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Air Hand Dryers leave 254% more bacteria on hands

Nov 9, 2009

airdryerFor most of us, we are slightly disappointed to see air hand dryers in public restrooms after washing our hands. Environmental friendly factors set aside, those air dryers are just not as effective as old fashioned paper towels at getting our hands dry.  According to a  study by Effect Measure, an independent group of senior public health practitioners, you may have one more reason to be disappointed to see those dryers – every time you use an air dryer, the amount of bacteria on your hands increases by 254% and on the finger pads by 194%.

Additionally, most of the older hand dryers in use (and even some of the newer ones) have an internal screen that should be changed every 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately, most are lucky if they are changed every 1-2 years. This sad reality is not only is a waste of energy, but also keeps more bacteria, germs, and viruses trapped in the dust on the screens, which then is blown directly onto our hands when we dry them.

With the flu epidemic continually gaining momentum, the safety of hand dryers became a major concern at many universities, schools, and other densely populated facilities. At the schools where outbreaks occurred, they became a big enough concern that health department officials ordered them removed and replaced with paper towel dispensers.

If a restroom you use still has a dryer, public health practitioners recommend to wash your hands, skip the dryer, and then dry your hands with napkins, paper towels, etc. in the vicinity.

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72 Responses to “Air Hand Dryers leave 254% more bacteria on hands”

  1. Jessica - November 12th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Also, sometimes I brush my teeth in bathrooms and how will I dry my face if there are no paper towels!?! It is sooo frustrating!

  2. David Thomas - December 2nd, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Studies prove that giving men something to aim at improves cleanliness around the urinal and Direct Aim Marketing has come up with sports urinal screens that do just that. Visit http://www.direct-aim.com/products and choose between the football urinal screen and the soccer urinal screen. Put them in your urinals to improved cleanliness and reduce your cleaning costs today!

  3. Margosha - January 10th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I am in shock) – Dirty toilets in Tokyo

  4. Light Microscopes - January 23rd, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Wow. So much bacteria. I never knew this could be the case. It’s such a scary thing to know. I’m not even going close to one of that again.

  5. brankas - April 4th, 2010 at 10:39 am

    very useful information .. thanks

  6. health insurance tips - April 10th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Wow. So much bacteria. I never knew this could be the case. It’s such a scary thing to know. I’m not even going close to one of that again.

  7. wire mesh lockers - May 18th, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I just always presumed air hand dryers were the best and most effective way of drying your hands. This has really surprised me.

  8. wholesale nike shoes - May 23rd, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    thank you for your sharing.it is so wonderful.I will always come to here,look forward to reading your new article.

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  10. Kim - July 8th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Well, I don’t understand what’s really wrong with air dryers compared to old paper napkins? No offense but i’d say, Dryer is way better idea compared to paper napkins as far as environment is concerned.

  11. Molly - July 9th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for your input! Dryers use energy too to run, so it still has a carbon footprint.

  12. Good Restroom Hygiene- Provide Hand Sanitizer - July 9th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    [...] ways to stay clean when using the bathroom. Previously, we recommended using paper towels versus air hand dryers to spread less bacteria onto hands. Touchless dispensers also cut down on the spread of [...]

  13. Paul Joseph - July 21st, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I agree, The traditional method is always the best rather than the hi-tech ones. By the way thanks for sharing this info about the air dryer issue.

  14. Mae@coeur d'alene massage therapist - July 24th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    I still prefer drying my hands using the towel than using the hi tech hand dryer use on restaurant or any every comfort room on malls or big establishments. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Molly - July 25th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for your input! I was in a restroom the other day and they only had an air hand dryer, which I found annoying. I enjoy having the option of paper towels too!

  16. registered nurse staffing - July 26th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    A little known fact you presented…. sometimes paper towels are better, along with hand sanitizer.

  17. Daniel Smith - July 28th, 2010 at 6:30 am

    That’s eye opening. I will now prefer to use paper towels than hand driers.

  18. Molly - July 28th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Glad we could provide you with the information!

  19. Danna - July 29th, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Thank you for sharing this article. Not all are aware that using air hand driers can put our health in danger.

  20. Molly - July 29th, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Your welcome! Hope that the blog continues to provide you pertinent information about restroom safety.

  21. web design coeur d'alene - August 9th, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Wow! it’s the first time I heard about this fact. I am most comfortable using hand dryer. I just realized I should put this to stop. Thanks for sharing this information.

  22. Kelly Watson@Handbag Boutique - August 10th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Disgusting! Never gonna use them again!
    Thanks a lot for this notice.

  23. Molly - August 11th, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Glad we could help!

  24. Donald Bautista - August 27th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I don’t know that air dryer is much dangerous than towels or napkins. Thanks for the informative so I will advised my kids not to use air dryer instead they must use toilet tissue.

