You’re in a public bathroom. You’ve just washed your hands. You head toward the paper towel dispenser. But there’s also an electric hand dryer.
Which do you use?
A new study reveals the decision could mean the difference between catching a nasty virus or not.
Researchers examined three hand-drying options:
- Paper towels.
- Warm air dryers. These are the old fashioned blowers with a nozzle that shoots air downward onto your hands.
- Jet dryers. These are the newer devices with a slot into which you place your hands. They shoot out air at 300 mph.1
Scientists at the University of Westminster asked subjects to dip their gloved hands into a solution of a harmless virus. It’s called MS2. Then, after giving their hands a quick shake, they tried one of the three drying methods.
Finally, samples were collected from the air and surfaces at different distances from where the drying took place.
The verdict? The jet blower is a germ-spewing machine.
Erupting Volcano of Germs
It spread 1,300 times more microbes around the bathroom than paper towels. Some of the virus particles landed 10 feet away. Jet dryers were 60 times germier than regular warm air hand dryers.
Researchers concluded that jet dryers not only put the person who is drying their hands at risk… They endanger others in the bathroom at the same time. The scientists said warm air blowers are somewhat better because they push germs towards the floor. Paper towels are the best option because they create little air movement.2
Viruses blowing around you could result in the flu, a cold, diarrhea… even measles or Chickenpox, scientists said.
The findings echo those of a 2012 review in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. It looked at 12 studies on hand-drying methods.3
The study authors concluded that paper towels remove more bacteria than traditional air dryers. (They didn’t look at jet dryers.) Paper towels create friction and this helps physically remove bacteria, scientists said.
In fact, some experts believe this friction removes more microbes than actual washing.
The Right Way to Wash Your Hands
Handwashing is a crucial defense against contagious disease. But most people aren’t doing it right. Some don’t do it at all.
According to the CDC, about 95% of people don’t wash their hands correctly. Of the 3,749 people they observed in four bathrooms throughout Michigan State University, found less than 70% used soap. About 10% of people skipped the faucet altogether.4
Washing your hands means having fewer germs to spread when you use a warm air or jet dryer. It could help prevent the transmission of viruses and other nasty pathogens. But there’s a right way and wrong way to do it.
Here’s the right way:
- Put soap on your hands. Stay away from soaps containing triclosan or labeled “antimicrobial.” They’re linked to hormone problems and liver damage.
- Turn on the water. Studies show it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold.6
- Rub your hands together for 20 seconds. Don’t neglect the back of your hands and between your fingers.7
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Turn off the faucet using a paper towel or your elbow.
- Use a paper towel (not the jet dryer!) to dry your hands.
- As you exit, don’t touch the door with your hands. You’ll undo all your good work. Use a paper towel to turn the knob. Or push open the door with your hip or elbow.
What about hand sanitizers?
Studies show they work almost as well as washing. But stick to alcohol-based products. “Antimicrobial” formulas often have triclosan or other dangerous chemicals.
And if you want to stay away from contagious diseases, you should know about this…
There are 31 secrets that build a super-human immune system. And we’ve put them all together for you in our report, Bulletproof Your Immunity: Easy Ways to Protect Your Health.
Get all the details HERE.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch