The impact of COVID-19 on hand hygiene

This article looks at the effect of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic on hand hygiene and the ways in which we can support effective hand hygiene in schools.

Published: November 11, 2020

If the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has made us more conscious of one thing, it has to be hand hygiene. The importance of frequently and thoroughly washing and drying hands to prevent the spread of the virus has been a key message from the outset. In this article, we look at the ways in which hand hygiene has changed since the pandemic began. We also discuss what schools can do to maintain effective hand hygiene in the long term.

Hand hygiene today

In a recent study on worldwide hygiene, Dyson discovered that people are more aware of the importance of hand hygiene now than they were before the pandemic.

Surprisingly, however, 11% of the world’s population still admit they’re likely to leave a washroom without washing their hands! The study also showed that people don’t always wash their hands correctly, i.e. regularly, and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The study identified hand drying as another problem area, with people unaware of the risks of leaving washrooms with damp hands. In fact, only 40% of the study’s participants named hygiene as the main reason for drying their hands.

Dr Salome Giao, a senior microbiologist at Dyson highlights the dangers of not drying hands properly after washing them:

“We know damp hands can transfer up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands, while wiping hands on clothes can jeopardize the handwashing process, as they can add bacteria to the washed hands if they are not clean.”

So, the message is clear – drying hands properly is just as important as washing them!

How can we improve hand hygiene?

With hand hygiene being very much on our radar – but not as effective as it could be – what can we do to improve it?

1) Introduce guidance on hand hygiene

The first step for schools is to educate staff and students on proper hand washing and drying techniques. Positioning some laminated notices in your school washrooms should act as a handy reminder of the guidelines.

2) Adequately equip washrooms

The Dyson study revealed that badly-maintained washrooms contribute to concerns about hand hygiene, with 48% of us being frustrated by “unclean washroom common areas”.

Make sure your school washrooms are as clean as possible and always have a good supply of hand-washing soap!

3) Choose touch-free hand dryers

Dyson’s study also showed that 40% are worried about “having to press physical buttons” on hand dryers. Older-style hand dryers aren’t always touch-free and can contribute to spreading germs. Choosing touch-free solutions like the Dyson Airblade™ for your school will get around this issue and avoid students transmitting bacteria by pushing buttons.

4) Opt for hand dryers with a HEPA filter

As well as being touch-free, the Dyson Airblade™ contains a High Efficiency Particulate Air (or HEPA) filter. The filter removes and traps around 99.95% of particles (including bacteria, pollutants, allergens, pollen and dust) from the air. This means your staff and students can dry their hands with HEPA-purified air rather than dirty air that has been circulating in your washrooms.

At Utility Rentals, we offer a range of Dyson Airblade™ dryers to promote hand hygiene in your school. We also offer mobile hand washing stations, especially for schools. This equipment is available via our flexible leasing agreements which means there are no upfront costs to your school. So, if your school has been considering upgrading its hand dryers, you don’t need to put this off any longer!


For more information on our full range of equipment to support hand hygiene in your school, contact our friendly team!


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