Which is more hygienic: Hand air dry or hand towel?

February 15, 2015 10:13 am

Ever finished washing your hands and thought, ‘Hmm, I wonder what’s
more hygienic, using the warm air dryer or the towel?’ and then thought
‘Hmm I really need to start having more interesting thoughts’? Well,
you’re not alone!
Researchers tested the amount of bacteria left
on the skin after hands were dried using both methods, and the results
might surprise you.
Washing hands and using paper towels or
continuous-loop cotton towels reduced the bacterial count by 45-60 per
cent, while using a warm air dryer in fact increased the bacterial count
by an average of 255 per cent.

Which is more hygienic: Hand air dry or hand towel? Photo / Thinkstock
“It turned out the bacteria were
already inside the warm air dryers thanks to the moist environment,” Dr.
Karl Kruszelnicki (yes, that’s a real doctor) wrote in his book Curious
and Curiouser.
“Every single warm air dryer had high bacterial
counts on the air inlet, while 97 per cent had them on the outlet nozzle
surface, too.”

Air-based dryers in fact spread bacteria and other germs in tiny droplets, like a really disgusting aerosol.
Kruszelnicki
notes that our bodies are resilient enough to keep most of these
bacteria at bay, but suggests you also go for towels (preferably
recyclable) over driers anyway as they dry your hands quicker and give
the friction needed to shift bacteria that you don’t get from a pathetic
gust of air.
He said that jet air dryers e.g the Dyson Airblade
do about as good a job as towels, and “boy are they fun to use, your
skin goes all funny!” (he didn’t say that bit).

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