Sometimes we’re just blowing germs

By Rocco Castellano
You go to the gym, restaurant, local coffee shop or bar and you have to use the restroom. Not a big deal—everyone has used a public restroom at one time or another. You do your business, wash your hands and there you have it. The hand-drying dilemma. Paper towels or high speed, hurricane winds force hand dryer. Now, all you tree hugging… wait am I one of them, whew… not really… mammy pambys out there, do not get your panties in a bunch, but this is going to shock you. Air-drying hand dryers are now known to spew germs and cause the spread of disease. How about that? The very thing you thought would help save trees and cut down on the spreading of germs, actually breed f–king germs.

You really don’t need to be an electrical engineer or an epidemiologist to see how this could and does happen in every bathroom… yep, even the transgender ones. The average person male, female or whatever you identify with, doesn’t wash their hands adequately after holding their junk or wiping. The adequate way to wash your hands is to squirt soap, lather up between your fingers, over your hands for two minutes and then rinse with warm water. You ever time some people in the men’s room—not that I spend my Saturdays with a stopwatch at Target—and it’s a little crazy to see someone taking a piss for what seems like an hour. You know they splashed themselves at least three or four times. zip up and walk over to the sink to wash their hands. Or at least supposedly. That’s not what usually happens. Basically they piss on their hands, squirt a pea-size portion of soap, run some water over it and turn around to blow all that germ, urine soaked soap all over the air and 10 feet radius of the blower. One, where the f–k has everyone’s manners gone and two, shit I’m so disgusted with what I just wrote, I can’t think of number two. Well now I can, and it’s all over someone’s clothes after you took a dump and did a three second spritz.

Now that you just spit up your lunch, here are the facts about these well-intentioned stupid inventions. We have become a nation obsessed with being environmentally conscious and believing that the more than 3,000 paper towels we each use per year contributing to 3,000 tons of paper towel waste hinders our justification for their use after a thorough hand washing. Well my little grasshoppers, your quest for being “green” has placed on in a very “unclean” situation.

The warm air and the high speed, the very components that supposedly make this a good idea, are what researchers from The University of Leeds found were the main issues in spreading disease. These very smart researchers, led by Mark Wilcox, covered participants hands with lactobacillus, a very harmless bacteria, and created a scenario of inadequately washed hands (think of not enough soap, not enough water… you get the picture) and used different drying methods.  After the participants dried their hands with warm air dryers, high-speed dryers and paper towels, they took 120 air samples. Yep… because obviously 100 wasn’t enough.

It was absolutely astounding and somewhat horrifying as they tallied the results—the amount of bacteria that was in the air near the high-powered dryers was unto four and a half times that of the warm air dryers. This is a little more insane than I want to write but the air around the warm air dryers was 27 times more populated with bacteria than around the paper towel dispenser.

So if you can do a little math, you’ll see that the high-powered dryers spewed 121.5 times more bacteria than paper towel dispensers. 121.5 times!!!! Are you f–king kidding me?  So, because Mr. Wilcox and his fellow researchers had a flair for the dramatic, they decided to do a little visual demonstration.  They had participants cover their hands in paint and placed their hands under the dryers. The paint splattered, as you could have guessed. One thing that really frightened—OK, concerned—the researchers, was that significant amounts of the bacteria stayed in the air for quite a long time. Forty-eight percent of the bacteria floated around for five minutes. Anyone who has ever been in a public bathroom for five minutes, well, usually needed a search team to come find them… and knows it feels like forever. The stunning part of the experiment was that 15 minutes later traces of airborne bacteria lurched waiting to grab a hold a something or somebody. Fifteen minutes later. Damn.

So what do we do? Kill a bunch of trees so we can wash and dry our hands adequately and not spread disease? Do what every guy that has his “man card” has done. Wash his hands and wipe them on his pants or keeping using high-powered air dryers as a tool for population control.

It’s a crazy dilemma that we’ve got ourselves into, trying to be green and causing more problems. I say we all start wearing diapers and let the paper towel dispensers and air dryers fight it out for themselves. Then, stores like Target can find a good use for those sanitizing stands all over their stores.

The views and opinions expressed in Vitality Check are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.


Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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