- Reusability and high durability

- Health and hygiene

- Financial savings

- Longivety 


Health, Hygiene and the importance of handwashing

Supertowel™ is a reusable and highly durable towel that includes a permanently bonded anti-microbial layer. It is designed to provide clean hands without using soap and using only a small amount of water. The materials in Supertowel consists of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide.

Handwashing is one of the most important and efficient public health interventions in the world. Every year, 1.8 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Handwashing is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. This simple behavior can save lives, cutting diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter. Handwashing impacts not only health but also education, economics and equity. It plays an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - contributing to improved sanitation, zero hunger, good health, quality education, equity and much more.
Supertowel is designed with a permanently bonded antimicrobial technology. When wetted and rubbed against the hands, the pathogens will be transferred to the towel and killed. The antimicrobial technology forms a positively charged layer on the fabric. This layer will attract and kill the negatively charged microbes, like bacteria and fungi. The treatment does not contain any harmful chemicals.

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Antimicrobial Efficiency, test results*

* as tested under experimental conditions JIS L 1902:2008

Reasons for choosing Supertowel™

Health and hygiene:

  • Clean & bacteria free hands
  • Leaves no chemicals on hands or surfaces
  • Fast drying
  • Remains fresh and Free of smell for a longer duration than regular towels
  • Flexible use and easy to have with you
  • No skin irritation, less dry skin

Cost Savings:

  • Long lifetime/durability
  • No expiry of antimicrobial treatment
  • Compact alternative to soap
  • Reduced distribution costs
  • The anti-microbial technology is permanent and lasts longer than the materials of the towel
  • Efficient alternative to soap


  • Broad spectrum efficacy
  • Fast acting technology, 99%+ bacteria killed within 30 secs
  • Kills even MRSA


  • Very small water consumption
  • Even contaminated water can be used


  • Long lifetime
  • Less bulky than soap

Supertowel™ is developed in partnership with the humanitarian sector.​

Supertowel was originally presented as a proposal to the challenge #ReimagineSoap by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF).
A subsequent project was funded by the HIF, where handwashing with the Supertowel was compared in the lab to water and soap. Following a successful outcome, a user acceptance field study was conducted under the same grant in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. [link to HIF Blog]
A production scale-up project, where the production method for Supertowel was developed, was also funded by the HIF. The project successfully established a supply chain that can provide Supertowel at the right quality, quantity and price. [link to HIF Blog]
Supertowel has furthermore received funding from USAID OFDA for extended laboratory studies, where handwashing with Supertowel is compared again to handwashing with soap and water, but under more realistic conditions, i.e shorter time, less water, contaminated water source and visibly dirty. 


The Supertowel™ project is supported by Elhra's Humanitarian Innovation Fund programme, a grant making facility supporting organisations and individuals to identify, nuture and share innovative and scalable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. The HIF is funded by aid from the UK Government. Visit www.elrha.org for more information about Elrha's work to improve humanitarian outcomes through research, innovation and partnership.

Supertowel™ - re-engineering handwashing - our commitment to humanitarian innovation.


This research was made possible by the generous support of the American people thorugh the United States Agency for international development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the authors of the paper and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.

Additional articles:

Download test results (pdf formats):