The best temperatures to keep our friendly microbes happy

best temperatures

Most of our products contain spores of indigenous bacilli microbes

What are the best temperatures to keep them happy? 

Adding synthetic enzymes to soap is so yesterday. Enzymes are harsh chemicals and can cause all sorts of allergic reactions. Mrs Martin’s products do not use enzymes, or any harsh chemicals. Instead, our products include intelligent microbes that make microscopic amounts of the correct enzymes on demand. Our friendly microbes help with cleaning, and with rehabilitating the waste water. This technology is the result of 20 years’ research by the CSIR, initially to address problems caused by superbugs.

We recently sat down with our chief scientist to chat about temperatures. He explained that due to proprietary technology our spores are tolerant of temperatures up to 90°C. If you wash your linen at temperatures higher than 90°C, the spores will die. If you pour the detergent into boiling water, the spores will die.

The spores can hatch at a range of temperatures but the optimum growth temperature is 35°C. That also means that people who prefer to clean with lukewarm water, can do so.

Once the spores have hatched, the microbes can tolerate temperatures up to 60°C. 

Microbes are actually not too delicate

Microbes are masters of adapting to their environment – that is why they are the largest population of living creatures on earth! Also keep in mind that each millilitre of soap holds more than 10 million spores so as long as boiling water is not used, there will be plenty hatching at any stage of the cleaning process.

So feel free to wash your towels on the hottest cycle. While any microbes that hatched before the water got really hot, will die, millions of spores will survive and hatch afterwards. They will be working in your washing machine drum and pipes and in your towels until it is completely dry.

In summary:

  • Spores are tolerant up to 90°C. At boiling point, they die.
  • Optimum growth temperature is 35°C.
  • Once hatched, the microbes can tolerate up to 60°C.

On multitasking, chores and peace in the home

On multitasking, chores and peace in the home

I have long known that either it were not true that women are multitasking queens, or it were not true that I am a woman. I cannot multitask. Every. Single. Time I try to cook breakfast while hanging the washing, the eggs burn. I cannot talk on the phone while I am driving round trying to find a party venue. And I abandon my attempts at writing a coherent blog post after the third request for lunch…

I used to feel strangely substandard due to this inability to do what all women were brilliant at. Which is why I felt elated when I came across research recently that found ‘differences in multitasking costs across men and women remained absent’. Read a summary of that research here:

Psychologist Patricia Hirsch, and her collaborators at RWTH Aachen University and University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, set out to find out if the stereotype that women are better multitaskers than men might be backed by empirical evidence. To find out, the team had experimental participants (48 women and 48 men) conduct either concurrent or sequential multitasking. Both tasks required participants to categorize letters as consonant versus vowel, and numbers as odd versus even. An important feature of the study was that, in addition to collecting performance measures (accuracy and reaction times) in the tasks above, the researchers also accounted for possible underlying gender differences in working memory, processing speed, spatial abilities, and fluid intelligence.

The results indicated that, whereas both concurrent and sequential multitasking imposed substantial costs on performance, the deterioration applied to both genders equally. Even when controlling for potential differences in cognitive abilities that might support multitasking, “differences in multitasking costs across men and women remained absent.”

This at least redeemed me. I was a normal woman after all! And my experience of overwhelm at times was a perfectly reasonable way for a brain to react to SO MANY DEMANDS. I breathed a sigh of relief and stopped trying to do everything at once.

But of course I still had to do most things. It is still I who cook the breakfast and hang the washing, just not simultaneously. There is ample evidence that women still do more housework than men, no matter who the breadwinner is. Us women aren’t better multitaskers than men, we just do more work. And if you look to the bees and the lions, that seems to be the way it goes in nature.

Public opinion persists that women have a biological edge as super-efficient multitaskers. But, as this study shows, this myth is not supported by evidence. This means the extra family work women perform is just that – extra work. And we need to see it as such.

There is an American blogger who feels like my friend, even though she certainly does not know that I exist. Her name is Emily Lex. I think it was 2017 when she wrote the following:

Washing dishes used to be a point of marital contention and then one day I decided I didn’t hate doing them anymore. I’m slightly particular when it comes to loading the dishwasher (I can’t believe I’m one of those people!) and I have a system for hand washing dishes that makes it quick and mindless (utensils first, medium sized items next, save the worst for last). I’ve found in marriage that if you take the things you care the most about and stop worrying about fairness, things get much easier. And it leaves me with a clean kitchen, so that’s totally worth it.+

Isn’t that a helpful way to look at things? Stop worrying about fairness! Who ever said that things would be fair in this world/ your marriage / that family? If you want a clean, peaceful home, wash the dishes! That is the price. And I think, it is not the fool who pays it.

Have a wonderful August, from our team to yours.

Disclaimer: my home is not always peaceful nor clean, but together we are hacking through the challenges. If you want to accuse me of being too traditional, you might be right. I think I am being pragmatical.

I hope my musings make sense. Love

What does it mean to sanitise?

What does it mean to sanitise?

This week has been the WEEK OF THE SANITISER. We have sold more Hand and Surface SANITISER in this week than ever before. Not only did the volume of sales take us by suprise, but also the urgency of it all. I suspect it has something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. I suspect people feel safer after they have sprayed their hands. And having a tiny bottle of sanitiser in your hand bag is reassuring, because you can reach for it whenever you feel like it.

The truth is that sanitiser is a single line of defense, and possibly the weakest one at that. We have had questions about whether we have proof that our SANITISE kills COVID-19. I get that people want to know. We are all trying to stay safe. And a consumer has the right to ask questions before buying a product, especially now when home brews of sanitiser crop up here and there. But the repeated questions made me wonder whether the term ‘santise’ is properly understood. No, we do not have proof that our SANITISE kills COVID-19. COVID-19 is a novel strain of coronavirus and neither alcohol nor any sanitiser has been shown to kill it, simply because the studies have not been done. But the real point here is that a sanitising product by defenition does not kill all microorganisms.

Let’s disentangle sterilise, disinfect and sanitise first. These words are used interchangeably but each actually means something very specific.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sterilise means that you have ‘destroyed or eliminated all forms of microbial life (even spores!) and is carried out in health-care facilities by physical or chemical methods.’ This is a process that generally needs time and perhaps even specialised equipment. Disinfect means to ‘eliminate many or all pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores, on inanimate objects.’ ( ). These two processes are especialy important in hospital settings to prevent the spread of disease.

Sanitise ‘is a chemical process that lessens and even kills germs on surfaces to make them safe for contact’ ( ). This is generally what happens in homes when you wipe your counters with bleach. It is not recommended as part of routine cleaning but now and again one wants to sanitise even the home, such as when a member of the family is ill.

Now let us take a closer look at hand sanitisers. They are by definition meant to lessen the amount of bacteria and viruses. Not one sanitiser guarantees to kill all pathogens.

There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. For example, alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill ALL types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus, some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea. Hand sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and heavy metals like lead. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs, pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness.

( )

Take home message?

Sanitiser was never meant to save you. Wash your hands often and vigourously. Use sanitiser to ‘fill in the gaps’ and to clean unwashable surfaces such as your phone.

Why our sanitiser does not contain alcohol.

Why our sanitiser does not contain alcohol

Mrs. Martin’s Microbes and More teams with life. You will find no biocidal ingredients in our products. Indeed, we include spores of beneficial, South African microbes to help clean the area where it is used, and to help clean the waste water after it has been discarded.

Responsible, intelligent and safe soap.

We have three reasons for working with the microbes that are so abundant everywhere, instead of against them.

1. The majority of microbes, by far, are our friends.

The old friends hypothesis states that the immune system depends on certain microbes that evolved together with the human organism. Thus their absence may cause abnormal functionality of the immune system, such as increased incidence of allergies and asthma in developed countries. This means that while good hygiene and cleanliness in the home is paramount, killing all microbes is not in your best interest. ( 

2. Antibacterial products are not proven healthy or effective.

The American Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against long term use of antimicrobials for regular personal care because it might be detrimental to health and might not be effective in keeping people healthier than using normal soap and water. ( One exception here is possibly when you work in a healthcare setting.

3. We don’t want to help create superbugs.

Indiscriminate use of antimicrobials may lead to microbes developing antimicrobial resistance, much like misuse of antibiotics creates superbugs. Antibiotics fight germs (bacteria and fungi). But germs fight back and find new ways to survive. Their defense strategies are called resistance mechanisms. Bacteria develop resistance mechanisms by using instructions provided by their DNA. (

But Covid-19…

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 much has been said about how you can protect yourself against the virus.

Proper washing of hands with soap and water is still advocated by all international bodies as your best line of defense.

Wash at least 20 seconds under running water

Dr Raj Lalloo, our Chief Technoloy Officer and a bioprocess engineer, sums it up like this:

One of the most effective methods for the prevention of disease transmission still remains hand washing, which the WHO recently advised as the primary method for prevention of spread of COVID19. Some current opinions indicate that at the virus particle level, this is more effective than sanitization. Key practical advantages include affordability and accessibility of these products, but one should be careful to ensure that these do not contain the FDA cautionary antimicrobial compounds (commonly traded as antibacterial handwashes). It is best to choose a biodegradable product with no toxic ingredients or negative dermatological effects. A downside to handwashing is that it is not always effective due to human habit (the reluctance to make the effort to wash hands frequently) and practical accessibility to hand washing facilities in public places, schools, malls, areas with limited accessibility to clean water, etc. Another disadvantage is that handwashes cannot be practically used to quickly clean items that we frequently touch, such as keyboards, cell phones, food prep areas, etc.

Dr Raj Lalloo, 2020

Enters the hand sanitiser

Hand sanitizers and surface sanitizers have become a practical product choice. The convenience of being able to clean and sanitize hands and surfaces anywhere at anytime is most appealing and a valuable method of preventing disease transmission. For this reason, sanitizers should be viewed as a complementary option to hand washing, that addresses some of the constraints, when hand washing is not easily possible. Sanitizing products are mainly alcohol based (generally above 60%) and some do contain environmentally damaging ingredients and the FDA cautionary ingredients, so it is wise to check the ingredients regarding the product you purchase. Alcohol sanitizers are mostly effective but also have some disadvantages in that they can dehydrate the skin, cause skin irritation, can enter the bloodstream with frequent use, can be dangerous to the eyes, risky in the hands of children and are not acceptable to certain cultural groups (e.g. Muslims). Alcohol can also damage some types of surfaces, when used as a surface sanitizer. Other limitations include the high VOC (volatile organic carbon), which means they are environmentally damaging and on the prohibited list of ingredients for green certified products.

Dr Raj Lalloo, 2020

So when we developed a hand and surface sanitiser, mostly for use in public places, we decided to use essential oils instead of alcohol.

We chose to not use alcohol to protect the health of our clients and the environment.

This is our first product that does not contain microbes. We used essential oils at concentrations that are most probably biocidal. Preliminary studies have shown that microbes possibly do not develop resistance to essential oils because it does not work on the DNA level. The result is an earth friendly hand and surface sanitiser with tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemongrass oil. It leaves hands protected but not dried out.

Why use concentrates?

Many people ask me why we have 50ml concentrates and 5l concentrates for FLOOR, SURFACE and MIGHTY.

The small amber bottle is the 50ml concentrate, and the large red bottle is the 5l concentrate.

The short answer is: it is more economical! It also reduces the carbon footprint of our product’s whole life cycle.

Cost effective for you

The recommended dilution ratio is 1:14. That means one 50ml concentrate refills the 700ml spray bottle once, and the 5l concentrate refills the 700ml spray bottle a whopping 100 times! Consider: to buy a spray bottle filled with Ready To Use (RTU) soap, costs you R70. When you refill from the 50ml concentrate it costs you R35 for the same bottle. When you refill from the 5l concentrate it costs you R19 for the same bottle! That’s a saving of more than 70%.

Cost effective to transport

We try to ensure that the whole life cycle of our product has a low impact on the environment. The 5l concentrate makes 70l RTU soap. To transport 5l soap instead of 70l soap saves space and weight in vehicles, so less petrol and less fumes.

Space saving in your home

The 5l concentrate makes 70l strong soap but takes up the space of 5l. That’s a huge space saving under the sink!

You choose the strength

This is an unforeseen advantage that our clients alerted us to. When you buy a concentrate, you can dilute as much or as little as you like. If the job is especially tough, you could dilute 1:5 for example and have a super strong soap. It’s really up to you!

It makes refilling easy

Refilling your empty used containers from a 5l concentrate becomes a breeze when you add one of our large pumps. Every squirt of the pump dispenses 30ml soap. So two squirts into your empty spray bottle, with water added, and you’re done!

The 50ml concentrate is even easier – empty the entire concentrate bottle into the spray bottle and add water! Please remember that we do accept empty concentrate bottles back – just arrange with us. That way you never throw anything out!

And why do we not offer concentrates on the other products like HAND, BODY and DISH? Because these products are too thick already – they would be very difficult to use in concentrated form.

I would positively LOVE to hear your take on our concentrates. What is your favourite use for them?


