Scientific Talking Points: Paper Towels vs. Jet Air Dryers

Learn why single-use paper towels are the most effective and most hygienic hand washing solution compared to jet air dryers[i].


  • Paper towels reduce bacteria on hands by up to 77%.[ii]
  • A recent study found people had 42% more bacteria on their fingers and 15% more on their palms after using a jet air dryer.[iii]
  • The surfaces of jet air dryers have contamination levels 48 times higher than the average toilet seat.
  • Fecal bacteria, E. coli and staph have all been found on jet air dryers.
  • One study found jet air dryers disperse 1300 times more germ particles into the surrounding air than paper towels. Even after 15 minutes, there were still 100 times more particles in the air when using jet air dyers versus single-use paper towels.[iv]
  • Most of the germ particles that jet air dryers blow into the surrounding air end up at approximately the height of a small child’s face.[v]
  • The World Health Organization and Mayo Clinic support using paper towels over jet air dryers.[vi]
  • Consumers prefer paper towels over jet air dryers. A recent observational study found 90% of people using restrooms prefer paper towels when given the choice between single-use paper towels and jet air dryers.[vii]


Improve workplace hygiene with paper towels. Kimberly-Clark Professional™ innovative solutions help limit the spread of germs, making every touch count in protecting your employees and customers.


Scott® and Kleenex® branded hand towels made in Australia with AIRFLEX* technology, a process that uses up to 30% less fibre, and contain ABSORBENCY POCKETS*. Designed to allow people to use fewer towels and create less waste. Elevate the restroom with our trusted familiar brands.


Click HERE to see Kimberly-Clark Professional™ Solutions

[i] Huang C, Ma W, Stack S. The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87(8):791-798. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.02.019

[ii] University of Westminster, “Changes in the number of different types of bacteria on the hands before and after drying using paper towel, continuous cloth roller towel, warm air dryer and jet air dryer” (2010)

[iii] Eurofins-Inlab study (2012)

[iv] P.T. Kimmitt & K.F. Redway, “Evaluation of the Potential for Virus Dispersal During Hand Drying: A comparison of Three Methods,” Journal of Applied Macrobiology 120 (2016)

[v] E.L. Best, K. Redway, “Comparison of Different Hand-Drying Methods: The Potential for Airborne Microbe Dispersal and Contamination,” Journal of Hospital Infection 89 (2015)

[vi] World Health Organization, Global Hand Washing Guidelines

[vii] ETS Observational Study, ISSA/Interclean Amsterdam (May 2016)