You see them in almost every public restroom, an environmentally-conscious symbol that tells you there are no paper towels and that you’ll be left with slightly moist and cold hands — assuming you wash your hands at all.
But what you may not know about the Dyson Airblade hand dryer is that you are practically showering yourself with bacteria every time you use it, according to a recent study.
A study, conducted by the University of Westminster and published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, found that the Dyson Airblade spreads 60 times more bacteria than a standard hot-air dryer and 1,300 times more bacteria than if you were to just use paper towels.
According to The Telegraph, researchers carried out their study by dipping their hands in water containing a harmless virus before drying them with the Dyson Airblade, a standard hot-air dryer and paper towels. They then analyzed the bathroom for the virus after each method of drying their hands.
The Dyson dryer, which dries your hands by blasting them with air at 430 mph, spread the virus up to three meters across the bathroom.
The standard dryer spread the virus 75 cm while paper hand towels contained the virus within 25 cm.
In 2014, another hand dryer study conducted by the University of Leeds and funded by the European Tissue Symposium found that bacteria concentration was 27 times higher around jet air dryers compared to paper towel dispensers.
The lead researcher of that study, Professor Mark Wilcox, explained:
“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.
“These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease.”
At the time, Dyson responded to the damaging study stating, “This research was commissioned by the paper towel industry and it’s flawed.”