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missing the part where you wipe your hands on your pants
December 14, 2012 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Paper towels or air drier? Previously
posted by shothotbot (66 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Paper towels, fo sho.
posted by grateful at 6:13 AM on December 14, 2012


"Another survey of 2516 US adults in 2009 still found that most people preferred to dry their hands with paper towels. If they had a choice, 55% of respondents selected paper towels, 25% selected jet air dryers, 16% selected hot air dryers, 1% selected cloth roller towels, and 3% were not sure. ... Hence, given the strong preference for using paper towels, hand hygiene adherence would possibly decrease if paper towels are not available in washrooms."

I notice there's no figure for drying your hands on the back of your skirt, which is what I do if air dryers are my only option. Who has the time??
posted by looli at 6:14 AM on December 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


We do need to stop putting bactericides into household products though. I'd like to see their use strongly regulated - keep that stuff for hospitals. Soap by itself is really, really good at getting your hands clean. I'm not happy with this trend where manufacturers scare consumers into buying all kinds of unnecessary poisonous crap, selectively breeding future super-bugs in the process. It's really, really dumb.
posted by pipeski at 6:19 AM on December 14, 2012 [26 favorites]


You can't open a door with an air dryer*. That's why I prefer paper towels; I use them to isolate my just-washed hand from whatever those people who don't wash left on the door handle.

* I probably could use an air dryer to open the door, but I could only do it once, and then nobody could use it for that or for drying their hands.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:21 AM on December 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


@Kirth - exactly! People think toilet seats are dirty, but they get cleaned regularly and are not touched by hands. There is nothing more filthy than a toilet door handle.
posted by EnterTheStory at 6:27 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thew new-school air dryers, which pump out gigantic blasts of air, are much more convenient than paper towels and get my hands dryer in less time. Old style dryers with the heater elements are worse than useless, and their presence heralds the absence of paper towels, which enrages.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:28 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thew new-school air dryers, which pump out gigantic blasts of air, are much more convenient than paper towels and get my hands dryer in less time.

Seconded. The Xcelerator ones I've been seeing a lot lately (the local Target has them) are great.
posted by aught at 6:34 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


But there is nothing like an air dryer to mask the sound/smell of a fart.
posted by stormpooper at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2012


Paper towels FTW.
posted by Mezentian at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2012


The new-school air dryers, which pump out gigantic blasts of air,

They are great, but I have noticed ones in very high volume rest rooms with a puddle on the floor where I think what happens is that the air pushes the water off people's hands, onto the bottom of the unit which then drips onto the floor.
posted by shothotbot at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2012



But there is nothing like an air dryer to mask the sound/smell of a fart.
posted by stormpooper at 6:41 AM on December 14 [+] [!]

Eponysterical??
(score, my first)
posted by Twain Device at 6:42 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I use them to isolate my just-washed hand from whatever those people who don't wash left on the door handle.

Hell, yes. The door handle is going to leave your hand nastier than before it was washed.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:55 AM on December 14, 2012


Pants!

Seconding the post title
posted by filthy light thief at 7:03 AM on December 14, 2012


The door handle is going to leave your hand nastier than before it was washed.

And then people go around, wanting to shake your hand, or worse, hug you. What are we, some social society? I stay healthy by living in my clean plastic bubble, thank you very much.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 AM on December 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


What no choice of prerolled heated cotton towels to dry one's hands with? What sort of establishments are you heathens frequenting?
posted by vuron at 7:05 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's harder to clog a toilet with a dryer.
posted by orme at 7:12 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, have you seen the movement-activated liquid soap dispenser you can buy (they have them in the UK at least)? You know, so you don't have to touch the germ-ridden soap dispenser lever. With your hands. Which you are about to wash. With soap. That fucking thing is the most redundant piece of crap I have ever seen.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:14 AM on December 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


I would hope that the motion-activated soap dispensers would at least be easier to clean. Not sure that's quite enough to justify them.
posted by asperity at 7:21 AM on December 14, 2012


People only prefer paper towels because they've never used an Air Blade
posted by alms at 7:23 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


The best thing you can do for yourself is to lick your hands immediately after touching the fixtures.* This bolsters your immune system and soon you won't have to worry about washing your hands or even if the bathroom is clean because of your super-immunity.

*Don't do this if you are old or immunocompromised
posted by Renoroc at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


That fucking thing is the most redundant piece of crap I have ever seen.

