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DryBath: How to keep clean without using a drop of water

By Teo Kermeliotis, for CNN
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
Ludwick Marishane is the creator of DryBath, an innovative hygiene product for daily bathing that is designed to save water. Ludwick Marishane is the creator of DryBath, an innovative hygiene product for daily bathing that is designed to save water.
Showering without water
Showering without water
Showering without water
Showering without water
  • South African Ludwick Marishane has invented a bath-substituting lotion
  • Users need to put DryBath on their skin and then rub it off with their hands
  • Marishane says DryBath can be a valuable tool for people lacking water access
  • In 2011, Marishane won the global student entrepreneur award

(CNN) -- Too lazy to have a shower? Worry no more, there's a lotion for that.

DryBath is a germ-killing gel that allows you to take a bath without using a single drop of water or soap -- all you need is to apply the gel on your skin and then vigorously rub it off using your hands.

"The special formula will cover the whole body with the cleansing gel, which will use the vigorous rubbing to lift the dirt off the skin," explains Ludwick Marishane, the inventor of DryBath and founder of Headboy Industries.

The 23-year-old entrepreneur came up with his revolutionary idea back in 2007, during a hot winter day when he was relaxing with some friends under the blazing sun in Limpopo, northern South Africa. "Man, why doesn't somebody invent something that you can just put on your skin and you don't have to bathe," quipped one of his pals, complaining that he didn't feel like having a shower -- and this got Marishane thinking.

To use DryBath, you need to put and rub the gel onto your skin.
Courtesy Ludwick Marishane

Still in high school, Marishane immediately took to Google and Wikipedia to start researching creams and lotions, learning everything about their components and how they are produced. Since he didn't have a computer he carried out his investigations using his mobile phone and a few months later he'd devised his own special formula -- at the age of 17, Marishane became South Africa's youngest patent-filer.

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Marishane, who won the global student entrepreneur award in 2011, went on to study at the University of Cape Town and soon got his DryBath-producing business running. He says his trademarked invention can be a "precious tool" for the millions of people lacking access to clean water and sanitation, as well as an an attractive option for corporate groups -- from airlines and hotels to gyms and even aid agencies -- who want to encourage their clients and users to save water.

CNN's African Start-Up caught up with Marishane to speak about DryBath, his plans for the future and why he doesn't shower on the last weekend of September every year.

CNN: How would you describe DryBath to someone who's never used it before?

Ludwick Marishane: DryBath is a bath-substituting gel, designed to replace the need for soap, water and skin lotion. DryBath provides its users with a fun and convenient alternative to traditional bathing and showering, a precious tool for helping people to lower the excessive water use that is leading to a looming global water crisis.

DryBath is packaged in easy-to-use sachets and bottles.
Courtesy Ludwick Marishane

CNN: What are DryBath's ingredients?

LM: It is a proprietary blend of cleansers and moisturizers that make it a uniquely viscous blend of bioflavonoids, natural emollients, and fruit acids to cleanse the skin, while preventing dryness, irritation and body odor.

We know we cannot do this on our own, and we request any and all help that anyone can provide.
Ludwick Marishane, DryBath inventor

CNN: Can you talk about your company's social goals?

LM: As it stands, there are almost two billion people in the world without adequate access to water and sanitation, all while people in urban societies consume an average of 80 liters of water every time they bathe/shower. It is our goal for DryBath, and other products like it, to change the way society practices personal hygiene, and to provide cheap personal hygiene alternatives to the poor. We know we cannot do this on our own, and we request any and all help that anyone can provide.

The easiest way to provide assistance to our cause is by participating in our annual "DryBath No-Bathing Weekend" -- this is our strategy to allow the public to participate in helping us skip one million or more bathes/showers by skipping them for a whole weekend in September.

The global water crisis is not something that's only affecting impoverished countries anymore, says Marishane.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/file

CNN: What are the challenges you've faced so far?

LM: The challenge our business has been facing in recent years is pricing; we have constantly been struggling to produce and distribute the product at prices that are affordable for people in water-insecure communities -- ideally less than $0.10 per bathe. As a startup, we have had to create a parallel product (DryBath Premium) for the urban market -- campers/hikers, parents with kids, shared/public-shower users, etc. -- that can be sold at a reasonable margin to allow us to make the original DryBath product affordable.

CNN: Which entrepreneurs do you most admire? And what advice would you give to those aspiring to start their own business?

LM: I admire the everyday entrepreneurs -- those who sell fruits from their stall at the corner, have a great barbershop/salon, use their car as a taxi cab, etc. They don't do it for any glory or adoration, they just wake up every day to get the job done while still dealing with the risk of not breaking even each month.

I urge all aspiring entrepreneurs to have this approach to business, because it's what every great business -- big or small -- succeeds on.

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