Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels – Hygienic Hand Drying Solutions
The great debate of hand dryers vs. paper towels has gone on for years with the efficacy of hygienic hand dryers called in to question by studies largely funded by the paper towel industry and through fake news accounts in the media and on social media. The problem with these stories is that they are often one-sided and written in a manner to either sensationalize—illicit fear—or both. In short: they do not tell the whole story or share the whole truth. Despite these unsubstantiated and biased claims, the fact remains the same: no touch, 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.
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.
- 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.
- Think that brown paper towel is going 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.
- 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 upmost importance such as hospitals, the installation of a XLERATOR Hand Dryer can help keep a restroom sanitary and significantly reduce labor, maintenance and waste.
- Excel Dryer offers the industry’s most complete line of optional accessories including a HEPA Filtration System that removes 99.97% of potentially present bacteria at 0.3 microns from the air stream. The MICROBAN® Wall Guards are anti-microbial 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 hand washing 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.” 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 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 hand hygiene landing page at exceldryer.com/hygiene.