Good hand hygiene has been in the spotlight since the beginning of the pandemic. Dyson has therefore commissioned test laboratory Airmid Healthgroup to investigate the aerosolisation of different drying methods. This new, independent study confirms that the Dyson Airblade is a safe and hygienic hand dryer for any washroom.

The study took place under realistic conditions: participants dried their hands after rising or washing them. The focus was on the effect of drying methods on the concentration of aerosols and bacteria in the air: a much discussed topic since the outbreak of the corona crisis.

Research method

Half of the participants rinsed their hands with water (without soap), the other half washed their hands for twenty seconds (with soap) according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The subjects then dried their hands with a Dyson jet air dryer or paper. The results show that small droplets mainly spread through normal activities in the toilet room, such as walking around or using a tap. Drying with a Dyson Airblade hand dryer makes no significant difference.

The study also shows that the increase in the number of aerosols and bacteria after drying with paper towels or with a Dyson jet hand dryer is similar. This proves that jet hand dryers are just as safe and hygienic as paper towels.

Previous hygiene studies

Immediately after the introduction of the first Dyson Airblade in 2008, several unrealistic studies were published on jet hand dryers. By examining the operation of hand dryers in extreme, unrepresentative conditions, several attempts were made to discredit jet hand dryers. In these studies, researchers applied abnormally large amounts of microbes (ETS in 2008 [1] and VSR in 2012 [2]) or even on plastic gloves (Wilcox in 2014 [3] and Redway in 2015 [4]), after which the hands were placed in the jet dryer without washing or even rinsing them. In reality, no one dries extremely dirty hands without at least having rinsed them off.

Several representative studies, with hands that were not artificially contaminated (SCA in 2013 [5]) or in real washrooms (Wilcox in 2018 [6]), already showed that there is no significant difference in aerosolization between the drying methods. A Dyson Airblade hand dryer turned out to be as hygienic as paper. This new study (Airmid in 2020) also confirms that Dyson Airblade hand dryers are a safe and hygienic solution for washrooms and is therefore in line with these previous representative studies on hygienic hand drying.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also conclude that hand dryers are as hygienic as paper towels and prescribe both drying methods as the best way to dry hands.

[1] Redway K, Fawdar S (2008). A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, jet air dryer
[2] Terpstra P, Beumer R, Duisterwinkel (2012). Hygiëne handendrogers: Verspreiding van micro-organismen in de omgevingslucht door handen drogen met twee typen handendrogers.
[3] Best E, Parnell P, Wilcox M (2014). Microbiological comparison of hand-drying methods: the potential for contamination of the environment, user, and bystander
[4] Kimmit P, Redway K (2015). Evaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods
[5] Margas E, Maquire E, Berland C, Welander F, Holah (2013). Assessment of the environmental microbiological cross contamination following hand drying with paper hand towels or an air blade dryer
[6] Best E, Parnell P, Couturier J, Barbut F, Le Brozec A, Arnoldo L, Madia A, Brusaferro S, Wilcox M (2018). Environmental contamination by bacteria in hospital washrooms according to hand-drying method: a multi-centre study