meet the maker: Better Life

words by Mackenzie Wise | styling by Abby Capalbo | photos by Erin McGinn

Better Life

As soon as spring arrives, we always find ourselves ready to open the windows and dig into a fresh season of cleaning. And though spring-cleaning can be a cleansing experience, often the products we use to wipe away the grit of winter leave behind harsh residues that are bad for both consumers and mother earth. Better Life, featured in our new spring issue, aims to make cleaning a beneficial experience for both.

Better Life began in 2008, when founders Kevin Tibbs and Tim Barklage, lifelong friends who had both just become new parents, were in search of a better, safer product to clean their homes. Nancy Barklage, Tim’s wife, explains, “the kids were crawling across the floors and then putting [their] hands in their mouths.” Kevin and Tim wondered if there was a way to keep their house clean while keeping their kids safe from harsh chemicals. They joined forces to create a company that uses non-hazardous, plant-based cleaners that any parent could feel safe using in their home. 

Kevin, a formulation chemist, developed cleaners that use ingredients like coconut, corn, and essential oils that still manage to cut through grease and grime and remain biodegradable. And while Better Life’s products often outperform leading household cleaners, they are safe enough even to ingest. Kevin demonstrated this during the duo’s appearance on the Emmy-award winning show “Shark Tank”, when he sprayed the company’s all-purpose cleaner directly into his mouth (this was done to make his point but the company strongly recommends not doing this at home). 

Better Life’s safe and environmentally friendly products, ranging from stainless steel polish to laundry detergent, can even provide security when cleaning food. Their produce wash, which can be sprayed on or used to soak fruits and veggies, allows consumers to clean off dirt and pesticides while not worrying about swapping one dangerous chemical for another.

Cleaning with Better Life, as the company says, is “always safe for the mess makers (not the mess).” 

To learn more about Better Life, visit or read more about them in our spring ’17 issue

Better Life

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