Supertowel

Organisation: Real Relief

Partners: London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

Location: Laboratory trials: Mumbai, India / Field trials: Markazi refugee camp, Djibouti

Type of grant: WASH

Status: Ongoing

  • Supertowel in action

  • Handwash event in a kindergarten in Tamil Nadu, India, where kids were taught how to use Supertowel


Supertowel is a highly efficient and antimicrobial durable fabric. It will be used for handwashing as substitute for soap and running water. Proof of concept will be established in laboratory. Field test examines user-acceptance and required behaviour change communication.

What is the humanitarian need?

Access to handwashing facilities in humanitarian emergencies are limited or non-existent. As a results people affected by emergencies will not wash their hands or at least not often enough. This has the effect that diseases related to hand hygiene increases dramatically.

Present solution: Distribution of soap (and water). This solution does not solve the problem as it requires an almost impossible logistic operation. As water, is largely a scarce resource it will be used primarily for other purposes than handwashing.

What is the innovative solution?

Supertowel is easy to distribute as the product is light weight, low volume and durable. With Supertowel, you may wash your hands anywhere, any time and with minimal water and no soap consumption.

What are the expected outcomes?

In the laboratory, we will establish proof that Supertowel can in fact provide users with clean hands without using soap and with a very limited water usages (50 – 200 ml per handwash). In the field, we will examine user acceptance and establish the required behaviour change communication that is needed in support of the product.


Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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