Hands up if you recognise this scenario: you visit the loo while you are shopping – or eating out- wash your hands and then go to the drier to dry them. The dryer you are trying to use is little on the asthmatic side and after several seconds you realise there is a queue building up behind you for the drier, so rather than wait even longer for the drier to make an impact on your wet hands, you give up, and surreptitiously wipe your hands on your clothes.
At least you washed them, right? So they should be clean, just a little damp that’s all. No harm in that is there?
Well, yes, there is a LOT of harm in that.
Did you know that a crucial element in removing bacteria from your hands is the drying process?
Hand drying is the last part of the hygiene procedure in a public washroom; if the washroom is well-designed, the number of surfaces which the user subsequently touches will be limited or reduced to near zero. Hygiene of hands is an essential component for controlling the spread of infection.
Wet hands can spread up to 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands. This is because water transfers easily between surfaces and because bacteria thrive in damp environments. Rubbing hands together during the drying process is also a no-no; the friction produced by rubbing hands together actually releases bacteria embedded in the skin – making your hands even more bacteria laden than when you started the washing process.
Of course touching door handles after people who thought washing their hands after being to the loo was not for them – or those who couldn’t wait to dry their hands fully – is going to give you some of their bacteria, so you might want to use a paper towel barrier when touching potentially contaminated surfaces, or alternatively carry a small hand sanitiser if touching contaminated surfaces is unavoidable.
Many of the newer ‘blade’ type hand dryers are super quick – the Dyson Airblade for example blasts your hands with a 400mph blast of air, drying your hands in an amazing 15 seconds, backed by a really effective hepa filter to ensure airborne bacteria are kept at bay.
So remember clean and dry is the only way to beat the bacteria on your hands and maintain a good personal health and hygiene regime.