Air Hand Dryers Can Spread More Germs in Paper & Towels

Air Hand Dryers Can Spread More Germs in Paper & Towels


OVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have turned to touch-free methods to cut down on opportunities for spreading germs.

For example, many restaurants now provide a QR code for viewing their menu on your smartphone in lieu of traditional paper menus.

In addition, many business restrooms use hand dryers rather than paper towels.

However, according to a new study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the latter may not be as effective as we might think it is.

High-speed air dryers may actually leave more contamination on your hands than paper towels do.

In addition, they may spread germs onto your clothes, leading to more of them being transferred to other surfaces.

Dr. Paul S. Pottinger, a board certified physician and director of the Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine Clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center-Montlake, who was not involved in the new study, said the purpose of the new research was to attempt to understand whether different hand drying methods might affect the spread of germs in a hospital environment.

“To understand that, [the researchers] simulated contaminated hands by treating hands (either bare or gloved) with a harmless virus, then asked participants to dry their hands, either using paper towels or using an air dryer,” Pottinger said.

They then detected the amount of virus that was transferred to various surfaces around the hospital.

When the researchers compared the two drying methods, they found that the people who dried their hands using the air dryer had spread more of the virus.

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