Paper Towel vs Hand Dryers


With 80% of infectious diseases spread by
our hands, it’s clear that washing them is important. But, when it comes to your hygiene
and cleanliness, which method of drying is best? Using a classic paper towel, or the
hand dryer? Well, you’ll be happy to know that if you
wash your hands properly with soap, nearly all traces of bacteria will be removed, regardless
of how you dry them. But it’s when you don’t wash properly, or even worse, only wash with
water, that how you dry your hands can make all the difference. After all, the spread
of bacteria is more likely to occur with wet skin, and rubbing your wet hands on your clothes
or touching the bathroom door can often contaminate them even more. It turns out, after multiple studies were
analyzed and compared, paper towels came out victorious. Why? A lot of it has to do with
timing. The average air dryer requires nearly 45 seconds to reduce hand moisture by 97%,
whereas paper towel users achieve the same thing in around only 10 seconds. But after
reviewing people’s behaviour, studies showed that most individuals spent only 22 seconds
with an air dryer, leaving their hands less than 70% dry. Paper towel users, on the other
hand, could achieve more than 85% dryness with only 5 seconds. Friction also plays a key role in the removal
of bacteria, with much of it being transferred right on to the paper towel. Conversely, some
studies have shown that hand dryers may actually emit bacteria in their flow, because of the
contaminated air from the bathroom. Having said that, air drying hands can be effective
if done thoroughly, and truthfully, you don’t always have an option! Though some dryers
are much better than others, just make sure you dry them fully, and it shouldn’t be
a major problem. What about the environment, you ask? Without
a doubt, new dryers are the environmentally friendly option. Not only because they prevent
deforestation, but they actually use less energy and have a lower carbon emission once
everything is taken into account. After all, 13 billion pounds of paper towel are used
every year in America alone – and that’s their major pitfall. So if you’re going to use paper towel, here’s
a quick tip that only requires one piece, as suggested by advocate Joe Smith. After
washing your hands, shake them hard 12 times, then fold the piece of paper in half, and
wipe like so. This is the optimal arrangement to dry with the least amount of paper. Again,
shake your hands 12 times…fold, and dry. Now you have clean dry hands, with minimal
waste! Special thanks to Audible.com for supporting
this episode and giving you a free audio book of your choice at audible.com/asap. Audible
is the leading provider of audiobooks with over 150,000 downloadable titles across all
types of literature. We recommend the book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond
which breaks down the rise of civilizations across the globe and refutes the ideas of
human development based on race! It also touches on how germs may have a played a large role
in our evolutionary past. You can download this audio book or another of your choice,
for free, at audible.com/asap. And with a subscription you get one free book a month!
Special thanks Audible for making these videos possible! And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 comments

  1. Clean dry hands, AND A HEADACHE!
    You don't think that's OCD behavior?
    Take the extra freaking towel, it's worth your sanity!

  2. Back when I was young, I was scared at hand dryers because of the loud noises it makes (some). To this day, I stick with paper towels ;3

  3. Hand dryers are much quicker at drying hands in 2017. I would estimate they would take about 10 seconds. I'm thinking about the Dyson air blade.

  4. Idk what to do because I'm wasting energy with dryers but I'm cutting down trees with paper towels
    What should I do

  5. lol, 45 second dry time of a hand dryer? that is soooo sad, take a look at the xlerator hand dryers that claim to have an 8 second dry time, after using multiple of these for over 8 years, I can honestly say that they may be OVER estimating the time, I can usually get both of my hands dry, front and back in around 5 to 6 seconds.

