There is No Standard for Hand-Drying in Public Bathrooms

Why isn’t there a standard hand-drying method in public bathrooms? Granted, proprietors need to balance efficiency with environment (I’m guessing paper towels are the most efficient but least environmentally friendly), but still. The variety of dispensers among those bathrooms which strive only for efficiency is surprising. Have we not figured out the most optimal solution?!

Fortunately, one entrepreneur is on the case. BusinessWeek has a story about James Dyson’s quest to bring the world a high-tech air squeegee that can dry your hands in all of 12 seconds.


8 comments on “There is No Standard for Hand-Drying in Public Bathrooms
  • It’s called the marketplace. Even if this guy comes with the perfect hand dryer, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be in the market for it. The greatest contrast in paper towels I’ve experienced is between the luxurious, beautiful, thick towels at the resort at Beaver Creek, Colorado, where one towel is exactly right versus the wimpy, brown, non-absorbent paper towels at the high school where I’ll soon be working again. It takes so many of the non-absorbent kind that I feel confident they actually cost more in the long run because more have to be used.

    How would OCD sufferers deal with “dip[ping their hands]… into the curvaceous opening at the top…”?

    The trash bags at the high school are even worse. They’re so flimsy that you can’t fill them more than a third full, and even then they tear. So you end up using more bags because you’re using an inferior product.

  • As someone who uses the bathroom more often than most of the population, my concern is with the entire experience.

    What about locks on stall doors, soundproofing, toilet paper that is routed correctly so it doesn’t come off in shards, as well as all the hand-washing elements?

    Some of my best experiences in bathrooms have come in the oddest places. NO, not THAT type of experience.

    But some of the best places to GO are some of the simplest places we frequent.

    For example, a clean portapotty is pretty good. It’s fairly soundproof, there’s no splashback and it’s private.

    Upper-crust hotels have stalls with doors that go to the floor.

    Most casinos have great bathrooms – although some allow smoking in the bathroom which is insane.

    And I’m a big fan of the toilets in the airline club rooms at the airport.

    Failing marks go to the troughs at Fenway and most any stadium, bars that don’t ever clean the men’s room or put locks on the doors, portapotties that haven’t been rinsed out or have been sitting in the sun, and the tiny fan-less stalls that are seemingly designed into every cheap apartment in every city in the United States.

    Keep up the good work. If you want to read my stuff, visit and let me know what you think.



  • I was pleased to see that Dyson was inspired by my favorite futurist– R. Buckminster Fuller.

    We need contrarians like them.

    I’d like to try one of those “brainy” vacuum cleaners his company is testing in Japan.

  • I’ll tell you first hand why you’ll sometimes see a series of differnet paper/soap dispensers: once a supplier hooks a new customer, they’ll eventually jack up the price, until the shop owner is fed up and goes with a new distributor. The refill cartridges are the little devil.

    The absolute best hand dryer, though, is the jet-powered one. Well, it might not be a real jet, but it feels like one. Heathrow, incidentally, has a bunch. Unfortunately the heat they generate turns the bathroom into a bit of a sauna (ew)… unless it was just shoddy A/C…

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *