There's one thing in public bathrooms that might be best for Iowans to avoid.

We're coming up on allergy and sickness season. Even with my daily Vitamin C pills, I just know I'll get the sniffles at some point and I'm determined to fight it but bacteria and germs are just everywhere. We're all still using public bathrooms too and the cleanliness of these things can really run the gamut.


But there's one particular thing in public bathrooms that you might think is the sanitary way to go but apparently, it's definitely not.

You've washed your hands, you're walking over to the wall, and now you're faced with the choice: do you hold your hands under the blow dryer for your skin to get blasted into the next dimension? Or do you just grab a few towels to wipe your hands off on?

The Problem With The Air Dryer

You might think the air dryer is the more hygienic option. It's just air, right?

Wrong, apparently.

Harvard looked at a study that found that air dryers in public bathrooms are really just kind of sucking the bathroom air (which has germs in it from the flushed lidless toilets anyway).

The science of it: petri dishes that were exposed to just bathroom air for 2 minutes with the air dryers off only grew one colony of bacteria, or none at all. But petri dishes that were put under the hot air dryer for 30 seconds grew up to 254 colonies of bacteria.

It's not cause to lose your mind, never use a public restroom again, or become an extreme germaphobe. A lot of the microbes that were found aren't likely to infect healthy people, according to Harvard. But it's more sanitary to dry your hands on a paper towel than to use the air dryer and that's something to keep in mind going into flu season.

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