Whether you’re a hygiene freak or just the average person, mostly we humans, seek to stay away from bacteria to avoid getting sick from “dirty” things. However, one item in many people’s everyday life is usually not cleaned on regular bases, and you might be surprised now if I tell you that it is the handbags we use that are one of the most bacteria contaminated places. A new product, the “Sauberkugel” (German for clean ball) is trying to address precisely this issue.
Sarah Young reported for Independent that tests found out that handbags were often contaminated with more bacteria than the average toilet. While that reporting focuses a lot on the outside of handbags, there is also a lot of bacteria inside those handbags next to all kinds of items and debris. Are you a handbag user? How often do you clean it on the inside and on the outside?
Sauberkugel to the rescue
Susanne Odendahl and Bernd Schmekel from the Sauberkugel startup in Munich, Germany, have designed a small, affordable and reusable product to help handbag wearers with the cleaning of their accessory. I wouldn’t call it a fashion startup solution, and it’s neither health tech, but I am quite confident that their product has a market with consumers.
The Sauberkugel itself is a tiny 3D-printed nylon sphere that holds a ball of silicone. It works simply by place it in your handbag, and as you carry it around, it moves around inside your bag. The sticky surface of the silicone makes sure to “grab” and hold each little bit of dirt, dust, tobacco remains, makeup particles or even cookie crumbles – yeah that also happens sometimes, and that’s okay. 😉
So now you have a ball in your handbag that holds all the yucky parts. Due to the design of the sphere, you won’t really ever get to touch whatever sticks to the silicone ball but is that really it? Buy a Sauberkugel, use it for a week and then throw it away? Nope, the material is reusable, and I thought that’s the interesting part of the solution. Every once in a while you just wash the debris off the silicone ball with water, and after it dried, it’s sticky again and ready to keep your handbag clean once more.
Affordable, reusable, recyclable innovation
There’s a chance that the sticky material might lose its efficiency over time and personally, I don’t think that it will last forever, but looking at the price of a single unit being €2.90 (which is roughly $3.46), I believe that you can just buy a new one if you ever feel that it’s magic got rubbed off over time. This, however, is just me thinking out loud here. I’m also hoping for a product branding, marketing material, and naming that suits the international market a little more.
From a production point of view, using 3D-printing services might help a startup with the manufacturing of the Sauberkugel at the beginning but it’s unlikely to scale. I guess they will need to switch to spray casting or another kind of CNC method to maintain their pricing and availability as the solution becomes increasingly popular. For a start, however, 3D-printing is a safely played way of producing the first batches for field testing and to ship the first sales waves out.
What do you think about the Sauberkugel from Germany? Is that something you’d buy? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Make sure to drop your comments below. Thanks!
YouTube: Die SAUBERKUGEL – MEIN TASCHENREINIGER – Fashion Startup aus München (German)