Hand Dryers Vs. Paper Towels

By Aksana Nikolai

  • Overview

    When you are in a public bathroom these days, you almost always have a choice between drying your hands with a paper towel or an electric hand dryer. There are pros and cons to using either, whether you are in charge of supplying the facility or are a customer using it.
  • Time Frame

    Wiping your hands with a paper towel takes less time than putting and keeping your hands under the drying machine. You can even dry your hands with a paper towel while walking away from the bathroom. Using a hand dryer means you must stand with your hands under the machine anywhere from about 10 to 45 seconds.
  • Function

    Paper towels can be used for more than just drying your hands. For example, you can use paper towels to clean dirty clothing or shoes. But if you have cleaned a part of your shirt with a moist paper towel, then a hand-dryer comes in handy for drying the wet spot.


  • Hygiene

    Hand dryers are more hygienic because exposing hands to heat kills germs more effectively than wiping with a paper towel. However, a public restroom door handle is filled with germs and bacteria because of the number of hands that touch it in a given day. When exiting the restroom, using a paper towel to grip the door handle to avoid direct contact is a good way to maintain cleanliness. If you touch the handle without a barrier to protect your hands, you are likely to undo the benefits of having just washed your hands.
  • Environmentally Friendly

    Hand dryers are less wasteful and more environmentally friendly than paper towels because they save trees and paper, while also decreasing the amount of waste products being put into landfills. But hand dryers also affect the environment in a negative way because they use electricity, which contributes to more carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Maintenance

    Hand dryers require less maintenance. Once one is installed in a bathroom, it usually works for a long time without having to be checked. A paper towel supply, on the other hand, needs to be monitored and refilled often. Investing in a hand dryer that you pay for once is more cost-effective in the long run than constantly paying to replenish the paper towel supply. Electric hand dryers also discourage damage and mess in a public bathroom because some people waste paper towels for no reason. However, hand drying machines can be difficult to install onto a wall, whereas paper towels can be easily left by themselves on a bathroom counter or in a dispenser.
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