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The Unforeseen Dangers of Hand Air Jet Dryers

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Drying hands using a hand dryer in the washroom.

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The never ending COVID-19 pandemic that has lasted more than a year since early last year surely has increased the awareness of human beings on hand hygiene. A sure way that the virus can spread to us is through contact from our hands to our eyes, nose, and mouth. Close to 95 percent of us adults do not wash our hands long enough to kill the bacteria and virus.

By now most of us should know that in order to get rid of virus and bacteria from our hands the best method would be to wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Sadly, not all of us follow this simple rule and thus there is a high possibility that the virus and bacteria still remains alive on our palms even though we had just washed our hands not long ago. Adding on the with advancement of technology especially in this age and time we have the option to use an air jet dryer to dry our hands instead of using a paper towel where it is more convenient as compared to the latter.

Cost wise it sure is cheaper and more environmental friendly using a hand air jet dryer as compared to a towel but is it worth it to compare it that way when we are currently in a safety risk of our precious health and wellbeing?

In the situation where a single individual does not follow the 20 second rule, and decides to use the air jet dryer to dry his / her hands instead of using a paper towel, the jet air dryer actually does more harm than good where it will blow the water moisture containing the still alive virus/bacteria from the hands of the user into the airspace of the washroom. This in turn contaminates the washroom and might cause danger to other users in the same confined tight space. Ironically, the place that we go to get ourselves clean suddenly turns into a virus spreading ground. An air jet dryer can disperse the water moisture from our palms into the air as far as two meters. Jet air dryers have been shown to raise bacteria levels on our fingers up to 42 percent, according to research.

Research also shows the there are 100 times more airborne particles even after a period of 15 minutes as compared to the usage of paper towels. These particles could end up at the height of a child’s face which is no funny matter. It is not just the disperse of airborne bacteria that has be to be alerted, but the bacteria and virus that lingers at the inner surfaces of the air jet dryer too. Study shows that the inner surfaces of the jet air dryer contains 48 times more bacteria than the toilet seat. 

Even though we are all fixated on the fact by wearing a face mask we are able to protect each other from being infected with the COVID-19 virus, we are not aware on the fact that not all germ spreaders wear masks. The usage of the air jet dryer plays a deadly role in this too. By using the air jet dryer you are dispersing 1300 times more virus/bacteria particle as compared to drying your palms with paper towels / tissue. Paper towels / tissue paper are the best and is the recommended way to dry your hands after a wash that can read and seen in the WHO “Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care” especially in Figure 11.2 on Page 14.

We at Upekkha believe that we have a role to play in spreading the awareness on the possible ways/hotspots where the spreading of the deadly COVID-19 virus may take place. People should be fully informed especially on the continuous usage of the air jet dryers that seemed harmless especially in these hard times. It may also be the cause of the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace when you thought that you have already done everything that could have been done. Upekkha has quality single use paper towels and their respective dispensers to help you minimise contact. It is time to change the system on the drying of our hands especially in hotels, offices and factories.