Ses nommer nipper aanlyn geskenkidees

Hoekom ek ‘n lysie  van nommer nipper geskenkidees moes maak

Ek is altyd laat. Ek besef dis erg. Dis verskriklik. Dit wys vir ander jy respekteer nie hulle tyd nie. Dit maak jou man kwaad. Dit maak dat jy altyd ‘n bietjie windverwaaid op ‘n plek aankom. Dis aaklig.

Maar jy kry darem daai laaste bondel wasgoed in die masjien…

Ek moes veertig word voor ek kon verstaan hoekom ek altyd laat is: ek haat rondsit. Jy wat my ken sal weet ek hou van doeltreffendheid (efficiency, man). Om tien minute in die teater te sit en wag vir die konsert, is super ondoeltreffend (so loop die gesprek onbewus in my kop). Dis sieldodend. Jy kry niks uitgerig nie, en dit terwyl die huis wat jy so lank gelede agtergelaat het, op sy kop staan. Jy kon net sowel tien minute later gery het en nog ‘n bietjie skoongemaak het! So daarom maak ek nog ‘n bietjie skoon, ry vyftien minute later en kom laat aan. Elke. Liewe. Keer. Daar ken jy nou een van my groot karakterfoute.

Alweer laat

So hier is ons, drie slapies voor Oukersaand en vier slapies voor Kersdag. En ek het nog nie geskenke vir almal nie. Ek is laat.

In plaas daarvan om by Crazy Store in te storm, het ek aanlyn rondgesnuffel vir geskenke wat onmiddelik opdaag. Die wonderlike ding van kitsaanlyngeskenke is dat dit gewoonlik nul vullis is (zero waste, man).

En omdat ek nie kan glo dat ek die enigste een is wat laat is nie, deel ek graag my vondse met jou. Terloops, niemand betaal my niks hiervoor nie.

Ses nommer nipper geskenkidees wat sommer ook nul vullis is

1. Teken haar in op ‘n lekker tydskrif

Wie hou nie daarvan om op die rusbank/langs die swembad te le met ‘n pragtige tydskrif nie? Betaal die intekenfooi namens jou vriendin en siedaar! Jou Kersgeskenk word elke maand afgelaai by jou vriendin se huis, en sy sal ‘n jaar lank dankbaar wees. As jy regtig ernstig is oor nul vullis kan jy natuurlik ook die digitale weergawe kies. Vir tussen R360 (digitale weergawe) en R480 (drukweergawe) kan jy ‘n tydskrif uitkies waarvan sy sal hou. Ons is mal oor Weg! Platteland. En hierdie maand se somerkersfeesartikel in LIG was pragtig (plus hulle gee tans 40% afslag op die intekenfooi).

2. Maak haar ‘n Friend of the National Zoo

Pretoria het ‘n fantastiese dieretuin. Ons kinders kan nie genoeg kry van die dieretuin nie. Dit is reusagtig, dis oud, en elke keer wat ‘n mens gaan is die atmosfeer anders omdat dit buite is. As jy vir ‘n spesiale kind (R125) of selfs ‘n gesinnetjie (R300) betaal om Friends of the National Zoo te word, kry hulle afslag op die gereelde Fun Walks wat ‘n 5km vroegoggendstappie deur die dieretuin is. Hulle kan ook tweemaal verniet ingaan by die dieretuin! Gee ‘n ervaring eerder as ‘n ding. En watter beter ervaring as die dieretuin?

3. Koop haar ‘n Wild Card

As jou vriendin nie in Pretoria woon nie of die dieretuin nou al genoeg gesien het, kan jy die ervaring wat jy gee aansienlik opgradeer na ‘n Wild Card. Dis nou ‘n geskenk. Dis beslis die goedkoopste manier om Suid-Afrika se fantastiese parke te verken. Jy sal vir tussen R640 en R1300 regkom, afhangende van watter kluster jy kies en of dit vir een mens, ‘n paartjie of ‘n gesinnetjie is. Jou vriendin sal vir ‘n jaar alle deelnemende parke in die kluster verniet kan besoek as dagbesoeker. Sy sal boon-op afslag kry op verblyf, ingeteken word vir die WILD tydskrif en verwittig word van eksklusiewe promosies en kompetisies.

Kyk net hoe baie parke het ons eintlik in Suid-Afrika!
Wild Card klusters

4. Sluit haar aan by die Botanical Society

Hoekom?! vra jy.  Sodat sy vir die hele jaar verniet by al tien SANBI Nasionale Botaniese Tuine in Suid-Afrika kan ingaan! Ja, ons het tien Nasionale Botaniese Tuine: Kirstenbosch (Kaapstad), Harold Porter (Bettiesbaai), Karoo Desert (Worcester), KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), Vrystaat (Bloemfontein), Laeveld (Nelspruit), Pretoria, Hantam (Nieuwoudtville), Walter Sisulu (Krugersdorp) en Kwalera (Oos-Kaap). Ons gesin sou ons elke Sondag op Pretoria se Botaniese Tuine se grasperk gaan neervly het as dit nie geld gekos het nie. Om van die broeipaar witkruisarende by Walter Sisulu nie te praat nie! Vir tussen R500 en R900 (afhangende van enkel- of gesinslidmaatskap) kan jou vriendin vir een jaar enige tyd verniet ingaan by enige tuin, en sy sal ook ingeteken word op die oulike tydskrif Veld & Flora.

5. Koop haar ‘n geskenkaart

Ek sal altyd ‘n iTunes geskenkkaart met ope arms verwelkom! Jy kan boeke, films, musiek of apps koop. Hoe nul vullis is dit? Hoe luuks? En hoe kits?! Gaan na jou iTunes account, kies die Store tab regs bo (as jy dit van die desk top af doen) of die Send Gift knoppie heel, heel onder (as jy dit van die iTunes app op jou foon doen). Vul jou vriendin se eposadres in, skryf ‘n boodskap en kies ‘n bedrag!

Kies die store tab regs bo en jy kry hierdie skerm.
iTunes op my desktop

En dan moet ek darem ook ons eie Mrs Martin’s gift cards noem want miskien weet jy nie eers dat jy intelligente, verantwoordelike, veilige seep aan jou vriendin per epos kan stuur nie!!

Geseende Kersfees!

Ek hoop jy geniet jou aanlyn inkopies. En nog meer as dit: geniet ‘n rustige, geseende Kersfees.



Ons maak self huis skoon, en dis nie vir sissies nie

Martin en ek en ons drie kinders maak self ons huis skoon. Ons het nie hulp nie.

‘n Dekade gelede sou dit baie vreemd gewees het vir ‘n middelklas wit familie om self in die huis te werk. Ek het al vertel hoe ek na matriek die eerste keer vloer gewas het. Skoonmaak (en veral hoe die bediende nie daarin slaag nie) was in die ou dae ‘n ding waaroor Ma met Tannie Martie oor die muur staan en gesels het. Niemand anders in die huis het tweemaal daaraan gedink nie…(behalwe natuurlik as die bediende die dag nie opgedaag het nie!)

Maar gelukkig het die lewe ‘n manier om mens wakker te skud. My twee sussies was o, so verontwaardig jare gelede toe hulle in Skotland ‘n gapjaar gaan vat, en ‘n ander tiener se bed moes opmaak! Terwyl genoemde tiener haarself voor die TV uitvlei, moes my sus nederig vra dat sy haar bene optel sodat sy die mat kon suig. Volle sirkel.

Ek kry die gevoel dat al hoe meer Suid-Afrikaanse gesinne vandag ‘kies’ om self skoon te maak.

My oudste maak die stoof skoon

Óns kies dit beslis nie omdat ons wil snaaks wees of omdat ons so mal is oor huisskoonmaak nie, hoor! Ons het ander redes.

Sizakele was die beste

Sizakele was deel van die gesin.


Sy was skaam maar uiters betroubaar.

Vir jare het ons die beste huishulp op aarde gehad. Sizakele se hand het vir niks verkeerd gestaan nie. Sy was my kinders se mamcane. En my beste vriendin – nie net omdat sy my so ongelooflik gehelp het in die huis en my werk by die skool moontlik gemaak het nie, maar ook omdat sy so baie goed soos ek gesien het. Maar met ons groot omwenteling byna twee jaar gelede, moes ons Sizakele groet. Oor die trane wil ek nie hier praat nie. Se maar net daar was geen lus in my om ‘n nuwe huishulp te soek nie. Niemand kon haar ooit ‘vervang’ nie, het ons gevoel.

Ook kan ons eintlik nie ‘n huishulp bekostig nie. Enigeen wat wetsgehoorsaam wil wees en ‘n gemiddelde inkomste het, sal weet wat ek bedoel.

Ons wil ons kinders iets leer

En ons wil graag ons kinders leer om verantwoordelikheid te neem vir hulle eie gemorse. ‘n Mens leef nogal anders as jy weet jy gaan self skoonmaak waar jy vuilgemaak het. Jy drink jou tweede koffie uit net-nou se koppie, en koop minder ‘stuff’ wat rondsit en afgestof moet word. Self skoonmaak dwing jou om te dink oor wat jy doen, en ons hou daarvan.

