When people use Bathrooms and wash their hands, they turn to Hand Dryers to keep their hands dry and clean. However, they can do quite the opposite, according to a recent study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Microbes, bacteria, viruses and poo particles

Researchers from the University of Connecticut Health and Quinnipiac University used cultured bacteria samples to test the deposition of bacteria and bacterial spores relating to bathroom hot air hand dryers. The samples were from 36 men’s and women’s restrooms at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

After 30 seconds of exposure, the 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria per plate grew, and these included those that can result in diseases among humans.

Peter Setlow, one of the authors of the study, told Newsweek that bacteria in the bathroom comes from feces, some of which are converted to tiny bits and particles when the toilet is flushed. In addition, people coming in and out of public bathrooms are shedding bacteria, microbes and viruses from their skin, so the air is always contaminated.

The researchers added high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, but they were only able to stop 75 percent of the bacteria from spreading. In addition, the study found out that the bacteria spread to the entire building, and hand dryers could have played a role in the spread.

“Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms,” the researchers said.

The study adds to the growing research that reveals how gross hand dryers may be. One study published in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences two years ago found that hand air dryers can host bacteria such as Brevundimonad diminuta/vesicularis, Staphylococcus haemolyticus, Pseudomonas alcaligenes, Micrococcus luteus, and Bacillus cereus.

What to do?

While bacteria in a bathroom may not be harmful to human health, and some of them are too fragile that they won’t really survive on surfaces, it is still bothersome to know how dirty they can be. Hand dryers suck in the air in the restroom and expel it at great speed, which means they can be blown right onto your face.

It does not remove the possibility that some of these bacteria, microbes and viruses are potentially dangerous.

So next time you use a public bathroom, stick to the paper towels. Better yet, bring your own tissue paper or wipes. And as always, help prevent the spread of any bacteria by washing your hands thoroughly.