I don't know, it's pretty resistant to being smashed to pieces by repeated attempts to pump soap when there is no soap left.
posted by hat_eater at 7:28 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I notice my despair over humanity being less than overflowing, I will, as I prepare to leave the restroom, dampen a paper towel, then use it to grasp the inside bathroom door knob and give it a good cleaning. Then, I stare at the paper. People are filthy.

I would be much happier if everything in bathrooms could be additionally operated with a foot pedal. Opening the bathroom door, opening the stall door, flushing, hot water, cold water, soap dispensation, and so forth. At the very least, the doors.
posted by adipocere at 7:28 AM on December 14, 2012


I am experiencing deja vu.
posted by sonascope at 7:36 AM on December 14, 2012


The best defense is UV
posted by crushedhope at 7:45 AM on December 14, 2012


I would be much happier if everything in bathrooms could be additionally operated with a foot pedal. Opening the bathroom door, opening the stall door, flushing, hot water, cold water, soap dispensation, and so forth. At the very least, the doors.

A little family restaurant in my town has hook-like things on the doors that allow you to open them with your feet, and they are the greatest goddamn invention of whenever they were invented and I am absolutely fucking boggled that they aren't everywhere. They look like these things, except they're upside-down, so you slip your toe under it and yank back, and there you go. Seriously, how are these not everywhere?
posted by Etrigan at 7:46 AM on December 14, 2012


Air driers are like open pipes on Harleys, loudness should not be mistaken for functionality.
posted by tommasz at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Recent Previously.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2012


Sparklemotion, I searched for that. Fail.
posted by shothotbot at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2012


How are you supposed to dispose of the paper towel you used to open the door? Are you assuming the bin is always conveniently located right behind it or do you have particularly good aim? What if the bin is pedal operated? Do you take the scrunched up bit of damp, germ infested paper back to your table/seat/car? Do you spend the next five minutes wandering about the venue looking for another bin? Do you wake in the night with an unshakable sense of ennui and regret that you can't just open a door without experiencing mortal fear of Other People's Germs?
posted by londonmark at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


How are you supposed to dispose of the paper towel you used to open the door?

Most people sort of listlessly toss it in the general direction of the trash can while holding the door with their shoe, watch it land on the floor, momentarily consider picking it up, and then don't, because someone else will do it, right?
posted by sonascope at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Shothotbot,

Apparently the blue has a lot to say about hand drying.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:27 AM on December 14, 2012


How are you supposed to dispose of the paper towel you used to open the door?

Wait outside the restroom, listening for the usual sequence of toilet flush and faucet running. If someone emerges right after a toilet flush, they've not washed their hands, so you then smack them in the face with the used paper towel.
posted by orme at 8:34 AM on December 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


alms: People only prefer paper towels because they've never used an Air Blade

I've used an Air Blade, and I still prefer paper towels. Plus Air Blades, like all air dryers, are hell of noisy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:42 AM on December 14, 2012


We do need to stop putting bactericides into household products though. I'd like to see their use strongly regulated - keep that stuff for hospitals. Soap by itself is really, really good at getting your hands clean. I'm not happy with this trend where manufacturers scare consumers into buying all kinds of unnecessary poisonous crap, selectively breeding future super-bugs in the process. It's really, really dumb.-- pipeski

This. And if this doesn't convince you, I notice at the school science fairs every year, there's always at least one display where some kid cleans something with soap, and with antibacterial liquid, then leaves them in petre dishes to see what grows. There is always more bacteria growth in the petre dish that has been exposed to the antibacterial liquid.

The antibacterial liquid kills some, but not all of the bacteria, whereas the soap washes just about all of the bacteria away. There really is no purpose for the antibacterial stuff in your soap, except to promote the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria on your hands.
posted by eye of newt at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I avoid the problem entirely by using a hands-free expulsion method that I learned from watching dogs.
posted by Flashman at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


As far as restroom doors go, the solution is simply to make restroom doors open out. That way, you can push the door open with your shoulder or whatever and avoid touching the door with your freshly cleansed hand.
posted by delicious-luncheon at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


It appears that resistance can happen to a lot of non-alcohol santizers added to products.
posted by delicious-luncheon at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2012


Do you spend the next five minutes wandering about the venue looking for another bin?

I stand patiently in the bathroom waiting for someone else to enter and hold the door open for me so I can leave
posted by elizardbits at 9:18 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Soap by itself is really, really good at getting your hands clean.

Do they make liquid soap without antibacterial additions these days?

