South African student invents water-free shower

Inspired by his friend who was too lazy to have a shower, university student Ludwick Marishane won global recognition for an invention that takes the water out of bathing.

Marishane, a 22-year-old student invented a product called DryBath, a clear gel applied to skin that does the work of water and soap.

The invention, which won Marishane the 2011 Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has wide applications in Africa and other parts of the developing world where basic hygiene is lacking and hundreds of millions of people do not have regular access to water.

“For people without water, DryBath provides empowerment as an affordable tool to achieve lifesaving personal hygiene without having to be dependent on stagnant community water infrastructure development,” Marishane said.

Marishane added that for developed communities, DryBath is a convenient method for daily bathing to save water.

“In both situations,” he said, “precious water is saved, which can be put to better use.”

“DryBath will go a long way in helping communities.”

Different from sanitizers, DryBath does not have the heavy alcohol smell as typical with antibacterial hand gels. Instead, DryBath is a non-toxic, hypo-allergenic product that c

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reates an odourless and biodegradable cleansing film with moisturisers for the skin and boasts 99.9% germ-killing.

Named as one of the 12 brightest young minds in the world by Google in 2011, Marishane came up with the idea as a teenager in his poor rural home in the winter when a friend of his said bathing was too much of a bother, made all the worse by a lack of hot water.

“He was lazy and he happened to say, 'why doesn't somebody invent something that you can just put on your skin and you don't have to bathe',” said Marishane who is currently studying a BBusSc-Finance & Accounting degree at the University of Cape Town.

It was his “eureka” moment.

He conducted research on the Internet via his mobile phone to concoct a formula that would bring his concept to life. Within six months, Marishane had his formula and went on to have DryBath patented.

The product is now manufactured commercially with clients including major global airlines for use on long-haul flights and governments for its soldiers in the field.

Marishane decided to sell individual packets considering the fact that the world’s poorest people buy things in very small quantities.

In poor areas, Marishane he sells DryBath for $0.50 per packet (1 sachet contains 25ml and replaces one bath), according to an interview with the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.

For corporate clients, DryBath packets cost $1.50 a sachet. Marishane donates one packet of Drybath to charity for each corporate packet sold.

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