  25. dlf - September 9th, 2010 at 4:19 am

    So if you are one of many germ-a-phobic people our society has recently produced avoid using hand dryers! It is increasing the amount of bacteria not decreasing it. In effect, using a hand dryer to dry your hands is a waste of time. if you have just washed your hands, you probably have double the amount of bacteria and germs afterwards then you did before you even began.

  26. Health Issues - September 28th, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Wow I never knew hair dryers leave bacteria like that. Great article! Thanks for sharing…

  27. Claire@men's blog - October 6th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Very informative. I wasn’t aware of these facts until I’ve read this. Thank you for this post.

  28. Public Restoom Hygiene - October 8th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    [...] are some important things to remember! Some of recommendations for using a public bathroom include avoiding air hand dryers, using touchless dispensers. Carrying a hand sanitizer with you might also be a good idea, in case [...]

  29. DJ - October 14th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    This is shocking. I live in Mexico and their are some air dryers that you stick your hands into to dry you off. I can imagine how much bacteria is in that. OMG I will never go near anything that blows again. Thank you so much for the information. Jasper Hotels | Kindersley Hotels

  30. new houses in coeur d'alene - November 21st, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for this informative post. Proper hand washing procedures should be practiced on a daily basis to eliminate germs and to maintain healthy hands. The best prevention is to wash the hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. I recommend wetting the hands under warm running water and then lathering with soap. The hands should be scrubbed for 15 to 20 seconds. Scrub all areas of the hand and wrist, including between the fingers and under nails. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
    In the event that warm water and soap is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used. Apply one-half teaspoon to the palm of the hand and rub hands, covering all areas, until the sanitizer is dry. Hand sanitizers kill more bacteria and viruses than soap and water.

  31. Criminal Defense Lawyer LA - December 9th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I thought that air-drying was just a quicker way. Little did I know how much germs were actually on it. Why do you think the dryers are so contaminated?

  32. Molly - December 10th, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I think they are just cleaned less often than they should be.

  33. mike - December 14th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    If there is one place germs are going to breed untouched by any cleaning fluids in public toilets it’s going to be the ‘Warm Air’ dryers. I say warm air specifically the air never gets too hot to pull your hands out of the way so they will never kill any germs!
    Paper towels must be the most hygienic because even with those cloth rolls you always touch a wet area to pull it down which has obviously just been used by someone else before you!

  34. Gaz Pieprzowy - December 28th, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Hand dryer as a machine is not bad but as every machine it needs maintenance. And as far as I can tell owners just don’t care about hygiene. If it blows it’s good. Shame.

    - Gaz

  35. Sturm Law - December 30th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I would rather have the air dryer than those nasty public cloth towel wheels. Have you seen those? You would probably be better off not washing your hands at all than to touch one of them.

  36. Los Angeles Party Rentals - January 7th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    What about those Dyson air dryers they are replacing a lot of them with? I thought those were supposed to be the “new, green and clean” dryers.

  37. Massage - January 15th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    It is hard to find decent information on this topic, thank you for the post.

  38. Carrie Johnson - January 16th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t actually use hand dryers just because waiting for your turn is a bit hassle. So I’d rather use my handkerchief to dry my hands.

  39. Molly - January 17th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    That’s true Carrie! And especially now in the winter, the hot air really dries out my skin.

  40. mike - January 24th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Proper hand washing procedures should be practiced on a daily basis to eliminate germs and to maintain healthy hands. Germs are spread by contact with the hand and can easily be transferred to the face or mouth when drinking or eating. Washing hands prior to eating, after visiting the restroom and avoiding contact with contaminated surfaces will reduce the risk of illness.

  41. bill - January 24th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Hand dryers are less expensive than paper towels in every aspect except initial installation, and the initial cost is quickly recouped. Hand dryers are cheaper for ongoing use, they require less maintenance, and also are more environmentally friendly. The only drawback seems to be one not related to cost–people simply don’t like using them.

  42. AJ - February 5th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I have always hated seeing those hand dryers instead of paper towels. I never knew they left more bacteria on your hands. Even more of a reason for me not to like them.

  43. Francheska - February 18th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Air hand dryers are always available in almost any establishment nowadays. I never really thought that air dyers can cause more danger to its users.

  44. natalie - February 22nd, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Nice post!I never knew hair dryers leave bacteria like that.were glad you share this link, keep it up!

  45. mike - February 27th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    So if you are one of many germ-a-phobic people our society has recently produced avoid using hand dryers! It is increasing the amount of bacteria not decreasing it. In effect, using a hand dryer to dry your hands is a waste of time. if you have just washed your hands, you probably have double the amount of bacteria and germs afterwards then you did before you even began.

