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UArizona researchers find minimal difference in hand-drying methods

(University of Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX — Researchers at the University of Arizona recently examined multiple studies to determine if using paper towels or air dryers after washing hands keeps them cleaner.

A University of Arizona Health Sciences research team reviewed nearly 300 papers and published studies that looked into both methods.

Studies showed one was more hygienic or safer than the other.

“The myth that air dryers accumulate germs and then spit it out to your hands is a lie,” Professor Kelly Reynolds with the College of Public Health said.

She said in reality, the key to keeping your hands germ-free is the way you wash your hands and pat them dry after.

Studies or myths looked into by the university showed people disliked air dryers because they believed a myth that germs would be “spit across the room” or air dryers hold germs inside the machine and spit them on to your hands.

Reynolds said the important thing to focus on when hand-washing is using soap, lathering all parts of the hands, wash them for 20 to 30 seconds and then dry your hands completely.

She added doing these steps avoids cross contamination, whether you use an air dryer or a paper towel.

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