Hand Dryers Spread More Germs Than Paper Towels, Study Finds

Posted: Apr 20 2016, 9:24am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 20 2016, 10:40pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Hand Dryers Spread More Germs than Paper Towels, Study Finds
Credit: University of Leeds

Research suggests that fancy hand dryers from Dyson spread 1,300 times the germs a paper towel does.

The hand dryer is a modern-day method for drying up wet hands. Since it is a touch free device, you may think that these fancy air jets are more hygienic than conventional paper towels, but new research suggests that it may not be the case.

Research reveals that the fancy Dyson hand dryers spread 1,300 times more germs than paper towels and there results are much worse than their counterparts as they cause to spray 60 times more germs than regular hand dryers.

Researchers at the University of Leeds compared paper towels, warm air dryers and jet dryers specifically the Dyson Airblade and it turned out that both jet dryers and hand dyers are the bigger sources of spreading germs into the air and onto those nearby.

To estimate the affects of all three products, researchers asked participants to dip their gloved hands into a solution contaminated with harmless virus MS2. After a quick shake, participants were asked to try one of the three methods to dry their hands. Then, samples were collected from the air around the hand dryer and also at varying heights and distances.

Researchers found jet dryer showed the worst results in terms of spreading bacteria in and around the area where drying took place. The bacterial count close to the hand jet air dryer was 4.5 higher than around warm air dryers and 27 times higher in the air around paper towel dispensers. Some viral plaques were surprisingly found nearly 10 feet high from the dryer itself. Standard dryers dispersed germs less than 3 feet while paper towels launched germs a mere 10 inches.

“Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it.  You may also be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands,” said lead researcher Professor Mark Wilcox. 

“These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease.”

The Guardian reports that 40% of hospital infections are associated with poor hand washing. The problem may be lying in the method which people choose to dry their hands.

“The choice of hand-drying device should be considered carefully in areas where infection prevention concerns are paramount, such as health care settings and the food industry.” Study concludes.


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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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