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.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Celebrate the Holidays With a Harry Potter Sock Advent Calendar From Target

Target
Target

Harry Potter Advent calendars are becoming a new Christmas tradition among wizards and witches at heart. For the 2019 holiday season, LEGO is launching an Advent calendar set of Harry Potter minifigures, and Funko is releasing its own calendar themed around the Yule Ball. Now, Bustle reports that Target is getting in on the action with four new Advent calendars packed with Harry Potter-themed socks.

No matter what type of Harry Potter fan you are, there's a batch of socks for you in Target's line-up. If you're someone who gets assigned a different house every time you take a sorting hat quiz, go with the first Advent calendar. It includes socks in men sizes 6 through 12 emblazoned with the crests and colors of all four Hogwarts houses.

The other three packs feature women's socks with a somewhat random assortment of designs. You'll find footwear branded with iconic Harry Potter imagery, like Hedwig the owl, the golden Snitch, and the Hogwarts Express. Other socks bear quotes from the books and films, like "Mischief Managed" from the Marauder's Map and Hagrid's famous one-liner, "You're a wizard, Harry."

Every Harry Potter Advent calendar from Target comes with 15 pairs of socks, working out to just $1 a pair. If you'd like to start planning the holiday season early this year, you can order them today from Target.com. And to make the holidays even more magical, don't miss out on this Hogwarts castle tree topper that plays "Hedwig's Theme."

Harry Potter socks from Target.
Target

Harry Potter sock advent calendar.
Target

Harry Potter socks from Target.
Target

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy.

8 Fun Bookmarks to Keep Your Place

iStock
iStock

Why settle for a torn piece of paper or receipt when you can have something way more exciting? These bookmarks are for readers who want to add some extra whimsy to their reading routine.

1. Sprouts; $12.50

These ingenious silicone markers don’t work like normal bookmarks. Shaped like adorable sprouts, they fit inside your book and mark the exact line you’re at on the page. Because they’re made with a flexible material, you can close the book easily with the sprout inside and it will spring back to shape when you open the book again. The sprouts come in sets of six. For a little luck, check out the four-leaf clover iteration.

Find it: Amazon

2. Butterflies; $10


If you've ever wanted to have a real Disney princess moment, consider buying these bookmarks, which will make it look like butterflies have perched on your books. The set comes with 10 pieces in a variety of designs.

Find it: Amazon

3. Crocodile; $13

These clever placeholders create the illusion that a crocodile is lurking on top of your book. When you lift up this intimidating bookmark, it shows the reptile’s sharp teeth, warning others not to dare lose your place. (If mammals are more your style, there is also a hippo option.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Lamp; $13

Let this lamp-shaped bookmark illuminate where you left off. The lamp shape sits on top of the book while the yellow light-beam fits snuggly between the pages. It comes in three colors: white, red, and gray.

Find it: Amazon

5. Literary Feet; $24

Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and only her feet stuck out? You can recreate that iconic movie scene with a bookmark. Even better, the design isn’t restricted to just the witch: You can get all kinds of famous book character feet to stick out of your book. Just some of the literary legs available include Alice from Alice in Wonderland, a direwolf from A Song of Ice and Fire, and a magician from Harry Potter. There are also some non-book selections, like animals, ballerinas, and Yoda.

Find it: Amazon

6. Food; $30

Let some of your favorite food keep your place. The plush bookmarks feature a slice of pizza, ice cream, coffee, and an ice cream sandwich.

Find it: Amazon

7. Magnetic pals; $5

You’ll be even more motivated to read if you have a small buddy smiling at you from the side of your book. You can attach them to any place on the side of the page, so you know exactly where you are in the story.

Find it: Amazon

8. Pointers; $7

These bookmarks also mark the exact place in the book, but without the help of magnets. Instead, they come with stretchy loops that wrap around the entire book. A hand pointing can pinpoint the exact word, in case you’re the type that stops reading mid-sentence. They come in packs of three.

Find it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy.

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