The Great Paper Towel vs. Hand Dryer Debate

No matter what industry you’re in, your workplace restroom has germs. Millions of them, representing thousands of different species. And even worse, it’s not just lying there. It’s continually multiplying and moving at remarkable rates. 

Consider this: a toilet seat can launch bacteria 15 feet in the air. Two to four hours later, that same bacteria can spread to more than half of your restroom, including the door handles. 

Handwashing is the simplest way to stop this bacteria from spreading throughout your facility, but what happens right after you wash your hands? Which is best for hand drying — paper towels or hand dryers? 

Paper Towels: Best for Banishing Bacteria 

When you wash your hands, you bring bacteria to the surface of your hands. When you dry your hands with paper towels, much of the bacteria that was on your wet skin gets transferred to the paper towels thanks to the mechanical action of rubbing the towels on your skin. This effectively removes bacteria, leaving your hands cleaner than they were before. 

Hand dryers lack that mechanical action — they simply suck up bacteria before, unfortunately, blowing it back onto your hands and all around the restroom. We hate to tell you this, but they leave your hands just as dirty (or even dirtier!) than when you walked into the restroom. 

Numerous studies back up this assertion. In one conducted by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, researchers exposed test plates to normal restroom air and 30 seconds of air from a hand dryer. Very little bacteria was fond on the test plates when the hand dryers were off, but when the plates were blown with air for 30 seconds, the number of bacterial colonies grew tenfold. Researchers concluded that hand dryers increase exposure to potential pathogens and spores, making it more likely they will be deposited on hands and throughout your building. 

Hand Dryers: Cost and Energy-Efficient 

The major pro of hand dryers is that they cost far less than paper towels over time once you account for the energy and expense associated with manufacturing and transporting them. Unlike paper towels that must always be replaced, hand dryers can last up to a decade, making them a cost-effective option. 

We know that facility managers are often faced with tough decisions regarding their bottom lines and the health and safety of their employees. If you are weighing the options between using hand dryers or paper towels in your restrooms, give our team a call today. We’d be happy to recommend the best wholesale cleaning supplies in Bismarck based on your needs, goals and budget!