Hand dryers have long been thought to be the hygienic option, avoiding the spread of germs common in other options like towels. But the dryers could be spreading disease as the high-powered jets shoot it around the bathroom, a new study has found.

There were 27 times more airborne germs around jet dryers than around paper towel dispensers, which researchers recommending using.

The study, ‘Microbiological comparison of hand-drying methods’, was conducted by a team from the University of Leeds.

By contaminating people with a harmless bacteria, Lactobacillus, and then spreading it around a test bathroom, the researchers found that jet air dryers such as Dyson’s Airblade had around 4.5 times more bacteria around them than warm air dryers, and around 27 times more than using paper towels.

The bacteria stayed in the air long after drying finished  48% of it was still around five minutes after drying ended, and there was still some in the air 15 minutes after drying had finished.

“Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it,” said Professor Mark Wilcox, who led the research team. “You may also be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands.”

 

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Hand dryers have long been thought to be the hygienic option, avoiding the spread of germs common in other options like towels. But the dryers could be spreading disease as the high-powered jets shoot it around the bathroom, a new study has found. There were 27 times more airborne germs...