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White tiles = clean

In Emenaa, outside Kumasi, Ghana, we visited Matthew who installed a latrine last year with a toilet-bowl top in his house for his family and tenants. The “bathroom”, a white-tiled room for bathing with a bucket is located next to the room with the toilet, a bucket for “flushing” and a basket of newspaper for wiping. When we commented on the cleanliness of the two rooms, Matthew jokingly remarked that it was Italian tile that he had used and that he had paid more for it to look nice and be clean

Photo of IDEO Field Team Martin
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Description: How might we build on the perception of white and tile as clean? How might we design a toilet that is a stylish addition to the home? How might we design something that would be shown off to guests?

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Nice, not only does white tile look and feel clean, but its also a material that can be effectively cleaned so no visible dirtiness remains (as opposed to other more absorbent materials that discolor quicker over time). This provides feedback that motivates people to clean and maintain. What other materials could provide similar benefits, perhaps at a lower cost?

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