Research confirms: Paper hand towels are the most hygienic way of drying hands
Washing hands helps to prevent the spread of infections in public washrooms, but the method used in drying your hands also pays an important role. Drying hands with a paper towel diminishes 2-3 times more bacteria than drying with a warm air dryer.
The European Tissue Symposium (ETS) is a trade organization*. On behalf of ETC two studies related to hand drying in public washrooms were carried in 2008. Both studies prove that paper hand towels are the most popular and hygienic way of drying hands.
The first preference study by Interfere on behalf of the ETS was finding out which drying method people prefer in public toilets. The second study was a hygiene study by University of Westminster measuring the effectiveness and hygiene of warm air dryers and paper hand towels.
Paper hand towels are most efficient and hygienic
The second study was a comparative study of different hand drying methods: paper towel and warm air dryer. The study investigated the drying efficiency, changes in the numbers of bacteria on the hands after drying and potential contamination of other users and the washroom environment.
Results showed that the warm air dryer was considerably less efficient (i.e. slower) than the 5 types of paper towel. After washing and drying hands with the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on average on the finger pads by 194 % and on the palms by 254 %. After washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced on average on the finger pads by up to 76 % and on the palms by up to 77 %.
Paper hand towels are most popular
The majority of the respondents (96 %) believe that paper hand towels are the most hygienic way to dry their hands. 88% of Europeans will always dry their hands with whatever drying system is available. Hygiene is considered the most important factor when choosing the ideal drying device by almost all (95%) of the respondents. 63% of the respondents, when offered the choice, chose tissue hand towels as their preference.
*The European Tissue Symposium (ETS) is a trade organization. Its members represent the majority of tissue paper producers throughout Europe and about 90% of the total European tissue production. The reference study was made in Germany, France, UK and Sweden with 2000 respondents. Hygiene study was conducted by University of Westminster.
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