Laastens voel ons sterk daaroor dat skoonmaak ‘n vaardigheid is wat mens eendag op ‘n heel konkrete manier kan help.

  • Dit kan jou gemoed oplig. ‘n Opgemaakte bed is belangriker vir ‘n suksesvolle dag as wat mens besef. Om soggens in ‘n skoon kombuis in te stap gee jou sommer krag vir die dag.
  • Dit kan jou geld spaar. Jou huis moet skoongemaak word. As jy dit self doen, kan jy die geld op ‘n motorpaaiement spandeer!
  • Dit kan selfs vir jou geld inbring, as jy daarvan n besigheid maak. Ons lewe van mattewas en seep verkoop!

En dis nie vir sissies nie

Dit het maande geneem om gewoond te raak daaraan dat Sizakele nie meer ongemerk alles gaan regmaak wat in die huis verkeerd staan nie. Om te besef, ‘the buck stops here’. Daar is eenvoudig geen engel meer nie. As ek die besmeerde eierpan van ontbyt op die stoof los om ‘n klient se oproep te antwoord, bly hy daar tot vanmiddag 13:00 wanneer ek weer in die kombuis instorm om ‘n volgende ete reg te kry. Ek kon die wasgoed nog skoon kry, maar gestryk? Chaos loer gedurig om die hoekie.

Hoe ons kop bo water hou, vertel ek volgende keer.

Hoe werk mikrobes vir skoonmaak?

So onlangs as 150 jaar gelede het Joseph Lister eendag voorgestel dat dokters hulle hande moet was en instrumente moet steriliseer voor operasies. Die skoner teatertoestande het daartoe gelei dat prosedures oneindig suksesvoller was as voorheen. Skielik het mense verstaan hoe belangrik higiëne is. Vandag nog word gereelde was van hande ’n baie belangrike aspek van gesondbly gereken.

Alle bakterieë skadelik?

Maar êrens het ons alle bakterieë as ‘skadelik’ begin aanskou. Oormatige gebruik van anti-bakteriële middels uitwendig, en antibiotika inwendig, het wel aansteeklike siektes laat minder word, maar nou sit ons met allergieë en outo-immuunsiektes en wonder hoekom. Nuwe navorsing dui al hoe meer op hoe voordelig meeste bakterieë regtig is, en hoe kompleks jou verhouding met jou eie mikrobioom is.

Wat is bakterieë eintlik?

Bakterieë is eintlik mos eensellige fabrieke. Hulle gebruik die boustowwe wat hulle in hulle omgewing vind, om allerhande nuttige samestellings te vervaardig. Ons gebruik reeds bakterieë om goed soos antibiotika, vitamines, proteïene, inentings en ensieme vir ons te vervaardig.

Afval word ook baie doeltreffend deur bakterieë afgebreek. Wanneer ’n besoedelde area deur mikrobes herstel word, word dit bioremediëring genoem. Miskien het jy al gelees van groot olie-stortings soos die Exxon Valdez (wat 380 miljoen liter olie in die see gestort het), of die Deepwater Horizon boor (wat 800 miljoen liter olie gelek het). Omdat ru-olie ín die natuur voorkom en soms in die see inlek deur die seebodem, is daar reeds bakterieë in die see wat die koolwaterstowwe in ru-olie, kan verteer. Wat opruimwerkers moes doen, was om hierdie bakterieë se getalle groter te maak deur nog daarvan in die see te spuit. Dit word biologiese aanvulling genoem.

Inheemse bacillusbakterieë

Hier in Suid-Afrika is daar al meer as ’n dekade gelede besef dat bakterieë wat behoort tot die bacillus genus, baie nuttig aangewend kan word. Bacillus bakterieë is staafvormige, aerobiese bakterieë wat spore vorm. Die spore is bestand teen hitte, koue, bestraling en uitdroging asook ontsmettingsmiddels. Dit beteken hulle is nuttig as aktiewe agente in skoonmaakmiddels.

Beide die beginsels van bioremediëring en biologiese aanvulling word ingespan. Kom ons dink aan ’n stortvloer. Die goeie bacillusbakterieë is klaar teenwoordig op jou stortvloer. Jy kan dit nie help nie en dit beteken nie jy is vuil nie. Hulle is daar omdat bakterieë oral is en omdat daar vir hulle kos is. In plaas daarvan om daarteen te stry en jou stort steriel te probeer kry (onmoontlik, want die lug is ook vol bakterieë; onnodig, want dis nie skadelik vir jou nie!), kan jy die beginsel van biologiese aanvulling toepas. Gebruik ’n skoonmaakmiddel wat die populasie aanvul!

