maintenance staff should be aware that all Excel hand dryers have adjustable speed/sound, heat, and sensor activation height.  

Step 6: Monitor and Address Feedback

Encourage feedback from restroom users and staff to gauge their experience with the new hand dryers. Address any concerns promptly and make necessary adjustments if required. Actively communicate your commitment to providing a clean, sustainable restroom environment.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Close-up image of how to clean prefilter on electric hand dryerEstablish a hand dryer maintenance and cleaning schedule to ensure the hand dryers are functioning optimally. Conduct routine inspections, cleaning, and repairs as needed. Regularly check for dust/debris clogs, worn-out parts, or any other issues that may affect performance.  Staff should be aware that if the units are not working properly, codes are blinked to diagnose the problem.  If the unit has HEPA Filtration, is the staff aware that the HEPA prefilter should be cleaned every 3-6 months and the HEPA replaced once a year?  

Step 8: Measure Success, Celebrate Milestones, and Continuously Improve Your Facility

Track metrics such as the reduction in paper towel usage, energy savings, and user satisfaction. Share these achievements and milestones with staff and patrons to demonstrate the positive impact of the transition. Stay updated on advancements in hand dryer technology and hygiene standards, regularly evaluating your restroom cleaning practices to ensure they align with the latest best practices. This will enhance user experience and maintain positive sustainability benefits.

By following these steps and maintaining a forward-thinking approach, you can successfully transition from paper towels to wall-mounted hand dryers in your public restrooms, promoting sustainability and improved hygiene in your facilities.