Did you know that the ingredients in the supplies you use to clean your home are unregulated and full of a lot of chemicals you don't need in your home?
I recently conducted an interview with Tim Barklage, Chief Idealist & CEO and Kevin Tibbs, Mad Skilled Scientist of BETTER LIFE, the company known for its natural cleaning products.
Kevin Tibbs explains how the cleaning product industry is currently, "Unlike food and cosmetics, the cleaning products industry is largely unregulated with regard to ingredients used, product testing, claims substantiation and ingredient disclosures. There is often a misunderstanding that if a product is on the shelf for sale it must be safe. This is not necessarily the case and many chemical based cleaners can pose serious health risks. Without strong government oversight and regulation the responsibility falls on the consumer."
He added that, "Companies like BETTER LIFE are working hard to give transparency to the industry and provide information to its customers so that they can make informed decisions on the best products for them and their family. We developed an ingredient summary panel and full ingredient listings just like you would find on a cosmetic product. This labeling approach allows people to quickly see the ingredients we use and those we keep out of our products so that they can be assured they have a safe, natural product."
Here is my question/answer interview with Tim Barklage.
Armour Cleaning: Thanks Tim, let's start off with the how Better Life came to be?
Tim Barklage: Better Life started in June 2008, both my business partner, Kevin Tibbs, and I had toddlers who were just starting to crawl around the house. Kevin, who had been a formulation chemist specializing in skin care, and I thought that there had to be a better way to approach cleaning than locking up dangerous chemicals. Kevin was confident that he could create a completely safe cleaning product but of course, we had to make sure that they performed up to the standards of the chemical equivalent. After developing prototypes that did just that -- Better Life was born!
Armour Cleaning: Without giving away any secrets, what's the science behind why your products work?
Tim Barklage: We use a special blend of plant derived surfactants. Surfactants are the engine that helps remove the soils from surfaces. Most conventional cleaners use petroleum based surfactants and solvents to achieve the desired results. Better Life utilizes the power of plants to create both a safe and effective solution.
Armour Cleaning: And so to follow up on that question, is that what makes your products stand out from the other green products on the market?
Tim Barklage: Many of the products marketed as green still utilize a great deal of petroleum derived / synthetic ingredients, solvents and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in their formulation. From the beginning we have steered clear from the use of synthetic perfumes -- instead we utilize things like 100% plant derived essential oils to scent some of our products. While alcohol is often derived from corn, it is also an aggressive solvent, so we chose to keep this out of our products as well. We also take special care to ensure our plant derived surfactants are 100% plant derived. Oftentimes surfactants utilized in competitors are marketed as a plant surfactant but in reality are a hybrid (e.g. ethoxylate) of plant and petroleum technology.
Armour Cleaning: In the cleaning industry, we need products that will sanitize and disinfect. This is important in the commercial accounts we provide services for due to the public traffic that goes through the facility. It's equally important for the Mom who has had sick kids and the family can't shake bug running through the family because it's on the surface of common areas--doorknobs, etc. Some products in the market require a 'kill time' to get rid of the germs. Does 'Better Life' offer any products that will help in this area?
Tim Barklage: When evaluating the use of a disinfectant it is very important to read the back of the labels. All disinfectants have a "dwell time" which in most cases is 5 - 10 minutes. In order for the product to actually do the job they are advertising, it requires the adherence to this dwell time. I don't know about you, but I do not know anyone who lets these chemicals sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes.
Armour Cleaning: The 2am Miracle ™ nursery cleaner, the instructions are to spay, wipe and go back to sleep. I'd like to assure my clients that this product is safe for their family and so with using this product on the baby toys, etc., just how safe is it for a baby/child to put that toy in their mouth after it's been sprayed?
Tim Barklage: Nothing to worry about.
Armour Cleaning: Are any plans for more products and if so can you share what we can expect?
Tim Barklage: We always have new products in the pipeline. On July 1st, our Automatic Magic dishwasher gel will be launched to the broad marketplace. It is a great product that provides 60 loads in a 30 oz bottle.
Armour Cleaning: And keeping with the green theme...green beans or okra?
Tim Barkage: Hmmm that's a tough one. Rick's Pick's has a great pickled Okra called "Smokra" which I love. I also can eat freshly picked green beans by the handful in the summer, but my favorite green is Swiss Chard.
The next time you are shopping take a look at some of the ingredient listings on the product label of your cleaning product. You will find that it will list the main/active ingredient, then lists, 'other ingredients'. Wouldn't it be great to know what those are?
Clearly the best thing to do for you and your family is to take some time to complete some research into the cleaning supplies that you bring into your home. You can find this information by search ing the internet for green cleaning or healthy home.
And if you have a professional cleaning company come into your home, find out what they know about the ingredients in the products they use. They should be able to tell you exactly what they put on the surfaces of your home and how safe they are.
Armour Cleaning Services, serving central Indiana, uses the BETTER LIFE cleaning products. We made this choice after researching many of the products on the market, both the mainstream products and some of the green label supplies. Find out more about the BETTER LIFE cleaning products at: www.cleanhappens.com
~Amy Armour, is a Wife, Mom to 5 and a small business owner who is enjoying the path that has been chosen for her. Visit her site at: www.ArmourCleaningServices.com
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