How important is it to dry my hands after I wash them?

Answer From Jean Barth, R.N., M.P.H

Wet hands spread germs more easily than dry hands do. So it's important to thoroughly dry your hands after washing.

Some people prefer paper towels, others prefer hand dryers. Two types of hand dryers are commonly found in public restrooms: jet air dryers that blow air forcefully and warm air dryers that blow air more slowly.

Both types work by pulling in room air and concentrating its flow. Jet air dryers use room temperature air; warm air dryers heat the air before blowing it. These dryers can be effective in drying hands, and they likely use fewer natural resources than paper towels.

Whether you use paper towels or a hand dryer, be sure to make sure your hands are completely dry. Then use a paper towel, your forearm, elbow or shoulder to open the door so you don't re-contaminate your hands.

With

Jean Barth, R.N., M.P.H

Feb. 08, 2019 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. 3 ways to get closer to achieving your goals
  2. Make healthy habits stick
  3. 5 do's and don'ts for staying motivated
  4. 3 ways to avoid secondhand smoke
  5. 7 signs and symptoms not to ignore
  6. Energy management
  7. Animal bites: Do you need a tetanus shot?
  8. Are you doing everything you can to stay healthy?
  9. Belching, intestinal gas, gas pains and bloating
  10. Bone health tips
  11. Can COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread through food, water, surfaces and pets?
  12. Cancer-prevention strategies
  13. Cellphones and cancer
  14. Colon cancer screening
  15. Coronavirus safety tips for going out
  16. Coronavirus: What is it and how can I protect myself?
  17. Coronavirus travel advice
  18. Plastic surgery
  19. Herd immunity and coronavirus
  20. COVID-19 (coronavirus): Quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing
  21. COVID-19: How much protection do face masks offer?
  22. Do adults need shots?
  23. Don't save leftover pain pills
  24. Exercise: Check with your doctor
  25. Find meaning in the small things
  26. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
  27. Functional fitness training
  28. Overcome obstacles to your goals
  29. Healthy holiday habits: How to get back on track
  30. Hand-washing tips
  31. Healthy habits that boost happiness
  32. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  33. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  34. Home Health Hazards
  35. Brown fat
  36. How social support spurs you
  37. Break the busy cycle
  38. How to take your pulse
  39. How to safely go to your doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic
  40. How to take your temperature
  41. How well do you wash your hands?
  42. Injury Season for Snow Blowers
  43. Investing in yourself
  44. Is antibacterial soap a do or a don't?
  45. Keep the focus on your long-term vision
  46. Liposuction alternatives
  47. Lost in Space
  48. Making progress towards your goals
  49. Mammogram guidelines: What are they?
  50. Make over your mindset to make time for your health
  51. Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong
  52. Mayo Clinic Minute: How dirty are common surfaces?
  53. Measles vaccine: Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?
  54. Medical family tree
  55. Infographic: Organ Donation Donate Life
  56. Infographic: Paired Donation Chain
  57. Infographic: Pancreas Kidney Transplant
  58. Personal health records
  59. Personalize your wellness journey
  60. Stick to healthy-eating goals at social gatherings
  61. Posture: Align yourself for good health
  62. Posture check: Do you stand up straight?
  63. Reach your goals, track your habits
  64. New Year's resolutions
  65. Secondhand smoke
  66. Creating a wellness vision
  67. Sitting risks: How harmful is too much sitting?
  68. Good posture tips
  69. Back exercises
  70. Proper lifting techniques
  71. Stay healthy during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic
  72. Stop multitasking and focus
  73. Telemedicine online doctor visits
  74. Thirdhand smoke: What are the dangers?
  75. Want good health? Build a solid base
  76. The benefits of gratitude
  77. Video: Travel safely for medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  78. Travel Safety
  79. Triclosan
  80. Using if-then statements
  81. Vaccines for adults
  82. Fight coronavirus transmission at home
  83. What are superbugs?
  84. What are superbugs and how can I protect myself from infection?
  85. Air purifiers and smoke