Updated on January 15, 2024


Created on October 5, 2020


Upcoming Update

The Supertowel is a reusable towel designed to clean hands without soap.

Developed By
  1. RealRelief
Tested By
  • Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF)
  • United States Agency International Developement (USAID)
Content Partners


Product Description

The Supertowel is a reusable and highly durable towel that includes a permanently bonded anti-microbial layer. It is designed to provide clean hands without soap and a relatively small amount of water.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Public Sector Agencies, NGOs

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

The product is directly available from RealReliefWay's website.

Manufacturing/Building Method

RealReliefWay produce Supertowels by combining many very thin polyester and polyamide fibres into a single fibre during production. However, unlike conventional cloths, they have thousands of randomly arranged sharp-edged microfiber strands, which improve cleaning efficacy.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Users can obtain the product directly from the manufacturer. This product is also distributed by the RealReliefWay and its partners to individuals living in refugee settlements.

Distributions to Date Status

In the user acceptability study in Ethiopia, 120 Supertowels were distributed to more than 20 households throughout the Eritrean refugee camp.



Number of uses


Power supply type



30 x 30 cm

Design Specifications

The product is designed with a permanently bonded antimicrobial technology. When the towel is wet and rubbed against hands or on a dirty surface, the negatively charged 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 pathogens, like bacteria and fungi. The treatment does not contain any harmful chemicals. Anti-microbial efficacy test results outlined below:

  • Antimicrobial Efficacy against Gram-positive bacteria - >99.99%
  • Antimicrobial Efficacy against Gram-negative bacteria - >99.99%
  • Antimicrobial Efficacy against Yeast - >99.99%
  • Antimicrobial Efficacy against Fungus - >99.99%

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Any support or inquiries can be addressed to the manufacturer

Replacement Components




Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Designer specified performance targets include:

  • Reusability and high durability
  • Health and hygiene
  • Financial savings
  • Longevity

Vetted Performance Status

Supertowel received funding from Elhra's Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) and USAID OFDA for laboratory studies, where handwashing with Supertowel was compared against handwashing with soap and water, but under more realistic conditions (i.e shorter time, less water, contaminated water source and visibly dirty). Additionally, a user acceptance field study was undertaken in Ethiopia. Both the research and field study demonstrated the anti-microbial efficacy and marketability of the products. Test results can be downloaded from links below:  


No known safety hazards related to this product.

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

White, S., Petz, J., Desta, K., Larsen, T., 2019, Could the Supertowel be used as an alternative hand cleaning product for emergencies? An acceptability and feasibility study in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, PloS ONE 14(5): e0216237.

Torondel, B., Khan, R., Larsen, T., White, S., 2019, Efficacy of the SuperTowel®: An Alternative Hand-washing Product for Humanitarian Emergencies, The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 100 (5): 1278-1284.

Stevens, J., Larsen, T., White, S., Fong, V., 2018, SuperTowel (formerly Magic Towel) form, packaging and distribution kit design, Royal College of Art.

White, S., 2018, “Qualitative data from a pilot study of the SuperTowel (an alternative hand cleaning product for humanitarian crises), Figshare.


Compliance with regulations


Evaluation methods

The product is evaluated for its antimicrobial efficacy.

Other Information

Diagrammatic user instructions found at this link.

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