6 Apr 2020

Wightman & Parrish


Last week, a senior doctor wrote to England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty to raise her "grave concern" that electric hand dryers in toilets could increase the risk of transmission of coronavirus.  

The senior doctor wrote: "I am writing to you as I have grave concern regarding the potential for COVID-19 transmission following aerosol formation by high energy electric hand dryers in toilets. 

"I have been envisaging the scenario of someone who is carrying the virus but who hasn't been 100% successful in their hand washing. 

"If they were to use a hand towel they might be lucky and finish the job off. If however instead they use a hand drier to finish, they would be less effective in their own decontamination but worse could create COVID-19 laden aerosols which could float around in the warm air eddies of the facilities being inhaled by anyone coming for the three hours afterwards." 

Speaking to Sky News, she added that part of the problem is "these hand dryers are not only not drying our hands very safely, but they are whipping the virus up into the air and creating like a mist or a fog". 

A recent study, ‘The Neglected Element of Hand Hygiene’, examined the effectiveness of paper towels, cloth towels and dryers that use hot air or high-velocity air and was published in March 2019 by the Journal of Infection Prevention. It found that disposable paper towels were the most effective and hygienic method of hand-drying. Conversely, cloth-roller towels and hot air dryers, both frequently seen in public places, were far more likely to spread germs from previous users and should be avoided.1

Wightman & Parrish last year in partnership with Kimberly Clark created an eGuide surrounding hand dryers and how unhygienic they are in comparison to paper hand towels. You can download this guide for free here. 

Buy from a selection of paper hand towels by calling 01323 445001 or emailing sales@w-p.co.uk 


1 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-hands-have-to-be-dried-better-too-9ddbkdwt8?shareToken=c90dce6a40ffb43f2dc904f8febb94af