This Funny-Looking $10 Candle Turned My Vet’s Office Into a Day Spa

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It’s slightly embarrassing, but works wonders.

You know those Febreze commercials where blindfolded volunteers sit on a couch and describe the lovely, fresh scents they smell? While the viewer can see they’re actually in a dungeon of filth that looks like a Saw set? Well, I had a similarly uncanny experience when I took my two cats to their current veterinarian for the first time.

As a lifelong pet owner, I know vets’ offices usually smell exactly how you’d expect a small space stuffed with furry animals to smell — not so pleasant. But when the elevator opened, a blindfolded me would’ve assumed I’d hit the wrong floor. Instead of pet odor, the aroma of orange blossoms and Aperol spritzes filled the air. I wasn’t in an Italian apricot orchard though. I was most definitely in a vet’s office, and yet it smelled like a day spa.

I had to ask the doctor what sorcery he used to create this olfactory oasis. “It’s the Pet Odor Exterminator Candle,” he said, gesturing to an unassuming glass-jar candle on a shelf. He explained that it works not by filling the air with a new scent to overpower the stink, but by releasing a blend of natural enzymes — the titular “exterminator” — that break down airborne animal odors at a molecular level. Could this, let’s just say it, ugly candle with bad font really work better than others I’ve tried? Better than expensive versions from Diptyque and Byredo?

I ordered the Orange Lemon Splash the vet had been using, and it worked just as well in my apartment as it did in his office. I keep one in the bathroom where the litter boxes live and another in the kitchen or living room to neutralize smells of feline food and fur lingering in the air. Cat odors no longer assault visitors as they walk through the door, and new guests often can’t believe I even own cats. All the other scents I’ve tried, like the clean-laundry-smelling Clothesline Fresh and the autumnal Harvest Cider, are equally effective. I doubt I’ll use any other candle again, and with more than 30 varieties available, I’ll never get bored of the same smell. Next up: Hippie Love and Sugar Skull.

Specialty Pet Products Pet Odor Exterminator Candle
From $8, Amazon

Other nice-smelling Strat-approved products

The Laundress Home Spray
$15, Amazon

Writer Brennan Kilbane recently raved about the clean and fresh-smelling Home Spray from the Laundress “as a dry shampoo for upholstery, bedding, curtains, basically any fabric tainted by your filthy life — and wool and cashmere.” Formulated without chemicals like ammonia or eco-unfriendly sodium phosphate, “it’s safe to use around pets, too.”

Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candle
$7, Bed Bath & Beyond

Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton called this well-priced Mrs. Meyer’s candle a “straight-up staple.” When her neighbor smokes cigarettes, she depends on this candle, that “completely knocks the scent out of my apartment.” Be like Rio and buy these in bulk.

Boy Smells Ash Candle
Photo: foursquare
Boy Smells Ash Candle
$29, Nordstrom

Another Rio favorite, the Boy Smells Ash candle offers a clean scent that isn’t overpowering. Rio promises it “will spruce up your apartment and create the illusion that it’s cleaner than it really is,” which any pet owner would appreciate.

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This $10 Candle Turned My Vet’s Office Into a Day Spa