Paper towels come out top

Paper towels come out top

Here’s the rub

According to Miryam Wahrman, a biology professor at William Paterson University, after washing your hands, “the most hygienic way to dry is with paper or cloth towels”.

“Research studies show that drying with paper towels or cloth towels removes even more germs than washing alone, as the friction of drying reduces the germ count even further”.

Drying your hands with a clean, single-use hand towel may be the safest choice for reducing the risk of spreading germs. A 2012 review of 12 studies found that paper towels work best when compared to jet air dryers, hot air dryers, and cloth roller towels, because they dry skin faster, that the friction they create can help get rid of germs missed by washing, and that using them doesn’t present a risk of spreading germs through the air.

You can encourage good hand hygiene by providing the right facilities, such as a paper hand towel dispenser, at your workplace. Help stop the spread of viruses by speaking with our hygiene specialists today.

Paper towels or dryers?

Rubbing your hands together under electric dryers is viewed as a poor option compared to using paper towels. And here’s why.

  • Drying with paper towels removes even more germs than washing alone, because the friction of drying reduces the germ numbers ever more.
  • A study conducted at Westminster University found the most powerful hand dryers can spread a virus as far as 1.5m across a room and a later study increased this to three metres. Electric air dryers can spew germs back on your hands, and into the air where you can breathe them in and contaminating the whole public toilet area. 
  • An electric dryer ”takes too long, and it’s too noisy”.
  • Paper towels won’t dry out your hands, making them red and irritated.
  • Paper towels can be used as a barrier when turning off taps and opening doors.
  • Most people actually prefer them.

To discuss installing a paper hand towel dispenser, call 0508 467 462. To work out which paper towel option would best suit your workplace, you may also find our FAQ page on the various paper towels and dispensers we have available helpful.

Drying your hands is key

Good hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent the spread of viruses such as Covid-19. 

However, when we’re in a hurry, which is nearly always, it can be so tempting to let hands drip dry, or just rub them on dirty jeans or your T-shirt, which would be fine if we didn’t touch anything on the way out of the bathroom. But we do. A door handle on the way out of a public toilet is the perfect storm of recontamination.

Wiping hands on clothing and then opening the door with still-wet hands undoes all the good work in washing them. Next minute, we can’t resist touching our faces, allowing germs to spread nicely from our hands to our noses and mouths, where they can get into the body.

paper towel dispenserGerms love damp

It is easier to transmit bacteria from wet hands than dry hands, and how you dry your hands after washing is key to getting rid of germs.

If your hands are even just damp, because you’ve been impatient, you’ll again have created an environment in which germs can flourish. Damp hands spread 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands! 

Drying hands the wrong way can undo the good of washing

Most visitors to public bathrooms confess that they don’t wash up thoroughly. “They don’t use soap, just a bit of water,” says Redway, a microbiologist and emeritus professor at the University of Westminster. Then, when they stand in front of a hand dryer, “whatever’s left on their hands, which could be fecal material if they haven’t washed them properly, is blown everywhere”. A paper towel prevents that.

Blow by blow report

A report from the Mayo Clinic finds that people do not take the time to dry their hands completely using electric hand dryers. “The trouble with blowers is that they take so long,” says Rodney Lee Thompson, a hospital epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Time-consuming, loud “blowers turn people off,” he says. If there’s a queue for the hand dryer, people may just leave with wet hands, which pick up and transfer far more germs than dry hands. “But there is no downside to the paper towel, psychologically.”

To talk to us about how we can help you stop the spread of germs, please call 0508 467 462 or you can email us at any time.

Tags: covid  19  paper towels  hygiene  

Posted: Sunday 28 June 2020