Drying your hands: paper towels or air dryer?

Drying your hands: paper towels or air dryer?

Come asciugarsi le mani: meglio asciugamani carta o getto d’aria?

Which is better for drying your handspaper towels or air dryers?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when in a public place or a commercial building. It revolves around determining the most effective method for drying hands after washing them

Let’s explore this together to achieve a highly satisfying and entirely repercussion-free result concerning the health of your hands and skin in general.

The importance of washing and drying hands

From a young age, one of the rules taught and passed down to new generations is to wash hands when touching certain surfaces in public places. This is crucial for several reasons, including:

  • Avoiding dirty hands
  • Completely removing germs
  • Preventing the transmission of bacteria to the mouth, face, and other body parts in case of contact with dirty hands.


This rule is essential for preventing unpleasant consequences that can have significant negative repercussions.

At the same time, it is crucial to emphasize that the process of drying hands is equally important and must be carried out with great care to avoid potential complications. 

Damp hands can cause:

  • Skin irritation
  • Discomfort
  • Potential formation of additional bacteria
  • Leaving residues of hygiene products that may be aggressive on the skin, creating further discomfort.


The operation, which takes very little time to complete, is at the center of an important debate that is often overlooked: is it better to dry hands with paper towels or use the new products that utilize thermal air jets?

Air dryers: not an optimal solution for hand drying

The answer to the initial question might seem simple and obvious. In most cases, it is argued that using machines that produce a hot air jet is the best choice. This is because it is assumed that hands dry more quickly and, most importantly, there are no potential post-drying issues since the powerful air jet allows for thorough hand drying.

However, this idea tends to be entirely incorrect, as demonstrated by a study conducted at the Queensland University of Technology by Professor Cunrui Huang

Firstly, choosing this type of solution translates to a rather lengthy time expenditure. It’s important to note that hand dryers using air jets take several seconds before the heat is sufficient to completely remove water molecules from the skin. While this may seem trivial, few people are willing to wait for several seconds for an operation that typically requires very little time.

To be precise, the air jet takes 20 to 45 seconds to provide complete hand drying, resulting in longer queues in restrooms. The consequence is simple to analyze: people in line tend to rub their hands on clothing or let the water dry naturally. 

However, in both cases, hygiene and skin safety problems arise. The presence of water on the skin or contact with clothing leaves behind germs and bacteria that can cause long-term discomfort, allergies, and other complications.

But this is only the first of the flaws that characterize these innovative hand-drying devices. It is essential to note that very few people remain still with their hands under the hot air jet. According to studies, men have a maximum tolerance of 17 seconds, while women have 13 seconds. This means that hands are not completely dried, and the hygiene problem persists.

Another issue to consider is the spread of bacterial microorganisms in the air. Air dryers blow away water molecules from the hands, but it’s important to know that these have been contaminated by bacteria on the skin after washing. 

Blowing these molecules creates an unhealthy environment because the microorganisms linger in the atmosphere and are breathed in by those in the restroom. This could lead to respiratory irritations, allergies, and other discomforts in the short or long term, creating an additional feeling of physical discomfort.

It is worth noting that long queues for hand drying can result in negative reviews for the place where these devices are located, an unpleasant situation for those managing a venue or a large commercial establishment. Therefore, air blow dryers, while considered convenient, come with several defects:

  • Long waiting times to use the device
  • Several seconds spent removing water from hands
  • Functionality that does not provide complete drying
  • Dissemination of bacteria in the environment
  • General dissatisfaction among users

For these reasons, it is advisable to use traditional paper towels.

Drying hands with paper towels: what are the advantages?

The answer is much less straightforward than one might imagine. Using traditional paper towels for drying hands is recommended, offering an incredibly satisfying result

First and foremost, paper towels are not characterized by high or otherwise uncomfortable temperatures for the hands, making them suitable for anyone without fearing skin redness.

In addition to this particular advantage, it is essential to emphasize that paper, through a gentle rubbing on the skin, not only removes water molecules but also captures the microorganisms present on the skin. This prevents them from proliferating on the skin of the hands. Simultaneously, these bacteria are not released into the air, preventing the creation of an unhealthy environment where oxygen is contaminated by elements that could cause respiratory irritations.

With paper, it is also possible to remove any residue of products used for hand washing, offering the security of increasing the hygiene factor and avoiding potential issues that could be synonymous with discomfort for the skin of the hands.

Another advantage is that paper towels for hand drying can be used for various purposes. For example, if a person needs to blow their nose or if a woman wants to adjust her makeup, using this tool allows for operations that are impossible to perform using the traditional hot air blower. The same applies to a potential diaper change for a child: paper, especially that produced by professional companies, does not contain germs or bacteria that can be transmitted to delicate parts of the human body, providing an additional level of safety.

Finally, it is important to consider two other fundamental aspects that distinguish the use of paper as a solution for hand drying – the speed and convenience of the tool. 

Using a paper dispenser in a public bathroom does not create the typical queues that can cause discomfort during waiting. At the same time, it is crucial to consider that the hand-drying operation takes only a few seconds to complete, ensuring a perfect result from every perspective.

Therefore, using paper towels for hand drying presents several advantages:

  • Greater convenience
  • Absence of long queues and endless waiting seconds
  • Possibility to use this tool for many purposes
  • Increased safety and hygiene through the use of disposable wipes
  • Simplicity in carrying out the operation
  • Achieving the best possible result.

This is why using paper for hand drying is preferable to the traditional hot air blower.

Paper towels: which ones to use for hands

Regarding the paper to be used for hand drying, the tissue paper products by Cartiera San Giorgio and Cartindustria Ligure represent the perfect choice

They allow for an increase in the quality of the operation and avoid potential discomfort situations where hands are not dried precisely. The various products from these two industries offer the highest level of safety, providing the opportunity to have completely dry hands without the risk of upper limbs being exposed to contamination and various risks, thus offering a satisfactory result and increasing safety.

Choosing these products ensures that customers can dry their hands using a high-quality product entirely free of potential negative aspects.


Hand Towels, Roll Towels and tissue products and Ecolabel certification.

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