Paper Towels Or Hand Dryers: Which Gives You Cleaner Hands?

All of us are faced with health-related decisions throughout the day: Sleep in or go to the gym? Coffee or tea? One spoonful of Nutella or four? But, when nature calls, we have to make a potentially grave decision: paper towel or hand dryer. Thankfully, AsapSCIENCE's video provides an answer to this sobering question.
As the video explains, the method you use to dry your hands doesn't matter — as long as you're washing them properly. Soap and water is pretty effective at removing dirt and bacteria. But, if you're rushing it or only using water, you could be in trouble. Research shows that your drying choice could be leaving bad stuff on your mitts.
Although both methods can be effective, it takes a lot longer for a hand dryer to get the job done. It takes a full 45 seconds for it reduce moisture by 97%. With a paper towel, it takes just 10 seconds to get the same effect.
The friction created by wiping your hands with a paper towel is also an important factor in getting rid of bacteria. And, dryers can actually blow bacteria onto your hands because they use the contaminated bathroom air.
All of this makes it seem like paper towels are the best solution, but consider the impact that 13 billion pounds of paper towels used every year has on the environment. With a little patience, a hand dryer can be just as effective as its counterpart. But, if you're a die-hard paper towel fan, advocate Joe Smith suggests a shake-and-fold technique.
Either strategy is more useful than those silly toilet-seat liners. And, the real takeaway is to please wash your hands properly.

More from Body

R29 Original Series