As jy jou stortvloer met SURFACE skoonmaak, is jy besig om die goeie bakteriee aan te vul.

Laat die bakterieë skoonmaak

Só werk dit: ’n Hele paar miljoen bacillusspore is in die skoonmaakmiddel wat jy op die stortvloer spuit. Binne minute kan die spoor begin ontkiem. As die toestande gunstig is, leef die bakterieë en begin vermeerder. Die eerste ding wat die bakterieë doen, is om reuke te bestry. Omdat hulle dadelik begin vermeerder, kompeteer hulle vir spasie en woel en wemel letterlik die skadelike bakterieë uit die pad. Die bakterieë begin ook dadelik ensieme produseer wat die afval wat op die stortvloer is, afbreek sodat hulle dit kan eet. Wanneer die stort weer gebruik word, spoel die bakterieë in die septiese tenk in, waar dit vaste stowwe begin verteer. Dit beteken die tenk word stadiger vol en daar is minder blokkasies.

Die bakteriee hou jou lappie en spons reukvry.

Gestel jy gebruik nie ’n septiese tenk nie, maar spoel die water weg. Die bakterieë gaan al die pad tot by die watersuiweringswerke voort om nitriete en nitrate uit die water te haal. So vind bioremediëring van die stortvloer en die water plaas. Alles word algaande al hoe skoner, en sodra die bakterieë se kos op is, sterf hulle.

Hou in gedagte

’n Paar dinge moet ingedagte gehou word as jy oorskakel na hierdie manier van skoonmaak. Natuurlik moet daar sekergemaak word die bakterieë in die seep is inderdaad vriendelik en nie patogenies nie. Dit kan nie in ’n komposgat gekweek word nie – dit moet in ’n laboratorium gekweek word en noukeurig nagegaan word vir siekte. Dit maak ook sin om inheemse bakterieë te gebruik eerder as ingevoerde bakterieë. Verder kan niks wat homself anti-septies noem, saam met sulke skoonmaakmiddels gebruik word nie. Dink aan JIK. As jy biologies wil skoonmaak, is JIK nie meer deel van jou arsenaal nie, want dit maak al die bakterieë in jou seep dood en die doeltreffendheid is daarmee heen. Bleikmiddels is bowendien sleg vir die omgewing so dis nie regtig skade om dit opsy te sit nie. En soos met alle natuurlike oplossings, vat dit langer om te werk. Die bakterieë het tyd nodig. Hoe meer jy die populasie aanvul, hoe vinniger raak die proses, maar aanvanklik gebeur dinge nie oornag nie.

Dis natuurlik en intelligent

Die voordele van hierdie manier van skoonmaak is maklik om raak te sien. Dit boots die natuur na; span die lewe wat daar reeds is, in om vir ons te werk. Minder chemikalieë is nodig. ’n Bietjie surfaktant om die water natter te maak is amper al wat nodig is – die bakterieë doen die res. Dis ’n intelligente manier van skoonmaak – die bakterieë ontleed die omgewing en produseer die regte hoeveelheid van die regte ensieme om alles te verteer.

Verantwoordelik. Intelligent. Veilig.

Ons  reeks skoonmaakmiddels word in top laboratoriums hier in Pretoria vervaardig. Alle bakterieë is inheems, spesifiek uitgekies vir die toepassing, en silwerskoon. Dis hoekom ons onsself graag verantwoordelik, intelligent en veilig noem.

Het jy al ooit biologies skoongemaak? Wat was jou ondervinding?

Ek is Afrikaans. I am African.

Ek is Afrikaans.  I am African. Very few people realize that the word ‘afrikaans’ literally means african.

I love South Africa. I was born here and I feel my roots here.  I am white, but this is my home country. My parents were born here. My grandparents were born here. I am African.

I do find parts of my heart resonate with Europe, undeniably. I have been there three times and I certainly have some close-to-my-heart memories. I cherish the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid. The whole city seemed asleep at 08:00 one August morning so I discovered my way to the park and spent a sunny, solitary hour there. The next lovely morning I opened my eyes in a Copenhagen loft, looked out and saw a cluster of tall white windmills (standing in water!) just outside my window. That was so foreign and so Scandinavian I caught my breath. Then there is the romantic Saar Loop in Germany, and the nautical Afsluitdijk in Holland.


