Health & Safety

Research claims hand-dryers spread germs 'up to 1,300 times' more than paper towels

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dyson Airblade unhealthy
A study by the University of Westminster, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, found that Dyson Airblade hand-dryers can spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers and a shocking 1,300 more than paper towels.

Researchers had contaminated their hands with a harmless virus and dried their hands with the various equipment, and concluded that the Dyson’s 430mph air was capable of spreading the virus up to 300cm across the room compared to just 25cm for a hand towel.

This is not the first time hand dryers have come under scrutiny for their cleanliness. The University of Leeds carried out a study which found there were 27 times more germs​ around air dryers than paper towels.

Professor Wilcox, who led the research, said: “Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it.  You may also be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands.

“These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease.”  

The research, funded by the European Tissue Symposium, was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection​.

Dyson hits back

Dyson hit back at the study, claiming: “This research was commissioned by the paper towel industry and it's flawed.

"They have tested glove covered hands, which have been contaminated with unrealistically high levels of bacteria, and not washed."

And in February it also launched an onslaught against the paper towel industry with a YouTube video which claims that paper towels contain large amounts of cultural bacteria before they even enter the bathroom.

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