Soap nut/herbal hand wash recipes - Covid-19 in rural Nepal


I'm reaching out for some expert opinions about creating 2 locally made hand cleaning/ washing products to be used to minimise the transmission of Covid-19 in Nepal.

One product will be aimed at people with access to water and consisting of a soapnut and herbal blend. This will be available commercially and income will support local producers. My question is will this be effective as a non-ionic surfactant? Resources are limited in Nepal but would you have any suggestions about what other ingredients might work here.

Secondly, another product will be simple (non-commercial) products that can be made in villages. Water access will be limited is not completely unavailable. What would you suggest can be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Please do inundate me with suggestions.

Thanks so much.


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    As long as it foams, it'll do. Basic rules of hygiene are key: not just regular hand washing or not touching your face, but also not eating with your fingers (and certainly not after touching money or a handle in a bus).
    The best weapon is isolation and social distancing: Tell the people to 'self-sustain' wherever and whenever possible and keep a 2 metre distance (not just in the shop but also in the waiting queue in front of the shop).
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It would seem to me making soap would be easier and more effective than a soapnut / herbal blend.
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited April 2020
    That was my first thought too (about the soap). Could you find NaOH there? I am sure it’s possible to find some fats. Soap is a very basic thing, you just need 3 simple ingredients: water, fats of pretty much any origin (triglycerides) and lye.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    ...and lye.
    Even wood ash would do the trick ;) .
  • AgateAgate Member
    Simple process to make soap with lye leached from wood ash: As a generalization, hardwood works better than softwood as it contains more potassium.
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