Fun Fact: New Study Says Bathroom Hand Dryers are Blowing Fecal Matter On You

posted: 04/18/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Woman dries her hands in the bathroom


When you are in public bathroom and you've washed your hands with the right amount of soap and warm water but all you have to dry your hands is the hot air blow dryer, you may want to just drip dry. While hot air hand dryers may be helping the environment by cutting down on paper waste, we may be adding unwanted bacteria onto our hands--mainly bacteria from poo.

According to a new study, researchers brought bacteria culture plates into 36 men and women's bathrooms and exposed these culture plates to the air blown from the hot air dryers for 30 seconds. What they found was not good.

On average, after exposed to the hot air dryers, 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria grew per plate. If you are wondering if the bacteria is just floating around in the bathroom and that is was researchers found, you'll be just as horrified as me to learn that while there is some bacteria in the air, there is not as much bacteria as there is on hot air dryers.

Researchers only found and average of one or less colonies of bacteria per plate when the cultures were exposed to just the bathroom air for just two minutes. While dyers with HEPA filters- high efficiency particulate air--did reduce the amount of bacteria by four times, it did not remove all of the bacteria.

The authors concluded that the "results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers, and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers." Be right back. I have to go wash my hands.

Even though researchers looked at the bacteria from fecal matter and urine in petri dishes, they did conclude that by using paper towels, we would end up with less bacteria on our hands. Clearly the more bacteria on our hands, the more likely we are to get sick. Especially if we assume our hands are clean after washing and drying.

So the next time you are in a public bathroom, be sure to wash your hands with plenty of soap and water and maybe just shimmy and shake until your hands are dry. If nothing else, your hands will have less bacteria on them and you'll burn a few calories from all the dancing.