Why You Shouldn’t Use Those Public Bathroom Hand Dryers
Another study is warning about the use of those high-powered hand dryers that have become so common in public restrooms. It's not that they are loud to the point of being deafening, which they are, it's because of the germs they are blowing around.
A study published this week with the very official sounding name "Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology" concludes that the dryers' air power isn't just drying your hands, it's blowing public bathroom germs around at 10-times the rate of people drying their hands with paper towels.
Here's how they determined the hand blowers are super spreaders. Volunteers dried their hands with either a hand dryer or paper towels while wearing an apron to test if any contaminants were spread to their clothing, according to the study.
The researchers followed the hand wash volunteers around a test area measuring the level of germs they left behind on touched surfaces or their aprons. Those who dried their hands with restroom blow dryers spread 10 times the amount of germs as the paper towel group.
This isn't the first time that public bathroom hand dryers have been called out for spreading germs.
A 2018 study found 30 seconds of a blowing hand dryer filled the public bathroom's air with 18-60 colonies of feces-filled bacteria on average. I'm not sure sure what a colony of bacteria is, but it doesn't sound like the kind of colony where I want to spend any time.
The conclusion, paper towels should be your drying method of choice.
“Drying your hands with paper towels not only dries them faster, but the friction also dislodges bacteria to leave them cleaner,” says urgent care specialist Theresa Lash-Ritter, MD.
Why are these public restroom hand dryers so popular? They save paper, making them cheaper and more environmentally pleasing, until you realize the amount of germs they are blowing around.