Washing a floor is a skill. Grab the mop and do it!

How to wash a floor

How does one wash a floor? I was over eighteen the first time I washed a floor. Can you believe it? I remember early in my first year at TUKS telling my friend Kholofelo I had never washed a floor before. She was flabbergasted. Her reaction made me realise that there was a part of life I had up to then not participated in. The next weekend at home I took a bucket and a mop and washed the kitchen floor. It wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t terrific. But it resulted in a clean floor and I could say I’d washed a floor. I felt enabled.

The reason I missed out on all those life skills of course is that mine was a traditional South African middle class family of the eighties. We had a sleep in maid most of the time. The maid always washed the floors!

I started late but I’m an expert by now

Well, I am forty-five now and for most of my adult life I have done the cleaning myself. No-one can count how many times I have washed floors. In fact, I am quite a pro. I can even write a blog about my preferences. 

  • I hate traditional mops. They stink. And all they do is slop dirty water around on the floor.
  • I hate dipping my mop into a bucket of dirty water. I cannot imagine dirty water cleaning anything.
  • I dislike wax based detergents that promise to clean and polish your floor at the same time. They cause wax build up that eventually discolours and then your grouting is permanently dirty!

How to wash a floor the Mrs Martin’s way

My method? I like a broad, flat microfiber mop. I spray our very own FLOOR onto the floor, neat. Do not overdo it. One spray per m2 should be enough. I wipe it off with a damp microfibre mop. Then I rinse the mop in clean water (normally running water at the bath or whichever tap is closest at the moment) and repeat until the job is done. The next time I go over the floor with water only. This way I know the microbes are on the floor long enough to do their job, and the soap is eventually rinsed off. Not that leaving it on the floor would be a problem, really. FLOOR does not contain anything that could build up.

And my kids help. I will not let them turn 18 before washing a floor! Washing floors is as much a part of life as brushing your teeth and I will teach them how to do it. I will resist the notion that certain mundane skills are not important to learn because someone else will do it. Any skill enables. And being able to just ‘get on with it’ is priceless too.

Still, my house is only ever spotless two minutes before guests arrive. Even with help. Please tell me I am not alone?

Till then

How to get rid of that terrible pet urine smell

cat lying on carpet next to puddle of urine

Pet urine smell? HELP!

If you own pets, you have been there. Cats and dogs pee on your carpets, no matter how well you train them. Puppies can make a mess but we feel cat wee stinks the most… who agrees?

When a pet wees (or poops!) on a carpet or other porous surface, you can wipe all you want, you will not get all the filth out. That little bit of urine or poop that is left, contains bacteria and these cause the bad smell.

So how do you get rid of the stink?

Mrs Martin’s FLOOR cleans all types of floors without leaving residue or fumes that will harm your fur baby. The microbes inside clean very deeply, and sorts out bad smells at the root. Mrs Martin’s PERSIAN does the same for carpets.

Mrs Martin’s ODOUR can be sprayed onto any surface or textile, and does not need to be rinsed off. The fragrance is safe for your four-legged friend, and the microbes destroy all traces of bad smells. (Did you know that ODOUR was designed for this?)

How to clean up where the cat peed:

1. Clean the accident site as well as you can with a strong solution of FLOOR and water, and a sponge. If the slip up happened on a carpet, use PERSIAN foam. Do not wet the carpet too much, because damp amplifies the smell.

2. Spray with ODOUR twice a day for at least a week. Small doses regularly work best. ODOUR contains friendly microbes that eat and crowd out the stink producing bacteria, so you are treating the problem at its roots.

This solution works so well that it often inhibits dogs from going back to the same spot.

If it still stinks?

In severe cases a deep clean of the carpet may be necessary. Consider using experts such as Clean For Sure in such cases.

Antibiotics save lives… and destroy your microbiome.

antibiotics destroy microbiome

Antibiotics destroy your microbiome because they cannot discriminate between good and bad bacteria. They just kill them all.

When Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics in 1928, the number of deaths from infection went down rapidly. It was a breakthrough discovery that saves lives to this day.

Unfortunately, antibiotics also get misused. It should be used to cure life threatening infection, but many people today take it for anything from a cough to an itch. If you do this, you destroy your microbiome to get relief from minor inconveniences.

Gut microbiome?

Every single person has a unique mix of microbes that live in and on his body. It is called your microbiome. This mix of bacteria, viruses and fungi creates a microbial fingerprint of sorts, and gives you all kinds of health benefits such as creating vitamins and anti-inflammatories and neurotransmitters.

When you take antibiotics, the medicine does not choose which microbes to kill. It kills the pathogens AND all the good bacteria in your gut. Harming these old friends make you less healthy.

If your life is at risk, take antibiotics for sure. If not, antibiotics might be doing more harm than good.

Home microbiome?

In the very same way, antibiotics destroy the microbiome in your home. Your home has a unique mix of microbes that helps you stay healthy. For example, the microbiome in your home helps train the immune systems of your children. Infants who grow up in extremely clean homes, seem to get more asthma and allergies (read more here and here).

This does not mean your home should be filthy. We also know washing hands and cleaning surfaces help you not get sick. Proper hygiene is very important.

So while you want to keep your home free from harmful microbes, you absolutely DO NOT want to kill the good ones. What are you to do?

Stay away from antibiotics in your home. Choose probiotics instead!

Use cleaning products that add the good bacteria! Stay away from products that claim to be anti-septic or ‘kill 99,9% of germs’. These products do not help you stay more healthy (in 2016 for example, the FDA stated that washing with antibacterial hand soap hadn’t proven to be any more effective than washing your hands with ordinary soap and water.) If you keep your home microbiome healthy, the friendly bacteria are more than the harmful bacteria. Your old friends crowd out and devour any bad bacteria that might land on the kitchen counter. This means you have a much safer, healthier home!

Our products do not contain any chemicals that kill germs. This is great news for your home microbiome. We do include spores of good bacteria, and these sort out the bad guys on a microscopic level.

Now that’s responsible, INTELLIGENT and safe for you!

How to give your persian carpet a surface clean

How to clean your persian carpet at home? Don’t get it too wet, and use the correct soap.

Your persian carpet is a investment and you don’t want to ruin it. But it does need cleaning now and again.

A good deep clean is recommended about once a year. Use professional carpet cleaners like Clean For Sure for that. They use Mrs Martin’s PERSIAN, and excellent carpet shampoo, and machines that can extract the water and the soap so the carpet does not stay wet for long.

What if I cannot take it to the professionals?

As long as you do not wet your carpet too much, you can give it a good surface clean at home. Here is what Martin from Clean For Sure recommends:

Prepare the carpet

Turn carpet upside down so that the base faces up. Then shake the carpet on all four sides for two minutes each. This will help loosen dirt trapped in knots at the base.

Lift carpet and clear the dust and soil that was shaken out. Now place carpet right side up and vacuum for at least ten minutes.

Use a fine hand brush to brush the carpet in the direction of the pile (the ‘grain’). Never brush in the opposite direction, against the pile. Repeat vacuuming as in step 2.

Rinse your brush under tap and allow to sundry as you will use it again in step 7.

Prepare the soap

Pour exactly 3.5ℓ cold tap water into a bucket. Add 5ml of Mrs Martin’s PERSIAN carpet shampoo. DO NOT EXCEED THE DOSE AS IT MAY DAMAGE YOUR CARPET

Agitate vigorously to create as much foam as possible.

Soak the sponge provided in the soapy water, and pump it several times to create froth on and in the sponge.

Clean the carpet

When the sponge is saturated with foam, wipe the Persian carpet in the direction of the pile or ‘with the grain’, in long strokes from one side to the other. Usually this will mean from one short end to the other. In the case on a large carpet, clean it in sections. DO NOT SOAK THE CARPET AS IT MAY DAMAGE YOUR PERSIAN PERMANENTLY.

Lay the carpet on a clean, flat surface to sun dry for at least 6 hours.

When the carpet is completely dry, use the brush provided to brush the carpet a last time in order to soften the pile again. Do not vacuum your Persian for at least 48 hours after a surface clean.

There you go! Remember this is only a surface clean of your Persian and not a deep clean. Deep cleaning should only be done by a professional carpet cleaning company.

