Paper Towel VS. Air Dryers: What is best for your workplace?Genevieve Rahman
The ‘new normal’ is opening the doors to new discussions regarding our daily routines, including our restroom procedures. All workplaces need an effective restroom that keeps their employees and visitors as germ-free and healthy as possible.
With Chicagoland and surrounding areas opening their doors soon, it’s time to evaluate your workplace restroom situation, starting with how people dry their hands. Should your business use paper towel dispensers or air dryers? There are 4 main areas to consider when choosing a paper towel vs. air dryers: Speed, Hygiene, Comfort, and Sustainability. Our experts provide the information below to help you make your decision.
Speed: How quickly do you need dry hands?
One of the variables in deciding how your workplace allows people to dry their hands is how quickly it needs to be done. Though you may have not considered this before, it is critical now to determine how long multiple people are congregating in one space.
Typically, air dryers take 10 seconds or more to effectively dry a person’s hands after washing. Depending on how many dryers are in the restroom, people may need to wait to use an air dryer to dry their hands. Depending on the number of dryers and the number of people at the workplace, consider how long people may need to wait to wash their hands after using the restroom.
On the other hand, if your workplace has many visitors or workers on-site, you may find paper towels support a high-traffic restroom. Using paper towels give people the ability to grab and go, and spending less time in the restroom than they need to.
If speed is important, ask yourself these questions about your workplace restroom:
- Does your workplace have high-traffic restrooms or low-traffic restrooms?
- Do your workplace visitors and employees need to move quickly from the restroom to their work or leaving the workplace?
Hygiene: What’s most hygienic for your workplace?
The entire point of washing hands is to be hygienic, so shouldn’t the drying process be as clean as possible too? When it comes to drying hands, paper towels offer the cleanest way to dry hands at a workplace. Here’s why:
- The friction of drying with paper towels removes more bacteria than other methods.
- By using a clean disposable towel, contamination from hands to other surfaces is reduced and germs stay in the waste bin where they belong.
- If hands are poorly washed, jet air dryers spread higher levels of viruses and microbes into the air. Up to 10 times more compared to paper towel drying.
So when you evaluate your restroom, make sure you answer this question regarding workplace hygiene:
- How will you minimize contamination and maximize hygiene with multiple visitors touching the same surface?
Comfort: Does your restroom cater to everyone’s needs?
Also, many people use the restroom other than using the toilet – people may need to use a paper towel to blow their nose, wipe off their mouth and hands after a meal, or even wish to use a paper towel to open a door to take extra precautions. Air dryers only provide one purpose, whereas paper towels can be used in many situations.
If your workplace does not provide paper towels, these restroom visitors may have limited options for their needs. When considering the most hygienic practices in your workplace, think about the following questions:
- How will you cater to the many needs of your restroom visitors beyond drying hands?
Sustainability: How can you make your restroom more sustainable?
No matter what is happening in our world, sustainable environments are not going anywhere. It’s important to consider whether or not air dryers or paper towels make an environmental footprint at your workplace.
Believe it or not, paper towels can be as sustainable as your work needs them to be. With many options available, it’s fair to consider what type of paper towel you choose:
- A large majority of Tork paper towels are third-party certified compostable and can be diverted from landfills where commercial composting is available.
- Your own recycled office paper and corrugated material can be added to the recycled fiber stream at our manufacturing sites and made into new Tork tissue products with Tork Closed Loop Recycling.
Sometimes changing the product can meet sustainability needs in your workplace, all while upholding other needs for your restroom.
Looking for more ways to make your restroom perfect for the new normal? Contact our experts today – we are here to assist your janitorial & sanitation needs in times like this.