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Are Hand Dryers Actually Worse For Our Hygiene?

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 9/1/2016 Ed Cara

There’s little to love about the noisy hand dryers that are increasingly part of our daily hand-washing routine, aside from their overall lower energy consumption compared to traditional paper towels. But are they actually worse for our hand hygiene?

According to the folks at Scishow, the verdict is mixed.

As detailed by their latest video above, much of the answer depends on both the washer and the germs on their hands. Some experimental research has found that hand dryers, especially those newfangled warm jet ones, can more easily spread some microbes to other parts of the bathroom. But we don’t know whether all bacteria and viruses, particularly those that cause disease, would behave the same way, or whether hand dryers are actively less hygienic than paper towels.

In the end, it may come down to our own hand-washing habits more than anything else — if you don’t wash your hands vigorously or long enough or you don’t dry them off enough, then the chances of spreading nasty bugs around will only increase, regardless of whether you use hand dryers or paper towels.

And for those of you hoping to cheat a little by using antibacterial soaps to clean off your hands, think again. There’s little evidence that they actually work any better than your standard bar of soap.

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