How to use our wish list

Mrs Martin's wishlist

Mrs Martin’s wish list makes it easy to keep track of your favourite products.

Recently one of our clients mentioned that she would love the option to make a wish list on our site. This way she would not need to wade through the whole site every time she wanted to make a purchase. She could simply visit her wish list, add to cart what she wanted, and check out.

So we built it. You can now add products to your Mrs Martin’s wish list on our website!

Here is how the wish list works

First, create an account for yourself on mrsmartins.co.za (look for the My Account tab at the top of the page) and log in.

Then find the product you want to add to your list. Click on the heart underneath the desired product. It will now be added to your wish list, and it will stay there until you remove it whenever it suits you.

mrs martin's wish list

When you want to view your wish list, simply click on the heart at the top right hand of your screen.

where to find mrs martin's wish list

The fantastic thing is that you now have all your favourite products in one place. Simply choose which you want to add to cart, and you are good to check out!

You can also share your wishlist to Facebook, or send it to a friend on Whatsapp just before your birthday (;)) Who knows? Perhaps someone out there will get the hint.

Or turn it around! Ask your friend to create a wish list before her birthday and to share it with you, and then you get her some of her favourite products. The possibilities are endless.

I hope this makes your shopping experience even more enjoyable. Let me know how you have used Mrs Martin’s wish list.

Until next time

Five fantastic things about FLOOR you probably didn’t know.

best floor cleaner

The best floor cleaner in South Africa is strong, yet allergy friendly and pet friendly. It is Mrs Martin’s FLOOR!

In South Africa we wash a lot of floors. We live outside and do not have the habit of taking off our shoes when we go inside.

End result? We constantly have to quick mop our floors!

That might be part of the reason that FLOOR is one of our bestsellers. Here are five fantastic things you probably did not know about Mrs Martin’s FLOOR.

1. FLOOR can be sprayed neat onto the floor, or further diluted in a bucket of water. 

The easiest way to use Ready To Use FLOOR is to spray roughly one spray per m2, then go over with a damp microfibre mop to rinse off the soap, then with a dry microfibre to make it shine. If you prefer the bucket method, you can pour 30ml of the Ready To Use FLOOR into your 3l bucket and mop as usual.

2. FLOOR is a soap – remember to rinse.

With rinse we mean go over the floor with a damp microfibre mop. If you do not rinse, the left over soap will make the floor dull.

3. FLOOR is strong – use less.

Even the Ready To Use FLOOR is quite strong. If you use too much, you have to work extra hard to rinse it off. Rather use less and work less!

4. FLOOR can be used as a multipurpose cleaner.

If you are a one bottle person, FLOOR is your product. It was designed for medium duty cleaning. It has some degreasing action and it has anti streaking properties so you do not need to buff too much. 

5. FLOOR cleans waste water

The probiotics in the soap actually keep on cleaning long after you wrung out your mop. They clean drains and pipes (and mops!) so bad odours become something of the past. They also start the water treatment process right away, lightening the burden on the sewage treatment plants, which are not coping well in this country. That is why we call Mrs Martin’s FLOOR the best floor cleaner in South Africa. It helps clean our precious water!

Three ways to save money on couriers

save on couriers

The products are affordable, but how can I save on couriers?

Here we are, with fuel prices at a record high, and courier fees rising every two months. What does that mean for online shopping? How can you get hold of your favourite Mrs Martin’s products without paying too much for delivery?

We all know there is no such thing as free shipping. No courier works for nothing. When you order below a certain amount, we ask you to pay for the courier. When you order over a certain amount, we call it ‘free shipping’, but in actual fact it is just free for you, the buyer. We, the seller, pay full price. We do so gladly, because we really apprectiate your business.

So in order NOT to pay extra for courier fees, your aim should always be to order for more than R900. That is a lot of money. Perhaps even more soap than you need. How now?

Order in bulk

Did you know that using our concentrate and refill options are more economical by far? Take the savings even further by ordering enough to last you three months. That should bring your order to a total above the free shipping threshold, which means you save on couriers.

