Paper hand towels proved the best
Compelling scientific evidence is said to be continuing to mount that disposable paper hand towel systems are by far the most hygienic way for people to dry their hands in public washrooms.
In one recent large-scale study conducted in 2012 by Eurofins-Inlab, an independent laboratory based in Germany, researchers measured micro-organisms on hand drying equipment and on floors below them in real life washrooms1.
The results showed that the bacterial counts found on the surfaces of paper towel dispensers were on average 1,000 times lower than those recorded on the surfaces of jet air dryers. Meanwhile, floors tested beneath paper towel drying systems were found to have bacterial counts on average 20 times lower than the floors beneath jet air dryers. Among the bacteria recorded in the study were germs such as Staphylococci and coliforms, which can cause sickness, food poisoning, diarrhoea, skin complaints and other infections.
The findings of the Eurofins-Inlab study complement an earlier study by the University of Westminster², which found that while paper hand towels rubbed off and absorbed most of the germs on a person's hands (up to 76%), warm air and jet dryers could increase them by up to 194%.
In addition, while paper towels captured germs, other systems blew them up to 2 metres away² into the surrounding area. The researchers also said that germs collected on the surfaces and insides of jet dryers. They concluded that paper towels dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively and cause less contamination of the environment.