Food & Drink

The $4 Trader Joe’s Buy That Will Instantly Upgrade Any Bathroom

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When it comes to bathroom upgrades, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an impact. There are plenty of ways to refresh the space for less than $100, but by far my favorite upgrade is a $3.99 investment I make every week at Trader Joe’s. In addition to the snacks and frozen goods I stock up on, I make sure to pick up a new bouquet of fresh eucalyptus to hang in my shower. (If my local TJ’s is out, the corner bodega sells the same sprigs for the slightly-more-expensive $7.)

It’s a popular detail and one you’ve likely seen on social media time and time again for good reason. It’s soothing! It’s pretty! It adds a splash of green to your shower. But what many Instagram snapshots forget to tell you is that there is some upkeep involved with swapping your eucalyptus out for a new bunch… and if you’re simply hanging the fresh branches up in your shower, you’re missing one crucial detail.

Simply put, you need to crush the eucalyptus a bit to help the plant release its fragrant, spa-like oils.

As detailed by The Cut’s Beauty Director Kathleen Hou, the method is simple, and adds less than a minute to your prep time. She recommends using a rolling pin or a wine bottle to damage the leaves a bit — “Do this over a newspaper or cutting board, or else it will get sticky,” she advises — and then hang them as you normally would. Hou uses a rubber band to affix her eucalyptus to her showerhead, while I’ve repurposed a thick grosgrain ribbon that matches my fixtures.

Step 1: Source some eucalyptus.

You don’t need a lot of it (though I simply hang the entire bunch because I have nowhere else in my apartment to put it). Trader Joe’s typically sells baby blue eucalyptus — I’ve found that branches with larger leaves tend to be more fragrant than smaller branches, but both work.

As Hou mentioned, it’s important to work in a way that contains the eucalyptus oil as you crush the leaves. I’ve found that leaving the eucalyptus in its cellophane packaging helps mitigate the mess, as does laying a garbage bag on top of your counter or work space. As for your tool of choice, you can use a rolling pin, a wine bottle, or anything else that might crush your eucalyptus without damaging the surface under it.

Step 3: Crush your eucalyptus.

A few rolls back and forth will do — it doesn’t need to be comprehensive.

Step 4: Hang your eucalpytus.

The trick is to hang it just behind the shower head — the plant will release its oils when it comes into contact with your shower’s hot steam, rather than the water. You can use a piece of string, a rubber band, or a ribbon to affix the bunch to its new post. The bunch should last about a week, depending on the frequency of your household’s shower schedules.

Ella Cerón

Lifestyle Editor

Ella Cerón is Apartment Therapy’s Lifestyle Editor, covering how to live your best life in the home you’ve made your own. She lives in New York with two black cats (and no, it’s not a bit).

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