There have been many studies on the benefits of hand washing and on the efficacy of different hand washing agents but relatively few on the contribution of hand drying to hand hygiene.
For effective infection control through hand washing, you must also insure that not only are your hands are thoroughly clean after the washing, but also that the hand drying system is the most appropriate.
Infection prevention and infection control have always been serious topics, but this is particularly true today, with the spread of hospital acquired infections.
ETS asked a research team at the University of Westminster, led by Microbiologist Keith Redway, to study the hygienic performance of several hand drying methods to take account of technology and product development, including the recently introduced new generation jet air dryer , not tested in previous comparative studies. The main methodology used in this study follows that used in the previous University of Westminster studies on the topic in 1993/1998.
This latest study compared the performance of paper towels with two types of electric hand dryer: a warm air dryer and one of the new generation of electric hand dryer (the jet air dryer). The electric dryers increased the average numbers of bacteria on the hands after use, whereas paper towel reduced them. The jet air dryer also showed a greater potential to spread contamination to other users and the washroom environment than the other hand drying methods tested in this study and, like warm air dryers, was liable to become contaminated with bacteria. some of which can cause disease.
- Press release: New evidence suggest electric hand dryers in public toilets pose health risk (Feb2009)
Hand hygiene is serious matter: to eliminate microorganisms and avoid infections, you must you must wash the hands with the same attention which is used in most hospitals.
For infection prevention, Hospital guidelines advise to their doctors and patients to clean their hands with care, using soap , and then drying them with paper towels , which have the property of significantly reducing the bacteria and virus which remain on the hands.