A dry spell for hygiene

Good hand hygiene is vital to our overall health, but it isn’t just about an effective wash. Hand drying is just as important when it comes to reducing the spread of bacteria, says Trudi Osborne, Marketing Manager at Airdri.

Thorough hand hygiene is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection. It’s not new: the industry has been talking about it, and we’ve been actively encouraging it for about as long as I can remember.

Yet for some reason, it just doesn’t seem to persuade some people to adopt an effective hand washing process. Even today, a staggering one in five people do not wash their hands properly after using washroom facilities. Given that we touch up to 300 different surfaces every 30 minutes, with 80% of communicable diseases transferred by touch, the lack of commitment to hand washing is particularly alarming.

But there also lies a deeper issue. Much research and work has gone into educating washroom users on the correct hand washing procedure and there are some fantastic resources out there now to support this. But less so when it comes to the drying of hands.

Hand drying is often neglected, with many washroom users half-heartedly finishing up the hand hygiene process or not bothering at all. I’ve seen it so many times – people wiping their hands on their clothes, or using a germ-ridden towel, seemingly unaware that they are reintroducing bacteria onto the very hands they’ve just cleaned.

Our clothes carry dirt and germs, especially outerwear that isn’t washed frequently. Running your hands across your coat or jeans to dry them simply picks up more bacteria – pretty counterproductive really.

And then there are the shakers. Waving away any excess surface water from their hands, before touching the door handle with damp fingers as they exit the washroom. The fact is damp hands are still an infection risk. Inadequately dried hands are 1000 times more likely to spread bacteria than those that have been thoroughly dried.

Put simply, drying your hands is just as important as washing them. So why is hand drying so often cast aside? In my experience it usually comes down to poor, unhygienic facilities: from towel dispensers that either offer a soggy, germ-filled cotton towel or flimsy unsustainable paper product that constantly needs to be replenished, to slow hand dryers that don’t stay on long enough to finish the job. Hand drying usually falls short when the washroom isn’t equipped to offer a quick and effective drying solution.

To encourage a proper hand hygiene regime, washrooms need to be kitted out with the most efficient and durable facilities. And it all comes down to the choice between paper or power.

There’s no denying that paper towels, presented in a touch- free dispenser, can achieve an adequate and hygienic dry, but just how many towels will it take to do the job? Users


often need multiple sheets to absorb surface water, leaving the need for constant replenishment, and often high levels of waste and mess. Far from sustainable, this is a high cost option in more ways than one. Not only is there the ongoing cost of purchasing paper towels, but they also represent a higher cost to our planet. The emissions created during manufacturing and shipping, and those released when a paper towel decomposes in landfill, are concerning.

At Airdri, we are firm believers that jet dryers are the answer to this challenge. Effective, reliable and user-friendly units are widely available on the market and can put any bad hand drying habits to bed.

Durability is key. The last thing you need when trying to boost hand drying is an out of order dryer. Opting for a robust model that will stand the test of time will not only keep running costs to a minimum, but will also reduce the number of machines sent to landfill.

“Hand drying usually falls short when the

washroom isn’t equipped to offer a quick and

effective drying solution.”

We have spent the past four decades improving the lifespan of our machines by eliminating problems relating to the wear and tear of motor brushes. Using the latest motor technology, our dryers last six times longer than other similar, fast dry jet models, with a lifespan of around 6000 hours. Our Quantum jet dryer goes even further, performing time and time again, over 10,000 hours.

If we are to guide users towards electric hand dryers, we must also consider the environmental impact, to ensure it really is a sustainable choice. Look for a dryer that has achieved the GreenSpec status for using less than 1000 watts. Both our Quantum and Quazar models have this seal of approval. In fact, the Quantum is the lowest energy consumption unit in the world, emitting just 200 watts.

Finally, we need to ensure that the overall washroom environment is clean, hygienic and inviting, to encourage


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