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MYTHBUSTER: Hand Dryers In Public Washrooms

There are a lot of misinformed comments and opinions in relation to the hygienic use of hand dryers in public washrooms. There are comments about the air from the hand dryer blowing germs and infectious particles around the washroom, as well as hand dryers are full of bacteria and infectious to touch.

Let us clarify some of these misinformed comments and information.

Wash your hands correctly

At this stage we have all been advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the importance of washing hands correctly for at least 20 seconds and equally importantly drying them completely with a high-speed hand dryer or paper towel. No matter what your preference, do not use your clothing to dry your hands. Improper hand washing and drying is a public health risk. 

The air in Washrooms

It is a fact that bacteria, microorganisms and viruses circulate in washrooms, regardless of the hand drying option. Air and surfaces that people touch and are in contact with pick up these microorganisms. Particles will move with airflow from an air conditioning system, ventilation, flushing a toilet or our own movement in the washroom. So, whether you use paper towels or hand dryers, the air in the washroom will contain microorganisms, bacteria and viruses. ATC hand dryers can be fitted with HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of particles, 0.3µm or larger, from the airstream. So, assuming you have washed your hands correctly, the air from the hand dryer will be cleaner.  

Are Hand dryers Safe to Use?

ATC HEPA-filtered hand dryers ensure that 99.97% of particles, 0.3µm or larger, clean the air before reaching the users hands. Touchless operation also reduces the touch points, ensuring the user can dry their hands without running into cross contamination.

What is the most Contaminated object in Washrooms?

It is interesting to read a DEB Group blog post (, where they rank all the various objects in public washrooms. It shows hand dryers rank significantly low in terms of germs and bacteria accumulation. The details show that contact surfaces such as toilet paper dispensers and waste bins, where paper towels are discarded, carry significantly higher counts compared to hand dryers.

Are Studies independent?

It is known that some of the one-sided studies are sponsored by the paper towel industry to comment negatively on hand dryers. This could be because hand dryers are the more cost effective and environmentally friendly option in washrooms. The comparison of the annual energy cost of hand dryers verses paper towels and the annual CO2 emissions is clear for everyone to see. See below the savings with a Tiger ECO High Speed Hand Dryer compared with a traditional hand dryer and also compared with paper towels.
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