The rapid spread of Covid-19 has turned us all people obsessed with hand hygiene. We must remember that proper washing of hands is not over once you close the faucet: drying your hands is essential too because damp skin provides a welcoming environment for microorganisms and may, as a result, increase the likelihood that you’ll pass on pathogens.
So, are the hand dryers as hygienic as paper towels, as their manufacturers claim?
Washing hands after using the toilet is one of the basic hygiene habits that we must follow. But using a hand dryer after washing hands may undo all our efforts to maintain proper hygiene!
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS?
According to health experts, hot-air dryers can suck in germs suspended in the air and the bacteria present in the loo. When a person uses hand dryers, they get prone to infections and allergies as these pathogens are likely to get transferred to their hands.
Wet hands easily pick up or transfer germs. You could drip bacteria-infected water, spread germs and contaminate objects being touched by you if your hands have not been washed properly. It is possible for the bacteria to transfer through wet skin than dry skin.
For example, E.coli is a pathogen present in faeces, and when you flush, it might get dispersed in the air in the toilet area. As a hot-air dryer sucks in bacteria, putting your hand under it after washing can make you susceptible to illnesses caused by E.coli, like food poisoning.
So, what is the best way to wash and dry our hands?
- Use warm or cold water to wet your hands, and then apply soap.
- Lather well, wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers and beneath your nails.
- Wash for about 20 seconds.
- Rinse well under clean, running water.
- Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry
Paper towels are the best drying method to limit pathogens left behind on hands during the drying process and limit pathogens in the air and on surfaces. And as a matter of fact, they also dry hands faster and more efficiently than air dryers.
Since paper towels can dry hands efficiently, they remove bacteria effectively and cause less contamination in the washroom environment. From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers.