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Hand Dryers Aren’t As Hygienic As You Might Think

A shocking video revealing just how unhygienic automatic hand dryers are is going viral on TikTok – and it will make your stomach turn.

In the video, the TikToker explains how he wants to compare two different controls: simulating shaking his hands dry versus drying them under an automatic hand dryer. He then pops the specimen samples into an incubator for three days. 

He then analyses the hand shaker sample and there’s no visible bacteria growth – but the three samples he carried out under different styles of automatic hand dryers reveal some seriously gross bacteria growth. “Based off of this test, it looks like waving your hands dry is the best option,” he concludes. 

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The video has amassed thousands of views and comments from shocked and disgusted viewers and we can’t stop watching it (as much as it triggers our gag reflex).

So how accurate is it? Should we all be shunning automatic hand dryers despite their convenient and eco-friendly credentials?

“Hand dryers are often thought of as the most effective way to dry your hands, however they are not the most hygienic,” confirms Parvinder Sagoo, Pharmacist and health adviser for Simply Meds Online. “Electric hand dryers could potentially be spreading bacteria by blowing germs right back onto your hands after washing, not only this, these germs may also transfer onto your clothing which can increase the likelihood of bringing bacteria into your home.” Oh great.

Apparently germs and bacteria can often become trapped in the actual machine, and so when your hands are underneath and you use the machine, this bacterium is then being blown straight onto your hands. “I would recommend using paper towels or hand sanitiser where possible to eliminate any chances of spreading germs and causing yourself or others potential infection,” she advises.

Mark Fullilove, Digital Marketing Manager at Sanctuary Bathrooms, is convinced that germs from people who’ve used the dryer before you, as well as what else is in the room (we’ll let you use your imagination for that one), blow back on to your hands.

“Germs can spread anywhere, even from hand-dryers. While they are often quick to dry your hands, essentially they are blowing air around – that can include germs from previous users, as well as what is in the room too. This doesn’t include any germs from people who have accidentally touched the hand-dryer.

“It is worth saying that even choosing good old hand-soap and water doesn’t come without risk from the amount of people touching them, which is why some opt for the hand-dryer. However, with taps and sinks, you can take precautions including using wrists, paper towels or sleeves to turn them on and off, as well as getting your hand-soap, or with the latter options, simply to give them a quick rub down before use.

“Regardless, whenever you exit a high-traffic public space such as public loos where hand-dryers are prevalent, it is always worth making sure you sanitise hands afterwards to kill any germs, or avoid touching minimal surfaces during and after use as possible.”

Hand sanitiser at the ready, people.

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