Published on June 7, 2018

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Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

We’ve chatted about getting your feet sandal-ready, how to never deal with ingrown hairs, and even how to create the ultimate summer beauty bag for under $30—but I am still dealing with one unresolved summer issue: the unpleasant smell of a stuffy, non-air conditioned home.

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and every time I walk through the door during warm weather, I take one breath and think to myself, “Yep, it’s nearly summer because it smells like hot trash in here.”

Even if you don’t have the true pleasure of experiencing summers in New York (trash smell aside, they really are great, you should visit!), you probably have noticed that your home often smells less than ideal in the summer due to external circumstances. Not to worry: Here’s how to make your home smell like a freshly trimmed English garden, no matter where you live, with practically zero effort involved (seriously, we’re not even going to suggest you strike a match to light a candle).

Nature’s Help

Start with nature, if you’d like, and grab a bunch of fresh eucalyptus or either a lavender bouquet. Place it in a vase and let that fresh scent radiate. Or, if your lavender is potted (fancy!), then you’re pretty much set to go. It’s the not the most powerful scent, but it will last for weeks on end.

The DIY Method

Take an essential oil (I’m partial to Vitruvi)—bonus points for a powerful ones like peppermint or lemongrass—and soak a couple cotton pads or balls with it. Put them at the bottom of your trash can, under the liner, to help prevent stinky trash scents. It actually works though by creating an odor-fighting aura around the can that last for days and days.

The Automated Version

If you are really struggling with a scent-challenged home, then this is your fix: Aera, a diffuser that looks like a fancy speaker (it’s also controllable through the app and works with Alexa, too, which is neat), but actually automates scents throughout your space. And it’s powerful—if you want it to be. It’s entirely adjustable based on how strong of a scent you’d like, and Aera just released the Simplicity Collection, with back-to-the-basics scent capsules, like sandalwood and lavender.

What’s great about this versus a candle is a) you have to light that damn candle after you walk into your home, and b) it’s 100 percent safer than a candle (no flame). This Aera will just sit at home and patiently and diligently puff scent away all day long while you’re hard at work, so when you come home, the house smells divine. And one capsule lasts up to 60 days, for just $39, and it’s $149-199 for the Aera diffuser.

The Sticks One

If you love old school, then stick to (pun!) diffusing, girl! The sticks haven’t always been my favorite option visually, but I cannot deny their powerful ability. Voluspa is beloved for bold scents, and for $20 it’s a steal. Or, if you really want to invest, Diptyque’s diffusers are turning the sticks on their head and making it into an art form with their very inventive hourglass-like design (that, admittedly, does not use sticks).

Old School

What’s more old school than sticks in oil? Cameos or scented ovals. They aren’t quite as powerful as other options, but they are great for a single room. They look gorgeous, and are very effective at infusing a small space with a scent over a long time. I’ve had a Diptyque Scented Oval, $48, for over a year now, it’s mainly lost its scent (unless your close to it, then you can smell it beautifully) but it’s such a nice visual touch, so I keep it around.

Keep on thinking about summer:

Everything You Need for Summer, All for $29
23 Fresh Floral Ideas for the Ultimate Summer Wedding Tablescape
The Product That Will Save Your Haircolor This Summer