Turns out that washing and drying your hands in the bathroom might actually be making you sick, according to a new study from the University of Westminster.
Researchers found that Dyson Airblades—those futuristic dryers you stick your hands into for a few seconds—actually spread 60 times more germs than regular hand dryers, and 1,300 times more germs than paper towels, according to the university's paper published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.
After dunking their hands in virus-laden water and testing all three drying methods, researchers found the Dyson dryer's 430 mph air blasts could disperse viruses nine feet across a bathroom, whereas standard dryers only spread viruses around 30 inches. Paper towels, the study concluded, are your safest bet: They only spread viruses about 10 inches.
After a similar study was done in 2014 by the University of Leeds, professor Mark Wilcox told the Telegraph, "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." The study found that the air around electric dryers had 27 times the number of germs than the air around paper towel dispensers.
In February 2016, Dyson released a vicious smear campaign aimed at hand towels, claiming 88 percent of unused paper towels are covered all over with nasty bacteria and "can contain large communities" of bacteria before they even reach the bathroom.
The world is dirty. Our hands are dirty. The germs will get us in the end.