Paper Towels: Why they Beat Air Dryers, Hands Down, for Your Office Restrooms

There’s a debate over “air dryers versus paper towels” and we’re here to help set the record straight. While air powered hand dryers might make sense in ultra-large-scale applications — where it isn’t feasible to replace paper towel rolls fast enough to accommodate the crowd — in everyday businesses, a paper towel is the CLEAR winner for three simple reasons:

  1. More sanitary & effective
  2. Less mess
  3. Happier users

1. Paper towels are more sanitary & effective than dryers

While hand dryers were designed to reduce waste and be more sanitary, many studies have shown they can actually INCREASE the amount of bacteria on users’ hands. The Mayo Clinic found “hot air” dryers dispersed bacteria from hands and air, to within a radius of about three feet. “Jet air” dryers pushed contamination to nearly six feet. With paper towels, no bacteria dispersal was found.

Because the air inside of a jet dryer is not sterile, and with blasts of warm air up to 400 miles per hour, the research suggests that bacteria can be blown around the room, from hands to other people and surfaces.

Studies show that germs can be more easily transferred to and from wet hands, which is why drying hands after washing them is essential to staving off bacteria and limiting the spread of infection. Most people who have used an air dryer in a restroom can attest to it as a less effective drying method.

The Mayo Clinic recommends paper towels for use in locations where “hygiene is paramount, such as in hospitals and clinics.” It adds that providing paper towels may improve hand hygiene adherence among healthcare workers.

Blowing contaminated water and air around a room isn’t a great way to get hands clean.

2. Paper towels actually create less mess.

You might think paper towels would be a bigger mess because, well, once that trash can is full, those things are just everywhere… right? But it comes down to the lesser of two evils.

On one hand, you may have stray paper towels that need picking up, bagging, and removal. But how about the water that’s left all over the restroom from users who either choose not to use a dryer, or don’t find it effective? Wet floors are a slip hazard for your business.

And worse, some people will even resort to using wads of toilet paper to dry their hands when a dryer is the only option… and that can create even further problems and a huge difference in costs.

For an even more professional look, consider a countertop system like the Kleenex Reveal [shop on].

3. Paper towels give users a better experience.

It would seem that users have caught on to the above facts, since a Cintas survey in 2017 found that nearly seven in 10 U.S. adults prefer paper towels over air dryers in public restrooms. Of the reasons cited most often, respondents said paper towels dry hands better  (70%) and faster (69%), give something to open the restroom door with (52%), and that air dryers blow bacteria (24%) and are too loud (22%).

Imagine being a guest in your establishment. Whether it’s a restaurant or healthcare environment, where cleanliness is always top of mind, or an office building where you want to make staff and guests feel welcomed and comfortable, a paper towel will never offend or leave them dissatisfied. Image is everything and the presentation of your restroom speaks volumes about your organization.

If effectiveness and cleanliness don’t convince you, perhaps your users will. Paper towels are what the people want!

Shop the Perry Office Plus website for a wide variety of towels to suit your needs. And ask us about our dispenser program! Call for details (800) 234-6605 or reach out online at

About Perry Office Plus
We're Central Texas' largest independent office products & furniture dealer and have been locally owned and operated since our establishment in 1920. Visit our website to shop for all your office supplies and call any of our fantastic Customer Service Reps if you have any questions or need help with your office products.

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