The pandemic awakened collective awareness about the importance of washing our hands properly and more often than usual. Proper hand hygiene is extremely important to reduce contamination and infections.
Much is said about the correct way to wash your hands, but have you ever wondered about the most effective method for drying your hands?
Moist skin provides a hospitable environment for microorganisms like COVID-19 and, as a result, can increase the likelihood of contamination, so hand drying should be done as carefully as washing.
In public and corporate environments, we usually find the two most adopted methods: disposable paper towels and hand dryers.
Hand dryers are popularly known as “more hygienic and sustainable”, but according to research in the UK, France and Italy, air jet dryers are basically “bacteria cannons”.
Scientists at the University of Leeds, UK, Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris, France, and Udine University, Italy, have found that these devices are dispersing alarming amounts of bacteria in the air and on the surfaces where they are installed.
Therefore, in addition to being noisy and consuming energy, these devices pose the risk of cross-contamination, as they disperse large amounts of bacteria in the air and on surfaces such as walls and sinks where they are installed.
In general, this happens because people do not wash their hands properly and the residual bacteria end up spreading through the environment with the strong jets of air.
Safer and more comfortable, disposable paper towels are much more effective at removing waste without spreading it to other surfaces.
Aware about these factors, IKEA deactivated its hand dryers in its restrooms and started offering paper towel dispensers to its customers to dry their hands after washing them.