Updated Full Consensus statement on hygienic hand drying
(Panel meeting 29 January 2020)
- The importance of hand washing with soap to prevent spread of infection is widely accepted by scientists. However, hand drying has received much less attention.
- Some harmful microbes remain on the hands after washing, and these are more easily spread to other surfaces if hands are not dried adequately.
- Proper hand drying completes the hand washing process by reducing the risk of transmission of microbes.
- Generally available hand drying methods in public washrooms are based on either water absorption (single use towels – paper or textile), water evaporation or water dispersal (warm air or jet air dryers).
- There is evidence that hand drying using single use towels rather than electric dryers leads to lower numbers of microbes on hands and in the washroom (both in the air and on surfaces).
- Warm air dryers are less efficient than other methods at drying the hands.
- Jet air dryers are particularly likely to blow bacteria and viruses off the hands and across the washroom. These microbes could contaminate the user, other persons and the air and surfaces both in and outside the Microbes have been detected in the air for at least 15 minutes after the use of this type of electric dryer.
- In conclusion, the choice of hand drying methods should take into account the risk of contaminating the hands, other individuals, the washroom surfaces and areas outside the washroom particularly in settings where hygiene is especially important, e.g. hospitals, clinics, care homes, schools and food preparation areas.
Professor Marc Van Ranst, Professor Mark Wilcox, Professor Frédéric Barbut, Professor Angel Asensio, Professor Silvio Brusaferro, Emeritus Fellow Keith Redway, Professor Bertil Kaijser and Dr Ralf Kammerer
If you wish to print the above Consensus Statement you can use this pdf.
A visual “summary in a page” of the key outcome of the studies conducted by the Westminster University and Eurofins-Inlab is provided in different languages:
- English: Hand drying: an important part of hand hygiene
- DE Händetrocknen: Ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Händegygiene
- FR Le séchage des mains: élément important de l’hygiène manuelle
- IT Asciugare le mani: una componente importante dell’igiene delle mani
- ES Secarse las manos: Una parte importante de la higiene
- PL Osuszanie dłoni: ważny element higieny dłoni
This video can be seen as well within the ETS Choices You Tube channel, where you can also see other interesting video on hands hygiene. Click here to read the: SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE ON HYGIENIC HAND DRYING – ETS SCIENTIFIC PANEL Contacts:
Lutt Willems | tel. +32 2 560 2150| firstname.lastname@example.org
Fanis Papakostas | email@example.com