Moringa plant as handwashing soap
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Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 05 Mar 2014 11:35 #7645

  • joeturner
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dietvorst wrote:
Manufacturers like to make us think that soap is essential
A colleague of mine told me once that the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine had come to a similar conclusion - though I can't find the reference.


That'll be the work by Sandy Cairncross and co who have been publishing stuff on handwashing for quite a few years.

This is one of their papers but they've been writing quite a lot of more recent stuff too.

Edit - for example This paper from 2013
Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.
Last Edit: 05 Mar 2014 11:39 by joeturner.

Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 05 Mar 2014 11:43 #7646

  • joeturner
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Incidentally, I notice that Sandy Cairncross is one of the authors of the paper which the original post in this thread refers to.
Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.

Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 10 Mar 2014 08:29 #7712

  • F H Mughal
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In the rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan, people, who resort to OD – open defecation (OD is common in the rural areas here), use ash or topsoil (whatever is available at the defecation spot) to clean their hand. The practice of using ash is in vogue here, in the rural areas, for the last many decades.

Apart from ash, two important adjuncts are the vigorous rubbing and scrubbing between fingers and fingernails, and the handwashing time.

I researched on an appropriate handwashing time by looking at many resources (WHO, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Australian healthcare, Canadian healthcare, Minnesota Department of Health, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, Health Education to Villages, and a personal communication with a London-based institution). The review showed that while the handwashing time varies from 10 to 60 seconds, the most advocated handwashing time was found to be 15 to 20 seconds. And, in most cases, it was advocated that if the hands are visibly soiled, ingrained with dirt, or oiled, the handwashing time should be appropriately (based on common-sense) increased.

The handwashing time of 15 to 20 seconds would apply when toilets are used, before cooking food and, before eating food.

After handwashing, it is important that the hands must be dried with a clean towel, or if clean towel is not available, air-dried by waving in the air. If the hands are not dried, the wet hands will get contaminated again with germs. This point may be hard to swallow, but it is a bold fact.

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Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 10 Mar 2014 09:20 #7713

  • joeturner
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Thank you, that is interesting. Can I just clarify that the review of which you speak was concerned with washing with soap and water rather than ash?

I remain unconvinced about the overall benefits of handwashing. The reports I have seen, particularly those by Cairncross et al. tend to be review articles based on a lot of studies. The problem there is when it is claimed that x infections could be prevented by handwashing - as far as I can see, they have never been able to adequately control for the quality of handwashing water in these review studies, which one would think must have an impact on the effectiveness of handwashing.

Of course, it makes total sense that handwashing has an impact. But if one is going to advocate handwashing, presumably first you have to be sure of a clean source of water with which to wash the hands.

Random use of local ash seems to me to be unlikely to be as good as washing hands with clean water and soap, but I don't recall reading specific research on this.
Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.

Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 10 Mar 2014 12:23 #7719

  • F H Mughal
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Yes, that is true. My review was in connection with the use of soap. What I mentioned about the experience in Sindh, is not backed by any research, but is just a 60 years old tradition, that still continues this day.

There is not much research on the use of ash or mud. However, I’m attaching one with post, which is: Use of ash and mud for handwashing in low income communities.

I’m also attaching a 6-page brochure on Handwashing Behaviour in Bangladesh. It mentions use of ash.
A 2-page flyer on Handwashing in a Disaster, attached, also has reference to ash.

The abstract of a paper, A comparison of local handwashing agents in Bangladesh, Hoque BA, Briend A, J Trop Med Hyg. 1991 Feb;94(1):61-4, reads:

The efficacy of handwashing using ash, soap, mud or plain water was tested in a group of 20 women living in a slum of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Each woman was asked to wash her hands using each of the washing agents and the efficacy of handwashing was assessed by comparing estimated faecal coliform counts from post-washing hand samples. Mud and ash were found to be as efficient as soap. Research on appropriate handwashing techniques in the light of the existing practices is suggested.

Thank you,

F H Mughal
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Re: Moringa plant as handwashing soap 13 Mar 2014 06:56 #7771

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Though, not on the sanitation side, attached is a paper, circulated by Sandec, on using
plant xylem from the sapwood of coniferous trees, for water filtration.
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