For many years, our customers have asked us questions about paper towels versus hand dryers. We have customers that have just paper towels, some with both hand dryers and paper towels, and others with just hand dryers- which are the minority.


The Mayo Clinic did a study in 2009 which resulted in 55% of the respondents saying they did not want to use hand dryers.

According to Web MD 11/21/2014, "investigators measured airborne bacteria levels and found higher amounts of germs around both types of dryers than around towel dispensers."  Also reported, ""Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people's hands," Wilcox said in a university news release."

Facility managers who have done away with paper towels in their restrooms sometimes site environmental factors. Hand dryers, for example, require fewer natural resources to use and produce. Hand dryers also reduce carbon emissions and help reduce deforestation.

The price of installing hand dryers far exceed that of paper towels.  The price per hand drying is lower with hand drying, but it is less hygienic.  

Keeping paper towels in your restrooms has significant advantages. The following are reasons why you should consider leaving paper towel dispensers in your restrooms, even if you keep the hand dryers as well.

Employees and Customers Want to Choose

 Your building’s occupants want the ability to choose between using air dryers and using paper towels. And if a recent
survey by the Deb Group is accurate, 75% of people prefer paper towels to air dryers. Therefore, removing paper towel dispensers just isn’t customer friendly.

Paper Towels Are More Hygienic

Studies show that the friction present when drying with paper towels helps remove germs and bacteria. Air dryers, on the other hand, have been found to increase the amount of bacteria on hands.  Drying water on the hands does not mean that the bacteria disappears.  

Use of Hand Dryer Alone leads to Increase in Usage of Toilet Paper

Our customers that have switched to only hand dryer use have overwhelmingly experienced an increase in toilet paper usage.
If toilet paper usage increases, what net savings are really being experienced?

Paper Towels Allow Contact-Free Surface Touching

 Many people prefer using a piece of paper towel as a barrier between their hand and germy surfaces like faucets or door handles. This benefit, of course, cannot be provided in bathrooms with only an air dryer.

Paper Towels Are Fast and Efficient

Paper towels allow people to just “grab and go.” But an air dryer only accommodates one person at a time, and the user needs to occupy it for up to a minute. This limitation is very noticeable when bathrooms are crowded.  Lines often form behind the hand dryer and many bathroom occupants opt to wipe their hands on their clothing or use toilet paper supplied in the bathrooms.

Paper Towels Save Electricity

Energy-conscious facility managers appreciate that paper towels cut down on electricity usage. While new air dryers are more efficient than they used to be, many dryers in use today draw upwards of 2,200 watts of power when used.

What About Environmental Concerns?

Paper towel manufactures are increasingly exploring ways to minimize the threat of deforestation. More and more, paper towel products are originating from commercial forests that are frequently re-planted. Plus, sustainable fibers like wheat straw and bamboo are also being incorporated in today’s paper towel market. Finally, many paper towel products incorporate fibers that would have gone to waste if they weren’t used in the paper towel.

The impression people have about your facility’s restrooms is vitally important. If you don’t currently offer paper towels along with air driers, consider the benefits your building’s occupants would receive with both!