Hand driers spread more germs than paper towels, finds study

Beware of those apparently hygienic hot-air hand driers in public washrooms - they actually spread more germs in the air than the simple paper towel on to users and bystanders, a study has found.

Research at the University of Leeds found that air bacterial counts were nearly 30 per cent higher around driers when compared with paper towel dispensers.

According to the research, airborne germ counts close to jet air driers were found to be 4.5 times higher than around warm air driers and 27 times higher compared with the air when using paper towels.

Lead author Mark said that bacteria were more prevalent around both high-powered "jet-air" and warm hand driers. Such driers are effective at drying hands, but when a cursory male hand-wash is done, there is likely to still be a high bacteria count on the user's hands.

Mark doesn't believe it is sensible to install these in hospitals. He said that in a hospital there was a greater risk of infections spreading.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.