  6. We watched the ted ed that talks about the best way to use a paper towel at school today. Its by Joe Smith (They credited him)

  7. My school for some reason there is no paper towel in the bathrooms only in the classroom so I have to use the hand dryer which is not good for my dry sensitive skin

  8. best option- towel. It absorbs water better than paper towel in the same amount of time, and its reusable so here is a lower carbon emission

  9. I don't know how it is in america but here in germany most of the paper we use is recycelt, so therfor not much of an issue to the environment ^^

  10. the hand dryers at my school barely work and they don't have paper towel in the bathroom and I hate it sm :/

  11. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/04/14/bathroom-hand-dryers-spraying-poop-on-your-hands-study-finds.html

    Bathroom hand dryers spraying poop on your hands, study finds
    By Kathleen Joyce

    Published April 14, 2018

  12. Like boi….today was fsa testing for 2 grade ( btw I'm in 4th grade ) and we don't have paper towels only a blow dryer….so we were not allowed to dry are hands cuz it was to loud…so then my teacher said "well walk back to class and get some tissue paper" and we were at pe and that's liek 2 mins away from class..and I was like " do you really think I'm gonna waste me p.e time walking to class…LIKE NO AND BY THE TIME I GET TO CLASS MY HANDS ARE GONNA BE DRY!!! "So I just wipes my hands on my jeans and walked awa..😂

  13. Discover How This “Magical” Towel Cleans With Only Water, Replaces Expensive Paper Towels and Toxic Cleaners, and Can Help You Save Hundreds Of Dollars Per Year While Saving Our Environment. http://greenproduce.org/visit/link/earth-friendly-towels/

  14. Everyone ignores the fact that hand dryers take in the bathroom air, filled with contaminated air and puts it on your hands.
    You literally washed your hands for nothing.

  15. Yeah but buying products from trees promotes forestation because the companies can grow and plant more trees because its bettet in their intrest

    Most deforestation occurs because they clear the land for farms and city blocks

    Instead of saying things without much thought, you should think before you speak.

    Supporting industries that use wood is a better option then boycotting them because that would only cause more deforestation.

    Another common misconception is that using wood in construction leaves a bigger carbon footprint than other conventional materials such as cement and steel
    But truthfully, using wood is a much better envoirmental step than making things with cement and steel considering the carbon footprint left behind in creating and using those materials.

  16. My friend did an experiment where he made his own soap which was healthier than the school soap, he then found out the school paper towels add bacteria to your hands compared to regular paper towels.

  17. I aint scared of some tiny creatures
    They arent ebola bacteria or somehing similar to be scared
    I dont go to public toilets anyway

  18. make sure you buy hand dryers with universal fan motors inside. they run 2 to 3 times as fast, and as a result move more air faster over your hands such as world model A or the xelerator models.

  19. I hate it when they have the air drier in a bathroom, because I hate touching the door handle with my bare hands, which is why I like paper towels

  20. If you use a hand dryer with an induction motor, it will on average take you twice as long to dry your hands than it would if you use a hand dryer with a universal motor. This is because with 60 Hz, induction motors are limited to a maximum speed of 3600 RPM. When as with a universal motor as to speed, the sky is the limit. They can go as fast as 20,000 RPM thus moving more air faster and drying your hands faster.

  21. I was in the men's room the other day and they had the hand blower, instead of the paper towels, you know this thing. I like the hand blower I have to say. It takes a little bit longer, but I feel when you're in a room with a revolting stench you want to spend as much time as you can

  22. School has airforce hand dryers, which are rubbish. They say high speed but it took me 1 minute 27 seconds to fully dry my hands. Paper towels in some aspects, dryers in the other.

  23. Use 1-2-3 pieces of paper towels max. BUT one at a time . With the paper towel you can close the water and open also the door. 🙂

  24. I have a question here. It's mentioned that the air flow from the dryer is not clean and thus not super hygienic. Some air dryer like Dyson has something like 99% of clean air or something like that. Are they hygienic then?

  25. In high school there’s no soap, the air dryer doesn’t work and we have no paper towels so we use the toilet paper right next to the PERIOD bin and has all the germs on it… oh and the hot water in the sink is yellow

  26. I don't use either I use my elbow to open the door and just let my hands be wet, think about how the janitor's possibly dirty hands touched that paper roll

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