Startup@ IITD: A waterless technology for personal hygiene

In an attempt to preserve water and raise awareness on saving water, Dr. Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO of Clensta has partnered with IIT Delhi for research and development to provide an innovative waterless technology for maintaining personal body hygiene.

The team consists of alumnus from some of the best institutes of India- Dr Puneet Gupta (IIM Calcutta), Dr Ashish Pandey (IIT Delhi), Mohit Chelani (IIM Calcutta), Dr Anurag Rathore (IIT Delhi), Dr VM Chariar (IIT Delhi).

The concept has delineated a new approach to bathing as it takes away the rinsing element from water while not compromising on the hygiene. The products are primarily targeted to address the needs of the personnel in armed forces deployed in water scarce areas like operational forces, Submarines, Special Forces, patients being treated in hospital, long distance travelers and those interested in trekking & camping and many others. In an interview with Vanita Srivastava, Dr Puneet Gupta talks about how the idea got germinated, the challenges and more.

How did you get the idea for starting Clensta?


For over eight years, as part of my work in association with the Defence Forces, I witnessed the challenges officers and jawans deployed, especially in areas like Dras, Kargil and the Siachen glacier faced, where temperatures drop to a drastic -45 degrees. The fight in these battlefields is not restricted to enemy infiltration but is also fought on the personal front, to maintain personal hygiene under extreme weather conditions. I stayed at the Northern, Eastern and various commands of Army, Navy and Indian Air Force, helped me to interact with various senior officials. They shed light on how Indian soldiers trod mountains, dense forests, snowy cliffs in severe snowstorms, white-outs, blizzards, and blistering heat, in uncomfortable clothes and bulky equipment. Most are deployed in areas where there isn't enough water for drinking, let alone bathing or maintaining personal hygiene. This gave me a purpose. I wanted to tackle these grave issues and help the Defence sector in every way he could. Thus was born Clensta.


What were the major challenges that you encountered?


The major challenges were to get the right partner to source the idea, like getting associated with IIT, Delhi was a huge support as it opened up a pool of great resources, infrastructural support and synergies whilst mentors like Dr. Anurag S. Rathore and Dr. V. M. Chariar have also come to immensely support the idea and help us reach to the place that we are at. The other challenge is what we are currently facing, which is towards establishing the concept, since we all are hardwired to relate hygiene with water rinsing, it is difficult for the users to initially comprehend the Waterless Shampoo & Body Bath's utility, but certainly what we have observed is that once the person understands the idea, they appreciate the efforts made and show interest in using the products.


What are the main products? Please give a brief on the technological interventions?


The current product line includes, Clensta Waterless Body Bath for comprehensive body hygiene that removes dirt, dust, oil without the use of water and the second product being Clensta Waterless Shampoo that helps maintain optimum levels of head hygiene withoutthe need of water. Both the products are alcohol, SLS & gluten free, making them apt for anybody or hair type.


What is the future roadmap of your startup?


The startup having access to the research partnership of IIT Delhi has a strong focus towards innovation therefore the company intends to create 3 new products on the idea of anti-mosquito waterless body, bath& anti-mosquito waterless shampoo which will give the benefits of waterless product line whilst also aiding the users repel mosquitoes to the extent of 24-36 hours from the use of the product. The other innovation that our team is working on is waterless toothpaste, which will be a safe to swallow solution and help the users maintain their dental hygiene without water.


What are the main areas you are targeting?


The current product line eyes to resolve concerns for soldiers deployed in water scare areas, patients being treated in hospitals and under home healthcare, Adventure enthusiasts going for trekking, camping excursions and long distance journey travelers.