The story behind DryBath Gel, one of the most inspiring South African  Startups

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Ludwick Marishane was a teenager in high school laying out in the sun with friends when a friend who was too lazy to bath 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?”

That was when the idea lit up in his head. When he got back home, Ludwick used his Nokia 6234 cellphone to research on Google and Wikipedia and was astonished by the huge statistics of people who do not have access to hygiene and the attendant diseases and infections that this brings. He decided to come up with a solution. He researched lotions,  creams, compositions, melting points, the toxicities and wrote down a formula on a piece of paper. Today, DryBath gel is a reality and is easily one of the most inspiring South African startups providing hygiene solutions to millions of people across Africa.

Ludwick grew up in Limpopo, in a little town called Motetema, a community where the supply of water has always been a problem, so developing a solution came naturally to him. With no resources, he had to make do with what he had, so Luckwick used his mobile phone to type a 40 paged business plan because he had no access to a laptop.

He held onto the idea as an undergraduate at the University of Capetown, he would tell people he was trying to figure out a way for people to bathe without using water and they would laugh at him. The toughest mountain to climb with the dry bath idea was to bring it to life.

Ludwick persevered, applied for a patent and launched his startup with the name, Headboy industries but he didn’t have the money to make the prototype product. It took four years at the university to raise over a million Rand in funding and winning every single business plan competition he could get his hands on.

In 2011, he took part in the Global Student Entrepreneur Award Program, an international competition that recognizes high school, undergraduate and graduate students who own a business. Ludwick beat 1600 student nominees from around the world to win the $10,000 cash prize to finance his startup.

With the funds, the goal to provide hygiene to 2 billion people around the world who don’t have water to bathe was on course. He developed the World’s best waterless hygiene solution that has become one of the most inspiring South African Startups today.

With Drybath gel, in just 5 minutes, a person can clean their skin and remove full-body odour anytime without using water. The gel does not harm the natural cells of the skin, and one small 15-millimetre sachet is the equivalent of one shower or bath.

How to use Drybath gel to remove stains from the skin

  • First, apply the gel onto your skin and rub it in.
  • Soak the wipe tablet in just 4 spoonful of water. This gives you a 100% cotton non-flushable wipe.
  • Use the cotton wipe to wipe off the gel
  • After using the wipe, throw it in a bin or bury it in the ground. This is because the wipe biodegrades within 30 days.

Drybath has no alcohol but it can remove indelible ink or permanent marker within 5 minutes, even soap and Water cannot match that speed of cleaning power.

The innovative Drybath Gel product saves 80 million litres of water on average each time rich kids from the suburbs use the product and two hours are saved for kids in rural areas which can be used for other productive purposes. The company provides the product to communities without water at lower prices, or if possible for free.

DryBath is marketed on the value proposition of cleanliness for and convenience. DryBath is a rich man’s convenience and a poor man’s lifesaver and is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring South African startups.


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