What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

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dm200
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What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:33 am

I always thoroughly was my hands when I use a restroom. Some restrooms have paper towels to dry your hands, some have the electric hand dryers and some offer a choice. The ones that have dryers often have signs saying how the electric dryers are better, more sanitary and better for the environment. At work, they have recently installed the electric dryers in addition to the paper towels - and there is a sign encouraging employees to use the electric dryers because they are better for the environment and health.

Some things I have read, though, claim that the dryers just blow the germs all over the place and are not good.

What is the "fact based" truth?

I do notice that my Kaiser medical centers all have paper towels.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by slayed » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:38 am

I always prefer paper towel because I can use it to open the door when leaving. washing is rather pointless otherwise if you have to grab a filthy door handle on your way out.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by mhc » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:39 am

I don't know, but some of the new dryers are so loud I can't stand them. They sound like jet engines.

Sometimes I like to wash my face. I hate drying my face with an electric dryer, especially the blade style.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:40 am

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the ... 8051113823

It’s true. Nasty. Attached article includes link to the source studies.
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Cheyenne » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:41 am

Some things I have read, though, claim that the dryers just blow the germs all over the place and are not good.
I read about a scientific study that supported this, and it found that children have more exposure because they're in the path of the blowing air. It also stated that the use of individual paper towels are better because they wipe germs from the hands.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Rupert » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:42 am

This link from Cleveland Clinic might help: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the- ... nd-dryers/

In my humble, non-scientific opinion, hand dryers don't work worth a darn, even the Dyson ones. I always end up wiping my hands on my pants after using them. Yuck.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:49 am

Just verifying what I read. I guess the "benefits" of the dryers are for the owners of the building -- and not the users of the restrooms.

It has been a long time (fortunately) since I have seen the roll of cloth towels.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by BostonButterfly » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:56 am

slayed wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:38 am
I always prefer paper towel because I can use it to open the door when leaving. washing is rather pointless otherwise if you have to grab a filthy door handle on your way out.
+1,000!
I use the paper towel to turn off the water after washing my hands as well, if its not automatic water start. Nothing like using your clean hands to turn off a filthy faucet.......that's probably filthier than the door handle.

But then again, I fully acknowledge that I'm a germophobe.......

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:47 am

MythBusters took up the challenge, Google results
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:03 pm

Mythbusters says it all. When you wash you do not remove all bacteria. The paper towels physically wipe of residual bacteria. Air dryers do not do that.

Try and use the whole paper towel and not only the middle and then need more and more. So if you use the paper you can be ecological by not overdoing it with the towels.

And for you germophobes, remember to actively wash your thumbs. This is a part neglected by most in hand washing.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:05 pm

In western Europe, there's no choice - it's air dryers, and I hate them. I don't want to spend longer in the toilets than I need to, and they never dry my hands. So I resort to drying my hands with an airplane napkin, though I'm sure Purel and the like is probably better.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:09 pm

The air dryers are better because they spread germs and make most non-immuno-compromised immune systems better. It's like getting a free vaccination.

I think the main benefit for not using paper towels is that towels require someone to buy them, install them periodically, clean them up off the floor, empty the trash, haul away the waste, and all that jazz. They are not present to flush down toilets as well.

Anyways, a few germs are generally not bad for anyone.

One can buy nitrile gloves to take with them and wear inside restrooms. The other patrons would probably not mind that you keep your grimy hands off of things anyways.
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:09 pm

I prefer paper towels for several reasons. I believe they are more sanitary. They are also useful if you want to wet and dry your face or forehead or whatever. I supply paper towels at home in the powder room for guests (bought in bulk at Costco). I am not a germaphobe at all, but cringe if I go to someone's house and there is one cloth towel that has been used 50 times by numerous people that may have washed their hands well or not and then dried them.

I particularly hate those Dyson dryers where you are supposed to put your hands in a slot without touching the sides. It is like playing the game Operation when I was a kid.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by unclescrooge » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:36 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:05 pm
In western Europe, there's no choice - it's air dryers, and I hate them. I don't want to spend longer in the toilets than I need to, and they never dry my hands. So I resort to drying my hands with an airplane napkin, though I'm sure Purel and the like is probably better.
Until you realize they contain carcinogens. :oops:

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:41 pm

I’ve been avoiding the electric dryer, I always carry some papers with me anyway, if not I wipe my hands on my pants, most likely my jeans.

