Everyone has frequented a public restroom at least once if not hundreds of times in their life time. After taking care of business, the proper etiquette is to wash our hands. The restroom provides a hand dryer to use. Do you use the hand dryer? Here are five reasons that may give you pause to using hand dryers.
1.) Hand Dryer Germs and the Spread of Bacteria
There is a correlation between restroom hand dryers and bacteria. The whole point of washing our hands is to remove germs and harmful bacteria. The hand dryers unfortunately defeat this very purpose. The germs we work hard to wash away are only blown right back onto our hands when we use hand dryers. In fact more germs may end up on our hands than we had before entering the bathroom!
2.) Hand Dryers vs Paper Towels Drying Efficacy
A Mayo Clinic research study revealed that people using paper towels had their hands dried within 15 seconds, whereas the hand dryers took 45 seconds. The more wet our hands are, the greater the chance of germs present. The delayed time frame to dry our hands only gives germs more of a chance to latch onto our hands.
3.) Cross Contamination
Restroom hand dryers also do more than blow bacteria right back onto our hands. The hand dryers, especially the jet hand dryers blow germs across vast areas causing bacteria from the toilets to land on soap dispensers and countertops. Try not to place purses on countertops or any other surfaces. These surfaces may be covered with harmful fecal bacteria.
4.) Skin Irritation
Hot air hand dryers and jet dryers irritate our skin. Excessive dry heat leaves hands feeling rough, scaly, and red. If used often, the dryers can actually cause skin irritation on hands and crack the skin.
5.) Noise Pollution
Did you know that hand dryers emit noise louder than a heavy truck passing 3 meters away? Restroom hand dryers are extremely noisy. Exposure to this level of noise on a daily basis and for long periods of time might result in hearing loss. While it may not be such a big deal for the majority of bathroom visitors who are only exposed to the noise pollution for less than 15 minutes, bathroom attendants and cleaning ladies need to be aware of this health risk.
Petri, Alexandra. “The paper towel-hand dryer wars are over.” The Washington Post, , sec. compost, 12 14, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2012/12/14/the-paper-towel-hand-dryer-wars-are-over/ (accessed July 19, 2013).
Mayo Clinic Proceedings, “The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence.” Last modified 06 01, 2012. Accessed July 19, 2013.