New Cintas Survey Shows Consumers Vastly Prefer Paper Towels in Hand Drying Debate

Nearly seven in 10 U.S. adults prefer paper towels over air dryers in public restrooms

CINCINNATI--()--To identify which hand drying method is preferred in the U.S., Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll, May 19-23, among 2,048 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The study found that the majority of American’s (69 percent) prefer to use paper towels over air dryers when drying their hands in public restrooms.

“Hand drying plays an important role in effective hand hygiene,” said John Engel, Director of Marketing, Cintas. “Studies show that germs can be more easily transferred to and from wet hands, which is why drying hands after washing them is essential to staving off bacteria and limiting the spread of infection.”

Of those that chose paper towels as their preferred method to dry their hands in a public restroom, the top five reasons include:


    Paper towels dry hands better     70%

Paper towels dry hands faster 69%

Paper towels provide something to open the restroom door with 52%

Air dryers blow bacteria (e.g., on hands, in the air) 24%

Air dryers are too loud 22%

“What this data tells us is that the majority of Americans want a quick, thorough and hygienic public restroom experience,” added Engel. “While paper towels reduce the number of bacteria on hands, air dryers increase them, leading to further contamination of not only clean hands, but other restroom users up to six feet awayi. This makes paper towels a ‘no brainer’ choice for hand drying.”

Paper towels are not only more hygienic, but they are also better for the health of restroom users’ ears. In fact, jet hand dryers have the same impact on ears as a close-range pneumatic drill, and are especially dangerous for children’s ears as air dryers are typically positioned at the same height as a child’s headii.

The survey also found that age is a factor in the paper towels vs hand dryer debate. Seventy-six percent of Americans aged 35-44 prefer paper towels compared to only 60 percent of those aged 18-34. Additionally, women are more likely than men to prefer paper towels with 73 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

For more information about Cintas’ solutions for facilities, please visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Cintas from May 19-23, 2017 among 2,048 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jennifer Petersen at 312-664-1532 or via e-mail at

About Cintas Corporation

Cintas Corporation helps more than 900,000 businesses of all types and sizes get READY™ to open their doors with confidence every day by providing a wide range of products and services that enhance our customers’ image and help keep their facilities and employees clean, safe and looking their best. With products and services including uniforms, mats, mops, restroom supplies, first aid and safety products, fire extinguishers and testing, and safety and compliance training, Cintas helps customers get Ready for the Workday®. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of both the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Nasdaq-100 Index.




Mulberry Marketing Communications
Jennifer Petersen

Release Summary

New Cintas survey finds nearly seven in 10 U.S. adults prefer paper towels over air dryers in public restrooms.


Mulberry Marketing Communications
Jennifer Petersen