Research has shown during a number of studies comparing the use of paper towels to air dryers for hand drying in washrooms and kitchens that using individual paper towels provide a safer drying experience and cleaner environment than air dryers do. 


COVID-19 Concerns

There has been increasing focus on handwashing and hygiene with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic causing us all to look more closely at how we wash our hands and the level of protection we gain from doing so. This has led to a greater focus on the benefits of offering paper towels as the best means of drying hands, reducing the spread of harmful bacteria and reducing contamination within the environment.

Satino by WEPA is one such company offering products that allow us to wash and dry hands safely and effectively. Here, we look at how paper towels could provide a more effective drying method in these hygiene.


What’s the science?

Individual use paper towels are more effective than conventional jet air dryers at removing microbes and bacteria from hands, and this is especially true when hands are not washed thoroughly as the abrasive action from rubbing the paper towel on skin removes further bacteria, something which does not happen when held or rubbed together under an air dryer.

Research has, in fact, shown that bacteria spread is far more likely when using an air dryer and environmental contamination is greater. The air dryer spreads the bacteria not just to the user but out into the surrounding environment with a potential fivefold spread of virus and bacteria to clothing and surface contamination being as much as ten times higher than a traditional paper towel use causes. The ability then for these microbes to transfer through later contact with others can translate into far greater microbe contamination beyond the washroom itself.


Why paper towels offer a more hygienic solution

Paper towels have the advantage of single use sheets that are only touched by the user, reducing the risk of cross contamination greatly. The use of paper towels from an appropriate dispenser is recognised as the safest method to control the spread of germs. Paper towels also come with the added benefit that they can be used to cover surfaces and handles when opening or closing doors and turning taps on or off without the need for the user to make direct contact with these surfaces.

Any opportunity to reduce the exposure of the user to viruses or bacteria on surfaces is now more important than ever.

Irrespective of whether you offer a sensor or pull out paper towel dispenser, the additional protection afforded to everybody when paper towels are the chosen hand drying method is clear. The use of paper towels is widespread throughout hospitals and this alone backs up the case for using paper towels as the most hygienic and suitable option for clean hands and reduced transmission of unwanted germs, dirt and bacteria.


More reasons to choose paper

Installing paper towel dispensers is a cheaper alternative to air dryers too. Although they require regular towel replenishment, this is a simple task that requires no particular skill as would be necessary to maintain and fix faulty air dryers. The wide range of paper towel dispensers available ensure that there are dispensers suitable for high volume areas and the space required is less than an air dryer. In addition to this, the effects on the environment are considered, with many paper towel manufacturers encouraging the recycling of used paper towel to lower carbon footprint. 

The lack of complicated electronics ensures their reliability in comparison to air dryers, and whilst there are some requiring electricity or battery power to operate, any electrical consumption will be far lower and therefore provide a cheaper option. A simple pull dispenser is also a cost effective and hygienic too.  

It’s clear to see that when choosing a hand drying option for any commercial bathroom, there’s certainly a strong argument for paper over air dryers. Which will you opt for?