Having the pump by the sink is very helpful for my preschooler, but as you say, everything seems to have something added in. We haven't had much luck finding plain old soap to fill it with.
posted by madajb at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2012


I have been so pleased to see the Airblade & Xcelerator dryers popping up everywhere. I really want to know who invented those pitiful World Dryer machines, and how on earth they managed to claim so much dominance over the international air hand dryer market. I have never seen such a grossly ineffective product become so ubiquitous.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2012


As far as restroom doors go, the solution is simply to make restroom doors open out.

Restroom doors opening outward create a random obstacle swinging into the path of foot traffic, which is why they're not built that way. Imagine a bicycle riding along a row of parked cars and the rationale becomes a bit more clear.
posted by sonascope at 9:42 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like drying my hands with towels because they won't make me go deaf.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:50 AM on December 14, 2012


Is there any evidence that doing crazy things like using paper towels to open doors/turn off faucets etc actually has an appreciable effect on one's health? It seems like they would get swamped out by our hundreds of other daily bacterial interactions (if a bathroom door is gross, every door is gross). Seems like neurosis to me.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


@sonascope: That's what a vestibule is for. Well, anyway that eliminates that issue. An in-swing door can still knock into folks in the bathroom as people with urgent needs rush in heedlessly.
posted by attercoppe at 10:00 AM on December 14, 2012


I follow all the rules about using a dry paper towel to turn off the sink and to open the bathroom door. I do. But most people don't, and 15 years ago I doubt anyone did. But now as 15 years ago, you don't see large swaths of people in the developed world suffering from fecal-borne illnesses. Every few years you get a food worker who doesn't wash his hands and spreads something to, what, ten or twenty patrons of their establishment? I get as squicked as the next person by someone who doesn't properly wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, but I suspect that the actual health consequences for the population are minimal.

Where we really have problems is with respiratory disease - colds, influenza, things that spread via sneezing and coughing and contact with dirty hands after such acts. It is crazy to me that it's considered acceptable in our society to cough, or blow your nose, and not wash your hands or use some hand sanitizer afterward. People touch doorknobs and bus rails and office microwave handles and everything in their environment with those dirty hands, and we have all caught something in our lives via this route of transmission. You've probably already had at least one cold this year. When's the last time you caught cholera, or even E. coli?

Handwashing after using the bathroom is effective as disease prevention, not because it gets rid of the nasty bathroom germs, but because a couple times a day nature calls and you're forced to wash away all the germs you've picked up from money and pens and everything else you've touched since the last time you peed.
posted by vytae at 10:10 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


As far as restroom doors go, the solution is simply to make restroom doors open out.

Restroom doors opening outward create a random obstacle swinging into the path of foot traffic


If they're on a corridor, yes, but . . .

which is why they're not built that way.

Not quite.

Consider that rarely does one need to leave a public toilet in a hurry.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Restroom doors opening outward create a random obstacle swinging into the path of foot traffic, which is why they're not built that way. Imagine a bicycle riding along a row of parked cars and the rationale becomes a bit more clear.

I've seen plenty of restroom doors that swing, so they can be opened by pushing from either side and therefore, no handle is necessary and indeed, none is installed.
posted by vidur at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2012


madajb: Soap by itself is really, really good at getting your hands clean.

Do they make liquid soap without antibacterial additions these days?

Having the pump by the sink is very helpful for my preschooler, but as you say, everything seems to have something added in. We haven't had much luck finding plain old soap to fill it with.
Look for dishwashing soap; it's essentially the same thing, and can more often be found w/o antibacterial additives.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


All of the Method brand liquid handsoaps that I've seen are free of antibacterial additives, and they cost about the same as Dial or whatever the standby is. Plus they're available at Target, no need to go to the co-op to get less chemically soap. Personally I find dishwashing soap super drying to the skin, because it's designed to get rid of heavy-duty oil from dishes.
posted by vytae at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's also the Dr. Bronner's brand ("Dilute! Dilute!"), as well as others you can sometimes find in the organic/gluten-free/additive-free sections of some supermarkets. Seventh Generation is one, for instance; my local store carries Meyers.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do they make liquid soap without antibacterial additions these days?


