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Drying Hands Essential Part of Good Hand Hygiene

September 21, 2022

According to Swansea University microbiologist Dr. D.L. Webber, neglecting to dry hands after washing them might be more harmful than not washing them at all.

In a recent blog post by British hand dryer manufacturer Airdri Ltd., Webber—an expert in the field of microbiology with over 50 years’ experience—said that 85% of microbes are spread by people whose hands are still wet after washing them. The spread of germs by damp hands was particularly likely after using a restroom.

“Bacteria thrives on damp surfaces,” Webber said, “hands included.”

“The pandemic has focused attention on the correct way to wash our hands with published guidance from World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.K. National Health Service (NHS),” he continued. “However, there has been no such guidance on the correct procedures to dry hands, which is equally important.”

A recent YouGov survey of U.K. workplaces found more than half of the employees surveyed left the restroom with damp hands because the drying equipment was not good enough or fast enough. Only 31% of employees reported leaving the work restroom with dry hands compared to 66% who say their hands are dry when they leave the bathroom at home.

Ultimately, Webber said, thoroughly washed and dried hands should always be the goal before leaving a restroom. Exiting with hands still wet, he said, is “unhygienic and could even be described as anti-social.”

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