Paper Towels or Hand Dryers in Public Restrooms?

hand dryer bathroomThere are several considerations when determining which method of hand drying is best for your facility. The method of hand drying must be economically sustainable for your business. But it’s also important to consider environmental factors and make sure that your business is not creating a bigger carbon footprint than necessary. Finally, it’s important to also weight which method is most sanitary.
Paper towels are of course an inexpensive initial solution, with paper towel dispensers available for as little as $15 each (although most average around $40 or $50 each). Paper towels, when purchased in bulk on Worldwide Janitor, can cost anywhere between $25 and $40. Compare this with the initial investment of hand dryers, usually around $450-$500 each. Some facilities may need to pay to have the hand dryers installed as well. Afterwards, the use of the hand dryers will add to your energy expenses. On the other hand, however, hand dryers can last between 8 and 10 years in some cases, saving your facility money.

Then there are the environmental considerations. There are many different factors that contribute to the environmental impact of paper towels and hand dryers. When measuring the impact of paper towels on the environment, there are many strikes against it:

  • Paper towel production contributes to deforestation.
  • Paper towels produce a significant amount of waste, most of which ends up in landfills.
  • The main methods of paper towel manufacturing and distribution also emit carbon, taking a toll on the environment.

Despite all that the use of paper towels has going against it, hand dryers are by no means a perfect solution. Conventional hand dryers have historically used a huge amount of energy due to inefficient motors and an insufficient means of concentrating airflow.

Experts disagree as to whether hand dryers are a more hygienic option. The rising prevalence of touchless, automatic paper towel dispensers and hand dryers alike mean that both are more hygienic than they have been in the past. While hand dryers seem like the more hygienic choice, an older study suggests that hand dryers can actually increase the amount of bacteria on your hands because of the warm, moist environment inside the hand dryer. When the dryer is turned on, air containing bacteria comes out and onto the users hands.

However, a study by Mayo Clinic in 2000 refuted the findings of that earlier study, placing hand dryers as the most hygienic method of hand drying, but only by a little bit. The study found that electric hand dryers, paper towels, cloth towels, and air drying all resulted in about the same amount of bacteria left on the hands afterwards.

When choosing a method of hand drying, we must consider our own facilities and the effects of paper towels versus hand dryers. Paper towels contribute to mess and waste in the restroom, and must be cleared out on a regular basis. Doing so requires staff, which costs money as well. Some facilities find that paper towels can cause safety hazards because they are often dropped on the floor for people to slip on. On the other hand, paper towels are used for more than drying hands: they are sometimes used for napkins or to clean up spontaneous messes. Some people find that paper towels are important to have around for these purposes.

Over the years, technological advances in hand dryers have made them much more energy efficient, making them both environmentally friendly and affordable for businesses to use. Today, hand dryers use less energy, dry hands more quickly, and direct air more efficiently so that less is wasted and hands dry faster.

For example, the World Dryer SMARTdri Plus uses 40% less energy than competitive high-speed hand dryers. It also works 3 times faster than other hand dryers and has the lowest energy consumption of all classes. It uses only a portion of the energy that traditional hand dryers required.

Another good choice is the popular “air blade” models, such as the World Dryer VMax Hand Dryer. The “air blade” method uses a line of warm air that is highly concentrated in a small space, allowing the air to more effectively dry hands. This hand dryer dries hands in an average of 12 seconds and uses only a fraction of the energy used by conventional hand dryers.

With today’s technology, hand dryers are a great option for businesses, both from an environmental perspective and an economical one. Some facilities reported that they saved nearly 90% in their hand drying budget after switching to hand dryers.

Ready to start saving money, helping the environment, and making your restrooms even more sanitary? Head to Worldwide Janitor and find the perfect hand dryer for your space.


This entry was posted in Bathroom Maintenance, Hand Cleaners, Janitorial, Safety and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *