Natural Cleaning

Review:: Better Life Floor Cleaner

Winter brings a host of messes to sealed floors. White snow tracks turn a sour gray as they dry, salt leaves a crusty residue, and wet muddy shoes worn by little feet wander too many steps past the doormat.

Where I live, we just got our first big snowstorm, so this cleaner came at the perfect time to save me from the mess! Let’s get started!

Who is Better Life?

Better Life was the brainchild of long-time friends Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs. When they became parents and started reading labels more carefully, they were alarmed by all the chemicals they were using around their children and spraying on their toys. Determined to provide a better alternative, they began a company that utilized plant-derived ingredients to provide the safest, most powerful clean.

Better Life has achieved lots of success and is quickly becoming a household name. I loved their first product I tried so much that I have been slowly testing and trying all their product options.

Let’s see how well Better Life’s Floor Cleaner works!

First Impressions

The Floor Cleaner comes in a plentiful 32-ounce bottle with Better Life’s trendy colors, wit and humor on full display.

It has a squirt spout (four little holes on top instead of a spray bottle) for an easy squirt-and-mop feature—no need to drag out a bucket and measure out a cleaner.

That sounds great to me!

It only comes in a Citrus Mint scent, which is definitely noticeable but not overpowering. This might be because the cleaner comes in the squirt bottle and lands straight on the floor instead of aerating. (But more on that later)

How well does it clean?

Between muddy snowy shoes, messy eaters, and my clumsiness, my kitchen floor is always in need of a really good cleaning. And they happen to be white! I was more than ready to give this cleaner a try!

The directions say to squirt directly onto any floor type—a little goes a long way. Then use a damp mop to wipe clean. Thankfully no rinsing is required!

I appreciate the variety and versatility of this product. The label says you can use the cleaner on hardwood, tile, marble, bamboo, vinyl, laminate, and other sealed floors. Additionally, you can use a string, steam, sponge or flat mop.

For this review, I used a flat mop on white tile and patterned vinyl.

The Kitchen Floor

Ok, here we go!

My sweet messy eaters aren’t food-throwers, but you wouldn’t know it from looking under their chairs!

Dried and crushed broccoli florets, yogurt splotches, and pasta sauce litter the floor around the dinner table. Over the rest of the floor, there are muddy footprints and dozens of little spills and sticky spots.

I prepared my flat mop by dampening the cloth and then began squirting the floor cleaner. I was shocked at how quickly it came out! Even though I was trying to use only a little, I could barely control the large drops of cleaner spilling out. I felt like I was wasting cleaner and not getting an even application.

The cleaner quickly picked up many of the easy stains and stickiness but didn’t work as anticipated for the dried-on bits of food. The cleaner did better with removing tough stains if I squirted cleaner directly on the stain and left it to “soak,” but there were times I still had to bend down and scrape the crusty food off my floor.

The good news is… it worked pretty well! The scent was pleasant and it left behind a nice shine. While I wish it was a bit easier to get up the hard stains and easier to control the stream of cleaner, I could see myself using this product often.

The Bathroom Floor

Our bathroom floor is a patterned vinyl, which is great because it hides dirt well!  I was very pleased with the finishing touch—and smell—it gave to the bathroom. It smelled and looked extra clean and took no time at all!

However, a word of caution for both surfaces: Better Life is serious when they say a little goes a long way! If you use too much, the floor becomes very slippery. If you’ve accidentally sprayed furniture polish on a sealed floor, you know what I mean! Try to use as little as possible and leave time for it to dry (about 20 minutes).

Once your mop absorbs enough cleaner, you may not need to squirt anymore.

What’s in it?

So the cleaner works well! Hooray! But are the ingredients as great as Better Life claims they are?

Out of all the Better Life products I’ve tried, this one has the longest list of ingredients—and they’re mostly scents, which may cause irritation for those with sensitivities.

Decyl and lauryl glucoside are the main cleaning agents. These are non-ionic, gentle surfactants derived from corn, coconut, and palm kernel, and are friendly to those with skin irritations and allergies. Vegetable glycerin is also used as a conditioning agent.

Then begins the long list of extracts for fragrance: peppermint leaf, lemon peel, spearmint, orange peel, grapefruit, cardamom seed, lime peel, bergamot fruit, tangerine, and mandarin orange.

Wow, that’s a lot of citrus!

Now, we love companies who give full ingredient disclosure and choose natural sources for their scents. Better Life does this well, even giving explanations for their ingredients online. This is a step above many competitors who try to hide their harmful ingredients.

Unfortunately, and often forgotten, scents are often volatile compounds.  All of the scents in this cleaner chosen have a bad track record of having respiratory side effects and skin irritations.  When used in high quantities, the effects can be even more severe.  Make sure the room is well ventilated when you use this product.  And unfortunately, if you’re sensitive to fragrances, this product is probably best avoided altogether.  Don’t get me wrong, it smells amazing and the fragrances are naturally sourced.  But there’s no getting around it – this is a fragrance heavy product.

Which brings me to the synthetic preservative in this formulation – Methylisothiazolinone (MI). This is the only ingredient that irks me about Better Life, who claim to leave all harmful ingredients behind. MI has been shown countless times to be a known—and dangerous—irritant. Australia had a contact dermatitis epidemic in 2013 due to MI. Sufferers even have a Facebook group to share their experiences and receive support. Awareness is growing, but MI remains a preservative of choice in countless products.

Better Life does follow the EU requirements for the use of MI of less than 0.01%, but it’s a shame to see a great company use MI to preserve their products, especially when it goes against the mission of the company.

Do you recommend this product?

I would recommend this floor cleaner even though it has several low marks. It has great versatility, cleans most dirt and stains well, and leaves behind a pleasant shine and scent. Unfortunately, the mix of many fragrances may be an irritant to those with sensitivities.

While I wasn’t extremely pleased with how well it cleaned tough stains, the results could vary greatly depending on the mop I used. The inconsistent application due to the squirt spout could also be a factor.

The most offensive mark is the frustrating inclusion of MI. In a world of many natural preservatives, it seems very unnecessary.

Overall this is a good product, but with a few unfortunate missteps.

Originally published at Safe Household Cleaning.

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