Are we still arguing over this?
It’s November of 2021 and its important to remember after all these years, that hand dryers have more benefits over paper towels. I know it is a touchy subject since people tend to have strong feelings about which is more hygienic. Here at Newton Distributing, we are happy to share our direct knowledge on the various studies performed over the years. What many people in the general public don’t realize is that the negative studies about hand dryers vs paper towels are often funded by paper companies.
How long have hand dryers been around?
The companies who produce paper towels have a huge head start on producing marketing material helping their cause. Hand dryers were first patented in 1921 by R.B. Hibbard but didn’t gain popular use until 1948. 1948 was the year George Clemens was funded by World Dryer to upgrade the original designs for a larger market. Though Clemens found success in his endeavors, the hand dryers were nothing like what we have today. They were loud and took well over a minute to actually dry your hands. The paper towel industry didn’t have much to fear versus the growing market of dryers.
So who changed the game?
By 2002, there were a variety of automated, touchless hand dryers on the market but it was time for change. Excel Dryer released the XLERATOR hand dryer which set the bar for the next generation. Many young people today may not realize it, but when the XLERATOR was released, it’s round look was beyond innovative. Nothing like it had been seen before. More importantly, it could actually dry your hands in under a minute. Not just in under a minute, but in 15 seconds or less. Excel Dryer changed the market for hand dryers that would lead to a whole world of competition.
What did the paper companies do?
Paper towel companies began to do their own studies to dispute the claims of the XLERATOR. XLERATORs featured a lot of highlights that are still hard to compete with. Saving owners 80% on electricity versus old hand dryers while producing a 95% cost savings versus paper towels in their restrooms. There is even a sheet from Excel Dryer that allows you to do out the math showcasing these savings. Eco-friendly and saving business owners thousands of dollars a year. The hand dryer is 100% Made in the USA, something to this day that no other company has been able to claim. Competitors of Excel Dryer have some units “Assembled in America”, but that’s not quite the same. Assembling something in the states is not the same as actively ensuring your product is manufactured on American soil.
The market was beginning to change. Schools were teaching children the importance of taking care of Earth. “Save the whales” was a common phrase when kids were waiting at the school bubbler in the hallway. Now there was a new aesthetically pleasing hand dryer that could actually help the environment. Paper towels don’t have a good record when it comes to helping the environment. Quite the opposite actually. Google away! From a larger carbon footprint to adding to large scale waste issues, plus paper towels contribute to deforestation. But the paper towel companies also have large amounts of income. They also want to protect their business.
An investment worth protecting
Check it out, when you are invested in a product that was worth $6.47 billion by October of 2020, you got to protect your share. Since the arrival of electric hand dryers, paper towel companies have made a habit of shoving their money into studies. Studies that prove their point. Whatever point they want to make. Many studies in the world come from funding paying to find a conclusion that supports their argument.
Who says hand dryers aren’t doing the same?
Well, they do. Hand dryer companies like Excel Dryer want to prove the point that their hand dryers save versus paper towels. So various hand dryer manufacturers paid for studies and guess what, shocker, they all concluded that paying for paper towels in your restroom adds up quick. So yes, installing a fast-drying hand dryer did save money versus paper towels.
Manufacturers had studies done on the burden that producing paper towels has on the environment. Shocker again, they all had similar results. It’s pretty easy to understand that when hand dryers are drying hands in under 15 seconds, you are using less electricity and not wasting paper. Paper towels are made from cutting down trees and are treated with chemicals and need water to produce. Studies were easy to perform because the results are easy to see and understand. If you are a business owner and you install an XLERATOR hand dryer, you are guaranteed to save money versus paper towels. That is fact. No study from the paper company can argue with that.
But what about hygiene?
This is the last big debate in the world of hand dryers vs paper towels. Well, who wins? I would like to think the answer is hand dryers but everyone has their opinion. Some people believe that “poop air” blows on your hands when using a hand dryer. This is true actually, go watch Mythbusters, because that same “poop air” can be found on your tooth brush. Marketing showcases germs and bacteria as bad and awful things. Every cleaning agent out there has a commercial you have seen talking about how bad germs are. Germs and bacteria can be bad, absolutely. No denying that. But people often miss the fact that our bodies are filled with a covered in millions of bacteria and germs everyday. Feel icky? It’s normal.
Using a hand dryer is equal with paper towels in the eyes of the CDC. Whatever air is in the public bathroom is not only in the hand dryer, but it is also on the paper towels. If you do not dry your hands after washing them and walk outside, you are more likely to catch something. Damp hands are proven to attract bacteria and germs.
Who wins the argument of hand dryers vs paper towels?
Your choice. Neither product is going anywhere any time soon. The CDC sees them as equals which is the more important detail in the overall argument. As the reader, I hope you understand it all comes down to washing your hands properly. Not just washing them, but properly drying them. As long as you wash your hands and dry them completely, you are reducing any risk of attracting and spreading bacteria. Excel Dryer has put a lot on the line to prove they’ve done everything to prove they are equal with paper towels. Read about them, you may have your mind changed.