Which is More Sanitary–Hot Air Dryers Verses Paper Towels in Public Restrooms?

This is the time of year when we are more susceptible to illness and need to be extra cautious.  Washing our hands and soaping thoroughly for at least twenty seconds is extremely important to help protect us against germs.  Yet, no matter how you take precautions there are times you need to visit a public restroom, but do you know which is the safer choice when it comes to drying your hands?

You may avoid touching the hot air dryer with an elbow bump or some other unique method to prevent direct contact.  Since your freshly washed hands did not land on the button to power up, you may think this is the cleaner choice over the paper towel option.  However, I hate to tell you this but according to one study there are significantly more germs using the hot air dryer over those paper towels.

According to the researchers, the hot air dryers can blow out bacteria that accumulate inside the machines over time and stick to  moist hands up to a whooping 435 percent compared to 57 percent for paper towels.  This is not hot air only the disgusting truth. 

So the next time you need to use that public restroom, you may want to use paper towels instead to dry your washed hands. 

To further protect yourself, you should use a paper towel to turn off the water and also to open the restroom door when leaving.



  1. BethElderton
    October 21, 2011 / 9:35 am

    I did not know about the possibility of the hot hand dryers blowing bacteria-of course, it makes perfect sense. Besides that, those machines are not very effective, and I find myself wiping my hands on my jeans afterwards sometimes.I know the environmental arguments against paper towels and have greatly reduced using the at home, however, I think they are the most effective and the safest in terms of public health.Maybe the compromise could be some sort of recycling programs.

  2. royalegacy
    October 21, 2011 / 3:25 pm

    I don't care how many paper towels it takes to dry my hands, and open the door when I leave a public bathroom. I know it is more sanitary for me, and I am less likely to become ill. What really bothers me is that our "South of the Border" friends will not flush their toilet paper, and will not wash their hands after using the rest room. It is just not a part of their culture (probably because they can't flush paper in their home country).

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