Microbiological Comparison of Hand-Drying Methods:
The Potential for Contamination of the Environment, User,
Published by Journal of Hospital Infection3
This study tested how microbes are spread when using three methods of hand drying – jet air dryers, warm air dryers and paper towels – in a public restroom. Researchers first measured amounts of bacteria in the immediate vicinity, as well as one meter away from all three hand drying devices. This part of the study found that bacteria counts were higher in the air immediately next to the jet air dryers, than that of warm air dryers and paper towel dispensers. Bacteria counts were also higher in the air surrounding the jet air dryers, versus the warm air dryers and paper towel dispensers, when researchers tested air samples taken one meter from the devices.
A second part of this study involved researchers coating participants’ hands with water-based black paint to mimic wet hands after washing. Researchers also selected bystanders to stand near the drying area wearing disposable suits. The subjects’ hands were subsequently dried using three different drying methods – jet air dryers, warm air dryers and paper towel dispensers – and researchers then observed the number of water droplets left on both the participants as well as the bystanders. When jet air dryers and warm air dryers were used, researchers found droplets on both the test subject and the bystander. That number of droplets was higher when a jet air dryer was used. The majority of the droplets were seen in the chest region. Researchers observed no paint droplets on either the participant or the bystander after using a paper towel.
3Best, E. L., P. Parnell, and M. H. Wilcox. "Microbiological comparison of hand-drying methods: the potential for contamination of the environment, user, and bystander." Journal of Hospital Infection 88.4 (2014): 199-206.
Check out the rest of the research.
The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the
Comparison of Different Hand-Drying
Methods: The Potential for Airborne
Microbe Dispersal and Contamination
Evaluation of the Potential for Virus
Dispersal during Hand Drying: A
Comparison of Three Methods
9 out of 10 people prefer Paper Towels to
Jet Air Dryers in washrooms
WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in