Last Updated MAY 2022

Jet Air Dryers vs. Paper Towels

The science is clear: single-use paper towels are a more effective and hygienic way to dry your hands after washing. Check out how the two compare.

Jet Air Dryers

  • Using a jet air dryer dispersed 1,300 times more germ particles than drying with paper towels.

  • The inner surfaces of jet air dryers can harbor up to 48 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

  • Coliform bacteria were found on 52% of jet air dryers tested.

  • Jet air dryers can increase the bacteria on fingers by up to 42%.

  • When drying your hands with a jet air dryer, water droplets that could contain bacteria and germs are expelled into the air, traveling as far as 6.5 feet and lingering in the air for up to 15 minutes.

Paper Towels

  • Drying your hands with a paper towel can reduce bacteria on hands by up to 77%.

  • The rubbing process of paper towels physically removes bacteria along with moisture.

  • Faced with a choice of drying methods, 90% of people chose paper towels over jet air dryers in the restroom.

  • Paper towels are the recommended hand-drying method of the World Health Organization (WHO) “Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.”

  • Given the strong preference for using paper towels, hand hygiene adherence would possibly decrease if paper towels are not available in washrooms, according to a review article in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Download Jet Air Dryers vs. Paper Towels Chart (PDF)