There’s much conversation and debate surrounding handwashing, with hordes of information readily available to promote best practice.

All well and good, but what about drying hands?

Whilst there seems to be reams of guidance promoting lathering up and washing, there’s very little reference to the drying part. Leaving people wet-handed and wondering – is hand drying even necessary?

Well, let us assure you it is!

Here school bathroom specialists ONVO, take a closer look at hand drying. Why it shouldn’t be neglected, and the advantages and disadvantages of the two key drying contenders – hand dryers and paper towels.

Why is drying hands important?

It boosts hygiene

Good hand hygiene should include drying. Why? Because wet hands pick up germs more easily than dry hands. So, whilst leaving hands to drip dry may seem like a good idea – it isn’t! Unless it’s possible to leave without touching anything.

The act of drying can actually enhance hands’ cleanliness – by removing any lingering traces of dirt or bacteria – making it clear that drying should be a fundamental part of any bathroom routine.

It increases bathroom safety

Wet floors are responsible for 90% of slips. Shaking hands dry and dripping your way out of the bathroom not only makes you susceptible to picking up more germs than you’ve just washed off, but it also creates a hazard for fellow bathroom users.

It enhances comfort

Wet hands are impractical and uncomfortable. During the colder months, skin can easily become sore and chapped.

The temptation if you rush out of the bathroom without drying, is usually to wipe hands on your clothes. Not only is this unhygienic (and negates the positive effects of having just washed them), it also leaves unpleasant damp patches.

Pros and cons of hand dryers

  • Noise levels – depending on the position of your bathroom to classrooms and study areas, hand dryers can prove to be a noisy distraction.
  • Maintenance – dryers can flick water from hands onto nearby walls and surfaces. Unless well maintained, this will lead to premature wear and tear.
  • Time – even with the latest in high-speed dryers, the fact is it’s still necessary to stand still and be patient for at least 10 seconds when using a hand dryer.


  • Energy efficient – these days hand dryers are faster and more energy efficient than ever before. With timed drying sessions or hand sensors, there’s no risk of wastage.


  • Limitless supply – how often do you go to grab a paper towel and supplies have run out? No such problem with hand dryers. Provided they are kept in good working order you can be confident they’ll always be ready to dry hands.

Pros and cons of paper towels

  • Misuse – even with a lockable dispenser, paper towels can easily be misused and become a tool for antisocial behaviour (blocking drains etc). Even used correctly, people invariably miss the bin as they dispose of their towel, leaving an unsightly trail littering the bathroom floor.
  • Running out – it’s difficult to control the quantity of paper towels used, which means they can run out quickly so supplies must be regularly checked.
  • Easily wasted –accidentally or not, paper towels are easily wasted as users grab more than is really necessary.


  • Quick – the beauty of paper towels is that you can grab and go, drying hands on the move.
  • Quiet – no noise disturbance with this method. Drying hands with a simple paper towel is a virtually silent activity.

The verdict?

As yet, there is no definitive answer to which method of hand drying is best. Some settings find hand dryers preferable, others papers towels, whilst some opt for a combination of both. What is clear though, is that it’s essential to provide the means for students to ensure their hands are completely dry.

Order hand dryers and paper towel dispensers today

At ONVO we believe in providing children and young people with access to modern, functional, and attractive school washrooms. As such we don’t just offer our revolutionary wash trough and fountain, we also provide a range of additional products to complement them, including high speed, energy-efficient hand dryers and robust paper towel dispensers.

To place an order or talk through your school bathroom project in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team.