Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Better Life Starter Kit

I recently won a Better Life Starter Kit from ecoSafe, an online group that does "non-toxic reviews." I've been working on being more eco-conscious, and this kit seemed like a great place to "start" (no pun intended ... or maybe it was).

Before I received the kit, I had been using the Clorox Green Works series. Let me be brutally honest: I hate it. The products are ineffective and assault my nose and respiratory system, and I'm not too kean on cleaners that do not list their ingredients or which reportedly use ethanol and other irritants. I later found out that in 2008, the National Advertising Division of the BBB recommended that "The Clorox Company discontinue or modify certain advertising claims for the company’s “Green Works” product line to better communicate product performance and that the products are not disinfectants." Furthermore, when searching for the MSDS for the Green Works cleaners, I found out that those I have been using were subsequently discontinued. No matter -- my use of these products has been discontinued, as well. In fact, it's been replaced by a far "better" product.

Better Life has it all - safety, sass and superiority. The company was born from the desire to incorporate a truly green and safe cleaning regimine into the creators' homes. According to co-founder Kevin Tibbs, "[Better Life products are] safe for our families and our planet. No warning labels necessary." In fact, they challenge us to imagine a world where childproof cupboards and caps are not necessary, and answer that challenge with Better Life.

It's hard to overlook the witty product names. The Starter Kit includes full size bottles of four of their eight producs: what-EVER!, Simply Floored!, Even the Kitchen Sink, and I Can See Clearly, WOW!. The products arrived in a "a natural, durable, collapsing six-compartment Cleaning Caddy," and came complete with a Twist Euro Sponge and a 2-pack Twist Loofah Sponge.

I used the what-EVER! spray on, well, whatever I wanted. I cleaned the "outside" of the toilet, the walls, the sink, the vanity, and, later, the kitchen counter, the kitchen sink, and the stove. I also used the sponge where possible, avoiding cross-contamination (in other words, the sponge didn't touch the toilet). It was a miracle worker. It left everything sparkling and grease/grime/smudge free.

The I Can See Clearly, WOW! was hands-down, without a doubt, the best glass cleaner I have ever used. I used it on the bathroom mirrors and all the spots came clean without any elbow grease. It even removed those dried-on little white toothpaste spots that you need to scrape off with your fingernail -- you know the ones I'm talking about -- and it did so with one quick wipe of the cloth. And what's more important, I feel great knowing that the next time my toddler kisses "the baby in the mirror," he won't be getting a mouthful of harmful chemicals and irritants.

I used the Even the Kitchen Sink cleaner in combination with the loofah sponge to tackle the soap scum on my bath tub. I'll admit, this one was a little tricky. I didn't want to waste too much of the cleaner, and the previous cleaners worked so well with so little. I sprayed the bathtub with the hand-held shower head, poured a little drizzle of the Even the Kitchen Sink on the loofah, and went to work. I worked hard, and the scum didn't appear to dissolve like I expected. In fact, it just moved around. So I used more cleaner, and scrubbed. A little more cleaner, and scrubbed some more. Hmmm. Then it occurred to me that maybe I needed a little more water, and so I turned on the hand-held shower head and sprayed it around. Guess what? The scum immediately washed away, and the tub looked whiter than ever before! This may not sound like much, but if you stop and think for a moment about the incredible staying power of soap scum, then you know that you could aim a shower head at it all day and it wouldn't budge. I expected the cleaner to "eat up" the scum, when it did exactly what it needed to do -- loosened it so effectively that a small, short, spray of water sent it down the drain! How ecofriendly can you get? This product even helps you conserve water!

The Simply Floored! one-step floor cleaner might have been the icing on the cake. My apartment has hardwood floors that seem to attract and show-case dirt and grime like nothing else. Add a messy 1 year old food critic, and you have quite the daily display. Simply Floored! took care of all the sticky and grimy spots with ease, and not having to rinse the floor afterwards made this tired mom's day!

In short, Better Life has saved my life in more ways than one. Using these cleaners means I won't be exposing my small family to harsh and harmful chemicals. You won't find any alcohol, dyes, ethoxylates, petrochemical solvents, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, or VOCs here. But most importantly, they make cleaning my house so much easier that I'm sure not to die from exhaustion any time soon! All that's left now is to find a way to safely dispose of those other "green" cleaners that are lurking in my bathroom cupboard. I guess I'll have to continue to childproof that one for the time being!

Now, if only someone could save me from my paper towel addiction ...

*Disclaimer: I won this Starter Kit. I did not buy it, and was not compensated in any way for this review, neither by Better Life, nor by ecoSafe. These opinions, and any mistakes or oversights herein, are my own.


  1. Yay! I am so glad you are liking the products! I can't wait until we resolve what I am calling "The Canadian Conundrum" and we can get our products to our fans Up North!

    Soooo...what did you think of the Eurosponge? We are a house divided on that. It didn't cure you of your paper towel addiction? ;)

  2. I loved the absorbency of the sponge, and the fact that it cleaned up gook and grime without much scrubbing. I didn't like that it pushed larger particles around (e.g., dust, small hairs, etc.). It also didn't give me the streak-free shine that I prefer on my faucets. And I found that I had to wring it out A LOT, because it soaked up so much of the cleaner. That slowed me down a bit.

    My main reason for being so addicted to paper towels is that it erroneously satiates my germ phobia. I can use one on the toilet, and then toss. One on the sink, and then toss. I know that line of thinking is pure garbage, since using more than one sponge or cloth would do the same. It's all about changing my mindset, I guess!

  3. Have you tried SKOY? They can be sanitized in the dishwasher or washing machine and reused over and over and over again...they're pretty awesome and cut down on the paper towel use (though you could still use one for the toilet if you wished). I just always think back to reports of testing on toilets versus telephone receivers and keyboards, the toliets were by far the cleanest!

  4. The What-EVER! spray is also fantastic on carpets, upholstry, and clothing. I pretreat all of my laundry with it now. I love the Kitchen Sink for my glass top stove--so easy to use! Good to know about the soap scum!

  5. I have also used What-EVER on the carpet for what I like to refer to as The Great Spaghetti Incident. It got rid of the tomato sauce completely. The little bits of ground beef on the other hand ....