Why Drying Your Hands is Just as Important as Washing (If Not More)

Why Drying Your Hands is Just as Important as Washing (If Not More)

Leaving them to air dry? You could be making yourself, (and others), sick.

Whirrrrr…the hum of the hand dryer drowns out the toilet.

In a pubic washroom, both can be incredibly loud and in the name of ‘efficiency’ and speed, some of us skip the dryer altogether.

Should you, though? Washing thoroughly with soap and water is enough to prevent catching all those germs, right?

Unfortunately, experts are saying it may not be. As tempting as it is to wash and then wipe your hands dry on your jacket or pants, it could be increasing your risk of infection.

Related: What’s the Best Way to Keep Your Hands Germ-Free?

A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology by researchers at the University of Bradford, England, found that when your hands aren’t dried completely after washing and they remain damp, it makes it easier for any remaining bacteria to be transferred to other surfaces.

When you wash your hands, the researchers noted, the number of bacteria on your skin decreases but they aren’t necessarily entirely eliminated. When you dry your hands with a warm air dryer or paper towels, you complete the cycle and provide another chance for the bacteria to be wipe off or stay on your hands and not spread.

So, what’s the best way to dry your hands? Paper towels win, hands down, no pun intended.

Your next best bet they say is to hold your hands still under an air dryer, and to not rub them together, experts say. Now you know. Tell your friends before next flu season and stay in the clear.

Photo credits: Thermchai/Shutterstock.com

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