A study from the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University hypothesized that hot-air hand dryers in public restrooms may be spreading bacteria from the air to your freshly washed hands!
To test their theory the researchers exposed petri dishes to the air in a restroom under several different conditions and tested them for bacterial growth. The petri dishes exposed to the restroom air for two minutes with the hand dryers off grew one colony of bacteria or none at all. The petri dishes exposed to a hot-air hand dryer for 30 seconds grew anywhere from 18-60 colonies of bacteria!
More tests were conducted to see if the bacteria was multiplying inside the hand dryer or it is was being pulled from the air through the dryer. The researchers attached a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to the dryers they were testing. This helps to eliminate most of the airborne bacteria entering the dryer. When they exposed petri dishes to the hand dryers this time the quantity of the bacteria had fallen by 75% and surface testing showed minimal amounts of bacteria inside the dryer itself. They concluded that most of the bacteria that had been spread to the petri dishes came from the air of the restroom.
How does that much bacteria get airborne in the first place? Unfortunately, every time a lidless toilet is flushed, it sends a fine mist of microbes into the air. This mist can disperse over 65 square feet! The majority of the microbes detected do not cause problems for a healthy person, with the exception of Staphylococcus aureus. Some only cause infections in those with weakened immune systems. Most were relatively harmless, just gross due to the location of origin!
So what are we to do? If you have to use a public restroom and it is possible, close the toilet lid before flushing. Wash your hands with soap and water and be sure you dry your hands with a paper towel or your own hand towel or rag (environmentally friendlier!) as bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. Another option is to use Chaé Sanitiz – On – the – Go! Simply spray your hands front and back and let air dry. Don’t waste your time or risk your health with harsh, ineffective sprays! Our quick and easy sanitizer is safe for you and your family, and even non-irritating to eyes. With our O2XY™ double-bond oxygen formula, Chaé Sanitiz – On – the – Go smothers microbes and deters their activity, without harming your own health. This technology has been used for decades in water purification, and is known to be effective against bacteria and viruses. Chaé Sanitiz – On – the – Go also helps neutralize odors, and our naturally-derived formulation is highly biodegradable.
The next time you visit a public restroom keep these tips in mind and remember to practice good hygiene!