You could also fill the soap pump with Dr. Bronner's, which as far as I am concerned is the best damn liquid soap (and it's a soap, not a detergent like most "soaps" are these days) in existence and is good for everything from shaving to dishes (though a bit spendy for the latter). Smells delightful too, and it's available in the hippy-organic aisle of every major grocery store.
posted by Scientist at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2012


Ah, scooped by Greg_Ace I see. Well done, sir.
posted by Scientist at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2012


I'm currently doing a paramedic program, and one of the courses I took this semester is a vaguely named "Introduction to Healthcare" where they teach the basic skills that everyone involved in the healthcare business is (theoretically) supposed to know. The very first chapter is "Infection Control" and the very first section of that is how to properly wash your hands. Our textbook illustrates the proper technique in 14 steps. It's supposed to take about a minute and you end up using at least 3 paper towels during the process: One to turn on the tap, as many as it takes to dry your hands, and one more to turn off the tap and open the door. It seems like a pretty involved process, since so many people use bathrooms and touch non-sanitary surfaces all the time without getting sick.

The thing is though, washing your hands is more about protecting OTHER people than yourself. In order to prevent infection from the patient, healthcare providers are always supposed to wear protective equipment like gloves, masks, and goggles, and these are always disposed afterwords. Handwashing is used before and after patient contact to make sure you aren't carrying the pathogens from one person to another.

Outside the healthcare context, it seems like that's a good reason to wash your hands as well. You make not get sick from a cold virus left on a bathroom door but an infant, elderly person, someone with AIDS, or someone on immunosuppressant drugs for a transplant might.
posted by arcolz at 11:13 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could also fill the soap pump with Dr. Bronner's

I have to contradict this particular notion, alas, at least as regards traditional soap dispensers. While I was still at the museum, we had a particularly embarrassing product placement during a show, with a giant shrine built to the wildly overrated Dr. Bronner's Incorporated, and as a result, at the end of the exhibition, I ended up with about sixty gallons of Dr. Bronner's varieties. Smells nice, sort of works as soap, but in a dispenser, it's not viscous enough, so it sprays everywhere and gets wasted, and also sets up in a gummy, waxy sort of clot that makes the dispensers not work at all without regularly taking them apart, soaking everything for hours, washing them out, and starting over.

It was a nice savings on my janitorial supplies budget, but I was very, very happy to see the last industrial-sized cask of Dr. Bronner's drizzling away. Mind you, the eucalyptus variety is nice for those hot showers when you're feeling sickly, but the peppermint has an overtone of cat pee to my nose and I don't really need tingly balls as a part of my morning regimen. To each their own, though.
posted by sonascope at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I don't really need tingly balls as a part of my morning regimen
posted by tippiedog at 12:07 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to contradict this particular notion, alas, at least as regards traditional soap dispensers.

I have one of these, not sure if it's more or less prone to clogging.
posted by madajb at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2012


I just dilute Dr Bronner's about 2:1 with water and it doesn't clog.

I don't really need tingly balls as a part of my morning regimen
How do you wake up in the morning?
posted by shothotbot at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have enough floor space, the best restroom door solution is a doorless serpentine corridor. Combine with sensor activated taps and blow dryers for a contact-free exit.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2012


Another solution to the restroom door problem: don't have a door.
posted by Sinadoxa at 1:25 PM on December 14, 2012


Hell, yes. The door handle is going to leave your hand nastier than before it was washed.

I think it's hilarious that people make such a production out of avoiding touching the restroom door handle, but then fifteen feet later they have to touch another door handle to get back into the office suite. Honestly, either carry around a paper towel to handle all of the doors, or else relax about it.

(And I'm working with a bunch of people whose job is monitoring clinical trials of viral infectious diseases, so you'd think they'd be more realistic about what's actually out there on every single surface.)
posted by The Sprout Queen at 3:17 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, too, have a bunch of bizarre suspicions, pet theories and paranoias I invented for myself around simple daily activities!
posted by !Jim at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2012


Well don't just sit there, tell us so we can mock them!
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't really need tingly balls as a part of my morning regimen

Within 9 min. you feel fresh, and clean, saving 90% of your hot water & soap, ready to help teach the whole Human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith! For we're All-One or none! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE!
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:40 PM on December 14, 2012


I've used an Air Blade, and I still prefer paper towels.

Yeah, I've used an Air Blade quite a few times, and am not a huge fan. I'd probably put it slightly below paper towels in terms of personal preference.

I've also used an Xcelerator frequently, and find that much much better than either paper towels or Air Blades.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:57 PM on December 14, 2012


I assumed this would be "which is better for the planet/climate change/carbon footprint". I'm worried about that. I accept some bacteria on my hands. It's normal.
posted by imperium at 7:02 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've used an Air Blade quite a few times, and am not a huge fan.

I see what you did, there.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


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