Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Handwashing routine contributes to spread of bacteria


Not drying your hands thoroughly after washing them could increase the spread of bacteria and rubbing your hands whilst using a conventional electric hand dryer could be a contributing factor, new research has found.

The English study involved 14 volunteers and looked at 4 different methods of hand drying including paper towels, traditional hand dryers which rely on evaporation and a new model of hand dryer which strips water off the hands using air jets.

It found rubbing your hands together while using traditional hand dryers could counteract the reduction in bacteria following washing.


Readers' comments (6)

  • This makes me laugh. Can someone get the doctors to wash their hands please?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Thought the reason for 'effective hand hygiene' was to remove bacteria through WASHING not drying.....
    And yes, why aren't doctors targetted for effective hand hygiene at all?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am all for handwashing and following the most recent guidelines to prevent cross-infection and also for my own protection. I would welcome advice and suggestions however as working on a hectic medical ward where hand washing and /or disinfection (some of which is supposed to have a low alcohol content) is required several times a day followed by handcream provided by the hospital pharmacy, my normally well-balanced and healthy skin has dried out completely causing redness and breaks in the skin and I do not know how to avoid this. The only, unsatisfactory, I have found, 'to save my skin' when not undertaking particularly dirty work or doing dressings, is to wash the palms only and not the back of the hands. Please give me some better suggestions

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • drying hands thoroughly under machines seems to take much longer than using a towel or paper towels and I cannot envisage nurses or myself or doctors standing passiviely for the time this takes!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nothing new here then. These "research" findings were known back in 1969 when I started my training.

    Hot air flow equipment was found to disseminate faecal matter, amongst other things, and contaminate a wide area. For this reason, they were removed. Paper towels were found to be the safer practice

    Anonymous...with sore hands....

    Try using a barrier cream rather than hand cream. And smother your hands in diprobase before going to bed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    'Anonymous...with sore hands...'
    I used to have sore hands, as a scrub nurse and discovered that it was due to the friction from rubbing with paper towels whilst drying. Try dabbing skin dry if poss. It worked for me.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs