How Many Drops Of Essential Oil To Add In A Diffuser

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and the tank of your diffuser may look very large in comparison to the amount of a few drops of oil. Determining how much essential oil you need for diffusing may not be intuitive. If you operate under the assumption of volume, you’ll wind up creating a strong and overwhelming aroma. If you operate under the assumption of concentration, you may not produce a fragrance at all. 

Figuring out what number of drops of your favorite essential oil to add to your diffuser is equal parts science and art. You want a skillful blend, but you need to make sure you’re using the right amount of each oil to create a perfect balance in that blend. This depends on a variety of factors, including the volume of your diffuser’s tank.

smell aroma oil

The Size Of The Tank

Essential oil diffusers come with tanks of different sizes anywhere between 100ml and 500 ml. In terms of what number of drops of essential oil you should use, the best rule to use is five drops per 100 ml. Your 500 ml diffuser can handle up to 25 total drops of essential oil to produce a stronger fragrance that will permeate over a larger area. However, if you’re using that diffuser in a smaller area, such as a bathroom, you may not want to overwhelm the space with such a concentrated fragrance, so keep the size of the room in mind. 

If you want a more subtle fragrance or if you use your diffuser in a small space like a bathroom or a closet (to “air it out” and make your clothes smell nice), use 3 drops for an 100ml diffuser. This means a 500ml tank would have 15 total drops of essential oil, about ten less than it should in a large area or for a strong fragrance.

How Long Does It Diffuse For?

Diffusers can typically run for anywhere between an hour and 6 hours before the tank is completely depleted. All the while, the aroma from the essential oil blends is accumulating in the area. The steady stream will leave behind a fragrance that might be absorbed (temporarily) by hand towels, bed linens, or curtains. The aroma isn’t just drifting away—it’s making itself a part of your environment. 

Since the aroma can accumulate, you might not want to use a strong concentration over a lower period of time. Using a strong concentration for an hour in the morning can leave a space smelling like your favorite aromatherapy blend for the whole day. So can using a mild concentration for six hours. 

If your diffuser is out in a giant open space, like an open floorplan living room that shares the air with the dining room and the kitchen, using a strong blend for 6 hours may not be a bad idea. If it’s in your bedroom with an adjoining bathroom and you’re leaving all the doors open, a mild blend for 3 hours will probably be perfect. It all depends on the quality of your diffuser and the way it works.

If you like to go to bed with your room already smelling like lavender, vanilla, and chamomile to help you drift away to sleep, you can set a strong concentration for 6 hours before you go to work. When you come home, it will have softened down to the perfect aromatherapy levels. Or, you can put the mild blend on for half the time when you come in to change out of your work clothes. After you’ve made dinner and you’re ready to lay down, you’ll also have a perfect environment.

It all depends on your preference. You might want to experiment with a few trial and error scenarios to determine what will work best with your favorite blends in your desired space. It's all about what the best essential oils are for you and how you use them. Keep a little journal with your blends, their concentrations, and the time diffused. This will act as your guide to perfect aromatherapy and wellness. 

What Kind Of Water Should I Use In My Diffuser?

There are a myriad of conflicting opinions about what kind of water should be used in an essential oil diffuser. Some manufacturers and enthusiasts claim that tap water or normal bottled water is the best for dilution. This is because both forms of water contain minerals, and these minerals help to disburse the essential oils throughout the air. 

Others worry about what the buildup of minerals can do to the device over time, and this is a valid concern. If you’re ever forgotten a boiling pot of water on the stove and seen most of its contents evaporate, you might notice there’s a little bit of residue from the tap water minerals on the side. That’s why some people say that using distilled or purified water is best.

Diffusers only warm up just enough to create a light and steady stream of vapor. They don’t reach a rapid boil that might separate water from minerals. The majority of any minerals in the water will become a harmless part of the vapor and leave the diffuser. 

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. You can use whatever water you prefer to use. If you run out of purified or filtered water, there’s no reason to be afraid to use water right from the tap. It won’t harm you or your ultrasonic diffuser.

Can I Use Carrier Oils In My Diffuser?

We’re often reminded that many essential oils need to be used with a carrier oil, like sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. The function of the carrier oil is as simple as it sounds—it’s an oil that carries the essential oils. Essential oils are very concentrated, and they shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin or hair without some kind of carrier oil to act as a buffer. 

In your diffuser, water is taking the place of carrier oil. There’s no need to add a carrier oil to your diffuser. Sometimes, people do so because they like the scent of the carrier oil. Almond oil is a popular choice. It will not evaporate, so you’ll likely have to clean the tank between each use. There’s always the alternative of bitter almond oil, which is an essential oil that smells like almonds, and it will evaporate. 

Even though there’s no reason to use a carrier oil in your diffuser, you should still have some on hand. If you really love a blend and you decide you’d like to turn it into a massage oil, hair treatment, or a moisturizer, you can always mix the same concentration of oils into the same volume of carrier oil to make a version of the fragrance you can apply topically. 

How Do I Create Custom Blends For My Diffuser?

You can create custom blends for your diffuser however you’d like. People who really put their diffusers to work often post their custom recipes and blends online. Some of them have figured out how to perfectly mimic the smells of certain foods, like apple pie or cinnamon rolls. Others have completely recreated iconic perfumes with nothing but essential oils. 

If you don’t know where to start, read a few recipes. Simply studying them will give you an idea of how well certain oils play together and what kind of mood they create when they do. This is an excellent jumping-off point for learners. 

Alternatively, you can spend a few minutes on perfume review websites. Open up your favorite fragrances, and the notes will be explained. Many of these notes will also exist in the form of essential oils. You can experiment with blends to mimic expensive perfumes and either diffuse essential oil blends or combine them with a mild carrier oil to create your own version of a designer perfume.

You might find some commonalities that you’d never considered before. A lot of people use creamy florals like jasmine essential oil with bright or sweet citrus like grapefruit or clementine essential oils. These fragrances naturally complement each other. They round out their opposing notes beautifully, producing a balanced aroma. 

If you’re looking to create diffuser blends that do more than just smell good, you’ll want to study up on the medicinal properties of each essential oil. Frankincense, peppermint, tea tree, bergamot, cedarwood, and eucalyptus essential oils are often used in blends to ease sinus congestion or help people relax when they’re sick. In this case, the smell isn’t really that important. The purpose it serves is the main event, and anything else is a bonus. Just as a disclaimer, we're not trying to give you healthcare or medical advice. Your essential oil diffuser is meant as a helpful tool that may improve your health, but will not replace medical help. 


the girl drinks coffee and looks out the window

Diffusers are the perfect aromatherapy tool for relaxation. They’re also a fun, creative project that encourages you to experiment and try new things. You can stick with tried and true essential oil combinations, use premade blends, or only diffuse one oil at a time if you’re not sure what you like. 

As you become more comfortable with your diffuser, experiment with it. You need a fragrance that truly makes you feel refreshed, upbeat, and content. You need something that makes it easy for you to sleep like a baby. Don’t be afraid to play with custom blends to determine what works best for you.


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