Eco-Friendly vs. Hygiene: Hand Drying

We are having this conversation currently in the BioLogos office and want to hear your feedback also…Are you team dryer or paper towel?

Do you use paper towels or the blow dryer for your hands?
Which is better for the planet?
Which is more hygienic?
Is there a better alternative (wiping on pants?)?

Links we have found so far:

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How fun!

Hard to say. One method creates waste and the other uses electrical energy. Both have their own cost for the environment. So if environmental concern trumps hygiene, wiping on the pants should do the trick.

But if you’re concerned about hygiene, I would imagine that a blow dryer is the most hygienic of the three options.

My personal preference is paper towels. I never feel like the dryer gets my hands fully dry, and I don’t like having wet hands after I’ve washed them.

here was the conclusion from one of the above articles: “Go for the newer jet air dryer when available. If your only options are an older air dryer or paper towels, using a single paper towel is marginally better than an older dryer. And if you want to really let your tree-hugging self out, all this hand-wringing can be avoided with the age-old tradition of wiping your hands on your pants (or other clean items of clothing).”

That video was hilarious! I think I’ll use that shake technique from now on. Twelve apostles seems like as good a reason as any. :wink:

This will no doubt be an important topic with the corona virus thing. Also, I am not sure if the efficacy of alcohol based hand sanitizer has been well studied with it. I am betting these little wipes and alcohol sprays are pretty useless.
As a lot of the infections are from hand touches that then move to the mouth, eyes and nose, there is always to issue of how to open the restroom door after drying also. A paper towel gives you a little barrier in hand to use.

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Let us not venture into the use of other paper products. On one medical forum, there was a long thread on whether you were a folder or a wadder (?) when it comes to TP.

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I actually keep my paper towels, after drying my hands, long enough to open the door. Then I hold the door open with my foot and toss the paper towels in the waste bin. If that’s not an option but I have a long-sleeved shirt on, I’ll tuck my hand inside the sleeve and open the door that way. If neither of those are available to me, then I’ll just wash my hands again later at another time and avoid eating anything or touching my hand to my mouth, eyes, and/or nose.

The CDC recommends alcohol based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or more). Viral particles are relatively fragile so they aren’t that hard to kill on surfaces. Bacterial spores are the tough buggers that are resistant to alcohol, such as C. diff spores that can be spread all over hospitals.


I’d go with paper towels solely because my preschooler is terrified of the sound of hand dryers, especially when they come on suddenly. :wink: But I do like the new turbo ones.


We had a few in the office that didn’t like the sound!

In my house I use a towel. In public I use a paper towel typically or the blower depending on what they have. If it’s optional, and there is a door, intend to use paper towels and then open the door with it and toss it.

I often have dirty hands though. So I’ve learned to not bite my nails in public or touch my face to much. I go hiking and am always picking up worms, caterpillars, spiders, snakes, mushrooms, mossy covered things and so on.

Amen! Last summer, my 4 year old daughter refused to use public restrooms on a 6 hour trip home, because the self-flushing toilets and automatic hand dryers had terrified her so much. We at least have a trick for the toilet issue - drape a piece of toilet paper over the sensor. She still refuses to even use the potty if she sees there is only a hand dryer available.

I’m team paper towel anyway, but having a sound sensitive little girl reinforces it (none of my boys were like this, even my autistic one :woman_shrugging:).

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I understand hand sanitizer is scarce. Evidently you can make your own, just keep the alcohol concentration over 61% you can use straight alcohol, or cut the higher concentrations with aloe vera to help with the harshness.
My wife said the shelf at Wal Mart was empty for Clorox wipes.

I’m wondering why people are suddenly needing to buy soap and such. Were they not washing their hands before? :laughing:

Thankfully, I bought a big bottle of regular hand soap refill (NOT antibacterial) just before the panic hit. I have plenty of hotel soaps on hand if that bottle runs out. :stuck_out_tongue:

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You are correct, they were not washing hands before. I noted one site advocating wearing disposable gloves to shop and such. May be a big market opportunity, you could set up a little rubber glove stand outside Wal Mart. Of course, at Whole Food you would have to use certified nonGMO organic free range rubber gloves. At Aldi you could drop a quarter and borrow a pair from the bag by the door.


sounds very hygienic. :rofl:

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something like that…



Folder, of course. Anything else would be barbarism!

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