The bad news about your favourite hand dryers might break your heart.

Before you read this post, if you’ve got some cash on you, I’d recommend just popping down to the local shops and investing in a jumbo-sized bottle of hand sanitiser. Got it? Okay, good.

So, you know those fancy Dyson Airblade hand dryers? The award-winning ones, which fell out of sci-fi films into public toilets and dry your hands in just a few blissful seconds? Well, turns out they may not be as effective as we’ve been led to believe.

In fact, the world’s “most hygienic hand dryer” actually spreads 60 times more germs than the regular kind and a whopping 13,000 times more germs than paper towels, according to a new study.

Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in January found the Dyson dryer’s 690km/h blasts of warm air are capable of spreading germs a whopping 3m, whereas your standard dryer will only take them 75cm. As for the humble paper towel? Well that’ll only spread ’em 25cm.

In the era of super bugs, when 40 per cent of hospital infections are thought to stem from poor hand washing, this seems important.


And yet, the plot thickens.

Dyson has already panned the research labelling it "scaremongering" by the dastardly paper towel industry. In fact, they say, a similar study was published in 2014 and was funded by none other than the European Tissue Symposium.

"The paper towel industry has scaremongered with this [type of] research for the past four years," the spokesperson told the UK's Independent.


"It has been conducted under artificial conditions, using unrealistically high levels of virus contamination on unwashed, gloved hands."

The company is so committed to debunking "questionable reports commissioned and reported by the paper towel and cotton roll towel manufacturers trying to make Dyson Airblade seem unhygienic", they made a short YouTube film about earlier this year.

'Paper's Dirty Secret' features lots of ominous music, close ups of germs and some terrifying counter-facts including that "up to 88% of unused paper towels contain bacteria."


The authors of the latest study have defended their work, saying it has been through a rigorous peer review process.

"In addition, the fact remains that many individuals do not wash their hands thoroughly and/or do not use any kind of soap or sanitizer and this means that if their hands are contaminated with a pathogen it may still be present after 'washing'. We were testing this scenario in our study," author Dr Patrick Kimmitt explained.

"If hands are not washed properly and carry pathogens then the question is what happens when they are dried?"

To be honest, I'm not sure who to believe. I'll probably just keep wiping my hands on my jeans, if I'm honest.

You can watch the Dyson video in full here:

Feature image: Wikipedia/iStock