help! i need a narrow bottle brush


Last year, quite a few of our readers were enthused about the Soda Stream and other at-home water carbonators. But now reader Christine has a cleaning question:

Can anyone find a bottle brush that fits the bottles provided with the Penguin water carbonator? I can’t find one that is small enough for the bottle openings. Help! Love my Penguin!

We checked around, and enjoyed reading posts like this one at AT, but couldn’t find mentions of cleaning the bottles — any sources for Christine out there?

From our partners

yet another green cleaner: citrus and salt


I hope we’re not annoying you with too many green cleaner posts, but when I saw this post at Re-Nest on how to scrub the tub with half a grapefruit and some salt, I had to give it a try. The comments at the original post were divided, with one person proclaiming it “Absurd!” (harsh) and more than one complaining that it was a waste of a grapefruit. Well, I figured one acidic citrus would do as well as another, so I bought a large lemon, halved it, and coupled it with some sea salt to take on my own tub and sink. For the tub, mixed reviews, but I’m starting to suspect it’s just my tub. I’ve written before about how our house is a work in progress — it was previously a rental, and it’s become apparent that someone cleaned the tub with something that removed a lot of the shiny finish. So while my tub smelled amazing after a scrubbing with lemon and salt, it didn’t look a whole lot cleaner to the eye. Our sink, however, has its porcelain finish, and it looks fantastic! Shiny as new! I will caution you that some of the commenters warn against using large-grain salt on an acrylic finish because it could scratch. See the how-to with grapefruit here. — Mary T.

Putting more green cleaners to the test
Make your own green cleaners

From our partners

come rain or shine: an indoor/outdoor rug roundup


I’ve been trying — as many of us have, I’m sure — to spruce up our beyond-hideous deck for prime summer enjoyment. It’s a great space, don’t get me wrong — it’s just in dire need of a couple of repairs and a new coat of paint or two. But in the meantime (or at least until it stops raining for a few days) I’m planning on just covering it up with a cute indoor/outdoor rug. I’ve scoured the web for some options, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far, ranging from $35- $200:

Dash and Albert have a stunning diamond rug, above, starting at $34 for a 2’x3′.


I love the candy apple red design on this Henri Floral Rio Mat from Cost Plus World Market, $40 for a 6’x9′.


I’ve always been a fan of Chilewich placemats and runners, but I’m absolutely in love with these 24″x36″ spun vinyl utility mats, $75.


If your tastes tend to the more traditional side, perhaps this trompe l’oeil Persian rug floor mat (made from polyester and foam) from Urban Outfitters, $148 for a 66″x46″, is a good choice.


I love the bold geometric design of this indoor/outdoor rug from, a large 7’10″x11′ for $178.


Last but definitely not least is the ultra-cool reversible pegboard rug from CB2, 5’x8′, $200.

I’ll probably end up getting more than one — what doesn’t go on the deck will be great in our sad dungeon of a basement! — Megan B.

From our partners

kinda genius: portable phone charging shelf


Recently, I won tickets to a cage fight in St. Louis (seriously), so I packed my bags, hopped on Amtrak, and played house guest at a friend’s place. It’s a little thing, but I usually end up plugging my phone charger into the first available place and letting the cord and phone pool on the floor, hoping it won’t get stepped on or mistaken for a chew toy. No longer, fellow couch surfers! The Mobile Device Charging Holder from Driinn, $10, has quickly gone to the top of my travel essentials list. It’s a simple idea that turns any wall socket into a convenient, mess-free charging station. — Katie D.

From our partners

post off: how do you feel about yard sales?


Growing up, I don’t remember ever going to a yard sale, at least not until I was in high school — and by then I was at the age where I hated going with my Mom to look through other people’s stuff. (Ironic, given my love for antiques.) What I do remember, however, were farm auctions: fields full of tools, equipment, old harnesses, generations of accumulated furniture, linens, and magazines, all of which served as perfect mazes to run through with my siblings and friends. While I haven’t been to a farm auction in ages, I have finally become an official suburbanite after staging my first yard sale. It was a ton of effort, but by following tips from the Yard Sale Queen, we got rid of most everything. Plus we taught the kids another way to practice the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). I’m just not ready to do it again for at least another 10 years. What about you? Are you planning a yard sale this year? — Sarah L.

From our partners