Microbiological evaluation of different hand drying methods for removing bacteria from washed hands

Lorna K.P. Suen, Vanessa Y.T. Lung, Maureen V. Boost, Cypher H. Au-Yeung, Gilman K.H. Siu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Proper drying of hands after washing is an integral part of hand hygiene. An experimental study on 30 subjects using multiple comparisons of six hand drying methods including 1) drying on own clothes, 2) drying with one paper towel, 3) drying with two paper towels, 4) drying with a warm air dryer while holding hands stationary for 20 s, 5) drying with a warm air dryer while hand rubbing for 20 s, and 6) drying with a jet air dryer until complete dryness was achieved. It aimed to determine the effectiveness of different hand drying methods for removing bacteria from washed hands, so as to identify the optimum method using minimum resources. Our study demonstrated that the use of jet air dryers is the best method to eliminate bacteria on hands, whereas drying hands on one’s own clothes is the least effective. Drying hands in a stationary position could remove more bacteria than rubbing hands when using a warm air dryer for 20 s, which mimics people’s usual hand-drying practice. No significant difference in bacteria reduction was detected between the use of one or two paper towels for hand drying; therefore, using fewer resources is recommended to maintain environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13754
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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