Hand hygiene in the workplace is of major importance, not only in the obvious places like schools, care homes and hospitals, but any workplace where there are multiple employees.
Hands carry germs; viruses and bacteria which can be left in hotspots all over the office, from door handles to printers and computer keyboards. To minimise the spread of these germs, we need to not only keep these key areas clean, but prevent it in the first instance with good hand hygiene.
If using a soap and water based hand wash, another key element to its effectiveness is drying.
Dryer vs Paper hand towels?
Bacteria are more easily spread on wet hands, and not only that, but drying hands also helps to remove some residual bacteria from the hands too.
So, hand drying plays a role in an effective hand wash, not just the soap and water with a good technique!
At home, you’re more than likely to use a hand towel or cloth to dry hands, however in the workplace the choice is generally between a paper hand towel or an air dryer.
What are the merits of each hand drying method?
Well, it doesn’t seem entirely clear cut.
Hand dryers and paper towels each have their own pros and cons.
Reading online resources yields different results – one source will conclude that hand dryers are more effective, and vice-versa. It depends from which angle you are looking at.
Paper Hand Towels tend to be much more costly than hand dryers in the long term. Since paper towels mostly come from trees (and others from bamboo grass), dryers have a less carbon footprint for this reason. One way to avoid waste of paper hand towels is by installing a dispenser which regulates the amount pulled out to dry one hands. However, when we look at it from a hygienic perspective research has pointed out that paper hand towels are the most efficient in preventing spread of germs and diseases therefore saving businesses thousands of pounds in lost revenue from sick leave.
Perhaps most importantly, we wanted to know which method is most hygienic. We cannot be too careful when it comes to hand hygiene, so if that were the sole priority, what would we choose?
There seems to be one scientific review on this matter which gets referenced wherever we look.
A review of 12 studies looking at hand drying methods, concluded overall that paper hand towels were more hygienic than hand dryers.
The reviews were looking at how effective hand towels were at actually drying hands, the effectiveness of bacteria removal from hands, and whether there was cross-contamination from each drying method.
Although there were limitations to the studies involved, and varying results across the studies, the conclusion recommended that paper hand towels were better than hot air dryers, and the recommended choice for areas where infection control is a critical issue.
The studies suggested that paper hand towels were the best method for removing bacteria from the hands, and that they are quicker at drying the hands than a hot air dryer.
Hand dryers also seemed to cause bacterial dispersal across the washroom area whereas hand towels contain this spread.
It seems that on balance, there are several factors which may influence your choice of hand towel or air dryer in the workplace.
If you choose paper hand towels, there are plenty of options, and we are here to help. We sell a full range of paper hand towels to suit all budgets and dispensers. We also sell dissolvable flushable hand towels which solves the problem of blocked drains when traditional hand towels are wrongly flushed away.
Here at Loorolls, we pride ourselves to being a leading stockist of janitorial & cleaning products, feel free to browse our range of products online or call us on 0151 342 2111 to create a trade account and enjoy bulk discounts (we do great deals on pallets). Contact us today for all your workplace needs!