Domestic workers prove the online pivot isn’t just for office staff

If you think just one cleaning spray can do every job around the house, think again. There’s a reason there’s a product for almost anything. There’s no all-in-one fix for dusting, sanitising, polishing, degreasing and everything else needed to make your home a sparkling space.

Just as it’s impossible for one product to do everything, people who are working remotely, home schooling, and trying to keep the whole family happy, healthy and well-fed, face inevitable mountains of housework piling up in the background. No one person can do everything all the time.

With significantly more foot traffic around the house these days, the cleaning never ends. Fortunately, domestic workers (or ‘SweepStars’) from online booking platform SweepSouth, are providing some virtual assistance to help make their customers’ lives a little easier during this time.

Until SweepStars are able to return to work, they’re creating and filming videos at home with useful tips and cleaning hacks

Similo Ngwenya, for example, shares tips to get a squeaky clean shower. Domestos diluted with water in a spray bottle lets you get to all the tiles, floor and every corner easily. But be sure to leave it for five minutes to disinfect before you give the whole shower a good scrub and rinse (drying and polishing any glass surfaces last for extra shine).

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For the bath, Luke India Ramos takes you through the best cleaning routine, making sure you give it a good rinse before using a thick bleach or bathroom cleaner to soak up all the germs. Ramos also reminds viewers of one very important Covid-19 cleaning tip: “Don’t forget about wiping down the frequently touched points as well, such as the soap dish and taps.”

Mariam Oloo shares her guide to cleaning your bedroom. She always starts with opening the windows for fresh air, something people might forget when they’re rushing around the house. She says to focus on all the details such as cleaning the windows and mirrors, putting things away nicely, making the bed and finally vacuuming or sweeping and mopping the floors.


Aisha Pandor, co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth, says it’s all of these little details that you might not necessarily think of that make your home feel like it’s been professionally cleaned. And it’s the extra effort that will help better prepare your home for when your domestic helper or SweepStar can return ? to a clean, hygienic, safe space for everyone.

She explains that there are special circumstances at level 4 of lockdown that will permit some cleaners and nannies to work. This only applies to “live-in domestic cleaners, childcare workers, and level 4 business cleaners”.

“Employers are likely to be reluctant in readily welcoming domestic workers back into their homes, even as restrictions are relaxed, with the fear of Covid-19 still lingering. It’s also scary for domestic workers themselves. Many desperately need to return to work and earn an income as soon as possible, but they put themselves in a very vulnerable position in doing so and risk exposure while travelling to and from work,” stresses Pandor.

“It’s essential that the work environment is safe for everyone. Employers should become familiar with safety practices recommended by the World Health Organisation. For example, make sure you have a clean, clear sink available to frequently wash hands with soap and water and display information on the correct hand-washing procedure. Everyone in the home should also regularly clean surfaces and objects that are frequently touched. Hand sanitizers, tissues and masks should also readily be available.”

Through this period, SweepSouth is offering deep cleaning services to companies that are resuming business. The company is also facilitating childcare services, connecting people who have to return to work with SweepStars who have vetted childcare experience. Anyone who requires caregiving for the elderly or persons with disabilities, physical or mental illness, can also register interest via the platform to receive updates as SweepSouth launches this service.

All of the “tips of the day” videos can be found on the SweepSouth platform,  where anyone can donate to the SweepSouth Covid-19 SweepStar Fund to help support these domestic workers while they are unable to work through lockdown.

“We’ve raised more than R8.4 million to date, which enables us to cover the cost of food and other living essentials for SweepStars and their families, as many are the sole breadwinners in their homes,” says Pandor.

“Domestic workers have endured close to two months with little or no income to speak of, so their financial predicament is dire,” continues Pandor. “They urgently need further assistance, simply to be able to survive. We renew our critical call for all employers and able South Africans to pledge support through the SweepSouth COVID-19 SweepStar Fund or by continuing to support their domestic workers during this time. We have precious little time to help protect the wellbeing of domestic workers and their families as the nationwide lockdown persists.”

Pandor adds that SweepSouth has also just launched its Commercial Sanitisation service, through the platform’s website. This unique bespoke service provides businesses with a comprehensive sanitisation solution, just in time for lockdown measures to ease and shared workspaces to begin reopening again. A dedicated team of SweepStars has been specifically trained and skilled to fully sanitise an array of workplaces, including office, commercial and retail areas.