Bathroom Hand Dryers May Actually Make Your Hands Dirtier

Photo: Jim Green/Getty Images/fStop

Life is full of difficult decisions, moments during which we stand at a fork in the road and determine which path to take. For instance, should we chase an impracticable passion or settle for a reliable, if boring, career? Or, should we dry our hands with paper towels or use the bathroom’s hand dryer?

A new study suggests that the latter option is actually what scientists would call absolutely friggin’ disgusting.

Per the Washington Post:

The study, the results of which were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that plates exposed to 30 seconds of a bathroom hand dryer gained at least 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria, while plates exposed to bathroom air for two minutes had fewer than one.

Meaning, spores of bacteria — including, say, fecal matter — could be sprayed all over your hands, leaving them even dirtier than they were before.

Although hand dryers are seen as the environmentally conscious alternative to paper towels, the point that they could be spewing out bacteria has been raised in the past.

No word yet on the efficacy of my preferred method, washing my hands and then half-heartedly drying them on my pants.

Bathroom Hand Dryers May Actually Make Your Hands Dirtier