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Hand Drying - An Important Aspect Of Hand Hygiene


We all know by now how COVID brought changes in maintaining overall hygiene. While hand sanitizing and hand washing are crucial, hand drying is another crucial aspect that requires equal emphasis. Why so, you ask? Wet hands have a higher tendency to spread bacteria compared to dry hands.  

Drying hands post-hand washing helps prevent bacteria from one place to the other. A good hand hygiene regime is a combination of both hand washing + hand drying. Ideally, after washing hands must be followed by hand drying. 

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Importance Of Hand Drying 

The first step for an effective hand hygiene regime is to wash your hands thoroughly, as it helps remove several germs and bacteria. Hand drying further enables protection to pick up any additional germs and bacteria.  

Since the transfer of germs is 10x times higher when your hands are wet, hand drying cannot be ignored. Hand washing and hand drying are what complete the hand hygiene process. It is an integral part that must be followed at every cost. 

Not only mere drying but proper drying of hands is what will keep germs and bacteria at bay. One of the advantages of effectively washing your hands and then drying them is that 

Different Ways To Dry Hands 

While hand drying is important, ensuring you do it the right way also holds immense value. For effective hand drying, you must ensure that every area of your hand, including under the nails and between the fingers. Some common ways to dry hands include - paper towels, cloth towels, and hot air dryers.  

Shaking Dry 

During the initial times when paper towels were not in existence, this was the only way of hand drying. Shaking and waving eliminate the need to touch anything and enable easy removal of bacteria and germs. 

Paper Towels 

It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to dry hands. As per studies, paper towels do an excellent job of removing bacteria from the hands. These are a quick way to dry hands and perfect to carry while traveling. In addition, paper towels create friction that further makes the process of cleaning smooth. Just be sure that you do not use the same part of the paper towels to dry the overall hand. 

Cloth Towels 

After paper towels, cloth towels slowly joined in the loop. It is said that cloth towels can discard the highest number of bacteria from wet hands. The process of rubbing one’s hands with cotton helps fasten the process of removal of germs. 

Electric Air Dryers 

An electric air dryer is an electronic appliance equipped with a sensor that detects the motion of your hands. Especially when it comes to shopping centers, an electric air dryer is the preferred option to go for. These are specially designed for hand drying and are also cost-effective. 

Purpose Of Drying Hands 

Our hands are most prone to catching pathogens and bacteria as we come into contact with several contaminated surfaces. The role of hand drying cannot be underestimated. Many people fail to realize what role hand drying plays in keeping bacteria and other germs at bay. 

As per studies, wet hands carry 1000 times more risk of transferring microorganisms from one place to the other. Many people skip the part of hand drying without realizing how crucial it is. Here are some of the reasons why hand drying must not be ignored.

At the organization level, ensuring that proper hand drying practices will reduce absenteeism and result in fewer sick leaves. 

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Best Way To Dry Hands 

There are several ways to dry hands, including paper towels, cloth towels, and electric hand dryers. As per research, electric air dryers tend to spread bacteria as they throw back the pathogens right back into your hands. 

When choosing the best drying solution for your preferred area their multiple factors that you must consider : 

  • The overall cost 
  • How effective is the device 
  • Comfort while using 
  • Preferences of users
  • And how is the dispersal of microorganisms done? 

These are some considerations you must understand before deciding on the best solution for hand drying. As per studies it was found that drying hands using paper towels resulted in no further transfer of bacteria. As compared to hot air dryers, paper and cloth towels result in no contamination of the surrounding environment. 

A Good Hand Hygiene Routine 

What completes an effective hand hygiene regime, you ask? An excellent and effective hand hygiene routine involves both hand washing and hand drying. Leaving any washroom without drying your hands will defeat the entire purpose of washing hands. 

Reduce cross contamination and stop the spread of pathogens further. Give importance to hand drying and stay safe always. 


Hand drying is one such neglected aspect of hand hygiene and must be given equal importance. One of the least safe options is to not dry your hands at all. Washrooms and public restrooms are always at a high risk of bacterial growth. Hence, ensuring that hand drying post washing hands at such places is the need of the hour. It is found that the transmission of bacteria from wet hands is said to be higher as compared to dry hands. 

Several reports highlight the role of hand drying in infection control. While there are many studies conducted to report the importance of hand drying, its role in maintaining hand hygiene has not been promoted widely. 

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