Create a delivery ‘lift club’

Convince your responsible friends or family to order together! Decide on a date by which everyone must let you know what they want or the month, and order everyones products in one go. Give one delivery address and collect your products from there when they arrive. No extra courier fee!

Ask your local sustainable living store to stock us

We would love to be in every shop in South Africa! Approach the shop you love to support, and ask them to contact me. Who knows, perhaps we can strike a deal and have your favourite products on their shelves in no time. Since you visit that shop anyway, it would cost you nothing more to get a hold of our products.

In a way, having to think about one’s courier fees actually makes one more responsible as a consumer. Instead of sending the couriers every month for smaller orders, one plans now and sends the courier once in three months, for example. That creates far less carbon emissions and makes the foorprint of our product smaller.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We look forward to packing your next order!


How to choose the best soap for camping

best soap for camping

What is the best soap for camping in South Africa?

You want to explore one of the fantastic campsites or hiking trails in South Africa, and you are looking for the best soap to take along. When you camp, there is a lot of dirt. Think sweaty socks, greasy braai and muddy pants. Soap helps the water get the dirt off. 

Even when we camp or hike, we need soap. And somehow when we are that close to nature, it seems easier for us to realise that whatever soap we use, actually ends up in rivers. We certainly want to do no harm. What are the things to look out for when you choose your soap for the great outdoors?

Safe ingredients

The best soap for camping does not contain anything that harms life. Any soap that kills 99.9% of germs, also kills good bacteria in water and soil, and possibly insects and marine life. We never need anti-bacterial soap (except for the surgeons among us) but on a hike, it can do real damage. Choose soap with fewer, safe ingredients.

Readily biodegradable

The best soap for camping needs to be readily biodegradable. Biodegradable is not enough. A jumbo jet is biodegradable if you give it enough time. Your soap should be readily biodegradable, which means every single ingredient will completely biodegrade in less than 28 days. There is a test for this (OECD301) so make sure it is not something the soap claims but cannot back up.

Sustainable packaging

Also think about the packaging. Of course you will not litter, but if a lion gets hold of your dish soap (like what happened here!) or your shampoo drops into the ocean by accident, it will feel a lot better on the conscience if you know the packaging will biodegrade faster than plastic.

If your soap for camping ticks all these boxes, it should be safe for our beautiful rivers as well as for all the wildlife that is fed by it. And you will feel great knowing that you are doing no harm. 

We’d love to hear your camping stories! Tell us on Instagram or Facebook.

Until next time!

Plastic free cleaning products? Yes, please!

At Mrs Martin’s the whole life cycle of the product matters. We formulate simply and say no to most chemicals. The chemicals we do use, are the best green chemicals available. We make sure we source them sustainably, and we pack our products in glass and aluminium as far as we can.

That is why we have moved away from our plastic spray bottles. As from 1 June 2022 you will find no more plastic spray bottles or squeeze or pump bottles in our shop. Our lids, pumps and triggers are still plastic, because good alternatives are not yet available. We still sell 5l bulk products in plastic because those containers are light, do not break easily and can be used for years. Remember that we accept empty containers back when empty.

Our fantastic products now mainly come in aluminium. Why do we think that is a great material? Read here. We still use glass for the 50ml concentrates as these bottles can easily be reused and they do not break easily.

We invite you to find a product that is more eco friendly, stylish or affordable. We would love to hear from you!

Until next time 

Why we think aluminium packaging is fantastic

This week I received an email asking why we package our healthy, allergy friendly soap in aluminium. This is how I answered:

Firstly, I want to assure you that none of our products contain aluminium. You mention antiperspirant, for example. Antiperspirant is a product that you apply to your skin and leave there for the entire day. You want to be sure that such a product does not have nasty ingredients, because it is in contact with your skin for hours. Our products contain no aluminium so there is no risk there.

Our main reason for offering aluminium packaging is that it is the most sustainable packaging available today. Why? It has the properties of plastic (not so easy to break, lightweight) but without the problems of plastic (it recycles easily without loss of quality).

Our containers are lined and our soaps have a neutral pH so the chances of leaching is very low. We do not know of any health risk associated with packaging soap in aluminium.

What is your feeling about packaging soap in aluminium? I would love to hear!