Advising Your Customers on the Benefits of Paper Towels vs. Hot Air Dryers
When it comes to cleanliness and the prevention of the spread of bacteria and viral infections, everyone will agree that hand-washing is hands-down one of the most important measures one can take. A less clear question is, which method of hand-drying is more effective in preventing the spread of germs? The answer is paper towels, according to a recent study from the Mayo Clinic published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
In a selling situation, it may be difficult to argue the benefits of paper towels over hot air dryers when the customer is price-sensitive. Many business owners are inclined to install a hot air dryer to reduce the expense associated with stocking paper towels. If your customer’s primary concern is cost, you can discourage using hot air dryers and still offer savings by suggesting value brand paper towels such as Nova, Vintage or Advantage. This saves your customer money, while still preserving the convenience and health of their customers and employees during this year’s flu season. This is important since, when given a choice, many busy patrons are inclined to choose paper towels due to the high cost to them of standing under a hot air blower for 60-90 seconds, only to walk away with damp hands that double as germ incubators. Read on for more valuable insight on the health benefits of paper towels to better prepare you for advising your customers.
Studies in 2009 and 2000 found a significant majority (55 percent in the 2009 study, 62 percent in 2000) preferred paper towels to hot air or jet air dryers (no more than 28 percent in either study). –Washington Post
Today’s “green” society encourages less waste, financially and ecologically. For hot air dryers, the argument has been that they are a hands-free, low-waste method of drying your hands that helps reduce deforestation and landfill waste, while drying your hands in a gentler way. (According to the Wall Street Journal, “The electric blower uses more energy than making a paper towel,” Dr. Rodney Lee Thompson says- which refutes many environmentalists claims that hot air blowers are better for the planet.)
On the other hand, the argument for paper towels has shown solid evidence that hot-air dryers may not be as efficient or as hygienic as once thought, and perhaps deserves a second look. While paper towels are often associated with higher cost as well as waste, they have been shown in multiple studies to be much more effective in drying hands and preventing the spread of germs and bacteria- making the cost of hot air dryers much higher when it comes to our health, especially during a record-breakingly early flu season.
As stated in an article in the Star Tribune, “The trouble with blowers is they take so long,” Rodney Lee Thompson, a hospital epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the Wall Street Journal. “Most people dry their hands for a bit, then wipe them on their dirty jeans, or open the door with their still-wet hands.”
The issue there is, wet hands are not clean. The Wall Street Journal states that “In June, the Mayo Clinic published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing study done since 1970. The authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria, and that paper towels are superior to driers: They’re more efficient, they don’t spatter germs, they won’t dry out hands and most people prefer them. (A co-author of the study has served as a consultant for Kimberly Clark Australia, a maker of paper towels.)” (See full report from the Mayo Clinic here.)
To end-users as well as business owners, the benefits of paper towels greatly outweigh the benefits to hot air dryers. With paper towels, a customer can dry their hands and be done in about ten seconds; their hands are dry, and the friction from the paper towel has removed more bacteria than hot air would. They can also turn off the faucet and open the restroom door with a paper towel, further preventing the spread of germs from patrons who opted-out of hand-washing altogether. A hot air dryer enables germs to spread, either through use or non-use, making the money saved over using paper towels a greater expense to public health and society overall, making the electric hand-dryer’s claims essentially nothing more than, well, hot air.© Copyright Amy Ullsperger, All rights Reserved. Written For: DSR Sales Support Blog