Reducing Germs on your Hands with Paper Towels
When it comes to hand hygiene, there are two things to always keep in mind: how you wash your hands and how you dry them. I have written extensively about the proper handwashing technique. Here are the five steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean paper towel
Today’s blog focus is on step five: drying your hands and reducing the germs on your hands with paper towels. As you’ve undoubtedly seen, there are tons of different types of paper dispensers. Some have the electronic eye and you wave your hand in front of it to get a towel. Others require you to push a lever or turn a crank or dial and a third type are non-electronic hands-free, allowing you to grab only the towel you need, without ever touching the dispenser. There are also electric air dryers which blow hot air on your hands to dry off the water.
The goal of handwashing and drying is to get your hands clean and remove as many germs and bacteria as possible. While it’s impossible to eliminate 100% of the germs, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce the number on your hands. To do that, you want to use options that require the least amount of hand-to-surface contact from the time you start washing until you’re done drying. Right from the start, you’ll want to avoid the dispensers that require you to touch them in order to get your towel out, such as those with a lever you must press to get your towel.
You’ll also want to consider the research. Multiple studies have found that electric air blowers spread germs rather than kill them. That leaves us two options: hands-free dispensers with electronic components and hands-free dispensers that are electronics-free. The main benefits of both of these types of dispensers are that they reduce any need to touch the dispensers. That means once you’ve washed your hands, you grab only the towel you need without touching the dispenser or anything but that towel. Many people like the electronic ones, and that’s their preference. However, there have been some issues with those dispensers: they don’t dispense towels fast enough, batteries don’t get changed often enough and some people don’t think the towels are large or absorbent enough. Again, this is all about preference.
However, I am going to focus on the non-electronic hands-free dispensers that Century Products LLC sells. Our newly expanded paper program offers five styles of hands-free paper towel dispensers. They’re all durable and designed to allow you and your customers to grab a single towel without touching the dispenser itself. Because there are no electronics, there are no concerns over changing batteries or components that stop working. Just pull once and you have your towel.
Our Centerpull and Mini Centerpull dispensers also use two-ply paper towels so one is enough to dry most hands. Since they’re all hands-free, they reduce cross-contamination, making your handwashing more effective in reducing germs. Have you had any experiences with paper towel dispensers in public places? We want to hear your thoughts (good and bad). Post them in the comments section below!