Cleanyst's Countertop Machine Aims to Be the (Eco-Friendly) Keurig of Cleaning

While soaps and detergents are great at keeping your body and home clean, they aren't always a clean choice for the planet. Even if you buy in large quantities (which isn't always possible if you live in a small home with little storage space) and use refill packs instead of buying new plastic bottles every few weeks, liquid soaps, shampoos, cleaning solutions, and detergents are heavy and bulky, meaning they take a big carbon footprint to ship. A new company is trying to reduce the environmental impact of your cleaning routine by taking out the part of those products that make them so heavy—the water.

The Cleanyst system allows users to mix their own personal care and cleaning products at home by adding regular tap water to pre-packaged concentrates and blending them together in reusable bottles. The appliance, which just launched on Kickstarter, acts kind of like a Keurig for soap—you pop a concentrate packet in the machine, then it heats up the water and mixes up the concentrate to create a ready-to-use soap, detergent, or shampoo. The process (which Mental Floss saw in action at an April 2019 demo) takes just the push of a button and a few minutes.

Cleanyst is launching with six different home care products (dish soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and tile/tub cleaner) and four different personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap) to start. The company eventually hopes to branch out into even more products, serving as a one-stop shop for all your cleaning and hygiene needs. The dye-free, plant-based concentrates are available in fragrance-free and naturally scented versions, or the company has aromatherapy concentrates that you can mix in to personalize the smell of your products. All of the formulas are vegan and are not tested on animals.

A hand places a bottle under a Cleanyst machine with a concentrate pouch in it.

Cleanyst, Kickstarter

Cleanyst isn't the only company trying to take the water out of cleaning products. For instance, Truman's, a direct-to-consumer cleaning product company launched earlier this year, ships concentrated cleaning solutions for counters, floors, glass, and bathrooms in pocket-sized cartridges. You just have to pop the cartridges into a spray bottle filled with water in order to dilute the mixture.

Cleanyst's creators take that idea a bit further. It's relatively easy to mix a thin surface cleaning solution with water, but creating a more viscous soap from concentrate is much harder. In order to create thicker gel mixtures like hand soap and shampoo—and one day, lotion—Cleanyst uses an industrial mixing system similar to what's available in a laboratory. This means even the thick substances mix evenly with the water, which would likely be impossible to achieve by shaking it up by hand.

Water comprises two-thirds or more of the weight of most home and body care products, and by shipping only concentrates, Cleanyst estimates that it can reduce single-use plastic by 80 percent. And while the concentrates are currently being shipped to users in light plastic pouches, the empty pouches can be mailed back to Cleanyst for recycling.

A cardboard box of Cleanyst concentrate packages

Cleanyst, Kickstarter

By reducing shipping and packaging costs, the company is also able to pass on savings to customers—the products are all just a few dollars each, and Cleanyst estimates that the average user can save $150 a year by switching to its system. If you're buying shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, and other personal care products for a family, the savings could be significant over time. All of the home care products cost less than $3 per pouch, while the body wash pouches cost $5 and the shampoo and conditioner pouches cost $6 each.

The kits come with 12-ounce and 16-ounce reusable plastic mixing bottles. (The system automatically dispenses personal care products in 12-ounce quantities and home cleaning products in 16-ounce quantities.) Users can either mix their products in Cleanyst's bottles then use the included spray and pump heads to dispense the final mixture, or use Cleanyst's bottles to mix the products and then transfer the solution to another reusable dispenser.

Buy the Cleanyst system on Kickstarter starting at $99 for the appliance itself, one 12-ounce bottle, one 16-ounce bottle, and two concentrate pouches of your choice. The units are scheduled to ship in December 2019.

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Sur La Table’s Huge Cookware Sale Knocks Up to 55 Percent Off Products From Le Creuset, Staub, and More

From woks to Dutch ovens, the Sur la Table cookware sale is all about variety.
From woks to Dutch ovens, the Sur la Table cookware sale is all about variety.
Sur la Table

If you're looking to upgrade your home kitchen, be sure to check out the cookware sale going on at Sur La Table. From now until April 14, you can take advantage of up to 55 percent off products from Le Creuset, Scanpan, Staub, and other brands during their biggest sale of the year.

To help you get started on your shopping, we pulled together a list of some of our favorite deals, which you can check out below.

Cast-Iron Skillets

- 10.25-Inch Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Skillet $100 (Save $80)
- Set of Three All-Clad Nonstick Skillets $120 (Save $105)
- Set of Two Scanpan 8-Inch and 10.25-Inch Skillets $200 (Save $221)
- All-Clad Stainless-Steel Skillet With Lid $100–$130 (Save $80–$89)
- Set of Two GreenPan 9.5-Inch and 11-Inch Diamond+ Evershine Skillets $130 (Save $130)
- Set of Four Demeyere Resto Mini Skillets $56 (Save $33)

Braisers

A braiser from Sur la Table.
Sur la Table

- 2.25-Quart Le Creuset Signature Braiser $180 (Save $70)
- Scanpan ES5 Braiser with Lid and Fry Basket $200 (Save $150)
- 6-Quart All- Clad D3 Stainless Steel French Braiser with Rack and Lid $250 (Save $50)

Dutch Ovens

- 4.5-Quart Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven $250–$335 (Save up to $166)
- 5.5-Quart Demeyere Silver7 Dutch Oven $256 (Save $144)
- 3.5-Quart BK Dutch Oven $104 (Save $66)

