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J Hosp Infect. 2015 Mar;89(3):215-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.11.007. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

Comparison of different hand-drying methods: the potential for airborne microbe dispersal and contamination.

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Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, London, UK.


Efficient washing and drying of hands is important in prevention of the transfer of micro-organisms. However, knowledge surrounding the potential for microbial contamination according to hand-drying methods is limited. This study assessed the potential for airborne microbe dispersal during hand drying by four methods (paper towels, roller towel, warm air and jet air dryer) using three different models. The jet air dryer dispersed liquid from users' hands further and over a greater range (up to 1.5m) than the other drying methods (up to 0.75 m), demonstrating the differing potential risks for airborne microbe dissemination, particularly if handwashing is suboptimal.


Environmental contamination; Hand hygiene; Hand washing; Hygiene

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