Debating the issue of whether paper towels or air dryers are the most effective both cost-wise and sanitation-wise has been going on for many years. Particularly in the last two years, when concerns about the spread of COVID germs have been foremost on most person’s minds, the debate between paper towels and air dryers has “heated up.” Unfortunately, however, there still seems to be no definite answer to the question as it depends on how research is done, which usually boils down to sponsors. In other words, if the sponsor of the research is a paper company, then paper towels come out ahead. If, on the other hand, the sponsor is a manufacturer of air dryers, the air dryer comes out ahead. This blog will present the major findings of pros and cons for both ways of drying, and you can decide which, in your opinion, is best.
Pros of air dryer:
Neatness of the restroom-no wads of used paper towels lying around waiting to be picked up
Less maintenance as no one needs to be on the payroll to empty the paper towel bins each day and sometimes more than once a day
Little long-term cost as once the air dryer is purchased, there is little cost other than small amounts of electricity and occasional maintenance.
More environmentally friendly as no trees need to be cut down, meaning fewer carbon emissions as trees filter carbon.
It takes up less space in the restroom, which is particularly helpful in small restrooms such as gas stations or small commercial establishments.
Studies show the initial cost can be made up within two years, while paper towels continue to cost over time.
Pros of paper towels:
No high up-front costs. Many paper companies give large discounts on their paper towels to businesses using their paper towel holders.
Most scientific studies show that paper towels do a better job of eliminating germs than air dryers.
Paper towels keep water droplets contained while air dryers force water droplets, sometimes as far as six feet.
More than one person can be drying their hands at the same time, which is a plus in small bathrooms where there is only space for one air dryer.
Studies show germs on hands can be reduced up to 77% by rubbing their hands on paper towels.
Paper towels can be used for other restroom needs such as fixing make-up, cleaning glasses, and taking a spot out of a garment.
Most people, when asked, say paper towels make their hands feel dryer and less like the natural moisture has been removed.
Cons of air dryers:
High cost of air dryer unit and must be paid up-front.
Blowing air can spread gems both on water droplets and from persons using the dryer.
Only one person can use the air dryer at a time.
Difficult for small children to use as the air blows in their face.
Hot air in the middle of summer doesn’t feel very good.
Cons of paper towels:
High maintenance costs as towels must be continually purchased and waste containers continually emptied.
Dropped paper towels can make a restroom look untidy.
Trees must be cut down to make the paper towels.
Large plastic garbage bags for waste containers must be purchased.
Storage space for extra paper towels and garbage bags must be found.
Space in the local landfill will be taken up by bags of used paper towels.
So, what do you think? Given the pros and cons of using air dryers versus paper towels in commercial bathrooms, which choice would you make? So far, the final count is still out as people continue to debate the answer.