There has long been debate about what is the best method of hand drying in public washrooms. Some people would say that paper towels are quicker, more effective, and more hygienic than electric washroom hand dryers. With new innovations in technology, a washroom hand dryer is becoming even more efficient and hygienic to use. The key factors we will examine here will be effectiveness, hygiene, and environmental impact.
Older models of hand dryers did not always dry a user’s hands quickly and effectively. The user might have needed to run the machine through multiple cycles in order to get their hands dry. This would take a long time, of course. Against older machines, paper towels generally won out in the area of effectiveness. Newer models of hand dryers have improved quite a bit recently. The most powerful hand dryers are capable of getting a user’s hands dry in as little as 12 seconds. This is a significant improvement over older hand dryers that could take minutes to dry the user’s hands. The new high-powered hand dryers are now competitive against paper towels in terms of effectiveness.
After the user washes their hands, it is important to prevent bacteria from being deposited on the hands again. Studies have been done to measure the amount of bacteria on user’s hands after washing with alcohol-free soap and drying the hands using different methods. After drying with a cloth towel, it was found that the amount of bacteria was only reduced to 20% of the amount that was measured on the hands before washing. After drying with a disposable paper towel, it was found that the amount of bacteria on the hands was reduced to 13% of the amount measured before washing. Finally, after drying with an electric hand dryer, it was found that the amount of bacteria was reduced to 9% of the amount measured before washing.
It has been reported that in order to make 1 ton of paper towels, it requires 3.5 tons of wood. Also, the manufacturing process requires a lot of energy as well as chemicals to create the paper. Furthermore, paper towels are not easily recyclable. They generally just end up in landfills. Electric hand dryers, on the other hand, are becoming more and more efficient, requiring less energy and actually working more effectively. As a matter of fact, the most advanced hand dryers don’t even require a heating element to warm up the air.
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