Paper hand towels are the most hygienic way of drying hands

12/03/2009

Research confirms: Paper hand towels are the most hygienic way of drying hands 

Washing hands helps to prevent the spread of infections in public washrooms,
but the method used in drying your hands also pays an important role. Drying
hands with a paper towel diminishes 2-3 times more bacteria than drying with a
warm air dryer. 

The European Tissue Symposium (ETS) is a trade organization, of which Metsä
Tissue is a member. On behalf of ETC two studies related to hand drying in
public washrooms were carried in 20081. Both studies prove that paper hand
towels are the most popular and hygienic way of drying hands. 

The first preference study by Interfere on behalf of the ETS was finding out
which drying method people prefer in public toilets. The second study was a
hygiene study by University of Westminster measuring the effectiveness and
hygiene of warm air dryers and paper hand towels. 

Paper hand towels are most efficient and hygienic

The second study was a comparative study of different hand drying methods:
paper towel and warm air dryer. The study investigated the drying efficiency,
changes in the numbers of bacteria on the hands after drying and potential
contamination of other users and the washroom environment. 

Results showed that the warm air dryer was considerably less efficient (i.e.
slower) than the 5 types of paper towel. After washing and drying hands with
the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on
average on the finger pads by 194 % and on the palms by 254 %. After washing
and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced
on average on the finger pads by up to 76 % and on the palms by up to 77 %. 

Paper hand towels are most popular

The majority of the respondents (96 %) believe that paper hand towels are the
most hygienic way to dry their hands. 88% of Europeans will always dry their
hands with whatever drying system is available. Hygiene is considered the most
important factor when choosing the ideal drying device by almost all (95%) of
the respondents. 63% of the respondents, when offered the choice, chose tissue
hand towels as their preference. 

More information about the study: Timo Rönkkö, VP, Product Management Katrin,
firstname.lastname@metsatissue.com 
 

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1 The European Tissue Symposium (ETS) is a trade organization. Its members
represent the majority of tissue paper producers throughout Europe and about
90% of the total European tissue production. The reference study was made in
Germany, France, UK and Sweden with 2000 respondents. Hygiene study was
conducted by University of Westminster. 

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Metsä Tissuewww.metsatissue.com Metsä Tissue creates a cleaner every day. We are a leading tissue paper supplier to households and professionals in Europe and the world’s leading supplier of greaseproof papers. Our brands are Lambi, Serla, Mola, Tento, Katrin and SAGA. With production units in five countries, we employ around 2,700 people. In 2019, our sales were EUR 1 billion. Metsä Tissue is part of Metsä Group, a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy.

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