Paper Towel Dispensers vs Industrial Air Dryers: Are Your Hands Really Clean?

Covid-19 has made many people question their hygiene practices and if facility managers could do more to ensure a cleaner environment for patrons.

One area that has raised many questions is whether public bathrooms in restaurants, shopping centres, gym facilities are really clean or the breeding ground for bacteria. Proper hand hygiene has always been incredibly important however many Australians are not all washing their hands according to a recent study. In order to increase hygiene standards, we can’t make people wash their hands, but we can provide the proper facilities to promote cleaner and safer practices.

So which is better paper towels or air dryers?

Environment & Noise:

Recycled vs Virgin Paper Towels

  • Paper towels can be made from either recycled or virgin materials. While virgin materials feel incredibly soft and gentle on the skin, recycled materials often are made with environmentally friendly practices that can limit CO2 emissions and preserve forests. Although the wrong paper towels particularly non-biodegradable brands can contribute to landfill waste. To store your paper towels have a look at our range of Puregiene Hand Towel Dispensers.

Industrial Hand Air Dyers

  • While paper towel dispenser does not require electricity, air dryers do. The process to manufacture does contribute to greenhouse gases however the majority comes from the energy that is used when the air dryer is installed. There are options with air dryers such as warm and jet air dryers which both have their pros and cons. Overall jet air dryers are a better option in terms of energy efficiency compared to a warm air dryer that emits 20-80 grams of carbon dioxide.

Paper Towels

Air Dryers

Can Be Made From Recycled And Biodegradable Products

Low Landfill Waste

Can Contribute to Landfill Waste

Continuous Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased as Soon As Installed.


Can Be Noisy and Not Suitable For Some Facilities


Effectiveness & Hygiene:

Paper Towels:

  • It is no secret that paper towels more effective at drying hands than air dryers in the same amount of time. A 2015 study that found that jet dryers spread 1,300 times more bacteria than paper towels. Likewise, a 2012 systematic review found that paper towels dry hands more quickly and more thoroughly than the air dryers available at the time. People have also reported feeling more comfortable when entering a bathroom with paper towel dispensers rather than industrial air dryers.

Air Dryers:

  • COVID-19 has made many people concerned with the hygiene standards in facilities, this includes bathrooms, particularly as hand hygiene, becomes increasingly more important. While jet air dryers give the illusion that because there is a ‘no-touch’ system that it is more hygienic. However, the air that dries your hands in a jet air dryer is merely repurposing the air around you directly onto your hands. So if there are bugs and pathogens in the air then you can expect them to be directly blasted onto your hands. If you are looking for a hand dryer have a look at our Puregiene Hand Dryers

Fun Facts:

  • 70% of people wish more facilities offered paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers.
  • The study also shows that 33% of people now have an increased preference for paper hand towels than before COVID-19, with the most common reasons being that paper hand towels are perceived as:
    • more hygienic (71%),
    • they dry hands more quickly (53%),
    • do not spread virus and bacteria in the air (43%).

(United Minds in cooperation with CINT using web-panels. Data were collected between April 8-13, 2020 in the U.S. market with a total of 1,012 respondents.)

Paper Towel Dispensers

Air Dryers

Most People Prefer Paper Hand Towels as A Safer And Hygienic Option


More Cost-Effective

Remove More Bacteria

Spread Bacteria with Repurposed Air Directly Onto Hands


Why Hand Washing is Crucial to Hand Hygiene

Hand Washing is Crucial to Hand Hygiene, COVID-19 preventative measures largely include ensuring proper hand hygiene protocols as many bacteria’s and virus are spread through hand contact.  A recent survey conducted by the Food Safety Information Council found that less than half of Australians wash their hands before handling food. America is similarly bad at ensuring proper hand hygiene with a survey suggesting only 58 % of men and 75% of women wash their hands after using a public bathroom.

Therefore, while your facility may have the best choice of hand drying dispenser or dryer, if people do not properly wash their hands and your contract cleaners are not properly cleaning your bathroom surfaces then bacteria will continue to spread.

What Can You Do as a Facility Manager?

  • When considering more ways in which you can ensure greater hygiene levels within your facility whether it be in the hospitality industry, office buildings or other businesses. It is important to look at what you can implement and what you cannot control.

To Implement:

  • Contract Cleaners: Hiring contract cleaners who come equipped with commercial cleaning supplies and industrial powerful equipment will save you a lot of time and hassle over what products are going to provide you with an industrial clean to maintain high hygiene levels in your facilities.
  • Eco-Friendly Products & Innovations: If you cannot afford to invest a contract cleaner or you feel as though you do not need commercial cleaners then it would be wise to invest in your own commercial cleaning equipment and industrial cleaning supplies.
    • If you are looking to reduce chemical waste: The best products to invest in our products that are multi-purpose and natural, biodegradable. These products can deliver fantastic results with limited environmental consequences. Check out our range of Enviroplus Products that can actually improve your green star rating in your facilities building.
  • Equipment: High-quality paper towel dispensers to suit the style of your facility are a great option for facility managers who want to encourage hygienic practices and still look professional. Check out our range of New Puregiene Paper Towel Dispensers.



Abco Products – your local supplier of commercial cleaning supplies in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney – can help you find the perfect environmentally sustainable cleaning products, industrial cleaning supplies and commercial cleaning equipment. For information about our commercial cleaning chemicals, please call us on 1800 177 399 or email us on


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