Restrooms in airports see a lot of traffic and many travelers (like myself) try to avoid touching as much as possible to avoid the spread of germs.
One item in the bathroom that seems like the perfect item to avoid bacteria is the high-powered automatic hand dryer.
But according to an episode of Mythbusters, those high-powered automatic hand dryers create bacteria-nados.
While you have to touch a paper towel dispenser to get your drying apparatus, the act of using the paper towel further reduces the amount of bacteria on your hands, whereas the high-powered automatic hand dryer doesn’t to the same degree and tends to blow a cloud of bacteria around you.
People who used paper towels had significantly less bacteria on their hands.
Furthermore, there was hardly any bacteria in the area surrounding the paper towel dispenser (even though you need to touch it) whereas the high-powered automatic hand dryer blasted a huge wave of bacteria around everything else.
Even if you properly wash your hands, imagine what could be blowing around from someone with less concern for soap.
So shockingly, not only do the paper hand dispensers in the bathrooms leave your hands with less bacteria, the zone surrounding the area is significantly cleaner than the automatic hands-free dryers.