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The great hand-drying debate: Paper Towels Vs Hand Dryers

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The great hand-drying debate: Paper Towels Vs Hand Dryers

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Drying your hands is an integral part of the hand washing process; wet hands aid the spread of bacteria as they transfer pathogens much more freely than dry hands. This then begs the question – what is the most effective method of drying your hands?

Paper towels

Maintaining a supply of paper towels may not be as easy as installing an electric, automated hand dryer, but paper towels definitely have their advantages. A paper towel will take you around 10 seconds to reduce hand moisture by 96% in comparison to the average hand dryer which will require 45 seconds to achieve the same results. This is amplified when you note that on average, a person only spends 22 seconds using a hand dryer – reducing hand moisture by just 70%.

The use of paper towels also allows friction to play a part in the removal of bacteria. The bacteria is transferred from the hand to the towel thus further cleaning your hands.

​Advantages Disadvantages
  • ​Dry hands quicker
  • More effective
  • Low installation costs
  • ​Require more maintenance
  • More expensive
  • Environmental considerations

Hand dryers

Modern hand dryers do have a slight environmental edge over the more traditional paper towel. Firstly, the use of hand dryers prevents deforestation – something necessary to generate the paper required for the billions of paper towels used each year. Additionally they actually emit less carbon emissions and use less energy when everything is taken into account (this includes longevity, manufacturing processes, daily usage etc). The main compromise with using hand dryers is that the air circulated by hand dryers picks up and spreads pathogens around the bathroom.

​Advantages Disadvantages
  • ​​Cost effective
  • Cheap to maintain
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Slower to dry hands
  • Spreads bacteria through airflow
  • High installation costs

With technology advancing at the current rate, there is no telling what will be the most effective method in years to come but for now, paper towels still seem to be the most hygienic, if low tech, option. The debate continues.

For more information on how Julius Rutherfoord can help to keep your office clean, please contact us on 020 7819 6700.

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