Three ways to save money 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 do not pay extra for delivery.

Create a delivery ‘lift club’

Convince your responsible friends or family to order together! 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!

Cheerio

How to choose the best soap for camping

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 first thing to check for is that the soap 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 perfect 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!

How to Clean Silverware the Intelligent Way

Most of us have a silver heirloom somewhere in the kitchen. I inherited silver teaspoons from my maternal grandmother. Although I am not terribly faithul in keeping it shiny ALL the time, I do have a trick up my sleeve for those days I want to display them on the pretty tea tray.

How do I clean my teaspoons when the fancy guests arrive? I use SHINE, microfibre and elbow grease.

1. Shake SHINE well.

2. Spray items with SHINE.

3. Wipe item vigourously to dry.

4. Buff to a shine using a clean, dry microfibre cloth.

SHINE is a natural cleaner protectant, which means it cleans and leaves a protective layer of natural oils and waxes on the surface. An added bonus is that you are not left with an empty spray can that must be thrown away.

We all adore bright whites. But is bleach great?

Neither neat freak nor eco-warrior

I have confessed before that I am not a cleaning diva. I belong to that middle group of ladies who certainly want clean homes, but don’t sterilise. That large unnamed group who are not what you would call eco-warriors, but who certainly think and care deeply about the impact they make. I am one of the faceless sea of women who dream of a magazine worthy house, then get up to clean the kitchen again, mentally calculating that the windows would have to wait (and the carpets too, for that matter.) 

But I do think I am slightly more ‘crunchy’ than most.  I allow my kids to make messes in the name of learning, and I survive without ironing because, well, something had to give.

I also do not bleach my towels

As I described in this post, laundry day is about cleaning to me. If I know my laundry is clean, I do not need it to be smelling overpoweringly of floral fantasies. I also prefer knowing my towels are clean, to knowing my towels are white.

And that is not necessarily the same thing. I thought the article How Does Bleach Work at Wonderopolis.org explains well how bleach changes the colour of stains. 

When I discovered that bleach does not actually do anything to remove dirt from the textile, but only changes it chemically so that our eyes no longer see it, it simply fell off my to-do list.

Bleach is not so safe...

Bleach is very volatile and rather large amounts land in your lungs when you clean, especially the thick liquid and gel forms of chlorine bleach. This problem becomes ten times worse when you mix bleach with other cleaners such as ammonia. Bleach is harmful when swallowed so it should be stored well out of reach of children. And it can hurt your skin upon contact. 

So in a household like mine where microbes have right of way and where honest cleanness is prized, bleach is a complete foreigner. 

If you do use bleach, it might be well to follow the safety guidelines of the Centre for Disease Control

It is critical to read and follow the safety instructions on any product you use. Below are the most important safety guidelines when using sanitizing products:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
  • Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.
  • Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.

I would love to hear your take on bleach. Drop me a line?

Best regards

How to green your cleaning routine

In some form or another, we all clean every day. For most of us, that involves products. We touch the soaps, we inhale the fumes. And who knows how long the chemicals stay on the surfaces in our homes, and in the waterways outside. More and more people are asking how we can clean in a safe, responsible way. We feel biological products are the ultimate green products. Here’s why.

What makes biological cleaning products better than conventional products?

  1. Biological cleaning is intelligent.

A good biological cleaning product incorporates indigenous, clean bacteria in spore form. As soon as the product gets sprayed onto a dirty surface, the spore senses the presence of food and wakes up. It then produces exactly the enzymes needed to digest that food, eats the food and dies. You are left with a surface that was cleaned more intelligently than any soap could do.

  1. Biological cleaning uses less chemicals.

Because the microbes do most of the work, less chemicals are needed in the product. A good biological cleaner will therefore be soft on hands and cause less allergies, and do less damage as it is released into water treatment systems and eventually rivers.

  1. Biological cleaning kills only what should be killed.

You have heard how indiscriminate use of antibiotics is actually breeding superbugs. There is a general move away from killing all bacteria, towards killing only deadly ones, while nurturing the multitudes of beneficial strains. Biological cleaning works on this principle of teaming up with the life that is already in, on and around us. A good biological soap will therefore contain no biocidal chemical, which means it is also safe for the environment!

Other than choosing a good biological range of cleaning products, what can you do to make your cleaning regime more green?

  • Microfiber and water goes a long way.

Water is nature’s universal solvent, and you nearly always have it available. Paired with microfiber you can clean just about anything. Launder your cloth properly, dry it in the sun and it will last for years, reducing plastic in the landfill.

  • Throw out anything that says antibacterial.

Unless you are a surgeon, you do not need sterile hands. Hands covered in colonies of good microbes are actually your first defence against germs. Also, triclosan and the rest is not healthy for you or the environment.

  • Use all natural sponges, and choose refillable soap containers.

Say no to single use plastic. Loofah is a gourd that grows on vines, and when dried works wonderfully for scrubbing the shower and washing dishes. When choosing detergents, look for strong containers where refills are available. Dumping a used dish soap bottle in the rubbish every month simply does not make sense!