Hand dryers are become popular in the effort against environmental waste. Nonetheless, they’re a hassle; no one enjoys the jarring noise they make or how much time they need to actually dry hands. A study published in August highlights another reason to ditch the hand dryer for paper towels.
The review published from the Mayo Clinic sums up 12 other studies published since 1970. They note that paper towels are better in fighting bacteria on hands than are the air dryers, likely because of friction.
The differences in bacterial numbers after drying with air dryers and paper towels could be due to other factors rather than the percentage of dryness alone. Friction can dislodge microorganisms from the skin surface during both hand washing and drying. Antimicrobial agents in soaps have too little contact time to have bactericidal effects during a single use or with sporadic washings, making friction the most important element in hand drying.
In essence, if you have reason to be more cautious than usual, ditch the hand dryer for some good ‘ol paper towels.