Are Hand Dryers Sanitary? Yes, and Here’s Why

Citron Hygiene man using hand dryer in public washroom

Wet hands have been found to increase the spread of germs faster, making hand drying a crucial component of overall hand hygiene. But, when considering the best hand drying solution for your workplace washroom, what is the most effective? And most importantly, what will keep your staff, customers, and the wider community safe?

This blog looks more closely at hand dryers, and whether they are sanitary.

What makes drying your hands so important?

We all understand the importance of washing our hands, but that’s just 50% of the solution. For proper hand hygiene, drying your hands correctly is essential – and not just to get rid of that uncomfortable feeling of wet hands!

Did you know damp hands are 1000 times more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands? When hands are moist, germs can be rapidly spread around a building. This is because bacteria such as E. coli thrives on damp surfaces, including hands. This is why your business should provide effective commercial hand drying facilities in all your washrooms.

Commercial hand drying solutions

When considering hand drying solutions for commercial environments, two are likely to spring to mind – paper towels and hot air dryers. Let’s begin by looking at how these methods work.

Hand dryers

We’ve all seen air hand dryers in places like restaurants, shopping centres, airports, and schools, but how do they work?

While hand drying systems vary from model to model, traditional models would simply push warm air out to evaporate water from wet hands. However, this method was often considered ineffective, and modern hand dryers offer a much more effective approach.

For instance, the Dyson Airblade V hand dryer features intuitive HEPA filters that capture 99.97% of bacteria from the air in the washroom, before it’s blown onto your hands, ensuring that hands are dried with clean air. Hand dryers of this kind are a much more sanitary and effective solution compared to their older counterparts.

Paper towel dispenser

Paper towel dispensers tend to come in two forms, manual and automatic.

An automatic or ‘touch free’ dispenser, such as the Tork paper towel range, contains a hand motion sensor, meaning paper towels are automatically dispensed with a simple wave of the hand. Whereas a manual towel dispenser requires you to pull a paper towel out yourself through a pull to release system.

Where electric hand dryers aren’t available, providing paper towels offers an alternative hand drying method but can be the more expensive option in the long run.

Citron Hygiene close up of woman using Dyson hand dryer in public washroom
So, how hygienic are hand dryers?

A debate that has been going on for many years – are hand dryers sanitary? And if so, are they as hygienic as paper hand towels?

‘Don’t they spread germs into the air?’

Having stemmed from ‘old-style’ hand dryers, the primary concern with utilising an electric hand dryer is the fear that germs from the hands are spread into the surrounding bathroom air. With many washrooms already suffering from poor hygiene, could hand dryers be adding to pre-existing airborne contaminants?

Traditional hand dryers (also known as ‘electric towels’) were loud and slow, meaning they were highly inefficient from both a cost and hygiene perspective, however, modern day hand dryers have seen extraordinary advancements that have changed hand hygiene as we know it.

Citron Hygiene Pebble hand dryer next to calculator with £

Could new hand dryers save your business money?

See how much you could save by switching to Pebble Hand Dryers in your washroom

How has modern-day hand dryer hygiene improved?

Electric hand dryers have developed immensely and have adapted to feature additional sanitary capabilities. These include:

HEPA filters

With advancements in technologies, modern-day dryers are designed to prevent cross-contamination. But is it possible that they could contribute to an improvement in air quality? The short answer is yes!

A HEPA filter, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filter, is commonly featured in hand dryers, vacuum cleaners, and air purifiers. This filter is designed to capture germs and other microbes such as dust and pollen found in the surrounding air for safer, cleaner, and purer air. In hot air dryers, a HEPA filter will capture germs found in the surrounding washroom environment, with the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology claiming that the filters must trap 99.97% of particulates to be compliant.

Drying speed

In addition to filters, another huge advancement in modern day hand dryers is the drying speed. Hand dryers of the past could take up to 45 seconds to dry hands, but now high-speed electric hand dryers can take just 10-15 seconds.

Faster dryers are far more energy-efficient and enable users to fully dry their hands, whereas in the past, you would see more people leaving the washroom with damp hands or simply just drying them on their trousers! This way, you are eliminating the bacteria which damp hands relish in.

Motion sensor activated

Most hand dryers now operate via a sensor system to turn them on, rather a button. Not only is this an excellent way of preserving energy, but it reduces cross contamination as before multiple people would touch a button, with damp hands, one after another.

Citron Hygiene woman using Dyson hand dryer in public washroom
Which hand dryers are best?

Using modern-day technology to maximise health and hygiene, here are some of our favourite hot air dryers for post hand-washing.

Pebble hand dryer

A fitting finish to any stylish washroom, the Pebble hand dryer is a high-quality, affordable hand dryer with a low environmental impact, drying your hands in under 12 seconds. Producing 90% less compared to other hand dryers, it is energy-efficient, with a low run cost and significant cost savings vs paper towels.

Eliminating dust, mould and bacteria, the Pebble also offers an added layer of hygiene with a HEPA filter, and ION PURE anti-microbial metal ions to prevent the build-up of bacteria and viruses growing inside the hand dryer.

Dyson Airblade 9kJ hand dryer

Another excellent hand drying solution is the Dyson Airblade 9kJ hand dryer. Not only is it the quietest Dyson Airblade model yet (making it ideal for schools and offices), but it’s also proven to be 99% less expensive than standard paper towels when running in eco mode.

This model also features a HEPA filter, which will help to reduce staff sickness and encourage customer loyalty.

Discover the Dyson Airblade 9KJ. 

So, are hand dryers or paper towel dispensers best?

Hand dryers vs paper towels, which solution is best? Ultimately, when it comes to drying hands, each business has unique requirements and preferences. For example, paper towels require staff to monitor usage and replenish supplies when needed, but hand towels eliminate noise and allow multiple people to dry their hands at one time. Whatever you decide is right for you, the most important thing to remember is that hand drying should be combined with effective hand washing.

Take a look at our top tips and tricks for promoting hand washing in your business.

Give good hygiene a hand with Citron Hygiene

Stop microbes from multiplying and keep moisture away with Citron Hygiene’s fully serviced hand drying solutions. Discover our extensive range of commercial hand dryers, including our best-selling Pebble hand dryer.

Find out how we can help elevate your washroom experience. Talk to us.

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