Air Dryers or Paper Towels: Which Is Better?

Air Dryers or Paper Towels: Which Is Better?
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

This seems like an almost comically mundane topic, but it is one we face on a regular basis, and can be extremely important in certain environments. Which method of drying hands is superior – hot air dryers, paper towels, or the newer jet air blades (which blow room temperature but fast air)?

I was reminded of this issue while traveling recently in the UK. Almost without exception, all public bathrooms I visited had hot air blowers, often with self-congratulatory signs indicating that these were the environmentally friendly option. Always the skeptic, I suspected that the issue was likely far more complicated than that, and it is.

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