The Hot Debate: Hand Dryer vs Paper Towel Dispenser
You washed your hands at the mall, and you’re innocently drying your hands with the clean-looking hand dryer when suddenly someone reprimands you:
“Did you know the air these hand dryers blow out is filled with germs? You’re better off not drying your hands or using a paper towel!”
There is a lot of misinformation at play when it comes to the ongoing battle between hand dryers and paper towels.
We will unpack the facts and help you make the right decision when choosing a product best suited to your needs. So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels debate.
We know that washing our hands effectively plays a huge part in maintaining our hygiene, but how important is it to dry our hands?
Here are a few reasons to keep in mind:
- Drying Reduces the Spread of Germs: Wet hands are more likely to pick up and transfer bacteria, so thorough drying helps prevent the spread of germs.
- It Prevents Cross-Contamination: Wet hands can quickly transfer bacteria to surfaces, objects, and others.
- It Promotes Skin Health: Wet skin is more susceptible to damage and can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Dry hands are less prone to skin-related issues such as chapping and dermatitis.
Fact vs Fiction
A common misunderstanding is that hand dryers are less effective because they spread more germs through airborne particles, which then makes it counterintuitive to use a hand dryer. Or that paper towels are worse for the environment due to their waste.
Misconceptions arise for various reasons, often when only a portion of the information is emphasised.
An example of this was an experiment by the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, where the team concluded that paper towels are three times more effective at bacterial contamination than hand dryers.
However, some factors need to be taken into account:
- Were subjects washing their hands effectively?
- Were the subjects allowing their hands to dry thoroughly under the hand dryer?
- Was the air filter replaced in the dryer?
It is easy to be swept up in a narrative without all the information.
Consider these facts based on scientific research:
- Hand hygiene is crucial for reducing bacteria and viruses through effective washing and drying.
- Hand dryers and paper towels can BOTH dry hands effectively.
- Poorly maintained hand dryers disperse airborne bacteria; maintenance should replace filters regularly.
- Paper towels can decompose naturally.
- Hand dryer production can also negatively impact the environment.
- Cost depends on factors such as usage patterns and electricity costs, but studies show hand dryers can be more cost-efficient.
- User experience is subjective; some prefer hand dryers for speed and touchless operation, while others prefer paper towels for familiarity and less noise.
Further Drying Discoveries
A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found no significant difference in the bacterial counts between paper towels and hand dryers when it comes to drying hands. When hand dryers are properly maintained, and filters are changed regularly, both methods are equally effective, and neither is better regarding bacteria or human health.
This study aligns with the World Health Organization (WHO), where guidelines recommend frequent hand washing and complete drying with paper towels or hand dryers. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research indicates that both paper towels and hand dryers are equally effective for drying hands.
It’s Your Choice
Each option has advantages and disadvantages when choosing between paper towels and hand dryers. To help you determine the best option for you, this table outlines the pros and cons associated with both hand dryers and paper towel dispensers:
The Nuwkem Green Light
It is important to conduct research to find a solution that best fits your situation and not be swayed by misconceptions.
Nuwkem is dedicated to assuring our customers of quality. Whether you choose hand dryers or paper towel dispensers, we prioritise the quality of the product you select.
We understand that hygienic and efficient hand drying is crucial in maintaining a clean and healthy environment. That’s why we offer our energy-saving hand dryer and range of paper towel dispensers to suit your needs.