Sunday, May 3, 2020

When Something Bothers Me, And I Don't Have Anyone To Rant To, I Write It Here

I wrote this post at the end of March 2020, but that doesn't make it any less relevant.

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This week, my work installed hot air driers to the bathrooms, and I remembered a snippet from The Big Bang Theory television show, where Sheldon complains about them. While my workplace has yet to uninstall the paper towel dispensers, in light of the pandemic sweeping the world right now, I thought I'd do some fact checking.

It took one Google search to give me all the answers I needed, and whether that's a statement on how well Google has grown, or how good I am at picking search terms remains to be seen, but the first result had all the authority and links of its own to answer my question. Harvard Health Publishing FTW.

I learned a few things that have been gestating in my head for a few hours, so I can't quite say which source any one of them comes from, but I will list my sources at the bottom.

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Hot-air hand driers alone aren't sources of bacteria. That at least should be reassuring. Unfortunately, they are very good at taking the air that's drifting around the bathroom and blowing it (and any airborne particles) onto your hands.

...the worst option, worse even than using an air drier, is not drying your hands at all.

The simple fact of the matter is that lidless toilets seem to be the greatest cause of airborne contaminants, in both public and private bathrooms. If you don't put the lid down when you flush, it does splash, period.

Fortunately, of all of the airborne contaminants that result from such a thing, only the staph bacteria is capable of causing illness in humans (no info provided about covid-19, but since I saw no mention of other coronavirii in the studies, or of inflenza virii, I doubt it's a viable means of transmission).

As for efficacy, cloth towels are best, paper towels are about equivalent to hot-air, for drying time and dryness achieved.

...lidless toilets seem to be the greatest cause of airborne contaminants...

And to top it off, the worst option, worse even than using an air drier, is not drying your hands at all.

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I will continue using paper towels myself, but if they one day run dry or get removed, the hot-air drier isn't that bad of an option after all.

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Citations:
(If any of those original links break (they shouldn't but you never know) they can be found on archive.org.)

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