The Science of Clean

A review of the research shows hand dryers are just as hygienic as paper towels.

October 05, 2020

This article is brought to you by Excel Dryer. EXCEL-CMYK_WHITEBORDER-200.jpg

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass.—The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone washing their hands more often, but some have questioned whether using hand dryers afterwards is hygienic. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both stated that hand dryers are just as effective and hygienic as paper towels to completely dry hands and recommend their use in hand hygiene materials.

“Hand dryers are a very hygienic drying solution,” said William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and sales for Excel Dryer. “And health experts from the leading health organizations agree that hand dryers are safe and effective to use.”

Proper hand hygiene involves washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, then drying them completely. Unfortunately, recent misconceptions about hand dryers have led to concerns about using them, but it’s been reported that experts from the WHO, Johns Hopkins University and the CDC have found no evidence that hand dryers are spreading the coronavirus.

“Consumers may only read [sensationalized] headlines which can influence public opinion toward biased or erroneous conclusions, [but] the fact is, the breadth of data available does not favor one hand drying method as being more hygienic or safer,” said Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., department chair at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.

Gagnon encourages retailers to look beyond the headlines to the numerous hygiene studies that show hand dryers are safe and hygienic. “Hand dryers, along with thoroughly washing your hands, are a top defense against the spread of germs,” Gagnon said. “What’s more, automatic hand dryers eliminate another touchpoint in the restroom, further helping to reduce risk.”

This is the first installment of a four-part series about hand dryers at convenience stores. Read the next installment on the cost of clean in the October 12 edition of NACS Daily. For more about what Excel Dryer can do for the convenience and fuel retailing industry, click here.