Hand Dryer Location Influences Hand WashingBy SM Editorial Staff
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Does the placement of hand dryers in a public restroom promote hand washing? Where is the best placement?
Yes, it does promote hand washing. Customers recognize high-speed hand dryers that dry their hands effectively and efficiently. The best placement is on the way out of the washroom in a similar location to where the towel dispensers were mounted. This allows for continuous flow in and out of the washroom. Hand dryers in restrooms do promote “hand washing” if placed in the correct spot in the restroom, the best place is closest to the door near the location of the faucets.
Our hand dryers were designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which defines the accessibility requirements for U.S. washroom spaces. In addition to these requirements, the best placement of hand dryers as well as paper towel dispensers in a public restroom is as close to the sinks as possible. This helps to keep the bathroom safe by limiting the amount of water that is tracked on the floor.
Placement is definitely a consideration. Hand dryers should be placed convenient to the sink to eliminate unnecessary steps and the chance it won’t be used.
Hygiene is crucial these days; no one wants to touch extra restroom surfaces if they can help it, you want to remove as many “touch points” as possible. Installing hand dryers in reasonable proximity to the sinks is certainly key in making sure they are easily accessible.
Also make sure to consider the application: are your restroom patrons primarily adults, teenagers or young children? Considering restroom demographics will make a difference not only in installation (i.e., how high the dryers should be mounted on the walls), but also in product selection. If your restroom serves a teenaged population, you may have to consider whether your appliances are vandal-proof. Some trough-style dryers become a target for foreign substances being stuffed or poured into the dryer’s basin and not user friendly for small children or people with a handicap.
Is there a place for both hand dryers and paper towels in a restroom?
We see more and more facilities offer both towel and dryers. This offers the customer the choice between paper or hand dryers and minimizing their impact on the environment.
Drying hands is just as important as washing them: damp hands can spread up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands. The best way to ensure hands are dry is for facilities managers to provide a drying method that is fast and hygienic. Our machine is hygienic as paper towels, but without the associated drawbacks of high running costs and paper waste.
Hand dryers are the preferred method due to their lower cost, environmental impact and better hygiene. However, there will be a need for paper towel in some applications. For example, a shop my want paper towel to wipe off greasy hands.
A good hand dryer can eliminate the need for a paper towel dispenser altogether but for some environments, a preferable installation can include hand dryers near the main exit for hand drying and one paper dispenser for drying your face (or near a changing table in family restrooms). This cuts waste as well as the expense of stocking and maintaining the dispenser. The savings made possible by an energy-efficient hand dryer is quantifiable: for example, high-speed hand dyer models deliver a 95 percent cost savings when compared to paper towels. If you calculate what you would have to spend on paper and dispenser maintenance vs. a one-time installation, you’ll always come out ahead with a good hand dryer. It is also a great source reduction alternative.
Quality hand dryers are virtually maintenance-free, except for a recommended annual cleaning.