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Dyson Air Blade Dryers Spread More Germs Than Older Models, Paper Towels, Says Study

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Many of us rejoiced when Dyson jet dryers began to pop up in every public bathroom — they dry your hands way faster than older models.

But more and more research supports the idea that they're actually less sanitary than traditional dryers, and even paper towels.

A recent study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that jet dryers spread, on average, 20 times more germs than warm air dryers, and 190 times more than paper towels at distances up to three metres.

Study participants washed gloved hands with a virus solution and then dried their hands with one of the three items. The researchers then collected samples from plates at different heights and distances from the dryers and towels.

hand dryer

The virus, called MS2, imitates the spread of human viruses like norovirus, Ars Technica reported.

The virus mocked a type found in feces from people infected with illnesses like norovirus or rotavirus. The amount of virus on the gloves is what could end up on a person's hands.

"The choice of hand-drying device should be considered carefully in areas where infection prevention concerns are paramount, such as healthcare settings and the food industry," the study's authors wrote.

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The results mirror 2014 research that found jet dryers spread far more germs than warm air ones or towels.

So while we're all in a rush to get out of the bathroom, maybe it's best to use paper towels for the time being — let's just hope fewer end up in the landfill in future.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that paper towels in bathrooms weren't biodegradable — when the towels actually are. This version has been corrected.

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