Hand drying plays an important role in getting clean hands and preventing recontamination. In high income settings paper towels or electric air dryers can be used to effectively dry hands. However, these are not available or feasible in many low- and middle- income settings so often people recommend just shaking hands dry. However, if people go straight back to their day-to-day activities after handwashing, this can be problematic because wet hands tend to pick up more pathogens from the surfaces they touch. The good news is that a study in Zimbabwe found that drying hands on clean towels or even on dirty clothes can be more effective at removing any remaining bacteria from hands than simply air drying (shaking hands dry).  

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Editor's note

Author: Sian White
Review: Katie Greenland, Ammar Fawzi
Last update: 13.04.2020

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