Maintaining clean restrooms is an age-old challenge that most building managers and cleaning personnel face every day. For years, restrooms have been the source of more building complaints than any other area of the facility. In fact, a recent survey by The Trending Machine found that three out of four adults had at least one complaint about public restrooms. More than one-third cited a lack of proper supplies, including paper hand towels, and 43% of respondents were concerned about germy fixtures.

High-trafficked facilities, including highway rest stops, convenience stores, stadiums and shopping malls, can receive hundreds of people daily. Patrons often are in a hurry to get in and out; in so doing, they leave used paper towels on the floor and spill water on the counters. Messy restrooms can influence a patron’s decision to not return to the business, damaging a facility’s sales and reputation.

To assist facility managers in maintaining a successful cleaning program, new products and technologies, including electric hand dryers, are being designed to eliminate the volume of trash in restrooms, as well as bacteria left behind on used paper towels and wet countertops. First established in the 1940s, electric dryers have been modernized in recent years with sleek designs coupled with energy-efficient technologies reducing noise, eliminating germs and often drying hands in 15 seconds or less.

“Manufacturers have made significant improvements in hand dryer efficiency, all the while improving customer satisfaction and saving facilities thousands of dollars spent on paper, cleaning supplies, trash removal and landfill costs,” says Mike Conlan, founder and CEO of, a leading supplier of high-efficiency hand dryers. “Electric dryers can directly save a company from expenditures associated with paper towels and restroom trash removal. They also are making it easier on janitorial staff, because there’s less mess on the floors and in the waste bins.”

A medium-sized business sees around 150 to 200 restroom uses per day. A 12-pack case of 250 towels costs on average about $30, so a restroom that gets a medium amount of usage can expect to use at least one package of paper towels daily, for a total cost of about $75 per month. People typically use at least two towels to dry their hands, and often there is additional waste from extra unused towels pulled out and left on the floor or counter.  Towels must also be bagged and removed from the restroom on a regular basis, so the extra cost of trash bags and maintenance are cost factors.

“Understanding your patron’s wants and needs is first and foremost in choosing between an electric hand dryer and paper towels, but cost-savings is also important to most businesses today,” adds Conlan. “I frequently receive calls from architects and facility managers looking for the best drying product for their facility. With so many hand dryer brands and diverse functions in the marketplace, there’s a hand dryer solution that will please any patron, from a sports fan at a large stadium to a foodie frequenting a hip and trendy restaurant.”

Several years ago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago underwent a renovation of its washrooms, after years of restroom plumbing and maintenance issues from paper towels being flushed down low-flow toilets, causing blockages. The continuous plumbing calls, combined with the high levels of restroom maintenance, were taking up a considerable amount of time and costly resources. In 2010, the hospital initiated replacing its paper towel dispensers with 30 high-efficiency hand dryers, resulting in an initial annual savings of over $20,000. The savings also came in the form of reduced transportation costs, paper towel storage and waste reduction. Plumbing issues were eliminated, and Northwestern Memorial’s bathrooms remain clean today.

With new hands-free fixtures, from auto-flush toilets to automatic faucets and electric hand dryers, patron-friendly restrooms have arrived.

Windy Campbell is founder of Campbell Communications, an independent public relations practice serving a variety of B2B companies, including Her areas of expertise include communications strategy, media relations, writing and product publicity. Throughout her career, she has implemented public relations programs for private companies in manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and destination marketing. Based in Richmond, Virginia, she is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. Contact her at (804) 314-0205 or