How To Use An Essential Oil Diffuser: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re new to essential oil diffusers or you’re thinking about getting one, you’re going to be incredibly happy. Essential oil diffusers are a fun, inexpensive, and natural way to change the ambiance of your entire home and get aromatherapy benefits. If you’re ready to ditch other methods of home fragrance that use chemicals or smoke to add an aroma to the air, you’ll find that diffusing is the perfect alternative. 

Using and caring for your essential oil diffuser is a very simple and straightforward process. Setting it up and cleaning it won’t take but a few moments of your time every here and there. It’s easier than cleaning and programming a coffee pot.

oil diffuser

Why Use An Essential Oil Diffuser For Home Fragrance?

Essential oil diffusers are a popular alternative to scented sprays, incense, and candles. Scented sprays dissipate very quickly, and they often use artificial fragrances and other chemicals to produce that short-term result. People looking to eliminate chemicals from their lives in the name of wellness may not prefer to spray them around their home liberally and often.

Incense works, but it creates smoke. People who are sensitive to smoke or people who are not allowed to have smoke inside of their dwellings cannot use incense. Breathing in smoke all the time, whether it’s from incense or a fireplace, isn’t good for your lungs. Smoke contains a lot of harsh chemicals, even when it’s generated from a source as innocuous as incense. Therefore, the best kind of aroma diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser.

There are also many benefits of essential oils, from peppermint to bergamot. The health benefits of each high quality pure essential oil vary based on the different oils you use, but nearly all of them have some kind of therapeutic benefits. Try out different oil recipes to find your favorite essential oil. Note that we are not giving medical advice, and it is still best to see a healthcare professional when it comes to your health.

How Do Essential Oil Diffusers Work?

Ultrasonic diffusers work with ultrasonic vibrations. Rather than boiling the contents and sending them up in a traditional cloud of steam, strong ultrasonic pulses vibrate the water into smaller particles, causing it to evaporate quickly and be released steadily into the surrounding air as a fine mist. In a way, it also acts as a cool mist humidifier.

Essential oil diffusers like this never run hot, and you can’t get burned by coming into contact with the water. They won’t raise the temperature of your room, and they don’t draw a tremendous amount of electricity. The ultrasonic vibrations are very quiet, so the unit won’t distract you while you’re trying to relax. Aromatherapy diffusers are also subtle enough that the unit will never move during diffusion. You won’t walk in and find it on the opposite side of the counter—it will stay exactly where you put it. So if you're looking for a model, this is the best essential oil diffuser for you.

What Size Essential Oil Diffuser Do I Need?

Essential oil diffusers come in a multitude of different sizes. The size refers to the capacity of the water tank. A small diffuser has a 100ml capacity, but capacities span all the way up to 500ml. The side of the diffuser you need depends on the size of the area you’re looking to diffuse the scent in. 

When you're acting as an aromatherapist, if you want an essential oil diffuser for your bedside table or your bathroom counter, a 100ml diffuser will do the trick. If you’re looking to have a continuous mist with a cumulative effect, enough to fill a large space, you’ll probably want a 500ml diffuser. 

If you aren’t sure, get a mid-sized or large diffuser. You won’t have to refill them as often if you’re only using them for a couple of hours at a time, and it’s not difficult to clean them out and switch scents if you have a change of heart before you’re done with your current blend. 

How Long Should I Leave My Essential Oil Diffuser On For?

How long to leave on your essential oil diffuser depends on the way you intend to use the device. If you only use it to enjoy the mental health benefits while you meditate or do yoga, you probably only need to turn it on for an hour. If you like to use chamomile and lavender essential oil to help you fall asleep and for stress relief, you might want the diffuser to run for a few hours at night. 

The device has settings on the bottom that will allow you to select a time. The longest amount of time is usually a little less than the time it takes for a full tank to completely empty. Smaller devices often max out at three hours. Larger diffusers will have timers for 6 hours or more. 

The longer a diffuser runs, the more it’s able to effectively fill a space. A high capacity essential oil diffuser set on a six-hour timer can fill a large living room with a pleasant, lingering aroma. That aroma may hang around for two days without fully dissipating. If you want a long-lasting fragrance, leave your diffuser on for longer. 

What Kind Of Water Should I Use In My Essential Oil Diffuser?

You can use any kind of water in your essential oil diffuser, including tap water. Tap water or normal bottled water won’t interfere with the way the device works. Newer oil diffusers use sonic vibration instead of heat to create the stream of oil-infused mist. It won’t boil the water and leave behind trace minerals in the tank, the same way a pot of boiling water on the stove might begin to gather mineral buildup.

Diffusers are designed in a way that the water never comes into contact with the important components of the device. The water for dilution and oils will only ever touch the water tank. Debris or minerals can’t make their way into the device, and therefore cannot cause it to malfunction. 

Distilled or purified water can be used, but it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re more comfortable using filtered or purer water for your use of essential oils, do what makes you happy. If you run out and all you have is water from the faucet, you can safely use it without fear of damaging your diffuser. 

How Many Drops Of Essential Oil Do I Need In My Diffuser?

How much oil to use depends on personal preference. The desired strength of your aroma will play into that decision. Essential oils are highly concentrated, and just a few drops will produce a scent that you can perceive 30 or more feet from your diffuser mere minutes after you turn it on. 

If you’re not sure where to start, try using three drops of essential oil for every 100ml of water your diffuser holds. If you want something more intense, go up to 5 drops for every 100ml. If your diffuser has a 400ml tank, anywhere between 12 and 20 drops of oil should be enough to produce the result you want.

Some essential oils may have a more delicate fragrance than others. Things like frankincense, eucalyptus, or patchouli are strong and distinctive aromas that might require fewer drops to achieve a noticeable result. Delicate oils, like honeysuckle, may fare better at a maximum concentration. Expect to play around a little bit, because your personal preference will largely impact the amount of certain oils you’ll want to use. 

Is Essential Oil The Same As Premium Fragrance Oil?

Essential oils and premium fragrance oils are completely different things. Essential oils should be 100% pure plant extracts that exude a concentrated fragrance. While premium fragrance oils may contain some natural ingredients, they’ll also contain some artificial ingredients. This is because some flowers and the majority of fruits cannot produce any meaningful essential oils. 

If you want to add a fragrance you cannot find in an essential oil, use a natural fragrance oil. Things like perfume and liquid potpourri were never designed to be used in an essential oil diffuser. A natural fragrance oil will fare similarly to an essential oil, even though they aren’t the same thing. 

In the same vein, you shouldn't use an essential oil directly on the skin without diluting it with a carrier oil. 

How Do I Clean My Essential Oil Diffuser?

After every five or so uses, you’ll want to clean your essential oil diffuser. You might want to clean it sooner if you’re switching from a minty blend to a citrus blend or something else significantly different. To clean the device, turn it off and disconnect it from the power source. Safely pour the remaining water out of the tank. Use mild dish soap on a warm, wet cloth to cleanse the inside, give it a good rinse with clean water, and then wipe it down with a dry cloth. 

There is never any need to use a chemical like bleach or a disinfectant inside of your oil diffuser. When you do this, you’re running the risk of leaving chemicals inside of your water tank. The next time you turn it on, you’re atomizing things that are dangerous to breathe in and filling your space with chemicals. Don’t ever wash your essential oil diffuser with something you wouldn’t use to wash your dishes with. 


girl sniffing aroma oil

Essential oil diffusers are effective, natural, safe, easy to use, and simple to care for. Creative people will love all the fun that comes with designing custom fragrance blends. If you’re not sure what to use, you can start by using premixed essential oil blends or following diffuser blend recipes you can easily find on the internet. Just don’t limit yourself. Sooner or later, you’ll be creating your own unique fragrance blends and sharing them with the world.


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