In the age of COVID-19, handwashing is suddenly top of mind at every office. But what about the final step, hand drying? Do you know the best way for your employees to wash and dry their hands? And do you know all the benefits beyond basic hand hygiene that you’re giving up by not using one of the most effective hand drying methods?
Paper beats air when it comes to getting hands dry
First and foremost, there is no more hygienic way to wash and dry your hands than with soap and water, followed by the use of paper hand towels. Soap and water create bubbles that help wash away dirt, bacteria and even the COVID-19 virus. Washing, however, is not the final step; hands must be thoroughly dried. The friction of drying with paper hand towels removes more bacteria than other methods.1
Unfortunately, as research conducted by United Minds2 has shown, jet air dryers are less effective at drying hands than are paper towels, partly because 62% of people surveyed don’t dry their hands long enough when using jet dryers. In those instances, employees leave the restroom with damp hands – and damp hands have the potential to spread more germs than dry hands.
Paper hand towels improve employee compliance and confidence
By contrast, paper towels quickly dry hands, encouraging their use and discouraging the “secondary wiping” of hands, as on clothing, which can further spread germs. Unlike one-person-at-a-time jet air dryers, which may force restroom users to wait in line, paper towel dispensers also allow people to take a towel quickly and step aside, enhancing social distancing by reducing the time spent in the restroom.
With excellent choices available for touchless hand towel dispensers that serve employees up to three times faster than jet dryers,3 paper hand towels give office workers the convenience and confidence they are looking for. Compare that to other revelations from the United Minds research, namely that 68% of people surveyed prefer paper hand towels over air dryers, and the lack of paper hand towels can cause 41% of people to avoid a facility altogether.
Drying hands is just one critical use for paper towels
In the multi-faceted fight against COVID-19, paper hand towels are the multi-purpose drying solution. They can be used to dry hands, blow noses, wipe mouths, adjust cosmetics, aid in medical needs, and wipe off dirty surfaces. For 75% of people surveyed,1 they are also the go-to alternative to touching potentially infected surfaces, like bathroom door handles and faucets. Jet air dryers, of course, just dry hands.
Whether your office has already reopened or is still in the planning stage awaiting the return of onsite employees, there is one critical consideration that need not be stressful for you – how to make your employees feel comfortable. With soap, water and the many advantages of paper hand towels, you’ll be able to reassure employees of their safety so they can get on with work.
For more insights on creating a productive new normal at your office post-COVID, download free resources from the global hand hygiene experts at Tork.
1 National Center for Biotechnology Information: Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 9. Washing and drying of hands to reduce microbial contamination
2 United Minds in cooperation with CINT: 2020 Survey
3 Essity: Tork PeakServe independent field test