News release

Date: 17th February 2010

New KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* ‘Take Control of Poor Hand Drying’ campaign is set to boost demand for paper towels

KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*, the leading supplier of washroom products and services, has launched a major new campaign to highlight the advantages of paper towels over other hand drying systems.

February 17 2010 - KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*, the leading supplier of washroom products and services, has launched a major new campaign to highlight the advantages of paper towels over other hand drying systems.

The ‘Take Control of Poor Hand Drying’ will focus on alerting companies and organisations to the fact that their choice of hand drying facilities in staff and public washrooms can impact hygiene levels, productivity, customer relations and reputation.

Targeting businesses across all sectors, the campaign is expected to result in increased requests to contract cleaners and facilities managers for paper towels as the organisations employing them realise electric hand dryers and linen towels fall short in terms of hygienic performance and practicality.

The campaign has been prompted by recent scientific research conducted by London’s University of Westminster(1), which found that the use of electric dryers could dramatically increase levels of bacteria on subjects’ hands – by an average of 254% in the case of a warm air dryer. Conversely, using a paper towel reduced the total number of bacteria on hands by an average of 77%. Researchers also found that using electric hand dryers could blow bacteria a significant distance across a washroom – up to 2 metres away in the case of a jet air dryer. Paper towels showed no significant spread of bacteria.

The findings from the University of Westminster study confirm a growing understanding that how people dry their hands is a fundamental aspect of the hand cleaning process. In addition, organisations such as the World Health Organisation now recommend single-use towels for good overall hand hygiene (2).

“The results of the University of Westminster study will come as a surprise to many people,” says KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* category manager Richard Millard. “Businesses and organisations have often been told over the years that electric hand dryers are the most hygienic way to dry hands after washing them. The reality, however, could not be more different, with this research suggesting people could even be putting themselves at increased risk of spreading germs by using dryers.

“That is why our Take Control of Poor Hand Drying campaign is so important. Good hand hygiene is an important measure to help prevent sickness among staff and customers and reduce the risk of contamination in hygienic environments such as food factories and restaurants. There are practical issues, too. It’s well known that electric hand dryers can cause long queues in washrooms, which result in wet floors and disgruntled customers. Linen towels, meanwhile, can take several minutes to restock once emptied and are unpopular with consumers, as demonstrated when market research organisation Intermetra conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers in four European countries – France, Germany, Sweden and the UK (3). Intermetra found that while 63% of respondents preferred to dry their hands with paper towels in public washrooms, just 28% preferred air dryers and only 10% opted for pull-down linen towels.

“Linen towels are not just unpopular with consumers – they are also particularly unsuitable for hygienic environments such as healthcare establishments and food factories because they are not single use and can therefore harbour bacteria for long periods of time before being washed.

“Our campaign will address all of these issues and, we believe, will lead to companies specifically requesting paper towels from their contract cleaners and facilities managers.”

The KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Take Control of Poor Hand Drying campaign will also be challenging some of the myths surrounding hand towels. For example, some organisations choose not to use paper towels because they worry they are more harmful to the environment than other hand drying systems. However, Richard Millard points out that KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*has taken significant steps to address sustainability issues.

For example, the high-performance AIRFLEX* Fabric used in the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* range of SCOTT* Xtra Hand Towels requires 15% less fibre than a standard fabric and helps reduce waste placed in the bin by up to 28%. Meanwhile, the average recycled fibre content in all KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* paper towel products is as high as 80%. More information about the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*approach to sustainability can be found at www.kcpreducetoday.com.

“The use of AIRFLEX* Fabric means there is no longer any need for businesses to compromise,” says Richard Millard. “AIRFLEX* Fabric hand towels offer excellent performance, are produced with care for the environment, and above all will help organisations maintain a very high standard of hand hygiene. The Take Control of Poor Hand Drying campaign will ensure this message reaches a wide range of businesses and organisations across all sectors.”

View the video about our hygienic drying campaign at www.kcprofessional.com/uk/handhygiene

For more information about the Take Control of Poor Hand Drying campaign, or to arrange an interview with Richard Millard, please contact Suzanne Howe Communications on 01732 875697.

Ends

NOTES TO EDITOR:

1) ‘A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, Dyson Airblade dryer’ was conducted by Keith Redway and Shameem Fawdar of the School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London, in November 2008.
Researchers compared levels of bacteria on subjects’ palms and fingerpads before and after they had washed them and then dried them in a public washroom using either a paper towel, a traditional warm air dryer or a new-style jet air dryer.

Results indicated that:
• after washing and drying hands with the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria were found to have increased on average on the palms by 254% and on the fingerpads by 194%
• after washing and drying hands with the jet air dryer, the total number of bacteria were found to have increased on average on the palms by 15% and on the fingerpads by 42%
• after washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria were found to have reduced on average on the palms by 77% and on the fingerpads by 76%
• the jet air dryer, which blows air out of the unit at speeds of 400mph, was capable of blowing micro-organisms from the hands and the unit and potentially contaminating other washroom users and the washroom environment up to 2 metres away
• use of a warm air hand dryer spread micro-organisms up to 0.25 metres from the dryer
• paper towels showed no significant spread of micro-organisms .

2) The KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Take Control of Poor Hand Drying campaign is a pan-European initiative designed to highlight the message that, compared with other systems, paper towels are the most hygienic and effective means of hand drying, and enjoy the highest levels of user acceptance. The campaign runs from 1 February to 31 March 2010 and will target a range of business sectors, consumers and key decision makers and stakeholders in the cleaning and hygiene industry, using a variety of media.


(1) A comparative study of different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, Dyson Airblade dryer; by Keith Redway & Shameem Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London (2008-09)
(2) WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care (advanced draft): A summary, 2005, pp18-19
(3) Intermetra, June 2008: Users’ preferences in hand drying systems


Media Contact:
Deborah Sparkes
Suzanne Howe Communications
E:deborah[at]suzannehowe[dot]com
Tel: 01732 875697
www.suzannehowe.com

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