We have all seen the recycled products or the “paperless push” as individuals, businesses and communities embrace the green initiative and provide products or services that are more environmentally conscious. However, is paperless always the best or healthiest option? Rumor has it that hand dryers can actually add to the germs that are on your hands as they collect the air they blow to dry your hands from the surrounding environment. That seems like it could be decently accurate, right? There’s no way we want to be potentially adding germs to our hands after we just scrubbed them away. Is paper safer or is this a rumor that needs to be squashed?
The Mayo Clinic conducted a study to test the effects of four different hand-drying methods for their ability to remove bacteria from washed hands. This randomized study of 100 adults measured the amount of bacteria on the hands of each person before washing with a non-antibacterial soap and then measured again after drying by (1) cloth towel, (2) paper towel, (3) warm hand dryer and (4) air dry. Surprisingly, there was no significant increase in removing bacteria from hands using a hand dryer than any of the other methods.
In fact, several researchers indicate that air drying can significantly reduce numbers of bacteria and viruses on washed hands. How? Well, dryers have shown the ability to dry more than just the top layer of skin, helping to remove leftover water or soap suds that may have remaining bacteria inside. Air drying also has the ability to permeate creases in dry skin slightly better than rough paper towels, eliminating whatever bacteria and cleaning solution may be left on your skin.
It seems like we have a squashed rumor on hand here. Partner this information up with the fact that touchless cleaning options (faucets, soap dispensers and now air dryers) all take away the “touch factor” where germs and bacteria are most commonly spread, and we may have dispelled this issue for good. We’ve gone more sanitary, but could we go even more green than paperless?
Absolutely. A new hand drying product has been launched within the last six months that uses 80% less energy than traditional hand dryers. What? 80% less?! Called the EcoDri, this sleek and modern hand dyer can dry hands in 15-20 seconds with its touch-free interface which shuts off automatically after 60 seconds of continuous use. And the metal and ABS plastic components are 100% recyclable. The EcoDri is a product that is sure to stick around and set the precedent in green hand drying – especially now that we know they’re all about being green, not inviting green.