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November 10, 2019

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THE DOLLAR STREET - Soap and Hand Washing Facility

April 13, 2018

Hand washing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoeal disease, a leading cause of child mortality. The poorest families usually have a bar of soap to wash their hands with. Families with a higher income tend to buy soap in branded packages and keep it in a clean bucket or plastic box. The richest families buy liquid soap dispensers for hand washing, choosing from many fragrances and colors.


The poorest homes

The poorest homes usually have a bar of soap to use for hand washing, but also for cleaning clothes  

and washing the dishes. For households like the Butoyi family in Burundi, you’ll find soap placed by a communal water source or bucket of water brought from a well. Some of the poorest households in the world don’t have access to hand soap. That means they suffer from a high risk of diarrhea disease, a leading cause of child mortality.



Low to middle income homes

As for low to middle income homes, they can afford to consume more hygiene products. These homes have no problems accessing different kinds of basic soaps in their local market or store, where it comes packaged in branded boxes with different smells and shapes. Households like Aye family home in Myanmar keep their two types of soap products in a clean plastic box.

Middle to high income homes

Households in this income group tend to have inside washing facilities. They usually have an integrated toilet, shower and sink in a washroom. They store hand soap in plastic trays or, like the Ros family in Cambodia, in liquid soap pump-dispensers designed for easy use and cleanliness. In this income group, households might have a variety of other soap products, like specialized body, hair and clothes wash products.


The richest homes

Hand soaps in this income group are mostly dispensed from a plastic container using a pump. While the mechanism looks the same, the richest homes often choose different textures and scents of soap to suit their preferences. For instance, the Bourguinat family in France have an olive oil based hand wash while other families go for the sweeter scents of cucumber, melon or apple that foam up when you use them. Households in this income group tend to have several sinks in their house; one in the kitchen for washing food and dishes, plus another one in the bathroom. This gives plenty of opportunities for household members to wash their hands with soap whenever they come into contact with bacteria and reduces the risk of life threatening infectious diseases that the poorest families are exposed to.

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