In the Pursuit of Cleaner Workplaces,
Paper Towels Mop Up the Competition

Sometimes going back to basics is the best way to get the job done. Take handwashing, for example. Good workplace hygiene starts with clean hands, yet almost 95% of adults don’t wash long enough to remove bacteria and germs from their hands.

And while there’s a renewed sense of global attention towards hand washing, the way hands are dried matters, too – particularly when people don’t wash effectively.

With jet-air dryers, water droplets that could contain bacteria and germs are blown into the air, traveling as far as 6.5 feet and lingering in the air for up to 15 minutes.

Jet-air dryers are also more likely to re-contaminate hands during the drying process, which could lead to the spread of germs. That means hands may be more contaminated after jet-air drying than before they were washed.

Hands Down, Paper Towels are Superior

Most studies suggest that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively and cause less contamination of the washroom environment than jet-air dryers, according to a review article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.1

Drying with paper towels can remove bacteria that remains on hands after washing by up to 77%. Most people don’t realise that the rubbing process of paper towels physically removes bacteria along with moisture while also reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

When you look at the data, it’s no wonder that paper towels are the recommended hand-drying method of the World Health Organization's (WHO) “Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.”2

People Prefer Paper Hand Towels—Purchasers Prefer Scott® Brand

There’s more than science to back up the superiority of paper towels. Users prefer them too.

The review article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings reported that "Hand hygiene adherence would possibly decrease if paper towels are not available in the washroom". Faced with a choice of drying methods, 90% of people showed a preference for paper towels over jet-air dryers in the washroom.

Familiar branded solutions like Scott® and Kleenex® can increase the perception of cleanliness and improve users’ satisfaction. And now, with our Elevated Scott® and Kleenex® Designs— pattern enhancements on some of our best towel and tissue products—your employees and guests can see the difference.

Preferred four-to-one3 over standard towel offerings, the unique pattern enhancement features the iconic Scott® Brand or the most loved Kleenex® Brand on every sheet.

If you’re thinking about switching to paper hand towels from jet-air dryers, consider that branded Scott® and Kleenex® washroom products, doubles purchase intent with choosers.

Paper Towels and Dispensers for the New Normal

Our products have consistently used paper innovations (like our fast-drying Airflex™ towel technology) for a better towel and bath tissue experience. And now, the most hygienic systems on the market today are fully enclosed wipe clean, touchless and require refills less often, explained Stephanie Martin, Ph.D., Research Technical Leader (Product) at Kimberly-Clark Professional®.

“We recommend our touchless Scott® Control™ solutions where hygiene is absolutely critical, like healthcare and food service facilities,” she noted. “But today, what employees and customers don’t think of workplaces as hygiene-critical?

“KCP’s Aquarius dispensers are designed to help minimize the spread of dirt and germs, and have been proven to be the most hygienic dispensers vs the competition4. They’re easy to clean and disinfect with no dirt traps they are one wipe clean, and users only take the amount of product needed—the paper hasn’t been touched or exposed to the environment.“

“The term touchless is not be limited to our electronic dispensers, when users interact with our Aquarius range there is no need to touch the dispenser, they only need to touch the sheet they will use.“

“KCP is here to help companies create a hygiene improvement plan that meets them where they are—whatever their industry, type of facility or operations.“

“For example, we have a lot of great resources to help companies implement more hygienic hand cleaning and drying protocols,” she said. “We can assist them with determining which disinfectants work best with different materials, and the right products for their general surface cleaning. Clean hands plus clean surfaces work together to help minimize exposure to germs.”

Take the next step

Get more tools and resources to create your workplace hygiene improvement plan.



  1. C, Ma W, Stack S. The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87(8):791-798. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.02.019
  2. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. Published by the World Health Organization, 2009.
  3. Kimberly-Clark Professional Brand Differentiation Study, 2019
  4. Results of Swab Test study conducted by MGS Laboratories January 2017 against dispensers from leading competitors