In the paper towels vs hand dryers debate, paper towels win. One reason towels are more effective is that many people do not wash their hands thoroughly enough. The friction from paper towel use can remove germs that did not get washed away. Another reason is that air dryers take too long, and people leave before their hands are dry. Read the articles linked below for more.
Which Gets Hands Cleaner: Paper Towels or Air Dryers?
“Overall, paper towels seem to win. The trouble with hand dryers is that most people don’t use them long enough for their hands to get fully dry. Plus, a few studies have suggested that hand dryers — both standard and the fancy new jet dryers — may be spewing out bacteria owing to the contaminated air droplets in the restroom.”
Eww! Only 5 percent of us wash hands correctly
“It takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap and water to effectively kill the germs, the CDC says, yet the study found that people are only washing their hands, on average, for about 6 seconds.”
Burning Question: Air Blowers or Paper Towels?
“The Mayo Clinic published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing study done since 1970. The authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria, and that paper towels are superior to driers: They’re more efficient, they don’t spatter germs, they won’t dry out hands and most people prefer them.”
The paper towel-hand dryer wars are over
“I defy you to find anyone who actively enjoys hand dryers…People don’t want to use them. And it turns out that the friction paper towels offer is actually an essential ingredient in removing germs.”
The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence
“From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers. Drying hands thoroughly with single-use, disposable paper towels is the preferred method of hand drying in health care. The provision of paper towels should be considered as a means of improving hand hygiene adherence among health care workers.”