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14th Apr 2016

Everyone’s favourite hand dryer has a nasty habit of spreading germs, study suggests

The Dyson airblade may have a shocking flaw.

Carl Anka

The Dyson Airblade is up there with contactless payment and twist-to-open bottles in “inventions that completely changed pub sessions”.

A hand dryer that gets the job done, using one can make you feel like an Emperor, which is not a small feat considering what your hands have been touching when you were in a public toilet.

Unfortunately, testing by the University of Westminster suggests that everyone’s favourite type of hand dryer might be responsible for blasting germs all about the place and helping to spread cold and flu.


The Journal of Applied Microbiology has recently published findings and said that Dyson’s Airblades “spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers, and 1,300 times more than standard paper towels”.

After dipping their hands in some harmless viruses (they apparently had lying around, strange chaps these scientists) and then drying them using Dyson hand-dryers, regular dryers and hand towels, the researchers found the jet propulsion system that powers the “scraping” blade sensation to the Dyson Airblade can fling germs more than three metres across a bathroom.

Your bog standard hand dryer can only manage to spring nasties around 75 centimetres away, while hand towels have a spread of 25 centimetres.

Research lead Professor Mark Wilcox said: “Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands.

So do we chalk up Dyson Airblades as another creation too powerful for it’s own food? Or revert to using paper towels out of fear of bugs?

Perhaps, but that doesn’t stop the airblade for being pretty cool devices to stick your hands in. They’re also still the only thing that get your hands dry all the way.

Better than the back of your jeans, eh?

UPDATE: Dyson have released a statement to JOE in response to this study

The paper towel industry has scare mongered with this research for the past four years.  It has been conducted under artificial conditions, using unrealistically high levels of virus contamination on unwashed, gloved hands. The Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer dries hands hygienically with HEPA filtered air in up to 12 seconds. The machine has been proven to be as hygienic as paper towels, through research conducted by the University of Bradford (published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology), Institut de Recherche Microbiologique, the College of Medicine (University of Florida), and Campden BRI. The Dyson Airblade™ hand dryers are the only hand dryers that have been globally certified hygienic by NSF P335 accreditation.