  46. Earl Loyd - February 28th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I’ve always been afraid of small life forms. Now that I have read your blog, it makes me more scared of them but on the practical side, I’d be able to prevent my kids from getting one. Thanks for the info, keep it up.

  47. Registered Nurse Jobs - March 7th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hadn’t even considered filters and getting germs from dryers!!! Luckily I’ve always thought they were useless anyway so never bothered with them :)

  48. Tony McBonnie - March 7th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I never knew this before. thanks for the post. I have 3 kids with me who’s job is to make the house messy and eat all the time with their hands dirty. I might wanna get one soon… Do you know any good company that gives out free health insurance quote?

  49. Care Assistant Jobs - March 15th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I haven’t used a dryer since reading this and laugh in the face of those that do!! They just think I’m strange though :)

  50. Joel Neville - March 16th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    There are grey areas associated with this issue. To argue that they are unsafe from a basteria perspective would be naive and therefore imply that lockers and other equipment should be removed considering the amount of different people who use them.

  51. tommysky - March 18th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    hello, good topic for take care of hair. bacteria less hair is very nice, healthy hair, i like this. thanks

  52. Sheek@Small business accounting software - March 22nd, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Really? That great number of bacteria? Amazing… I never imagined that this is possible and that is gross but I guess no matter what we do to avoid them they are everywhere.

  53. nikeclearance - March 24th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    really? that is beyond belief.

  54. Tommysky - March 26th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    actually topic very beneficiary for health, pl. keep up

  55. Ben@Treadmill Review - April 18th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Why is the amount of bacteria so much higher on your hands after using a hand dryer? You’d think that oxygen was being used to dry your hands–but maybe not.

  56. Are Air Hand Dryers Unsafe? - April 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    [...] hands in dryer, it stated simply. That’s an awful idea, I thought to myself. Knowing that hand dryers leave bacteria on hands, I was shocked to see that I had no paper towel option for hand drying. Automatic air hand dryers [...]

  57. Ben@Treadmill Review - June 1st, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Paper towel dispensers just work better in general because they can just dry your hands so quickly. Don’t blow the germs around!

  58. NC Health Insurance Quotes - June 22nd, 2011 at 6:30 am

    ooooohhh, gross… guess i’m gonna have to keep using the anti-bacterial pump after washing hands… until a study comes out saying how much bacteria is on the anti-bacterial pump!

  59. fight club Miami - June 24th, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Actually, most electric hand dryers are powered by coal-fired power stations, not so clean. Most hand towels are made from farmed early-growth trees, which actually contribute more CO2 to Ox transfer than old growth trees. All assumptions of enviro-impact need to factor in the entire chain of production to become true statements.

  60. Molly - June 27th, 2011 at 5:28 am

    I never knew that about early-growth trees. Thanks!

  61. Tom - July 15th, 2011 at 6:08 am

    The air dryer is really just a bad invention.
    People don’t change filters enough, and they never get cleaned because even most cleaners don’t bother!

    I recently created my own blog, and posted about chosing one Janitorial product or another.
    It is basically me asking for some help, as I am new to running the business.
    Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

    http://supplyingtheworkplace.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!

    - Tom

  62. MATC - July 21st, 2011 at 10:37 am

    How do people know that it’s 254% exactly? Why are they so much “dirtier” than normal paper towels?

  63. how to stop drinking alcohol on your own - August 4th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    hi, I really liked your blog. I especially liked the idea of Air Hand Dryers leave 254% more bacteria on hands you mentioned in your blog. Is there any RSS feed available to your blog. So, that I can get regular updates :) thanks

  64. Theresa @Plastic Surgery Wichita Falls TX - August 6th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I personally don’t used toilet paper and the dryer specially on public places. I used to bring my own wet tissue, sanitizer and alcohol when I go out.

  65. Acompanhantes SP - September 9th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Ok,Paper towel dispensers just work better in general because they can just dry your hands so quickly. Don’t blow the germs around!!!!!!!

  66. Molly - September 15th, 2011 at 5:43 am

    True!

  67. acompanhantes litoral - September 15th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Its Ok!

  68. crozzzlinx - September 22nd, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I have a baby, cleanliness is very important, thank you for the information you provide

  69. mark - September 27th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hey, your blog is always great to read, much well-written information and knowledge. Keep up the good work!
    Mark from Best DJ Software.

  70. custom screen printing - November 7th, 2011 at 3:54 am

    This is shocking. I live in Mexico and their are some air dryers that you stick your hands into to dry you off. I can imagine how much bacteria is in that. OMG I will never go near anything that blows again. Thank you so much for the information. Jasper Hotels | Kindersley Hotels

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  72. obat amandel - November 20th, 2013 at 5:10 am

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