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The public restrooms in day care centers can benefit from air hand dryers in several ways:
Cost: Over time, organizations that use warm air hand dryers can save significantly compared with the money spent on paper towels during the course of a year, which can make a significant difference in childcare centers on tight budgets. A warm air hand dryer costs approximately $500, with very little additional cost over time, while paper towels can cost $25 a case. Buy more than 20 cases of paper towels a year? A hand dryer will save you money.
Ease of Use: Day care providers who help children in the restroom may find it easier to push a button and help the child rub his or her hands together under the warm air hand dryers than to struggle with paper towels and have them littering the floor by the time a squirming child has dry hands.
Reduced Spread of Germs: Eliminating paper towel litter also helps reduce the transmission of infection that can occur if children share paper towels or pick up used towels from the floor or trash can.
Although restroom hand dryers offer many benefits such as cutting costs, eliminating paper towel waste, and saving trees, many customers who use public restrooms in restaurants, movie theatres, and other facilities do not like them. To keep customers happy and enjoy some of the benefits of restroom automatic dryers, consider a compromise: Install some of each.
Some people find the air hand dryers time consuming and they don't think their hands are dried as thoroughly as with paper towels, despite evidence to the contrary. But people do use restroom automatic dryers, and installing both can still save money and time. Consequently, many businesses have opted to install both air hand dryers and paper towel dispensers in public restrooms, especially in places such as movie theatres that experience a high volume of use at certain times.
Installing warm air hand dryers in public restrooms cuts down significantly on maintenance. On average, automatic hand dryers need to be serviced only once a year, and require nothing else in the way of basic maintenance unless something unforeseen, such as a power outage, occurs. No one needs to check the supply of paper towels each day or replace them as needed. The air dryers are ready to use 24/7 and require almost no attention once they are installed except for an occasional wiping to remove fingerprints.
In addition, air dryers use very little electricity; data from one hand dryer manufacturer suggests that an average restaurant may spend less than $50 annually to operate hand dryers.
Choose to use an air dryer in a public restroom and you'll help save trees. Used paper towels quickly fill up the trash cans in public restrooms and the trash bags of businesses. Do you own the business? You will save significant staff time by relieving your employees of the chore of emptying cans overflowing with used paper towels. So not only will you save employee time, you'll have the satisfaction and the credit for being an environmentally-friendly organization.
Encouraging children to use air dryers rather than paper towels can really add up, since young children often take 10 towels from a paper towel dispenser for every one towel that they need. Explain to children that warm air hand dryers save trees, and demonstrate how much fun it is to rub your hands together under the warm air, and most young children will find them fun to use. But be careful with small children around restroom hand dryers; the metal nozzles on some older models can get hot, so remind children not to touch them.
Although some travelers seek out paper towels in public restrooms so they can wipe their bags or boots, they are also increasingly likely appreciate the higher level of hand hygiene that is possible with warm air hand dryers compared to paper towels. With the greater public awareness about how easily germs are spread during travel, installing air dryers in public restrooms in airports and train stations is a public health service, as well as a cost-saver.
Paper towels in public restrooms can be fodder for vandals. The towels can be moistened and thrown against walls, or set aflame and used to start larger fires. In addition, paper towels jammed into sinks and toilets can cause clogs that are time-consuming and costly to fix. Installing air dryers in a public restroom takes away the temptation to use paper towels for vandalism and spares the business owner the worry about attracting vandals who might be looking for fire-starting material.
Restroom automatic dryers may be a good choice for public restrooms in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Older people with sensitive skin or those who suffer from arthritis may prefer a restroom hand dryer to paper towels for several reasons:
Gym locker rooms are an excellent place to substitute warm air hand dryers for paper towels. The public restrooms in gyms are rife with germs, which can be spread easily through paper towel litter. Switching to air dryers not only cuts down on germs and waste, and saves money over the long-term. Perhaps gym owners who choose warm air hand dryers over paper towels can pass the savings on to members in the form of lower dues (or maybe that's just wishful thinking).
Studies have shown that restroom automatic dryers inhibit the growth of bacteria on the skin by drying the skin more effectively than paper towels. Rub your hands with paper towels and you are probably missing some nooks and crannies that warm air from restroom hand dryers can reach. Even though you may think your skin looks dry and feels dry after using a paper towel, there are probably some moist places where bacteria could thrive.
Warm air hand dryers are more likely to get the hands thoroughly dry, as long as you give them enough time. The average model hand dryer takes about 30 seconds to dry hands--count to 30 when using an air dryer to make sure you get dry enough to keep the bacteria in check.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|