Is it Better to Dry Your Hands with an Air Dryer or Paper Towels?

Is it Better to Dry Your Hands with an Air Dryer or Paper Towel? | UPMC Italy

Sometimes, in public bathrooms we find both electric hand dryers and paper towels. If you have ever been curious whether it is preferable to dry yourself with one or the other, electric hand dryers certainly respect the environment more, emitting few greenhouse gases and producing no waste. However, in public bathrooms where bacteria thrive, are electric hand dryers safe from a hygiene point of view?

Electric Air Dryer or Paper Towels: Which is More Hygienic?

If hand washing is done well, the drying method does not matter: carefully washed hands, in fact, do not spread bacteria.

However, it is estimated that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly: not using soap or not soaping up long enough, for example, are two very common mistakes. In this case, the bacteria may still be present at the time of drying and the difference between an electric hand dryer and a paper towel becomes important.

Hand dryers can blow bacteria from your hands into the air, spreading them to nearby surfaces and your body. According to a study by the University of Westminster, their use increases the presence of germs by 225%. Furthermore, the warm air temperature favors bacterial growth.

On the contrary, paper removes bacteria and water from hands, preventing the spread of germs, so in public bathrooms choosing a paper towel is certainly the most hygienic option.

In any case, drying is only the last step of correct hand hygiene. Let's see the best technique for correct and effective hand washing.

Proper Technique for Hand Washing

To wash your hands properly, be sure to follow these steps:

1. Use an adequate amount of soap to lather both hands.

2. Rub your hands for twenty seconds, taking care to wash your palms and backs well, up to your wrists, and between your fingers.

3. Rinse thoroughly.

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