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Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 11:52 am

Washing your hands has never been so popular, even with people who have always had questionable hygiene

Washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene has literally become a life-saving endeavour.

Although hand driers have generally been thought to be more sanitary than paper towels, a study has found that hand driers could actually be blowing faecal matter onto your hand every time you use them, undoing all your hand washing. 

Poop is everywhere

Tiny faecal particles are all over the bathroom. When an open toilet is flushed, bacteria and faecal matter goes spraying all over the bathroom and is also sucked into the hand dryer. 

When you dry your hands, hot air, faecal matter and bacteria are also blown onto your hands. 

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Although this is disturbing, the study found that faecal matter is generally all over the bathroom and lands on you whenever you are in the bathroom. This has always happened and is not actually harmful. 

It’s not the poop you should be worried about

Although the thought of poop particles flying around the air and landing on you is disgusting, it isn’t the poop you should be worried about catching in public bathrooms.

Along with Faecal matter, pathogens, bacteria could also be transmitted by hand dryers and ‘plumes’ that rise into the air every time the toilet is flushed. 

These contaminants could be transferred from one person to the other even outside the bathroom through contact.

COVID-19 risks

Because COVID-19 can live in faeces and has even been tracked this way, inhaling faecal matter or having faecal matter sprayed on your hands in a public bathroom can increase your risk of infection. 

A study published by the CDC showed that although COVID-19 could be detected in faeces, it is unlikely to be transmissible this way.

Even so, Harvard Health advises keeping visits to public bathroom brief, avoid touching anything and sanitize your hands even after washing them. 


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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.