Do you know how to avoid microbe dispersal and contamination when drying your hands after washing in public facilities?

By measuring microbe dispersal, a University of Westminster peer-reviewed and published study suggests single use towels are the most hygienic way to dry hands after visiting the washroom. 

New research by the University of Westminster, commissioned by ETS, the European Tissue Symposium, suggests that single use towels are the most hygienic way to dry hands after visiting the washroom. Despite a trend for sophisticated drying machines in recent years it appears that traditional single use towels offer an unsurpassed level of hygiene when drying hands after visiting the washroom.

The study was undertaken by leading microbiologist Keith Redway and looked at the potential for microbial contamination from hand drying and the potential risks for the spread of microbes in the air, particularly if hands are not washed properly. The research used four different hand drying methods and three different test models to compare differences between the drying methods and their capacity to spread microbes from the hands of users potentially to other people in public washrooms.

K-Redway-study-Icon-226x300The complete title of the study is: “Comparison of different hand-drying methods: the potential for airborne microbe dispersal and contamination” and is authored by Keith Redway (Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, London, UK) and by E.L. Best (Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds UK)

The complete study can be downloaded, at a cost
of  $ 31,50, at:


Spread of microbes affecting adults and children

The peer-reviewed study, published in the March 2015 edition of the Journal of Hospital Infection, also looked at the body height at which microbes were spread by air dryers.  It found the greatest dispersal was at 0.6 – 0.9 m from the floor. This is worrying since it equates to the face height of small children who might be standing near the dryer when a parent is drying his or her hands. This suggests that parents should take care to keep children away from the direct air stream of jet air dryers in washrooms to ensure that they are not unintentionally contaminating youngsters.

These findings clearly indicate that single-use towels spread the fewest microbes of all hand-drying methods,” said Keith Redway. “Cross contamination in public washrooms is a legitimate public health concern. The extent to which jet air dryers disperse microbes into the washroom environment is likely to have implications for policy guidance to facilities’ managers operating in a wide range of environments from sports venues and airports through to schools and hospitals.” 

Read the article which illustrates the study: 



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