Here's why using hand dryers in washrooms can make you sick

Here's why using hand dryers in washrooms can make you sick
Samples from hand dryers in a shopping mall, a movie theater and workplace in separate petri dishes (@the_lab_life1/TikTok)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Hand dryers are touted as more hygienic and convenient than paper towels, but hardly anyone knows that the machine actually sucks bacteria out of the air and sprays it onto freshly washed hands. TikToker @the_lab_life1 has reportedly taken samples from hand dryers in a shopping mall, a movie theater, and at their work on separate petri dishes, and the shocking results will never make you use the machine again.

The video by TikToker @the_lab_life1, which has received more than two million likes and more than 12,000 comments from horrified users, shows that the samples taken from all three contained gooey, bubbling organisms. The reason, however, is not that the machines are contaminated with bacteria, but that the hand dryers pick up bacterial aerosols from the bathroom and transfer them to the hands.


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The dirty little secret behind using a hand dryer

TikToker @the_lab_life1 explained, "All the bacterial aerosols from the bathroom are basically being pushed onto your hands." The sample taken at the workplace contained the most bacteria, and another sample taken by waving the dish in the bathroom air for comparison was the only one not riddled with bacteria. Although the lab scientist did not reveal which bacteria were captured, research shows that E coli, hepatitis, fecal bacteria, influenza, streptococcus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), salmonella, shigella and norovirus lurk in public restrooms.


'Hand dryers transfer bacterial aerosols onto your hands'

Most of the bacteria in the air come from toilets being flushed which aerosolizes a fine mist of microbes - including fecal clouds. These fecal clouds can spread across an area as large as 65 square feet, Harvard Health Publishing reports. This is why it is very crucial to use flush after closing the toilet lid. A 2015 study reveals invisible microbes found in public bathrooms and found genetic traces of more than 77,000 distinct types of bacteria and viruses in these spaces. This means using a hand dryer, pushes these bacteria from the surface onto your freshly washed hands.

Due to hand dryers' abilities to transmit spores, they could potentially spread Clostridium difficile, according to scientists, which causes watery diarrhea that can lead to severe dehydration. "This suggests another means of C.difficile transmission and one that may not be interrupted by either hand washing or traditional surface decontamination methods," reads the study published in AMS Journals. This is why experts urge people to use paper towels to dry their hands. 


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 Here's why using hand dryers in washrooms can make you sick