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What's More Sanitary: Dryers or Paper Towels?
Imagine my dismay when I
read in this month's O magazine that jet dryers actually increase the amount of bacteria on users' hands—it's because the air inside isn't exactly sterile. Even worse, the dryers blast bacteria all over the restroom (and presumably, those inside), "spewing germs more than six feet." After reading this, the jet dryer morphed in my mind from a
futuristic time saver to a potential weapon of germ warfare. O writer Ramona Emerson explains that the superiority of jet dryers is actually a myth. The hand-drying
researcher whose work she cites says that paper towels are more sanitary, but this still doesn't solve my eco-dilemma.
Here's an idea: We could take a cue from the Japanese, who have taken hand drying (among many other things) to a new level. Many public washrooms in Japan lack towels or dryers, and it is common for Japanese people to carry small, personal hand towels or handkerchiefs (okay for drying your hands, but not for blowing your nose). The towels are so ubiquitous that there's even a museum dedicated to them. By tucking my own little reusable towel in my purse, I'll at least be able to keep my germs to myself. But I admit: I'll miss the roar of the jets.