The building where I work just installed Dyson Airblades, like this one, in the bathrooms. While we use hand sanitizer and paper towels in our own office, I was curious if these Airblades made a difference. Once I started doing some research, I learned they do make a difference but for all of the wrong reasons! After reading this, you’ll want to know if your surgeon’s hands are clean and how they’re cleaning them.
What gets surgeon’s hands cleaner, paper towels or hot air dryers?
I received several articles and brochures from my friendly neighborhood Kimberly-Clark rep, the maker of paper towels! Sure this person may not be objective in the great paper towel vs air dryer debate, but it also doesn’t mean it’s bad information.
Prior to surgery, we clean our hands with “operating room” grade hand cleanser. But for other times of the day when we’re washing our hands, we’re using paper towels. Who knew 87% of users prefer paper towels. Apparently many people are unhappy with the length of time it takes to dry your hands with a hot air blower or Airblade. Paper towels dry your hands faster.
But here are some surprising stats. Paper towels reduce the bacteria load on the hands by 77%. That’s simply from the physical removal of bacteria from the hands that occurs with paper towels and not air blowers. The Dyson Airblade results in a 42% increase in bacteria and hot air blowers increase bacteria by 254%! This is from bacteria that’s in the machine.
Based on just this little bit of knowledge, I’m good with washing my hands and drying them off with paper towels. I hope the wait staff at the restaurant is doing the same!