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Are hand dryers cleaner than paper towels?

Are hand dryers better than paper towels? While this might seem like a no brainer for most of us, answering this question can become quite hard once you dig a little deeper into the scientific side of it and consider what exactly clean means in terms of personal hygiene versus environmental impact. There are a lot of factors to be considered before deciding which one is the best one for you. Here are some of the basic comparisons to help inform your personal selection.

Paper Towels definitely steal the hygiene crown.

Taking in continuous study done by several scientists on this topic, paper towels are certainly way more hygienic. In most cases around the world, almost more than 75 percent of people prefer to choose paper towels over hand dryers.

Paper towels are also known to remove bacteria on hands much more effectively. Even though hand or jet dryers are capable of drying hands much faster than paper towels, paper towels are considered a better option to clean your hands.

Quick comparison:

  • Paper towels are preferred for eliminating bacteria on the hands
  • Hand or Jet dryers get the drying done way faster than paper towels

Air dryers help you reduce cost and overall energy use.

There is no doubt that paper towels are extremely expensive. People can make use of an unnecessary amount of paper towels for the mere task of drying their hands which increases the number of towels used every day. For a small company where minimizing costs is almost as important as good hygiene, paper towels might not sound like the best option.

By comparison, if you have installed a Bobrick hand dryer, it can be used any number of times. If you are part of a business where reducing energy use is a big priority, then you are better off using hand dryers over paper towels. But then again, it depends on the amount of electricity the dryer uses. That might affect the end carbon footprint calculations. If you have access to paper towels made of recycled materials they may end up being the cleaner option in terms of being green.

Quick Comparison:

  • Considering less cost as the main reason, hand dryers are a better option.
  • Considering the carbon footprint, paper towels and dryers are almost on the same page

So overall, which one is the cleanest?

In the case of eco-friendliness, this again depends on the type of energy source they utilize. Hand dryers which make use of renewable energy sources like the sunlight definitely are good for the atmosphere. The newly designed jet dryers which make use of cool air to dry hands are way better than traditional warm air dryers just because the new ones cause fewer emissions in the environment.

Paper towels can contribute to environmental pollutants both in their manufacturing and waste removal processes. But, if paper towels are made from recycled paper, then they are a good way to reduce tree cutting and thus helping the environment a lot more. In terms of hand hygiene, paper towels win the day. They’re more effective at wiping away bacteria and quicker to use, which makes people more likely to use them than a hand drier.

Quick Comparison:

  • Cool air jet dryers are the best for reducing environment impact.
  • Recycled paper towels are the best for hand hygiene and eco-friendliness.

We hope this article helps you understand some of the pros and cons to help you select the best way to dry your hands!

References:
1 – ​https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/air-dryers-vs-paper-towels/
2 – ​http://facilitymanagement.com/restroom-paper-towels-air-dryers/
3- https://www.greenschoolsalliance.org/blogs/16/394

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