Despite the rising popularity of hand dryers in public restrooms the research shows traditional paper towels do the job better – and leave behind less bacteria.
The scientists are now calling on hospitals and other health care facilities to consider withdrawing air dryers altogether.
The research was conducted by Biomedical Science BSc(Hons) graduate Samantha Crockett, now Senior Quality Assurance Microbiologist with GlaxoSmithKline, and Biological Sciences BSc(Hons) graduate Gregory Andreou, a microbiologist at Industrial Microbiological Services Limited. They were led by Dr Sarah Pitt, Principal Lecturer in the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences in Moulsecoomb, Brighton.
It concluded that paper towels were more effective and efficient although they may have a larger carbon footprint than air dryers – the paper goes through a recycling process, is recycled and supplies are regularly being transported by road. Dryers, once fitted, need electricity but little maintenance.
The research was conducted when the graduates were studying at the university and their findings have been published in The Journal of Infection Prevention.