Why hand drying is just as important as hand washing

The last but indispensable step in hand hygiene.

Cotton towel dispenser PureLine

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11 April 2022 Hygiene

Drying hands is often considered less important than washing hands. This is completely unjustified. Wet hands can spread up to a thousand times more bacteria than dry hands. Damp hands attract bacteria and because the hands are moist, these are spread more quickly from the toilet area to other places.

Drying hands after washing prevents the spread of germs

Good hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of germs. Washing your hands with soap is not enough. Good hand hygiene also includes drying your hands properly. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination.

Hand hygiene is the most important method in healthcare to combat viruses. Patients or residents of, for example, a nursing home have less resistance. Washing hands in these places is therefore extra important to avoid spreading germs.

Drying hands is inseparable from hand washing. This has become a topical issue again due to the coronavirus. One of the ways to become infected with the coronavirus, the flu or also a cold, is through contact via the hands. With the emergence of the coronavirus, a lot of attention has been paid worldwide to the importance of hand hygiene and drying after washing, as it significantly reduces the spread of disease-causing pathogens.

Hygiene is becoming increasingly important. Even before covid, an increase in the number of infectious diseases could already be seen.

Händetrocknen gegen Virusverbreitung

Importance of good hand hygiene ➡️ washing + drying

By washing your hands and then drying your hands properly, you gain an advantage: you are less likely to get sick. When people become more aware of (hand) hygiene it will prevent many cases of illness, resulting in less sick leave. 

Instructie met handdroging

You can reduce absenteeism by paying more attention to the importance of hygiene and ultimately save a lot of money.

Since the transmission of bacteria is much faster via wet hands, it is important to also dry your hands properly. This is not obvious to everyone. The picture with instructions shows five steps that are necessary. The last but crucial step is drying hands, don't forget this step!


Did you know that you almost completely lose the benefits of hand washing if you do not dry your hands after washing?

What is the best way to dry your hands?

This is a topic that is regularly debated. Because it is often possible to dry your hands in a toilet room in different ways: with a cotton towel roll, paper or a hot air dryer.

The European Textile Services Association's study of hand drying systems shows that a cotton towel roll is the most hygienic way to dry hands. In terms of air contamination and surface test, the CWS towel dispenser with towel rolls came out best in the test.

Due to the friction between the cotton and the hands and the high absorption capacity of cotton, a reduction of bacteria is ensured and it even scored above the European standard EN 1499. Hot air dryers scored below the standard in this regard. 

The CWS towel dispenser was the best in the test!

Baumwollhandtuch im Waschraum

Research shows:

Cotton towels dry hands most effectively

The Laboratory of Hygiene and Microbiology at the University of Helsinki has conducted research on the effectiveness of the four most commonly used hand drying systems. These are a cotton towel, a paper towel, a hot air dryer and a Jet Air dryer.

Bacterien op hand met vergrootglas

Laboratory Results

  • Cotton towels are more effective in reducing bacteria during hand drying than air dryers.
  • Cotton and paper towels remove the most bacteria from wet hands.
  • Due to the rubbing motion, cotton and paper remove bacteria more efficiently.
  • Drying hands is at least as crucial to good hand hygiene as washing.
  • Cotton towels provide better air quality (less bacteria) compared to air dryers.

Hygienic and sustainable hand drying with cotton

Cotton has a number of important advantages when it comes to drying hands. Cotton is skin friendly and it leads to a better absorption of moisture and an optimal drying effect. The cotton towel therefore proves to be a very hygienic aid, but it is more than that.

100% natural

Handdoekrol duurzaam milieuvriendelijk

Cotton is a 100% natural product and for that reason 100% biodegradable. With one towel roll you can dry your hands an average of 110 times. The towels are washed (sustainably) about 100 times on average without loss of quality. This leads to them being reused and therefore having significantly less environmental impact. To compare: with 1 cotton towel roll you can replace 22,000 paper towels.

Certified sustainable

All CWS towel systems in combination with the cotton towel roll have been awarded the 'Blue Angel Ecolabel'. This makes us the first provider in the Benelux to be allowed to use this label. The CWS rolls are also certified in accordance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label. The Oeko-Tex test verifies that the cotton contains no harmful substances.

Taking hand drying to the next level? Our experts will be happy to tell you more

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