I wash hands often too, and I rarely get sick, no flu shots here ever. So yes the theory that the spreading of the germs are good for your immune system doesn’t work for me.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by RollTide31457 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:46 pm

Always use paper hand towels and never use use the hand dryers.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:50 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:49 am
Just verifying what I read. I guess the "benefits" of the dryers are for the owners of the building -- and not the users of the restrooms.

It has been a long time (fortunately) since I have seen the roll of cloth towels.
Some public restrooms in Europe have rolls of cloth towels that auto-scroll. The roll is one really large roll whereby each person gets a clean section.
The disadvantage of this is that you don't have a paper towel in your hand to open the door with.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by fposte » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:53 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:36 pm
SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:05 pm
In western Europe, there's no choice - it's air dryers, and I hate them. I don't want to spend longer in the toilets than I need to, and they never dry my hands. So I resort to drying my hands with an airplane napkin, though I'm sure Purel and the like is probably better.
Until you realize they contain carcinogens. :oops:
Are you thinking of the triclosan-based sanitizers? They've been banned from the public market since 2016.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by mrmass » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:56 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:50 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:49 am
Just verifying what I read. I guess the "benefits" of the dryers are for the owners of the building -- and not the users of the restrooms.

It has been a long time (fortunately) since I have seen the roll of cloth towels.
Some public restrooms in Europe have rolls of cloth towels that auto-scroll. The roll is one really large roll whereby each person gets a clean section.
The disadvantage of this is that you don't have a paper towel in your hand to open the door with.
All bathroom doors should be push out from the bathroom...this should minimize the need for an extra paper towel and trash bin next to the door, or worse yet, the used paper towel tossed on the floor.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:57 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:50 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:49 am
Just verifying what I read. I guess the "benefits" of the dryers are for the owners of the building -- and not the users of the restrooms.

It has been a long time (fortunately) since I have seen the roll of cloth towels.
Some public restrooms in Europe have rolls of cloth towels that auto-scroll. The roll is one really large roll whereby each person gets a clean section.
The disadvantage of this is that you don't have a paper towel in your hand to open the door with.
I often use my elbow to open the door if I can. I avoid touching the nob.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:47 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:40 am
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the ... 8051113823

It’s true. Nasty. Attached article includes link to the source studies.
That's rather an exaggeration.

Bacteria are out there. Everywhere. Including the paper towel dispenser. Society needs to get a grip on this fact.

What we should be concerned about is not where we can get a Petri dish to prove exposure to bacteria. We should be concerned about actual risk of transmission. The linked studies document a concern about aersolization of infectious microbes in a hospital environment.

None of them appear to assess risk of actual transmission of disease, which is likely to be far more closely related the number of viable bacterium on your hands, and the residual amount of water and other material that provides an environment where they can potentially survive long enough and in enough numbers to cause an infection.
unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:36 pm
I'm sure Purel and the like is probably better.

Until you realize they contain carcinogens
They don't, actually. Hand sanitizers are toxic if ingested in large quantities, but I'm not seeing any carcinogenic findings coming up from searching on any of their normal ingredients. Nor are they apparently required to have a Proposition 65 warning.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by DanMahowny » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:35 pm

No chance I'd ever use a dryer. Nasty.
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by UpsetRaptor » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:12 pm

The truth is that most germs are harmless, and being too big of a germophobe can itself lead to an unhealthy underdeveloped immune system. As with most things health-related, a common sense middle ground between too much and too little is best.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by andypanda » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:27 pm

Not only does a forced air unit make my ears ring even more than they normally have for the past 30 years, many places have 2 units installed. Ouch. 90 db from one unit is bad enough, but 2... sheesh. Nothing like a small tile restroom with two of them running.

" Excel has developed a new nozzle that minimizes the increase in decibel level from the sound deflection. The 1.1 nozzle can lower the decibel level up to 9 decibels and keeps it under 90 dB. It will add about 2 to 3 seconds to the drying time."

