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What is the humanitarian need?

Access to handwashing facilities in humanitarian emergencies are limited or non-existent. As a result 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.

The present solution involves the 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.

In 2019, Real Relief was awarded a second grant from the HIF’s diffusion call to support the scaling of this intervention. As compared to the original product, this most recent version of Supertowel is significantly different. The Supertowel substrate is now forming an active part of the way the product works.

This diffusion project will make it possible for humanitarian organisations to chose Supertowel as alternative to soap, because the price will be reduced and the consistency of the antimicrobial treatment will be improved.

What are the expected outcomes?

With a first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF),  Real Relief established 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 laboratory. In the field, they examined user acceptance and establish the required behavior change communication that is needed in support of the product.

With the second grant from HIF’s diffusion call, Real Relief will aim to provide a cheaper, better and more accessible Supertowel. The goal is a Supertowel that:

    • can be sold at USD 0.50/pcs (large quantities)
    • that has at least a bacterial log reduction of 4 originally
    • that can still be classified as antimicrobial after 100 washes
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Latest Updates

Right Price, Right Quality, Right Quantity: Scaling the Manufacture of Supertowel TM

20 Nov 2019

Real Relief share how they have achieved their aim to scale up the production of the Supertowel, setting up a supply chain that is able to manufacture Supertowel at the right price, the right quality and in sufficient quantity.


How SuperTowel can ensure ‘Clean Hands for All’

8 Oct 2019

Handwashing Day is all about promoting handwashing with soap - and Supertowel has written a blog post about how their product can ensure clean hands for all.


Using evidence to drive innovation in humanitarian handwashing interventions

21 Nov 2018

Sian White and Torben Holm Larsen write about the Supertowel field study in Ethiopia, published on Evidence Aid.


In the field with the SuperTowel

9 Nov 2018

For three weeks Real Relief have performed extended observations in 13 households.


Rethinking handwashing during food preparation

04 Oct 2018

Sian White, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, writes about the use of Supertowel during food preparation.


Hand washing the smart way

29 Jan 2018

Real Relief complete their first laboratory test.


Related Resources

Article Water, sanitation & hygiene

Supertowel as an alternative hand cleaning product for emergencies

Read the Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue

Learn more about this WASH project, and many others, in our Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue.

Read now

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