Hand drying Paper or Air drier , which is recommended and Why ?

Hand washing

Did you know 40 % food borne outbreak directly linked to improper hand hygiene. Hence effective hand washing always remains our best defense to food poisoning- But having said that method of hand drying also remain important steps.

There are different methods of hand direr techniques are applied in food industry to ensure hand hygiene

  • Jet hot air drier
  • Paper towel
  • Cloth towel

Are all methods are created equal? Not really.

A recent hygienic efficacy study of different hand drying methods, led by researchers at Queensland University in Brisbane, Australia put this question to the verification. Hand drying in fact one of important step of hand washing process, because the spread of bacteria is more likely to happen with wet hand than from dry

The study concluded that paper towels are superior to electronic air dryers and drying hands with single use disposal paper towels is the recommended method of hand drying.   Because it come to drying efficiency “Residual water was more efficiently removed from the hands by paper towels “In fact with just 10 seconds of drying with a single serve paper towels reduced to just 4 % and dropped to just 1 % with 15 seconds of drying, Where as in contract on the other hand, air dry requires 45 seconds to reduce the residual water to 3 %.

They even found that paper towels “Decrease the numbers of bacterial on hands and hot air dryers were the least effective methods of removing bacteria from washed hands.

Even more terrifying for all of us is the fact that every time a toilet is flushed, “a fine aerosol mist can be sprayed into the air.  This mist may contain may types of fecal bacteria that can cause diseases. Air movement can encourage the dispersal and transmission of bacteria and increase the chance of cross-contamination.  Used air dryers in washrooms are often contaminated and can emit bacteria in their air flow.  So there is a potential risk of persons standing in front of air dryers acquiring the bacteria being dispersed into the air current towards them.  The bacteria can then be inhaled or can be deposited on the person’s body or clothes, thus making him/her a potential mobile source of infection.”  No such spread was seen with either paper or cloth towels.

The study ultimately recommended that paper towels are the best option to dry hands where infections prevention is critical Also, air dryers that are used in many washrooms allow for only one user at a time and each person could take up to one minute to dry their hands.  This is not convenient and often leads to avoidance or incomplete drying.  In several studies, on average people spent just 22.5 seconds drying hands, and 41% wiped their hands unhygienic ally on clothes.

The drying times required to reduce the transfer of these pathogens varies with drying methods.  Repeated drying of hands with reusable cloth towels is not recommended and should be avoided.  Recommended hand drying methods and drying times are outlined below:

Drying method Protocol Total drying time Comments
Single-use paper towels Rub hands on two paper towels drying hands for 10 seconds on each 20 seconds The first towel removes the bulk of the water; the seconds achieves complete drying
Air dryer Rub hands together for while rotating them under warm air 30 – 45 seconds  A prolonged drying period is required to achieve complete drying
Single-use cloth towel Rub hands on two sections of the towel, drying hands for 10 seconds on each section 20 seconds The first section of the towel removes the bulk of the water; the seconds achieves complete drying

Thanks and courtesy to source: Deb, Kimberly Clark.  CDC