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.

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!

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

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!

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?


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?

What is the difference between MIGHTY and SURFACE?

I have been asked this question several times. I do understand: SURFACE sounds like it cleans all surfaces…. so what is left for MIGHTY to clean?

The short answer is: the really greasy areas such as the braai and the oven. And perhaps the stove top after you’ve fried fish. You get the idea. MIGHTY is a degreaser, SURFACE is a cleaner.

This is the strong one. You probably don’t need it every day.


To understand why we offer different kinds of detergent, let’s talk ingredients. In line with our aim to clean responsibly, none of our products contain any of these ‘dirty’ ingredients:

Chlorine bleach
High VOC glycol ethers

That does not mean we are against all chemicals. Humans have used chemicals to clean for centuries. Vinegar is a mild acid and bicarb is a mild base, so even if you use these to clean, you are using chemicals. We use more advanced chemicals, like surfactants that clean jolly well without causing damage.

MIGHTY is a degreaser

MIGHTY contains liquid glass which cuts grease extremely well. It cleans mucky, greasy things. But one does not need to use it on the surfaces you wipe for breadcrumbs every day. It will be wasted on the outside of your fridge where only a few finger marks bother you. You don’t need oven cleaner to wipe your dinner table.

SURFACE is excellent in the bathroom

SURFACE again can be used on all surfaces, but it performs really well in the bathroom. With repeated use it will dissolve scale and stop the growth of mould.

Our suggestion is that you use SURFACE for the everyday tasks, and keep MIGHTY for the really greasy ones.

Unless, of course, you are the kind of person who wants to own only one bottle of soap. In that case you must decide whether to keep SURFACE and scrub a bit harder when the dirt is stubborn, or whether to keep MIGHTY and avoid wiping the old wooden desk where the lacquer has turned soft. We are happy to provide you with the choice.

Are you a one bottle person? And which bottle do you choose? We’d love to know!


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

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 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!

Regular bucket and a bit of clean water. The mop is fabulous: flat swivelhead with a detachable microfiber cloth.

The microfiber cloth is easily and securely tucked into the sides of the swivelhead. Note that the head can ‘fold’ in half when one steps on the little triangle lever on the right.

My soap of choice

My method

My method? I like a broad, flat microfiber mop. I spray our very own FLOOR onto the floor, neat, and wipe it off with the 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.

Sharing chores gets things done but it also creates moments to connect. We often chat while cleaning.

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


Spring Cleaning is Positively the Best Kind of Cleaning

I am not a cleaning diva

Confession: I am not a cleaning diva. If ever you visited my home, you would see that we live here. And, mind you, we work here too. I love being efficient, and constantly cleaning does not feel efficient to me. It feels more like emptying the sea one bucket at a time.

Besides, we don’t have help in the house. That is very UNSouth African, isn’t it? We simply feel that we can spend the money elsewhere and we want to teach the children to help. So while we all are indeed constantly sweeping and packing dishes into and out of the dishwasher, our house is hardly ever squeaky clean.

I want to be efficient

That is why I think spring cleaning is absolutely the best kind of cleaning. You take one really dirty area, spend a vigorous hour doing real work, and end with a really clean area. That is so satisfying! Never mind that the cupboard will once more collect lidless yoghurt containers very soon. You know that for one day in the spring it was spotless, and that it’s turn will come again next year.

And I hoard

I also am not a natural organiser. I am a hoarder. But living with four other people in a rondawel for twelve years taught me many things. 

One is to use lists to keep me on task. 

The other is to sort things using three bins (or boxes, or bags, like seen above). I am almost certain you have heard of it before. Let’s say you are clearing out the tupper cabinet. Label three large bins DISCARD, KEEP and DONATE. Whatever you touch in that cupboard, gets put into one of the bins instantly. Resist the urge to argue with yourself for minutes, or to reconsider a decision. This way you get the sorting done fast and you only pack back what you really will use again.

Throw the content of DISCARD away and give the content of DONATE to the Hospice to sell. Or to any group you’d like to support. We sometimes even leave it outside… you will be amazed at how quickly ‘donations’ like that get claimed by a needy passerby.

Spring Clean with a checklist

So I have compiled a Spring Cleaner checklist that really works for me. Perhaps it might help you, too?

Inspired by the list, I tackled an area a day and was so energised by the results! I know you are crazy busy, but why not simply decide to clean the bathroom cabinet tonight? You will be so thankful in the morning.