Are the Dyson Airblades really hygienic?

Hand dryers - air dryers or cotton: the hygiene battle is raging in the toilet

Air dryer or cotton: the hygiene battle is raging in the toilet

Whether big or small business: afterwards you wash your hands. When it comes to drying, at the latest, opinions differ. The textile lobby is now attacking the Dyson air hand dryer with a study.

In public toilets, more and more people are drying their hands with a Dyson air-flow dryer. The Dyson Airblade is also on the rise in Switzerland. But now a study literally takes his breath away. The result: "Air dryers do not meet the minimum requirements of the European standard". This says that after drying, there must be 1000 times fewer bacteria on the hands than before. In other words: 99.9 percent of all bacteria should disappear from the hands.

The competition from the cotton fraction can look forward to: CWS-boco Suisse SA in Glattbrugg (ZH) also belongs to this group. Accordingly, she presented the study confidently at a media conference yesterday. Your product, the roll of fabric, came out on top in the study. It clearly exceeds the EU standard. Paper towels and heat dryers were also tested.

Dyson blows a counterattack

The British company Dyson is resisting the study. In a statement, Dyson writes that "the Helsinki study lacks credibility as it has not been externally verified". The study was carried out by the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology at the University of Helsinki. However, it was commissioned and financed by the European Textile Services Association (ETSA). The Swiss Textile Care Association (VTS) is also a member of the European association. So understandable Dyson's accusation.

But that's not all: Dyson accuses the textile lobby of misleading the data and results. Among other things, it does not say how many bacteria the test subjects had on their hands before they dried them. That would be important because the results are based on this baseline. The company also writes that in part of the study, all drying methods would perform equally if the contaminated hands were washed and dried. In fact, these results are not listed in the ETSA study summary.

Bacteria in the air

The number of bacteria in the air and on the devices was also examined. Here the results show that with air dryers the bacteria are literally catapulted into the air. At a distance of one meter, the study authors found over 90 "colony-forming units" on the Dyson Airblade. In the case of cotton towels, on the other hand, it is significantly less than 10 units. However, according to Dyson, the built-in filter removes 99.9 percent of bacteria from the air that is sucked in. In addition, washrooms are not sterile areas and bacteria are present on all surfaces.

Whether cotton or air, the biggest culprit in bacteria is likely to be the toilet visitor. Whether in a restaurant or in the office: every third person using the toilet washes their hands without soap after doing business because it dries out the skin. Every tenth person even stops washing their hands altogether. Even the best dryers would no longer be of any use.