Relaxation and Aromatherapy: How to Use an Oil Diffuser

Did you know that diffusing lemon oil can immediately brighten your mood?

Borrowing heavily from centuries of herbal history, the use of essential oils via diffusion has become rather popular.

And no wonder. After all, aromatherapy, also called 'essential oil therapy,' has a huge list of benefits, ranging from stress reduction to pain management.

If you're new to the realm of aromatherapy and the use of diffusers, you've come to the right place.

Keep on reading to learn all about the different types of diffusers on the market, how to use an oil diffuser, and the best tips on oil selection and maintaining your diffuser.

How to Pick the Right Essential Oil Diffuser

The very first step in learning how to use an oil diffuser would be getting one. Sounds quite simple, no?

Well, not quite. There is a multitude of oil diffuser options available to you, so let's take a deep dive into the different types of oil diffusers and which one would be best suited to you.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

These diffusers might sound a bit intimidating for the diffusing newbie, but the machine itself is rather easy to use. 

In the simplest of terms, ultrasonic diffusers use electronic frequencies to create vibrations in the water added to the diffuser. These vibrations produce that lovely fine mist of water and essential oils, which are released to the air for you to enjoy.

As these diffusers use water, people love to get them for their humidifying qualities as well, especially in winter. You can even get a diffuser-humidifier combo if you're dealing with extreme dryness.

Unfortunately, you'll find that the majority of ultrasonic diffusers are made of plastic, which isn't the greatest option for the environment.

Also, there's a possibility that badly-made ultrasonic diffusers' plastic might negatively interact with the essential oils and mess up its quality.

Nebulizing Diffuser

Unlike ultrasonic diffusers, this type of diffuser doesn't use water at all. It works by breaking up the essential oils into minuscule molecules, then diffusing them out by air. 

Furthermore, these diffusers tend to come with timers.

It's a great perk for beginners who aren't sure how long they should have their diffuser on, or if you want to turn on your diffuser before going to bed. This way you won't have to worry about getting out of bed to turn your diffuser off.

Heat (Or Candle) Diffusers

Using heat to diffuse the oil, heat diffusers (also known as candle diffusers) can come in a plethora of different shapes and sizes. 

If you're mainly looking for a decor piece that's also a diffuser, then you can easily take your pick out of heat diffusers. 

On the other hand, they're less effective than nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers in diffusing the oil. The heat can change the chemical makeup of the essential oil, which can alter the smell of the diffused oil.

How to Use an Oil Diffuser 101

pours oil into the oil diffuser

Now that you know all about the different types of diffusers on the market, you'll be able to grab the one that's best for you.

Which brings us to the core question, how does one use an essential oil diffuser? 

Let's find out. 

Step One: Choose Your Location Wisely

The perfect spot for a diffuser would be an open area with a solid surface or tabletop to keep the diffuser stable and prevent any wobbling. 

In addition, make sure that the spot you've picked has an outlet to plug your diffuser. Also, if you're using an ultrasonic diffuser, add a towel or a placemat underneath the diffuser, especially if you're placing it on a wooden surface.

Furthermore, don't place your diffuser in direct sunlight to avoid any alteration of the essential oil.

Step Two: Add Water

The next step would be filling your diffuser's water tank to the specified fill line of the water reservoir. You can use clean tap water that's at room temperature. 

Of course, this step can be modified according to your type of diffuser. If you're using a nebulizing or heat diffuser, make sure to check out the manufacture's instruction.  

Yet, if you're using a regular ultrasonic diffuser, it's critical to avoid overfilling the water tank. It can prevent your diffuser from operating properly.

Step Three: Add in Essential Oils

This is the fun part. 

Now you can add 3-10 drops of essential oils to the water. Or, if you're not using an ultrasonic diffuser, the instruction manual will guide you on how many drops of essential oils to use, as well as where to place them.

Generally, putting six drops of essential oil is more than enough to get the benefits of the phenols. Yet, there's a range of drops depending on personal preference and your sensitivity to scents. 

We'll also tackle the science and exact ratios that you can follow when it comes to essential oil portions.

For now, feel free to create your mixtures of different essential oil blends. Don't worry, we'll be discussing the most common types of essential oils later.

Step Four: Turn Your Diffuser On

First, place the top (or the cap) of the diffuser back on according to the manufacturer's manual, and you're set. 

You can also play around with the available features if you're diffuser model has color-changing LED lights. Turn on your diffuser and enjoy the plethora of benefits that aromatherapy can provide to you.

Step Five: Sit on Your Memory Foam Cushion

Aromatherapy can be targeted towards better focus or relaxation. If you're aiming for a good focus session at work, make sure you're using a memory foam cushion for your office chair.

This way you get to target you're actual comfort levels on both the orthopedic and sensory perspective. And if you're also dealing with back pain, then make sure to add in a back cushion for lumbar support for optimal back pain relief.

The Right Amount of Essential Oil Drops to Use in a Diffuser

The short answer would be: it depends on your diffuser's water tank size as well as your sensitivity to smells and odors.

It's key to understand what essential oils actually are. They're a highly concentrated version of a specific plant. Thus, in order to use them properly, you'll have to dilute them beforehand. 

As it were, essential oils can transform into irritants if they're used incorrectly and can have negative effects on your health. If you have difficulty breathing or show signs of respiratory distress, you're using too much, whether you're using bergamot or spearmint.