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by shunkman » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:40 pm

Blowers suck. Generally, when I exit a public restroom that provides blowers only I head for the nearest paper napkin dispenser and use them to dry my hands. So nothing is really being saved.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by KJVanguard » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:57 pm

I agree with the post above that says blowers suck. They do indeed suck.

I want paper. It dries my hands better & faster, plus I can use it to operate the door on my way out. Vital issue there, as you sure don't want to touch the door in a mens room after you wash your hands. Some men are pigs and they will take a big loud dump and then waltz out without washing. I know what you did! I had to hear it! And you Sir are a pig for not washing. Even my pet rats groom after a meal; are you less civilized than a rodent?

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by BolderBoy » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:48 pm

slayed wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:38 am
I always prefer paper towel because I can use it to open the door when leaving. washing is rather pointless otherwise if you have to grab a filthy door handle on your way out.
+2000!
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:50 pm

I'm not sure what the best solution to this problem is, but I do have a hand-waving solution.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by abc132 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:01 pm

Hand Sanitizer is many times better.

Saw it on Dr Oz, so it must be true.

Or maybe I wasn't paying attention and it was hand washing.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:19 am

abc132 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:01 pm
Hand Sanitizer is many times better.
Saw it on Dr Oz, so it must be true.
Or maybe I wasn't paying attention and it was hand washing.
:wink: :wink: :wink:

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:24 am

My observation, over the decades, is that a significant percentage of men do not wash their hands (at all) when using the restroom. Interestingly, my observations at various workplaces is that upper management men are among the chief "offenders".

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by FlyAF » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:48 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:24 am
My observation, over the decades, is that a significant percentage of men do not wash their hands (at all) when using the restroom. Interestingly, my observations at various workplaces is that upper management men are among the chief "offenders".
I've noticed that too, I wonder if it is an ego thing? "I'm going to make my underlings shake my gross hands"

I'm now the office germophobe and known as the guy who doesn't shake hands. Oh well.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:18 am

The only fact that matters to me is that hand dryers annoy me because I never feel like my hands are dry. therefore I prefer paper towels. No further facts or assumptions are relevant for me.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by David Jay » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:24 am

slayed wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:38 am
I always prefer paper towel because I can use it to open the door when leaving. washing is rather pointless otherwise if you have to grab a filthy door handle on your way out.
This is what some of the cruise ships (remember norovirus?) have implemented for public restrooms. Paper towels and a disposal bin on the wall right next to the door. Open the door with the paper towel and then deposit the used paper towel in the bin.
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:30 am

In the winter, I use the electric dryers because the heat reduces (by a tiny amount) the heating needs of the building. In the summer, I use towels because I don't want to increase the AC load. When there's no dryer and the towel dispenser is empty (my work building, this happens at least one day a week), I just lick my hands like a cat. After I open the door with the germ covered disgusting handle, I lick them again to clean off the germs.
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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Trism » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:49 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:24 am
My observation, over the decades, is that a significant percentage of men do not wash their hands (at all) when using the restroom. Interestingly, my observations at various workplaces is that upper management men are among the chief "offenders".
Perhaps I can shed some light.

1 - I only do #2 at home, where you don't have a clue what happens afterward.
2 - It's unusual to get #1 on my hands during a routine operation, and it's sterile anyway.
3 - I wash my hands before I use a public restroom, not after, because it's hard to imagine a scenario where my hands are the cleaner of the two skin surfaces that touch during #1. All my "parts" have touched since my shower are my freshly-laundered underclothes.
4 - I made some of that up.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:12 am

People stand at a dryer doing nothing but rubbing your hands in the airflow. Doing essentially nothing. It is pretty passive. Most of us do not like that aspect of it. Better to be actively engaged by using paper. Makes us feel like things are moving along.
I go with the paper, but I try and use one towel at whatever length it happens to come out of the machine. I do not automatically pull and pull and pull until I have a huge wad.
I have to live in a world with other people and in public spaces sometimes. I am going to encounter some germs. Paper verses air seems mostly based on person preference for the ability to get the dry hands job done more so than effectiveness of germ removal.

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Re: What is the truth - paper towels vs. electric hand dryer?

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:59 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (below acceptable threshold). See: Personal Consumer Issues
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