Are Hand Dryers As Hygienic As We Think? Perhaps Not, Says Study

By Kanika Gupta - 20 Apr '16 17:15PM

According to a recent study, University of Westminster revealed that jet hand-dryers can spread up to 1,300 times more bacteria than the paper towels. To examine which method spews more bacteria and virus, researchers compared three modes of hand drying - paper towel, jet air dryer and a warm dryer.

The participants of the research were made to place their hands, covered with gloves, in MS2 bacteriophage, a safe virus solution. Later they were made to wash their hands and dry them on a jet air dryer. The researchers collected the samples with the help of a petri dish.

The study findings revealed that the jet air dryers are responsible for spreading more germs, about 1,300 times as compared to paper towels and 60 times when compared to a regular warm dryer.

"These differences in results between the three hand-drying devices can be largely explained by their mode of drying the hands," said researchers.

Researchers said that even when using jet hand dryers such as Dyson Airblade, extolled by European public officials as a reliable way to filter bacteria, must be used carefully.

Another study conducted in 2014 by University of Leeds researchers also revealed that air around jet air dryers contains 27 times more bacteria than the air surrounding paper towel container.

"Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people's hands," said Mark Wilcox, lead researcher of the 2014 study on hand dryers vs paper towels.

The findings were published in The Journal of Applied Microbiology.

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