While reaching out to grab a paper towel or moving our hands closer to a hand dryer, some of us might not even realize how crucial this step is. Choosing the right method of wiping your hands after washing them is as important as the process of hand-washing. So here, we’ll help you make an informed decision about which one you should go for, Hand Dryers vs Paper Towels.
Hand Dryers vs Paper Towels
Let’s admit it. Our entire lives, we’ve never been as thoughtful about washing our hands as we’ve been since the pandemic began. Touched a doorknob? The frantic hand-washing begins — lather nicely, rinse it well, and right after is when the battle between hand dryers and paper towels begins.
Have you ever wondered if one ensures better protection than the other? A study by Westminster reveals that paper towels produce the lowest spread of germs from hands into a surrounding environment.
Even after washing your hands, there might be some bacteria remaining, which paper towels can effectively remove. This becomes even more important with the sudden surge in the number of Covid-19 cases. We need to be careful at every step to make sure there isn’t any lapse.
Data shows that even people are all for paper towels — 75% of people prefer paper towels to hot air dryers. Another fact that a lot of us don’t know is that paper towels are one of the sustainable solutions and cost-effective hand-drying options, especially the automatic paper towel dispensers that sense hands and dispense a length that’s enough paper to dry hands. Along with saving money, these dispensers also help limit wastage, making them a good option for restrooms of restaurants, hotels, or shopping malls.
Another consequential aspect is the environmental effects of each of these. While most paper towel and tissue brands use innovative methods to ensure that their products are made with environmentally-friendly practices that preserve forestry, curb carbon dioxide emissions and use proper recycling measures, air dryers contribute to energy wastage. Paper towels have biodegradable and dissolve properties, which makes them a better choice not just for you but also for the environment.
Now let’s take you through some other reasons that show how using paper towels is a clear winner — hands down.
- Paper towels ensure better hygiene standards
The pandemic has made it imperative for us to follow the best hygiene practices, which is the only way to protect ourselves against this deadly virus. Handwash, sanitizers, and masks are our saviors. However, even after scrubbing your hands real nice with soap and water, pathogens can remain. In fact, according to a study by Michigan State University, nearly 95% of adults do not wash long enough to thoroughly clean the bacteria and viruses from their hands.
Just rinsing isn’t enough. So, how do we remove the germs that keep lurking? The answer lies in paper towels. Because air dryers can actually increase the number of bacteria on an individual’s hands. A 2018 study from the American Society for Microbiology confirms that hand dryers spread bacteria from the air to the hands. Flushing the toilets results in the air being contaminated with bacteria. The circulation of air from hand dryers can push the pathogens into the air and further into the user’s hands.
- Paper towels significantly reduce the bacteria in the restrooms
Hand dryers remove water and moisture from hands by forcing air over them. The remaining water and pathogens are blown from the user’s hands into the air and onto surrounding surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs. This increases the risk of cross-contamination — when these surfaces are touched, pathogens get on people’s hands.
- Paper towels work faster than dryers
A paper towel dispenser is easier to use and faster — simply grab one and you’re done. However, in the case of a hand dryer, it can take as long as 45 seconds to achieve the same level of dryness as a paper towel. Even though this might not seem much, this time is enough to discourage people from waiting in a queue, so they might end up leaving the restroom without wiping their hands — again increasing the risks of infections. Wet hands spread more pathogens than dry hands. If you leave without drying your hands, you put not just yourself but people around you at an increased risk of germ spread and cross-contamination.
So the next time you wash your hands, remember to use a paper towel — better for you, better for the environment. Happy hand-washing!
Feel free to check out paper alternatives here.