Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

High-powered Hygienic Hand Dryers

September 19, 2010

Water clings to skin both as a thin film and as loose droplets.

Instead of trying to evaporate those droplets — the means to an end employed by outdated dryers — high-velocity hand dryers blow away water droplets using a focused, high-velocity air stream.

The high-velocity air also breaks up the layer of water vapor between the air and the skin, causing the thin film of water to evaporate more quickly than it would using a conventional dryer.

Gone are the days of waiting for what seems like eons for hands to dry under the lukewarm, misdirected and often bacteria-riddled air of hand dryers from yesteryear.

Cue the band and ready the fireworks, today''s hand dryers are lean, mean and packed with enough power to hygienically dry hands almost instantaneously.

When compared to traditional methods for drying hands, high-powered hand dryers offer considerably less waste; in fact, waste is virtually non-existent.

And, because hand dryers leave no refuse behind, germ-causing bacteria are not given an opportunity to breed in damp receptacles.

Contemporary hand dryers are also customizable with various color options — some manufacturers even allow pictures, company logos and other personalization.

Less Is More

In addition to producing less waste, today''s hand dryers are hygienic and essentially maintenance-free.

"Hand dryers leave no refuse behind, which can carry bacteria, and hands-free models alleviate the need to touch any surfaces at all in order to dry hands," states Bill Gagnon, director of marketing for Excel Dryer Inc. "Facility owners seeking to maximize hygiene in their restroom facilities should install as many hands-free fixtures as possible. The added benefits are improved hygiene, less overall product waste and significant cost savings."

According to Gagnon, except for a recommended annual cleaning, a quality hand dryer will need little to no maintenance.

And, as Cheyne Brokate of Brokate Janitorial observes, high-powered hand dryers create tons less waste, require no re-stocking and newer models dry your hands thoroughly and just as quickly as traditional methods — if not faster.

A Calculated Cost Savings

"The savings made possible by a hand dryer are absolutely quantifiable: For example, [a high-powered hand dryer can] deliver a 95 percent cost savings when compared to [traditional means,]" notes Gagnon. "If you calculate what you would have to spend on [supplies] and dispenser maintenance versus a one-time installation, you''ll always come out ahead with a good hand dryer. It is also a great source reduction alternative."

With less money spent on supplies and labor, facilities often realize a return on investment in one year or less.

"We are specifying high-velocity [hand dryers] in our new resident hall public bathrooms because they will save the budget from buying [supplies] that could run upwards of $8,000 per year for one of our 35 buildings," asserts Jeff McGee, assistant director of building services for the University of Maryland. "Additionally, as a green and sustainable campus and organization, we will be environmentally responsible by not wasting product."

The Nuts And Bolts

When selecting a hand dryer for your facilities, four attributes should be examined: Efficiency, cost savings, reliability and likeability.

Gagnon adds that decision makers should look for hand dryers that will perform to their expectations, particularly if they are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits.

The notion of likeability is one not to be overlooked.

If restroom patrons do not find their hand drying experience pleasurable — the machine blows malodorous air, the air stream is weak, the air is cold, etc. — they will not use the machine and will be less likely to properly wash and dry their hands upon their next visit.

"Look for hand dryers that have a proven history of low maintenance and high reliability," proclaims Gagnon. "The new generation of hand dryers operate efficiently [and] dry hands rapidly and thoroughly. Ultimately, hand dryers should satisfy the needs of both facility managers and patrons."