Given how long some hand dryers have been hanging around in public restrooms, it’s no surprise that by this point some of them might be a little bit grim inside.
But the internet was shocked to discover just how disgusting hand dryers can be as one student in California, USA, shared the results of an experiment using a Petri dish which has now been seen by over half a million people.
Nichole Ward, a student from Carlsbad, California, took to Facebook last week to post a photo showing the Petri dish filled with fungi and bacteria after she put it inside an enclosed hand dryer for only three minutes.
Can you imagine all of that lot ending up on your hands? Gross.
Nichole explained that the results of the photo show what managed to grow in the Petri dish just 48 hours after it was placed inside the dryer.
She added that the dish contained ‘several strains of possible pathogenic fungi and bacteria’ – a whole host of bugs which could make you ill – that could well end up on people’s hands instead.
“I stuck the open plate in an enclosed hand dryer of a public bathroom for a total of 3 minutes. Yes 3 only. DO NOT EVER dry your hands in those things again,” she said.
“This is the several strains of possilbe pathogenic fungi and bacteria that you’re swirling around your hands, and you think you’re walking out with clean hands. You’re welcome.”
Nichole stressed that she didn’t share the post to scare everyone into using paper towels for the rest of their lives, but that she simply did it just to ‘raise awareness’.
Originally, Nichole mentioned in her post that she’d conducted the experiment with a Dyson Airblade. Curiously, though, she removed that from the post after it went viral. Hmm.
In case you’ve never used a Dyson Airblade, it’s a enclosed hand-dryer which users stick their hands in through the top with the air blowing in from the front and the back.
“The enclosed [like Dyson] are the worst. But not much worse as the older ones that you push the silver button and dry that way,” Nichole added in comments to the post.
“Fungi spores are still swarming so either way. Do not use them. Just wash with water and soap and leave with wet hands. Paper towels I think [are] still safe though.”
Nichole said that from now on she will be sticking to drying with her clothes or shaking and air drying outside of the bathroom. Sounds sensible.
What’s most creepy about all of this is the fact you can’t see what dryers are apparently blowing onto your hands until it’s too late.
“From an outside perspective, a blow dryer makes sense,” she concluded. “But the spores in the air of a bathroom are SERIOUS and this was obviously overlooked.”
A spokesperson from Dyson told ABC Action News that they were ‘very surprised to see these results’ – which is a relief, as it’d be pretty terrifying if they weren’t.
However, the company cast doubt on Nichole’s experiment, saying it was ‘unclear on the methodology employed’ by Nichole to get the results she did.
“All Dyson AirbladeTM hand dryers have HEPA filters that capture particles as small as bacteria from the washroom air before it leaves the machine,” the spokesperson said.
“Dyson AirbladeTM hand dryers are proven hygienic by university research and are trusted by hospitals, food manufacturers and businesses worldwide.”