Cocottes

A cocotte full of food.
Sur la Table

- 6-Quart Staub Cast Iron Cochon $250–$280 (Save $207–$215)
- 4-Quart Staub Cocotte $100 (Save $314)
- Set of Three Staub Mini Cocottes $60 (Save $55)

Sauté Pans

- 3-Quart Scanpan CS+ Sauté Pan with Lid $200 (Save $220)
- Demeyere Silver7 Covered Sauté Pan $200–$300 (Save $175–$219)
- 3-Quart Zwilling Clad X3 Sauté Pan $96 (Save $54)

Cookware Sets

A cookware set.
Sur la Table

- 10-Piece All-Clad Copper Cookware Set $1200 (Save $780)
- 15-Piece Demeyere Industry5 Cookware Set with Thermo Lids $1200 (Save $1141)
- Six-Piece Demeyere Atlantis Set $600 (Save $605)

Woks

- 12-Inch Demeyere Industry5 Wok $190 (Save $110)
- 12.5-Inch Scanpan CS+Wok $220 (Save $125)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

10 of the Most Popular Phone Chargers on Amazon

Anker/Yootech/Amazon
Anker/Yootech/Amazon

Smartphones are a daily necessity at this point, whether you're using them for work or socializing (or both at the same time). And with the countless hours people spend on their phones every week, the need to charge them quickly and on the go has only grown. We now need chargers in our homes, in our cars, at the office, and in our travel bags, just to give us enough juice to carry us through the day. To make sure you're never at 5 percent battery while answering important work emails or perusing Reddit, we've rounded up a list of 10 of the best-selling and top-rated phone chargers on Amazon, including solar-powered and wireless models.

1. Yootech Wireless Charger (4.3 stars); $12

wireless phone charger
Yootech/Amazon

This top-rated wireless charger is compatible with most recent smartphones and AirPod models—and you don’t even need to remove your phone case for it to work. Reviewers report that it can fully charge most phone models in two to four hours.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Anker Wireless Charging Stand (4.5 stars); $19

wireless phone charging stand
Anker/Amazon

More than 4400 user reviews gave this wireless charger five stars, praising it for its value and reliability. Plus, the propped angle allows you to charge your phone both vertically and horizontally, letting you watch videos or scroll through social media without losing any battery.

Buy it: Amazon

3. BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank (4.5 stars); $47-$50

solar charger power bank
BLAVOR/Amazon

This solar-powered combination power bank/flashlight/compass is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts (or emergency preparedness devotees). Reviewers say that this charger holds an impressive amount of battery, able to charge two devices at once—with plenty of juice left to spare. Bring it on your next camping trip or keep it stored in an emergency kit.

Buy it: Amazon

4. BigBlue Foldable Solar Charger (4.3 stars); $85

foldable solar charger
BigBlue/Amazon

This lightweight foldable charger includes four weather-resistant solar panels that you can attach to a backpack so you can charge as you hike. While it’s pricier than the other items on this list, users say it packs a punch.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Anker Wall Charger (4.7 stars); $9

Anker wall phone charger
Anker/Amazon

This portable wall charger can accommodate two devices at one time, and user reviews praise this model for its simplicity and durability. Just remember to provide your own charging cable—because this product is compatible with several different device models, it doesn’t come with a cable of its own.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Anker PowerCore Portable Charger (4.5 stars); $46-$56

portable phone charger
Anker/Amazon

We’ve all had those moments where our phones are at 4 percent battery and there’s no outlet in sight. Prepare ahead with this portable charger from Anker, which can handle multiple devices on the go. This charger comes packed with a lot of power—Anker estimates that this device can give smartphones an extra 92 hours of battery life every time it’s recharged. This is exactly the type of charger you need in your bag if you're a commuter.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Anker Dual USB Car Charger (4.7 stars); $9-$12

dual USB car charger
Anker/Amazon

While more and more cars include built-in USB outlets to accommodate smartphones, those of us who drive older cars aren’t quite so lucky. But you can make up for that with this affordable high-speed car charger, which plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and powers multiple devices at once. This charger is compatible with just about any device, provided you have a cable to attach it to the USB port.

Buy it: Amazon

8. ZeeHoo Wireless Car Charger (4.3 stars); $40

wireless car charger phone mount
ZeeHoo/Amazon

This device does double duty as a phone charger and a car mount. It requires a bit of setup to attach this charger to your dashboard, but once that’s complete, your phone can act as a convenient, hands-free GPS while charging up.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Swaller iPhone 8 Plus/7 Plus Battery Case (4.2 stars); $37-$38

iPhone battery case
Swaller/Amazon

This portable charger can give your iPhone an extra 25 hours worth of battery if you’re in a bind. Plus, it’s convenient—you can charge both your phone and the wireless battery case simultaneously using the same charging cable. Have a newer model of iPhone? Swaller’s got you covered with a selection of other battery cases.

Buy it: Amazon

10. HETP Galaxy S8 Battery Case (4 stars); $30-$33

Samsung Galaxy S8 battery case
HETP/Amazon

If you’re not an Apple user at all, you might instead opt for this battery case that’s compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S8. As with Swaller’s iPhone case, you can charge both your phone and the battery case itself at the same time—there’s no need to remove the case in order to get a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

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