Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

  • torbenholmlarsen
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Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

(This post was originally in this thread: forum.susana.org/26-health-issues-and-co...ting-on-toilet-seats )

Thanks for your very valid comments. I couldn't agree more.

The problems surrounding handwashing are many, a place to do, availability of soap and water, habits etc.

This is why we need new, innovative tools that rethinks the way handwashing is done.

A colaboration between LSHTM, DRC, Real Relief and the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, is about to engage in a field study in Ethiopia using Supertowel as a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing.

Supertowel is a piece of durable fabric with an antimicrobial treatment and it has already been proven in the lab that handwashing with the towel gives better results in terms of germ reduction than soap and water.

One of the advantages of Supertowel is that it can be carried around wet and thereby allowing for handwashing vitually anywhere and anytime.

The project can be followed by visiting the blog on HIF's homepage: www.elrha.org/project/real-relief/ , where there are also links to the partners.
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  • bowenarrow
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Re: Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

Interesting concept these towels. Has there been any testing of possible environmental problems when disposing finally of these towels ? Wouldn't like to see a repeat of the " Refreshing Towels" that have proved to be disastrous in landfill.

Cheers Ross
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

Dear Ross,

Thank you for your comments.

I cannot comment on the "Refreshing towel" problem as I am not familiar with it. Can you send me a link to articles describing the problem?

Supertowel is a product under development and we have not yet performed any end-of-life studies on the product. The product is made of a durable Polyester microfiber blend, which is a videly used fabric composition. In the development of Supertowel we have put emphasis on making the product as durable as possible, among others to reduce waste creation through that route.

Your comment is very valid and we will bear it in mind as we continue the development of Supertowel.
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this article posted on Crowd360.org: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation
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  • bsoutherland
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

Brilliant! How far are we from being able to purchase supertowels for distribution by our relief teams?
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

Hi there, We are able to manufacture the Supertowel now. We have not set up a full scale manufacturing yet, but we can easily manufacture the product in small to medium sized lots. How many Supertowels would you be needing? Torben
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

Me again - Elizabeth von Muench asked me to make a post about pricing and lifespan of the Supertowel. We will be able to sell it to the humanitarian sector at $0,5 - 0,75 FOB India, depending on quantities - ask for a specific quote. Lifespan is always a difficult question as it depends very much on how the towel is being taken care of. The antimicrobial treatment on the Supertowel is permanent, so the lifespan is depending only on the durability of the fabric. A good estimate would be 1 - 2 years. I hope that answers your question Elizabeth.
BR Torben
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  • bowenarrow
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Re: Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

Sorry for my tardy reply regarding "Refreshing Towels". I have been trying to find the source of the info but to no avail. All I can add is that the towels claim to be flushable, which has given Authorities large problems as they do not break down in practice. Apparently they are costing London Sewers a lot of money to unclog their lines.
This has no bearing on the Supertowel unless they are disposed of in a similar fashion.
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  • bsoutherland
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

We are interested in testing the Supertowel in three Rwandan villages where we have ongoing relationships. Any amount up to 100 Supoertowels is what we have in mind to test the uptake and suitability of this hygiene intervention.
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

OK - sounds great. We can definitely supply that kind of quantities. Let's continue the conversation on e-mail. No need to disturb all the rest of SuSanA's users :) :) My direct e-mail is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • torbenholmlarsen
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Re: Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

Dear fellow SuSanA members,

As some of you might be aware we have finalized the field study on Supertowel. That concludes the research involved in the HIF development project. There are still a lot of research that we would like to perform on the Supertowel and we are looking at different options how to achieve this.

We are however now in the position to offer Supertowel commercially. This also means that Supertowel can now be applied in the field if there is interest among organizations involved in WASH.

I have prepared a small SurveyMonkey questionnaire, that I would be very grateful if as many of you would fill out. It would really be a great help in the further development of the Supertowel. Please follow this link to the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y7BKTLF

BR
Torben
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  • muench
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Re: Supertowel: a substitute for soap and running water for handwashing

Dear Torben,

You said:
"We will be able to sell it to the humanitarian sector at $0,5 - 0,75 FOB India, depending on quantities"

Great! Finally a new product that seems to be really cheap (given that it would last 1-2 years!).

How did you go with your survey? How many responses did you get so far (I noticed that you said the first 50 people can receive a sample of the supertowel - that's a great incentive!)

And how is your ongoing development and commercialisation work funded now?

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
funded via SEI project until January 2019 ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
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