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Evaluation of the Potential for Virus Dispersal during Hand
Drying: A Comparison of Three Methods

Published in Journal of Applied Microbiology4

This study explored how different drying methods disperse microbes and contaminate the immediate environment by comparing three different methods – paper towels, warm air dryers and jet air dryers. As part of this test, participants wore gloves on their hands, and washed them with a suspension of MS2 bacteriophage. Subjects then dried their hands using one of the three drying devices. Using a plaque assay, researchers tested for the presence of MS2 in the area surrounding each device. Samples were collected at various heights and distances. At a height range of 0.15 to 1.65 metres, the jet air dryer dispersed an average of 60-fold more plaque-forming units than the warm air dryer, and 1300-fold more units than the paper towels. When distances up to 3 metres were tested, the jet air dryer dispersed 20-fold and 190-fold more units than the warm air dryer and paper towels, respectively. Researchers also took samples 15 minutes after using each device and discovered that there was, on average, 50 and 100-fold more plaque-forming units than the warm air dryer and paper towels, respectively. The written report concluded that jet air dryers disperse significantly more microbes a greater distance when compared to warm air dryers and paper towels.

4Kimmitt, Patrick T., and Keith F. Redway. "Evaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods." Journal of applied microbiology 120.2 (2016): 478-486.

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