Wash and Dry

     If you have made it through the winter without getting sick then consider yourself lucky.  Just don’t count on luck to keep you healthy.  Make sure you wash and dry your hands to keep from getting sick.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that handwashing is the single most important means to prevent the spread of infection. The CDC estimates that 36,000 people die from the flu or flu-like illness annually, while 5,000 people die from foodborne illness each year, and between 78,000 and 90,000 patients die annually from hospital-associated infections (HAIs); many of these morbidities and mortalities can be prevented by basic infection prevention principles, such as proper handwashing. Just in case you need Handwashing 101 at your fingertips, remember these steps:

– Hands should be washed using soap and warm, running water                                                 -Hands should be rubbed vigorously during washing for at least 20 seconds with special attention paid to the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails  -Hands should be rinsed well while leaving the water running
– With the water running, hands should be dried with a single-use towel
– Turn off the water using a paper towel, covering washed hands to prevent re-contamination.

Ideal Byte wants to know… Do you wipe your hands on your pants after using a public sink?

The Bite
We know you just wanna save resources (ahem), but c’mon. Air hand-dryers aren’t that energy-intensive, and if you gotta choose between them and paper towels, they’re definitely the eco-friendliest (and nonembarassing) way to go.

The Benefits

Earth-friendly etiquette. De-wetting your hands with an electric hand-dryer uses about 1/3 of the electricity needed to produce paper towels (and obviously, no trees get the axe).

  • Not soiling the earth. Those paper towels you used to dry your hands aren’t recycled after you throw them away, people.
  • Less clean-up for biz-owners after you do your business. Hand-dryers require less maintenance than paper towels, which need constant refilling and don’t always make it into the trash can.


Personally Speaking
Toshio, a former germophobe/litterbug, used to use an extra paper towel to shield his hand from public-restroom doorknobs, then leave it on the floor.

Wanna Try?

  • Forego the paper, and dry your mitts with a hand-dryer.
  • Hand Dryer Calculator business owners: Find out how much you can save by installing an electric hand-dryer.
  • At home, your best bet is a cloth towel, but if 10,000 Biters use a hand-dryer instead of paper towels next time they’re in a public restroom, we’ll keep the weight of 83 (dry) pants in paper waste outta landfills.