Evaluating the Efficacy of the Supertowel™ as a Handwashing Product: A Simulation of Real-World Use Conditions

February 5 , 2021

A recent paper on Supertowel is now available: https://www.ajtmh.org/view/journals/tpmd/aop/article-10.4269-ajtmh.20-1284/article-10.4269-ajtmh.20-1284.xml

This study contributes to a small but growing body of literature on the Supertowel as an alternative to soap for crisis-affected settings. Our results from experiments 1 and 5 indicate that populations should be instructed to use the Supertowel for 30 seconds to get hands optimally clean. These recommendations are consistent with current guidelines for handwashing with soap. Despite the reduced efficacy of the Supertowel at 15 seconds, there are likely to be clear benefits of using the Supertowel for shorter durations as the bacteria re- duction at 15 seconds was still relatively high. Certainly shorter durations would be much more efficacious than not cleaning hands.

The results will allow for practical recommendations to be made in relation to the Supertowel’s optimal use in these settings and will also help to inform further research on this product. The Supertowel is likely to be a viable alternative to soap in settings where water is limited or contaminated and where handwashing is challenging to prioritize.