Bathroom Essentials: Should You Have Paper Towels Or Hand Dryers?

If you’re thinking of making significant changes within your home or office, you must know the basics of home improvement in order to begin. When it comes to restrooms, people often think a lot about whether they should install air hand dryers or use disposable paper towels, and which is a better and healthier solution.

There has been considerable debate about which hand drying method is healthier and cleaner. Both paper towels and hand dryers have their pros and cons. Paper towels may cost more in the long run, but they’ll help you dry your hands thoroughly. On the other hand, hand dryers are cheaper to use, but they tend to spread bacteria by blowing them out from your hands into the air within the restroom. Additionally, this method of hand drying won’t dry your hands thoroughly, which leaves them damp and wet. Bacteria can survive on wet skin long enough to be transferred to other surfaces or people that they come in contact with.

It’s a plus point that paper towels are not reusable. That’s a good way of getting rid of all the remaining bacteria from your skin, which will undoubtedly stop the further spreading of germs. Of course, it’s important to note that people must wash and scrub their hands thoroughly before drying them. From a financial standpoint, however, hand dryers might be a preferable solution. To enable you to decide which one would be more feasible for you, here are some differences between hand dryers and paper towels that you should know about:

1. Paper Towels Are Hygienic

When debating which of these methods is healthier, disposable paper towels take the health crown. If and when hands are washed properly, using paper towels to dry them will remove the excess bacteria that stays on hands. Disposing of paper towels in a trash bin means that you won’t be spreading bacteria around the restroom space.

While trying to determine which hand drying method is more affordable, there are several aspects that facility managers must consider. Indeed, no control can be exercised over the number of paper towels each person might use. However, there’s a possible solution for this as well. Installing a traditional, manual paper towel dispenser in public toilets doesn’t guarantee that people will use the necessary or optimal amount of paper towels. People tend to pull out as many sheets as they want, turning paper towels into a financial nightmare and a significant expense.

Once automatic paper towel dispensers came into the market, a lot changed from a financial viewpoint. These high-tech dispensers have integrated sensors that will detect a pair of hands and push the optimal length of paper towel needed for drying them. This way, the misuse of paper towels has been significantly reduced.

2. Air Hand Dryers Are Cheaper

Besides the aesthetics, bobrick hand dryers and all other variations of air and jet dryers are much more affordable if you’re looking at it from a financial angle. However, according to a study conducted by Westminster University in London, both hot air dryers and jet dryers spread a significant amount of bacteria through the air. Jet dryers spread 1300 times more germs than is the case if paper towels are being used, which is an astonishing discovery. Although air dryers look fantastic, aesthetics shouldn’t be the only factor people should think about. Still, unlike paper towels, hand dryers can be a more cost-effective solution, depending on their energy source.

That said, health and cleanliness are critical elements to consider when choosing which hand drying method to install and provide to your customers. Drying your hands with air dryers won’t dry the skin on your hands thoroughly. Wet hands are more likely to spread germs to other people and surfaces you come in contact with. Therefore, some people prefer to dry their hands with paper towels. 

3. Paper Towels Don’t Produce Noise

Another essential factor that people should consider is that a paper towel dispenser, even an automatic one, doesn’t produce as much noise as air dryers do. Air blowing machines are pretty loud, and the sound they produce can be somewhat stressful to the ear. Disposable paper towel dispensers are less noisy. In fact, they usually don’t produce any noise at all. Some containers don’t even require electricity since they have a roller that stops after you pull one paper towel sheet out of them. The ones with sensors produce a little bit of noise, which still can’t compare to the sound that jet dryers make.

4. Paper Towels Are Not Environment Friendly

Considering that hand dryers spend an insignificant amount of energy compared to the energy needed for paper towel production, it’s evident that hand dryers are more ecological in certain ways. Some of these ways involve:

  • Spending around 1.5kW of electricity per one hour of use
  • Working up to 10 years once installed
  • Not needing additional maintenance once installed
  • Registering a carbon footprint that is three times lower than that of paper towels
  • Facilitating recycling due to hand dryer production materials being recyclable
  • Saving a lot of landfill space

A UK-based hand dryer manufacturer Dyson explained the manufacturing cycle of paper towels. Dyson’s research on this topic shows that the amount of CO2 emissions from paper towel production is massive. Considering that numerous production steps emit CO2 into the atmosphere, paper towel production is not friendly for the environment at all. The steps mentioned in the process of producing paper towels are:

  • Cutting down trees
  • Transport of raw materials
  • Energy used for processing the materials
  • Transport of processed materials to finishing mills
  • Energy used by the manufacturer for packaging
  • Transportation of the product to the central warehouse
  • Product distribution to local warehouses
  • Delivery of products to customers
  • Continuous replenishment cycle

An office that uses hand dryers will emit around 339 kilograms of CO2 annually, while an office that uses paper towels (considering the steps mentioned above) emits an astonishing 5265 kilograms of CO2 each year. Therefore, it’s clear that as much as paper towels are the healthier solution when it comes to drying your hands, their use is almost 20 times more harmful to the environment.

Depending on the perspective you adopt while looking at these two hand drying options, both of them have their positive and negative effects. Paper towels are the best solution for getting rid of harmful bacteria, and using them for drying your hands will keep your hands clean, while hand dryers spread a lot of germs into the air. On the other hand, dryers are much friendlier to the environment than paper towels since the entire production process of paper towels emits a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. With the information provided here, now you should be in a better position to choose the best option for drying your hands.

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