South African entrepreneur invents world’s first germicidal bath-substituting skin gel, potentially a lifesaver for millions without access to clean water or sanitation.
Meet Ludwick Marishane, founder of DryBath
DryBath® is a Bath-Substituting® gel, designed to replace the need for soap, water and skin lotion. Its inventor, Ludwick Marshane, was the youngest ever patent-filer in Capetown, South Africa, after having invented the gel at the age of just seventeen.
DryBath has the potential to be a life-saver rather than a tool of convenience
Ludwick Marishane was still a schoolboy when he thought up DryBath, a gel that does all the work of a bath without the need for water. Within months, the teen had devised the formula for the gel.
Within a year, he had written out a 40-page business plan on his cellphone (as he couldn’t afford a laptop at the time), applied for a patent and launched his startup business, Headboy Industries.
The product premise is straightforward: You rub on the germ-killing lotion and then you don’t need to take a bath.
For those of us who take for granteed the luxury of indoor plumbing, this might sound like a great camping aid or festival gimmick, but the 2.5 billion people worldwide for whom regular access to clean water is simply not a reality, DryBath has the potential to be a life-saver rather than a tool of convenience.
Check out the infographic below to find out how DryBath works.
Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year!
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Program is an international competition that recognises high school, undergraduate, and graduate students who own a business. In 2011, four years after Marishane hatched the idea for his ground-breaking product, he won the organisation’s Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year award, along with $10,000 in cash to finance his startup.
Marishane, who was studying at the University of Cape Town at the time, beat 1,600 other student nominees from around the world.
Despite its life-saving benefits, DryBath was initially inspired by Marishane’s friend who was too lazy to take a bath. The story goes that one day Marishane and some buddies were laying out in the sun when a friend turned to him and said: "Why doesn’t someone invent something that you can put on your skin and then you don’t have to bathe?" the young entrepreneur revealed in a TEDTalk (below).
That’s when the penny dropped!
Marishane, who at the time lived in the rural province of Limpopo, had limited resources. So he did most of his research on Google and Wikipedia using only his Internet-connected cell phone. Now that is determination.
In more affluent areas, the gel can be applied when someone doesn’t have time to rinse
In poor communities, like Marishane’s native Africa, the gel could protect people who often die from easily treatable diseases caused by bacteria that thrive in stagnant water. This water is transferred onto the skin, and get into either the gut (causing diarrhoea for example), or into an orifice like the eye (causing trachoma, an eye infection that can cause blindness).
In more affluent areas, the gel can be applied in a pinch when someone doesn’t have time to rinse. The cleansing lotion conserves water in both scenarios.
Based on his knowledge from living in poor communities, Marishane made the decision to sell DryBath in individual packets, rather than in bulk. In Africa, a person "doesn’t buy a box of cigarettes, they buy one cigarette each day, even though it’s more expensive," he explained.
DryBath® Gel Donation to Aid Agencies
Over 30% of the people in the world have to choose between using their water to drink & cook, instead of bathing their bodies & cleaning up. You can donate DryBath® Gel to aid agencies and really help those in the most need.