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!

“I Certainly Don’t Want To Use Rotten Soap, Thank You!”

We call our products biological because they contain spores of beneficial microbes. These guys hatch when they get water and the right temperatures. They then analyse what is going on around them and produce the correct enzyme to digest whatever they find to eat. Normally what they see as food, is what we see as dirt. A better symbiosis could not be found!

There are no hatched microbes in your soap. There are only spores, or ‘seeds’ if you will. These spores are quite tough. They tolerate temperatures between freezing and 90 degrees Celsius. To keep them stable, we use low levels of potassium sorbate and citric acid. We do not use any other preservatives.

We guarantee our liquid soaps for one year from manufacture, and our dry products for two years. After this, the spores are probably still fine, but the natural ingredients that make up the soap may start to become runny and smell more chemical. The soap never becomes dangerous, but it may be less pleasant to work with, and it may lose functionality.

Do you have a technical question about our products? Do not hesiate to contact me!

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!)



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!