At last, we have a clear winner. From a hygiene perspective, anyways.
Patrick Boshell, Marketing Director at Deb Canada, has used far too many words to tell us that in the battle between paper towel versus air, the victor is...
Our girl paper towels!
Researchers at Queensland University in Brisbane, Australia have "reviewed twelve independent studies comparing paper towels, cloth towels, and hot air dryers." Ultimately, water was removed from hands more efficiently using paper towel than any other option. Bacteria was measured before and after testing each method and paper towels easily beat out air dryers. Worst yet, though:
Even more terrifying for all of us is the fact that every time a toilet is flushed, "a fine aerosol mist can be sprayed into the air. This mist may contain may types of fecal bacteria that can cause diseases. Air movement can encourage the dispersal and transmission of bacteria and increase the chance of cross-contamination. Used air dryers in washrooms are often contaminated and can emit bacteria in their air flow. So there is a potential risk of persons standing in front of air dryers acquiring the bacteria being dispersed into the air current towards them. The bacteria can then be inhaled or can be deposited on the person's body or clothes, thus making him/her a potential mobile source of infection." No such spread was seen with either paper or cloth towels.
This isn't even mentioning what a pain it is to wait for your hands to dry using an air dryer. It turns out that 41% of you assholes would sooner wipe your hands on your filthy clothes than wait for your hands to dry completely.