Friday, October 4, 2013

Cleaning Up The Towel vs. Dryer War

There are some debates where everybody has an opinion, but most of us are smart enough to keep our mouths shut. Proper toilet paper positioning and usage of the Oxford comma come to mind (a third example would give away my opinion on the latter). Public restrooms are the battleground for another such debate: given the choice between a towel dispenser and an air dryer, which will you gravitate toward?

Ready... Set... Fight!

While we're all buying toilet paper no matter how we put it on the roll, this is a fascinating battle as makers of both have millions of dollars invested into being right... or at least prolonging the argument. Team Towel argues better cleaning efficiency and less contamination. Team Dryer points out that dryers don't need to be refilled and create less garbage. Incidentally, the deal offering a free dispenser with a towel purchase is still running.

Truth is, at one time this had been objectively settled: paper towels are better by a landslide. Hand dryers take longer to dry (the high energy output almost cancels out the lack of waste) and bacteria from your hands get blown all over the room rather than end up in a tidy little disposal container. This fight was over until the Dyson Airblade came around.

With jets on both sides drying hands faster, dryers still have some fight left in them, despite claims of even worse bacteria contamination (don't touch the surfaces of those things. Seriously.). New studies found that towels still have an edge as jet dryers do more to mask their problems with brute force rather than actually solve them. And everyone agrees that washing your hands properly is far more important to avoiding disease than your drying method. Still, as dryer technology improves, the debate is bound to continue.


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