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Air Dryers Fail Critical Hand Hygiene Tests

Jim Mann's picture

Hand drying is a misnomer. The friction added by using a paper towel is a significant part of the "handwash". Using air dryers of any type, can leave a high level of suspended contaminants in place. The shorter the scrub step, the more important it is to use paper towels. This is especially true in restrooms where the Splash 'n Dash is the standard and residues are naturally nasty.

New research documents multiple shortcomings

Research from the University of Westminster in London England gives yet another reason to stay away from air dryers in kitchens and restrooms. They are well known for being slow and even the new air blade technology does not offer the friction factor needed in this final cleansing step. Users strongly prefer paper towels and the mere presence of air dryers may discourage handwashing all together.

Now comes this news showing pathogen breeding and having bacteria blown around the room, deposited on surfaces up to 6 feet away. This is especially troubling as we learn more about the lengthy survival times of the highly infectous norovirus on restroom surfaces, documented in Emory University research here or below.

This study, attached, is among European users where air dryers are more accepted. In many North American public restrooms, particularly in airports, there is ongoing observational research available every day where users are offerred a choice between paper and air drying. Paper towels are clearly preferred, often winning by a margin of 10 - 1.

Keith Redway, a Senior Academic in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster, said: “The results of all parts of this study suggest that the use of warm air dryers and jet air dryers should be carefully considered in locations where hygiene is of paramount importance, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, nurseries, care homes, kitchens and other food preparation areas.”

“In addition, paper hand towel use is highly beneficial for improved hygiene in any other facilities open to the public, such as factories, offices, bars and restaurants.”

You should be using paper towels »

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Emroy University Research Document47.71 KB

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