August 14th, 2018 by
It doesn’t take much to get social media buzzing these days, and recently there’s been a new post catching everyone’s attention. This time, however, it isn’t a funny dog video or an innovative recipe, but a picture of some bacteria in a Petri dish. The poster claims to have put a Petri dish under an electric hand dryer for 3 minutes to collect all the bacteria that’s blown out of it, and the results are quite alarming on first glance. The post has over half a million shares already, so it seems that millions of Facebook users are asking the same question; are electric hand dryers really full of bacteria? We thought we’d do a bit of digging to get to the bottom of the issue.
Why Do People Think Electric Hand Dryers Are Unsanitary?
Photos of bacteria growing in Petri dishes look dramatic, but they only tell half the story You’re probably aware that the main competition for electric hand dryers’ spot in the bathroom comes from the paper towel dispenser. This has led to a surprisingly fierce rivalry between the electric hand dryer industry and the paper towel industry, with both trying to paint the other as unhygienic in order to get their products out there. One of the tactics they use is to commission studies that sound convincing, but which are actually very flawed because they’re set up to produce alarming headlines that make the other side look bad! We’ve come across thousands of electric hand dryers and paper towel dispensers over the years so we know the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. As with many arguments, the truth lies somewhere in the middle ground. In this case, which side is more hygienic really depends on how they’re going to be used and what sort of washroom they’re going to be installed in. We went into more depth about electric hand dryers vs paper towel dispensers here, so if you’re not sure which is best for you, give that a read.
What About the Photo Evidence?
Many studies will back up their findings with dramatic photos of Petri dishes showing disgusting clouds of bacteria. The viral post that we talked about earlier has over half a million shares off the back of this, so we’ll use that as an example. The poster claims to have put a Petri dish under an electric hand dryer for 3 minutes before leaving it for “a few days” to allow the bacteria to grow. The picture it produced is certainly dramatic and stomach-turning, but ask yourself; how many times have you put your hands under an electric hand dryer for 3 minutes at a time, then not washed your hands at all for a few days afterwards? In this case – as with many other cases – the study doesn’t reflect any practical, real-life situation, so while it produces alarming headlines it isn’t very useful.
Do Electric Hand Dryers Spread Germs and Bacteria?
Washing your hands properly is the most important part of staying hygienic in a bathroom In practical terms, no they don’t! The argument over whether paper towels or electric hand dryers are hygienic misses the point, as neither are designed to clean your hands anyway. That’s what washing your hands is for! Properly washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to keep bacteria away from them, so drying them with a decent, clean, and modern hand dryer or paper towel doesn’t make much difference. Electric hand dryers will blow some particles onto your hands (although many new models come with HEPA filters to catch particles before they reach your hands) but it’s only a tiny amount and in real life it’s no more or less hygienic than wiping them with a paper towel or a hand towel, which will pick up trace amounts of bacteria themselves. However, our bodies are built to be able to cope with a certain level of bacteria – we wouldn’t be able to survive anywhere if they weren’t – so it won’t harm you.
How Can I Stay Hygienic in Public Bathrooms?
Use common sense! It’s really as simple as that. Get in, wash your hands, and get out. Don’t be put off by electric hand dryers or paper towel dispensers as neither will harm you. What’s much more important is that you wash your hands properly with soap and water! Unless the bathroom is visibly filthy, you don’t have much reason to worry.
I’m a Business Owner. How Can I Make My Washroom More Hygienic?
What's best for your business washroom depends on your own circumstances Making sure your washroom has up-to-date appliances that are easy to clean and maintain is the number one way you can keep your bathroom clean. There’s no substitute for regular checks to make sure everything is clean, so making this task as easy as possible for your cleaning staff should be your top priority. Whether you plump for an electric hand dryer or a paper towel dispenser, you want it to be made of a tough and smooth material like ABS plastic or stainless steel (or even microbe-killing anti-bacterial plastic) that’s easy for your staff to wipe down and clean. Being alarmed by flawed studies about electric hand dryers or paper towel dispensers could lead to you making the wrong choice for your business and may end up costing you money. Always thoroughly research big bathroom purchases and think practically about it before you make your choice. Who’ll be using your bathroom? How big is your bathroom? How many people do you expect to use it? Do you have space to store a supply of replacement towels? If you’re not sure about the answer to any of your questions, feel free to give us a call on 0800 091 3171 or use the live chat function on HSDOnline.co.uk for some free expert advice.
Leave a reply
Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required