Ever wonder which is a better choice?
Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant at SafeSourcing, Inc.
While traveling this past summer, almost without exception, all the public restrooms I used had hot air blowers instead of paper towels. I wondered which was the better option.
Some of the basic differences are:
- Hand dryers create less waste. A big complaint for many companies are paper towels have to be cleaned up, some people flush them creating plumbing expenses, and the cost of the paper towel averages about 1 cent per sheet (the the average person uses 2.5 sheets to dry their hands) compared to .02-1.8 cents of electricity used with a hand dryer.
- Hand dryers create much less waste than paper towels. Many companies complain they have to cleanup paper towels that can be all over the floors of restrooms. Someone has to be responsible to bag them, cart them to a dumpster, and then the expense to have to take to them to a landfill. It is easy to see why the hand dryer seems to be the better choice here.
- Some people believe a hand dryer just circulates bacteria in the air. A hand dryer should be cleaned every year (and more often if in a heavy use environments) to remove built up dust. A high-speed dryer is better in this regard as the forced air keeps them cleaner. There is a hand dryer that contIns anti-microbial compounds imbedded in the paint and plastic components that minimize bacteria growth.
- “A 2012 systematic review found that paper towels dry hands more quickly and more thoroughly than air dryers.”1. Where hygiene is paramount such as hospitals and clinics, paper towels should be recommended.
- Air dryers allow only one user at a time. A user can take a full minute to dry their hands. This can lead people to avoid drying their hands. A study revealed some people only took 22.5 seconds to dry their hands, and 41% of people left the washroom drying their hands on their clothing. Wet hands spread bacteria much more effectively than dry hands. The bottom line here is that paper towels dry hand more effectively and people use them more. With a hand dryer, people incompletely dry their hands, or not at all.
- If your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, than air dryers are the way to go. If you want to maximize customer service, most people prefer paper towels. “If, however, your primary goal is hygiene, which is the case in hospitals and other healthcare settings, then paper towels are the current clear winner. They dry hands faster, more completely, and minimize the spread of bacteria to the environment and cross contamination.”2
2.https://science based medicine.org/air-dryers-vs-paper-towels/