I literally felt like the only person in Madrid that morning!


‘Lying sunlit and still, just waiting for me.’


First view of Copenhagen


Fresh water on the one side, salt water on the other


I understand the language of Germans and the Dutch and Belgians. But I am not German. Or Dutch. Or Belgian. I am African.

I love listening to Zulu choirs and singing along when I can. I love the quiet mist of the Kwazulu Natal midlands and the thunderous storms of Pretoria where the raindrops are so fat they literally pelt the pavement. When I was given the opportunity to study abroad, absolutely inviting as that sounded, I didn’t. I studied five kilometres from the house I grew up in, at UP.

And my who-I-am memories are here. The experiences that make up the fibers of my mind, were had here. Nature’s Valley. My family has visited Nature’s Valley every December from when I was still in school. I have so many happy memories of the beach, Douwurmkop, the lagoon and Klippiesbaai that I go there in my mind when I hurt the most. When I want to escape, I escape to Nature’s Valley.


Where the Groot River flows into the sea beneath Douwurmkop at Nature’s Valley


Next, the Drakensberg. I love Cathkin Peak. For our first wedding anniversary Martin and I climbed all the way to Blind Man’s Corner. And in later years my own young family more than once rested and drank in the beauty in the shadow of Cathkin.


Cathkin Peak


Our own secret hide-away


The strongest 20 years of my life were spent among the huts of rural KwaZulu-Natal.  Hundreds of little Zulu children learned the sounds of English in my lessons. I have served dignified ndabezithas on my knees. I sat with the women on icansis while the men ate at table. I did it by choice and I loved it. I don’t live like that in my own home, but I feel close to those who do.


These twins were our neighbours and spent a lot of time with us


Growing up together


What is my heritage? What happens to European genes that spend three generations in Africa? The braai and the rugby, yes. And so, so much more.

Foam does not clean, soap does

My dad used to say that hardworking people leave the dishes for later. “We lazy ones,” he would say to us four siblings every Sunday, “do them straight away because then it is still easy. You do not need to scrub that much.” With vigour all of us would then roll up our sleeves and get stuck into the pile, while Mom would read a book… for a change. It was a clever bit of child psychology. And it worked. Amused by our own laziness we gleefully washed, rinsed and dried everything up to the last fork.

Dishwashing is a part of every home and it has taught me valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: When something looks like a mountain, start climbing

It has taught me that when something looks like a mountain, the best thing to do is to start climbing. Where do you start climbing? At the bottom. You take that first step and you don’t stop till you are at the top! Well, with dishes of course it goes the other way around: you take the item at the top of the pile and don’t stop till you’re at the bottom. But it is the same principle. Don’t involve your mind too much. Just force your hands to get going.

View from the top of the mountain

Lesson 2: Your sister washes dishes differently – and that’s fine

Forward twenty years and my sister and I find ourselves together in a kitchen, washing dishes again. While we are chatting I see, from the corner of my eye, my sister taking a plate instead of a glass. I am about to open my older-sister mouth to say, “You can’t wash plates before glasses! Pull yourself together!” when it hits me: different people do things differently and in most spheres, it really does not matter. Let another girl wash dishes in another way if she wants to! It really is of no consequence. To be clear: I do NOT believe that everything is relative. I DO believe there are issues in life you need to get right. But dishwashing is certainly, certainly not one of them! So I bit my tongue, carried on chatting and went away feeling like my eyes had been opened.

Scourer? Sponge? Cloth? Each one washes dishes differently.

Lesson 3: Foam is not important for cleaning

I also learned that hot water is more important than foam when cleaning things. Our DISH is low foam because we do not add phosphates or ammonia. These chemicals are added to some soaps to make more suds, because consumers want foam. But they have no other function. And these chemicals cause eutrophication of rivers and lakes and that is bad, so we choose to leave it out.

If you find it hard to believe that foam has nothing to do with how well soap cleans, think about your dishwasher tablets.  Ever thought why you cannot use regular dishwashing soap in your dishwasher? It foams too much. You have to buy special tablets that do not foam, for the dishwasher. And yet the dishes come out clean!

Our DISH does foam. Just not as much as you might be used to. But I am very confident is cleans perfectly well, for two reasons: I have been using it for over a year myself, and we have lab test results saying so. If you crave a lather, feel free to use more soap. But it is not necessary.

Have a lovely Worker’s Day!

(P.S. because our DISH is low foam you can try it in your dishwasher. I find it is not harsh enough to get hard food off dishes every time, but in an emergency it certainly works!)