The advantages of paper towels

In a world of coronavirus and concern about the environment, paper towels have become increasingly unpopular, and yet they have great advantages over air dryer systems when it comes to hygiene. In this article we look at the reasons it can be good to use paper towels, so you can decide if they might be the best option for your business…

Which is more hygienic: air dryers or paper towels?

There has long been a debate over whether hand dryers or paper towels are better for hygiene. For many people, particularly in a world where we’ve been conditioned to avoid transferring the coronavirus, the sight of paper towels where a virus could potentially be lurking has led to many organisations switching to hand driers.

The science, however, suggests we should do otherwise. Numerous studies, including recent research by SAGE (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) reveals that the most hygienic way to dry our hands is with a single dispensed hand towel, to the point where NHS advice is actually to wash your hands using soap and water and then dry your hands thoroughly using a paper towel.

While many individuals have focused on the importance of washing hands for 40 to 60 seconds at least, or two rounds of Happy Birthday, drying your hands properly is actually a crucial part of the process as it removes any residual bacteria from your hands after they have been washed. Conversely, some studies indicate that air dryers may actually disperse bacteria or virus particles around a washroom while hands are being dried. There is often the issue too that people don’t spend enough time drying their hands on air dryers either because they’re impatient or because they don’t want to keep others waiting.

Rolls of hand towel are effective at cleaning hands, but slightly less so than single dispensed hand towels.