The secret war between paper towels and hand dryers needs to end in the COVID-19 era. The “health and wellness first” mindset that so many people have developed in the last year has everyone wondering: which product promotes superior hand drying that is both healthy and effective?
The answer may not surprise you if you have followed the news over the years.
You may recall a breakout news story that went viral in the early months of 2018, exhibiting the effects of a Petri dish left to incubate inside of a hand dryer for 48 hours. The student who performed the science experiment shared the photo of the unsightly bacterial colonies that had grown inside the Petri dish on her Facebook page, and the rest is history. The post was shared by 500,000+ people in just a matter of days and covered by local and national news channels and newspapers. This sparked a debate in the scientific community about whether hand dryers were as hygienic as their manufacturers claimed.
Although the news story received national coverage a few years ago, the implications of the experiment’s results have an even bigger impact now that we’re living through a pandemic.
Now more than ever, people everywhere are trying to limit their interaction with harmful germs and bacteria by wearing masks, constantly washing and sanitizing their hands, maintaining social distance guidelines, etc. So, let’s put an end to this debate once and for all. Are hand dryers unhygienic?
The simple answer is yes.
Numerous studies have shown that hand dryers contaminate the surrounding environment by dispersing harmful bacteria and pathogens in the air. The Journal of Applied Microbiology released a study that compared paper towels to warm air dryers and jet air dryers. The results showed that jet air dryers released 1,300 times more bacteria than hand towels. Another study conducted by Tork, an Essity brand, echoed similar results — jet air dryers spread 10 times more germs. A GP Pro infographic found here states that 70 percent of germs released by jet air dryers have a radius of at least four feet. Kimberly-Clark Professional also released an in-depth resource that compares jet air dryers and paper towels on quite a few different factors.
Let’s not forget that in today’s world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same study from Tork found that 80 percent of consumers don’t feel safe using unhygienic bathrooms in a COVID-19 world.
The best way to build trust with your customers is to make the switch to paper towels and touch-free towel dispensers. Take a look at these benefits that paper towels offer over hand dryers.