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Most of us have a ritual for when we visit a public restroom. Typically, it revolves around touching as little as we possibly can and doing our best to leave with our hands clean.

For years, we have appreciated many of the modern conveniences that seem to push us in that direction. This includes automatic faucets, toilet covers, and hand dryers.

Photo: Flickr/FanFan61618 License: CC BY-SA 2.0

That is about to change.

Once you see what a TikTok video creator has to share, you might never use one of those dryers again. We will warn you as well, this could trigger stress in some people.

The video creator took a closer look at the hand dryers in three different public locations. Each of the hand dryers was different.

Photo: TikTok/@the_lab_life1

The point of the video was to show how much bacteria is forced into the air by the high-velocity blowers. Let’s just say it is more than you probably think.

After posting the video, more than 25 million people showed up to watch the now-viral video.

In the short presentation, you become intimately acquainted with the bacteria left behind on a hand dryer at a shopping mall, theater, and her job, which we are assuming is at a laboratory.

Photo: TikTok/@the_lab_life1

Petri dishes collected a sample of each dryer and they were placed in a controlled environment so the bacteria could grow.

The stage is then set and a trigger warning is given…

Each dryer and location produced unique results. The video also lets us know that air-drying was the best option.

Photo: TikTok/@the_lab_life1

The video’s creator said: “Well, I wasn’t entirely surprised by the amount of bacteria but more by all the different types. I thought it would be a lot of normal skin-related bacteria, but I was surprised to find many different colors and genus.”

Even if you use a hand dryer with a blue light, designed to kill bacteria, it isn’t working all that great.

According to Fox News, a medical microbiologist, Erica Susky, said that the big issue with hand dryers is they need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. You wouldn’t know from one facility to the next how this was being done.

Susky also said that filters are included on hand dryers in many cases but they also need to be cleaned or changed. If the filter isn’t changed as directed, mold and bacteria can accumulate in the filter.


Trigger warning around 50 seconds 😬 #fyp #science #lab

♬ Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

In addition, if someone doesn’t properly clean their hands and touches the diffuser area of the dryer, it could transfer microbes to the dryer. The next time it is used, those microbes can be passed to the user.

This was shown even further in a University of Connecticut study from 2018. It showed that dryers in public restrooms do more than blow bacteria. They can also blow fecal matter onto your hands.

The University study was extensive, using 36 bathrooms and collecting samples throughout the college campus. After placing the plates under the dryers for 30 seconds, they collected anywhere from 18 to 60 different bacteria colonies.

I think I’m going to go wash my hands now.