Cleaning is a chore. No one likes it. Especially when you have to breathe toxic fumes and expose you, your family, your pets and the earth to toxic chemicals. We’ve reviewed several ready-made alternatives to mainstream cleaning products and here we have another fantastic solution for those of us who don’t make our own. Better Life is a company founded by two long time friends and now dads, Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs, who wanted to create cleaning products that were safer for their families and the earth. And they do it with a bit of good humor.
One of the things I adore about this product line is they don’t fool you into thinking you need 47 different products to get your job done. They have 4 products right now and really, that’s all you will ever need to clean your home. The what-EVER™ All Purpose Cleaner is really what it says… all purpose. I’ve cleaned almost every surface of my house with this and it does a great job without the fume headache to prove it. It even got my wall clean where the dog sits. You know how they make a dark stain where they seem to lean? Came off in a snap. You’d never know it was there. (How do they get so dirty? My dog hates being outside and he still needs a bath).
Even The Kitchen Sink™ polished up my actual kitchen sink like a pro. Not that I ever was even inclined to polish it but now… whole new story. That’s not all its great for… it works on any metal surface in the kitchen, and doubles are a toilet cleanser. No fumes, no icky junk to ruin the environment or our waterways. When’s the last time you thought about your t-bowl cleaner? It’s fluorescent blue, smells like a toxic cocktail of chemicals and fake flowers. Ew. How can that be good for anyone?
Better Life has a great glass cleaner I Can See Clearly, Wow™ which works just as well as your trusty ol’ Windex. And it’s not blue… why does glass cleaner need to be blue exactly? The non-ammonia (and non-solvent) formula makes this safe for all glass and acrylic surfaces, and even tile and glass cooktops.
The cutest product, for our cutest family members is the 2am Miracle™ Nursery Cleaner. I think this is perhaps my favorite and choice product for our readers. We are constantly being asked what to do about cleaning childrens toys. Here is your answer in one safe spray bottle. This is good for any surface or material your little ones come in contact with. Cribs, changing tables, diaper pails, walls, floors, toys, high chairs… even clothing (spot treatments!), mattresses, changing pads, you name it.
What makes these so safe? All their products are free of sulfates, ethoxylates, fragrances, dyes, petroleum-based ingredients, parabens, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as glycol ethers and alcohols. VOCs vaporize, entering the air we breathe and trigger respiratory problems, nausea, headaches, and skin irritation, and contribute to many more ailments. Not to mention that stuff is all bad for our environment, our waterways and marine life.
Ask The Experts
Finally having someone who knows about cleaning products the way these guys do was too irresistible. I had to ask them a burning question that we get here at SafeMama.com all the time.
SafeMama Asks: In light of all the “Green Washing” going on in the cleaning product industry, what is it that sets your products apart from the products lining the grocery store shelves that claim to be “safe”?
Tim Barklage Says, “First a little background on us – my business partner and co-founder of Better Life, Kevin Tibbs, spent his career as a formulation chemist and we have developed and own our entire line of product formulations. When we created the company we had three very simple yet powerful criteria that had to be met in all of our products:
- First they have to be the safest product for people and pets. Both Kevin and I have young children and dogs. When doing the initial research on the idea of Better Life, Kevin came back to the table almost angry when he discovered what was really in the bottles of many of these products that are marketed as natural. This turned into a mission for Kevin to create a line or products which are made only from plants, vegetables, and water. Our products are free of petroleum, fragrances, dyes, alcohols, solvents and other nasty things that we did not want around our kids and pets.
- Second they had to be the safest for the environment. Many of the other products marketed as natural contain something called an ethoxylate (often disguised as a vegetable surfactant on the label). This is a substance that is damaging to fish and other marine life. Our products are ethoxylate free. The real proof however is a biodegradability test. When independently tested against other leading natural brands, our products biodegrade at least twice the rate of the competitor after five days.
- Lastly we felt confident that we could create a product that met our stringent safety and environmental standards that could perform better than the conventional products on the market. It was not easy, but after much trial and error we were able to create truly green products that truly perform. Luckily with houses full of kids and pets we have a pretty good environment to do our real world testing! Most importantly, we could not be more happy with the response we have been getting from people who have purchased our products. Time and time again we hear that our products knock the socks of brand “X” that they have used their entire life.
- An essential oil scented version of our all purpose cleaner, whatEVER. We do not cut or blend our essential oils with any synthetic fragrances or other respiratory irritants.
- A “squirt and go” floor cleaner. It is a ready to use product that is great on all types of hard floor surfaces such as wood, tile, stone, vinyl, bamboo, etc.
We’re also near production on several more products:
- A stainless steel appliance cleaner and polish
- A granite and marble countertop spray (Kathy says “yay!”)
- A furniture cleaner and polish
- A hardwood floor concentrate cleaner
A line of hand soaps is also in the works.”
Where to get it: These are a REALLY great value… for less than $7 each you get a huge bottle that will seriously last you an eternity. I’ve had them for 3-4 weeks and have barely put a dent in them… and I have a 3 year old boy who thinks painting with his food is hilarious. Find them online at Drugstore.com, or at some Whole Foods and Ace Hardware locations.
Also, please check out their interview on Food Interviews – great article if you want to know bmore about how Better Life came to be and what kind of expertise they bring to the table.
Better Life is giving away TWO sets of their fabulous cleaning products, each containing a reusable tote filled with What-EVER™ All-Purpose Cleaner, I Can See Clearly WOW™ Glass Cleaner, Even The Kitchen Sink™ Gentle Scrubber, and 2am Miracle™ Nursery Cleaner to two lucky SafeMama readers.
To enter: 1. Send an email to safemama (at) gmail.com with the subject “Green Clean with Better Life” along with your name and mailing address. Please also include #2 in your email.
2. Visit their website and tell us which product your house desperately needs… we want to know about your messes!
(You must do both to be eligible. Incomplete submissions will be disqualified. Open to U.S. Residents only.)
(Your info will not be saved, only used to notify you if you win) We’ll select two winners at random and announce the winners here and via PrizeyFetch. Enter by midnight EST on November 26, 2008. Good luck!
Contest Closed. Thanks to all who entered!