Water Tank Size to Drops Ratio

The best place to start would be identifying your diffuser's water tank size in milliliters. 

Determine whether it's 100 ml, 200 ml, and so on. Then, follow this rule of thumb:

  • Add 3-5 drops of essential oil for 100 ml of water in your diffuser

The exact amount of drops will differ depending on your personal preference, the size of the room, and even your age and the age of the people who are around. 

For instance, if you have kids and pets around, then going for three drops would be the right place to start. This way you can experiment and make sure that the intensity isn't too high.

It's also important for pet owners to note that essential oils are not meant for pet ingestion, and if your animal shows signs of a toxicity issue like intense drooling, you should contact the ASPCA animal poison control center, your local poison center, or a pet poison helpline.

The Best Essential Oils for Diffusers

From tea tree oil to wintergreen to sweet birch essential oil, there is a full cornucopia's worth of essential oils on the market. 

It can be a bit overwhelming to pick and choose which ones to put in your diffuser first. Therefore, let's take a look at the most popular types of essential oils that you can use on their own, as well as their main health benefits.

  • Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint oil is known for its calming and relaxing effects. You can diffuse peppermint essential oil while preparing for bed. It'll help reduce stress, restlessness, and anxiety
  • Lavender Essential Oil: Renowned for its relaxation benefits, you can diffuse lavender essential oil on its own whenever you feel like a dose of calm is needed. Also, it's been shown to reduce nausea as well.
  • Frankincense Essential Oil: It's great to diffuse when you want to have a meditation session or you're looking for an uplifting scent that improves your ability to focus. Frankincense essential oil works on decreasing anxiety, and increasing spiritual awareness.
  • Lemon Essential Oil: We all love the smell of lemons and the freshness it immediately adds to a room. Lemon essential oil is lovely to diffuse for a strong dose of detoxifying and energizing session. It's important to note that citrus oils make you more sensitive to the sun, so take the proper precautions. 
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil: There's a reason eucalyptus is strongly present in patches that deal with nasal congestion and respiratory issues. Eucalyptus oil eases your breathing and widens the air sacs in your lungs. 
  • Sweet Orange Essential Oil: Similar to lemon essential oil and other citrus-based oils, sweet orange essential oil gives a cheerful scent that can improve your mood, detoxify the room and make it smell fresh. Plus, it can help with digestion as well

Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive. There are so many more essential oils out there, from ylang ylang to oregano to lemongrass, waiting for you to try them all out.

Tips on How to Use Your Diffuser Correctly

At this point, you've learned enough to go right ahead and give your diffuser a try.

But, there are a couple of great tips we want to share with you. They'll make your aromatherapy experience a lot better, as well as avoid some of the most common mistakes in diffusing essential oils. 

1. Check Your Oils for Allergies

This tip is critical, especially if you're already dealing with allergies of one type or another.

Of course, if you already know that you're allergic to lemons, then you can easily avoid getting lemon essential oil or blends with lemon oil in them.

However, there might be essential oils that you've never used before, so you might be allergic to a certain ingredient without knowing.

Here's how you can check your oils (before diffusing them) for allergies. Simply add a drop of the essential oil with half a teaspoon of coconut oil on a band-aid. Then, place the band-aid just below your wrist. 

Wait for 15 minutes, then check if there's a skin reaction or signs of irritation. If t

2. Clean Your Diffuser on a Regular Basis

The thing about diffusers, especially water-based ones, is that they're usually wet or damp. This makes them a perfect breeding ground for mold, which brings us to the importance of cleaning your diffuser regularly.

Start by wiping down your diffuser after each use. This is great for preventing mold build-up and preventing cross-contamination of the oils. 

Furthermore, take a look at the cleaning and maintenance instructions that come with your diffuser. It'll specify the required frequency of deep cleaning, so your device can stay clean and mold-free. 

Overall, the standard deep cleaning frequency is around once a month.

3. Don't Leave Your Diffuser on for Hours at a Time

We know it's tempting to leave your diffuser on all-night to promote relaxation or even all-day for a continual boost of focus. 

However, overdoing it can cause nasty side effects like headaches and nausea. The healthiest practice is to keep your diffuser on for 30 minutes at a time. 

This duration will give the diffuser enough time to disperse the essential oil throughout the room effectively. Afterward, turn it off for an hour (minimum).

4. Keep an Eye on Your Pets

Are essential oils safe for pets? It's vital that you keep an eye on your pets when you're using a diffuser and check whether it's causing them health issues. 

According to the ASPCA, or The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, essential oils are a common toxic cause of tremors, specifically in cats.

If you start noticing that your pet might be falling ill, turn off your diffuser and ventilate the room. If you don't see them getting better, or their symptoms are actually getting worse, take them to the vet as soon as possible for help on toxicology.

Later, take a close look at the essential oil's ingredient list. There's a high probability that your pet's adverse reaction is due to an added ingredient and not the oil itself.

oil diffuser next to a flower on a green background

Own Your Environment With Diffusers and Cushions

It might seem silly at first, that using a diffuser and getting orthopedic cushions can transform your work or home environment. Yet, research shows that our environment can deeply affect our health and mental state.

Now that you know everything there is to know about how to use an oil diffuser, you're ready to go ahead and enjoy the holistic benefits of aromatherapy with a boost from your well-chosen cushions. 

Also, if you're traveling around, make sure you're covered and have your travel accessories on hand. But for now, check out our comfy reads, where we cover all things comfort like mist humidifiers and much more.

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