Effects of 4 hand-drying methods for removing bacteria from washed hands: a randomized trial

Mayo Clin Proc. 2000 Jul;75(7):705-8. doi: 10.4065/75.7.705.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of 4 different drying methods to remove bacteria from washed hands.

Subjects and methods: One hundred adult volunteers participated in this randomized prospective study. All bacterial counts were determined using a modified glove-juice sampling procedure. The difference was determined between the amounts of bacteria on hands artificially contaminated with the bacterium Micrococcus luteus before washing with a nonantibacterial soap and after drying by 4 different methods (cloth towels accessed by a rotary dispenser, paper towels from a stack on the hand-washing sink, warm forced air from a mechanical hand-activated dryer, and spontaneous room air evaporation). The results were analyzed using a nonparametric analysis (the Friedman test). By this method, changes in bacterial colony-forming unit values for each drying method were ranked for each subject.

Results: The results for 99 subjects were evaluable. No statistically significant differences were noted in the numbers of colony-forming units for each drying method (P = .72).

Conclusion: These data demonstrate no statistically significant differences in the efficiency of 4 different hand-drying methods for removing bacteria from washed hands.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Desiccation
  • Hand / microbiology*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Micrococcus luteus / growth & development*
  • Paper
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soaps / therapeutic use
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Textiles


  • Soaps