How many times have you entered a public restroom and observed that there are no paper towels, only the lowly often maligned warm air hand dryer. It could be the new high-tech looking Dyson that seems to be the rage in most establishments currently or some older type of hand dryer. If you are like most people that the UFE (Urine Feces Everywhere) has observed and conversed with, then several things are going through your mind. If you spend enough time in restrooms, like the UFE team you know that Hand-Washing compliance is going to be much lower with hand dryers, than if disposable hand towels were supplied. It also means that many people using the restroom without hand towels will be thinking of a way to exit the restroom without touching the door handle to the restroom as they exit because they know that many people use the restroom, fail to wash their hands, and then exit the restroom putting their soiled hands on the restroom door handle.
The UFE observers have spoken before about the ingenious methods that people come up with so they don’t have to touch the soiled door handle while exiting the restroom. For the more limber people there is the Karate-type move where they reach up with their foot to hook the handle and open the door. Some patrons exiting the restroom use toilet paper from the stall or a piece of paper from their purse, others pull their sleeve over their hand, some wait for another person to exit or enter the restroom, then they quickly exit while the door is ajar, grabbing the closing apparatus at the top of the restroom door and moving it to the side to open the door, some just casually wait until their unsuspecting friend grabs the handle first. Some restaurants like the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group located in Chicago have signs posted in their restrooms recommending that you use your hand towel to grab the restroom door handle as you exit. These signs are proof that businesses know that there are many people that use their hand towel to grasp the restroom door handle on the way out. If you need further proof, think how many times you noticed a pile of disposable hand towels next to the restroom exit door because the business hasn’t really figured out that the garbage can should be within throwing distance of the restroom door.
You really have to wonder why some commercial establishments seem to understand that the restroom door handle is a possible source of contagions while other establishments don’t seem to understand the potential problem. As it turns out it all comes down to dollars and cents. According to the air dryer manufacturer Dyson, a medium size business having 200 restroom uses a day can save $5678 per year when they switch to air hand dryers. In addition to the cost savings, a lot of businesses are conveniently claiming that they don’t supply disposable hand towels because they are conveniently “Going Green.”
UFE thinks the ideal restroom should have both the Air Dryers and disposable hand towels. This is the best of both worlds for the going ”Greeners” and the patrons that don’t want to place their hands on any surface that has been touched by other people most notably the one that used the restroom but didn’t bother to wash their hands.
The advantages for the Air Hand Dryer; never have to worry about running out of paper supplies and tree huggers can be satisfied that they aren’t adding to landfills.
The advantages for the disposable paper hand towels are; no worries that the warm forced air will irritate your hands, peace of mind that the air from the air dryer isn’t another source of dangerous microbes, added friction of wiping with the paper product adds to removal of debris left on your hand after hand washing, paper product is great for cleaning spills, wiping your face, wiping the sink basin, peace of mind that you can use the hand towel to grasp the door handle that was grabbed by those non hand-washers.
Many times you get the feeling that restrooms with Hand Air Dryers are perceived by their establishments as being maintenance free. No need to empty the garbage can or refill the hand towel dispenser. How often do you go in a restroom with air dryers and you find the soap dispenser is empty and you wonder if the restroom is checked daily, weekly or monthly! The UFE staff is in total agreement that if we had to choose between offering toilet seat covers or disposable hand towels, we’re going with the paper. Surprisingly in most cases the restroom door handle is dirtier than the toilet seat, hands down, no pun intended!