17 Ways to diffuse essential oils WITHOUT a diffuser!

Essential oils are becoming extremely popular these days and diffusing them is by far, the most popular method. But what if you don’t have a diffuser or if you’re traveling? Here we will discuss how to diffuse essential oils without a diffuser and also provide many methods you can take advantage of.

Woman inhaling essential oils on her wrist.

No Diffuser?

Diffusing essential oils without a diffuser is actually easy to do! First, I think it’s important to understand the definition of diffusion. According to Wikipedia, diffusion is, “the net movement of anything from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration.” So in this case, we can think about essential oils as the source of “higher concentration” and the air as “lower concentration”.

The sole purpose of diffusing oils is releasing them into the air so we can inhale them. They then enter into our olfactory system and begin their effects. Because essential oils are naturally volatile, they will immediately begin evaporating in the air when exposed to it. They do not need an ultrasonic, nebulizing, heat or evaporative diffuser to pass into the air. They simply just need to be exposed to air.

Some diffusers that allow the oils to evaporate into the air are wooden diffusers.

With that said, choosing the best source to diffuse oils is totally up to you and what works best for you and your needs!

The Best Times To Diffuse

When we diffuse, we use oils aromatically by inhaling the aromas. The best times to diffuse is when we want to accomplish the following:

  1. Boost immunity
  2. Change your mood
  3. Cleanse the air
  4. Deodorize items
  5. Provide respiratory support

These are just a few reasons why people diffuse but often the most popular. HOW you diffuse is the fun part! Check out these methods for diffusing and play around with them. There are no rules when it comes to diffusing without a diffuser!

1. Using Your Hands

Your hands are the easiest and most efficient way to obtain the benefits of essential oils. To do this, just add 1-2 drops of an essential oil of your choice directly to the palms of your hands, rub them together and then take a few deep breaths. Always make sure when you apply essential oils directly aka “neat” you do so cautiously. Some oils are more potent than others and can irritate your skin. Also be careful not to touch your eyes.

Woman diffusing essential oils using spray bottle.

2. Directly From A Bottle

As soon as you open an essential oil bottle, you will immediately begin smelling the aromas because of its volatility. So hold the bottle close to your nose and inhale a few times. This is the safest, cheapest and most efficient ways to obtain the benefits of oils.

3. Portable Inhalers

Portable inhalers are one of my favorite ways to diffuse oils. They are small, compact, inexpensive and last a long time. Most importantly, they allow us to dilute and blend together oils as needed. Check out these portable inhalers from Amazon.

Reed diffuser by a window.

4. Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers work but you need a lot of oil to really smell the aroma however they do beat artificial fragrances. You only need a small glass bottle or vase, some essential oils, a carrier oil and vodka (or any alcohol). Read about how to make your own reed diffusers here.

5. Spray Bottle (Pillow/Linen Spray/Cleaning)

I love linen sprays because how light and airy they are however most contain fragrances and toxic chemicals that are not good for us. Making your own is super easy. Just add some lavender oil or other oil of choice to some water. The number of drops would depend on the size of your bottle.

As for cleaning sprays, citrus essential oils are the best and often have antibacterial properties. You can add them to vinegar, peroxide or simply water. Spray on your floors or carpets for instant freshness.

Toilet paper holder next to reed diffuser in bathroom.

6. Toilet Paper Holder

Adding a few drops of oils inside your toilet paper holder is a quick way to freshen up a room when expecting company. Know that this way to diffuse oils is not as lasting.

Furnace filter being pulled out.

7. Furnace Filters

Furnace filters are rectangular air filters placed inside your HVAC units. You can add a few drops of essential oils directly to them when you change them out every few months. This will allow your furnace to blow or “diffuse” the aromas all over your house to each room. You can also add a filter to each separate vent in your house and drop more oils into them as well. This would allow you to diffuse different oils in different rooms.

Yes it does require some extra effort to unscrew the vents if dropping oils directly onto the filters. You can also spray oils onto the filters if this is an easier option.

Cotton balls in container ready to diffuse.

8. Cotton Balls

Cotton balls soak up essential oils well. So adding a few drops to a handful of cotton balls and tossing them in your purse, a small bag, your car, dresser drawers, under car seats, bottom of your trash cans or any container can diffuse oils easily in small or stinky places.

Potpourri in a bowl with diffusing essential oils.

9. Pinecones/Potpourri

If it’s holiday time, pinecones are great diffusers. Just drop a few drops of oil into each pinecone and add them to a large bowl. They will diffuse the aromas in smaller rooms like bathrooms or hallways. You can also purchase dried leaves or flowers, add them to a small bowl and add a few drops off different oils to create your own potpourri blends.

10. Necklaces

Necklaces are one of my other favorite ways to diffuse oils. They are portable, easy to change, and look fashionable. What these necklaces have inside them are small gauze pads which we add a few drops of oils to. Then, when we are needing a sense of calm or need to de-stress, you can lift the pendent up to your nose and take a few deep breaths. It also serves as a natural perfume! Check out these necklaces.

11. Bracelets

Bracelets are similar to necklaces in the method they diffuse oils. They are better in that they allow you to swap out the bracelet colors to match your outfit which is always a fun option. Here are some diffuser bracelets.

12. Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are great diffusers because of how porous they are. Drop a few droplets onto them and they will release the aromas for days. Use them to remove bad odors, cleanse the air to uplift your mood. Check out these.

Little girl sleeping with a teddy bear stuffed animal.

13. Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals can easily act as diffusers for young children. Add a few drops to the inside or outside of your child’s favorite teddy bear and they will naturally breathe the aromas in during the night.

14. Vacuum Filter

This is a secret not many people know about. Like mentioned above, adding oils to the vacuum filters is an easy way to freshen the rooms and your vacuum! Each vacuum has a filter so add a few drops before you let loose.

Vacuuming a carpet.

15. Carpet Deodorizer

Carpets start to have an odor after a while especially if you have pets. Since baking soda is a natural deodorizer, I love to add a few drops of essential oils to baking soda and use a sifter to sift the powder all over the carpets. After 15-30 minutes, I will vacuum the baking soda up! This also keeps the vacuum smelling good! Tip* A large spice bottle, like oregano, works wonderfully because it has larger holes.

Dryer balls on table.

16. Dryer Balls

Dryer balls naturally soften fabrics without the chemicals so you can simply add a few drops of essential oils to dryer balls to diffuse your clothes with a fresh smell. You will need to add quite a bit of oils to the balls to really notice since oils do not like heat. I suggest not drying them long or rather, adding dry clothes and just set your dryer to “air dry” to get the full benefits.

18. Car Vent Diffusers

Toss out those Christmas tree air fresheners! Essential oil car diffusers are the best! They work similar to the other accessories listed above in that they have a pad inside of them. Just pop out the pad, drop some oils onto them and stick them back into your diffuser. Clip your diffuser onto the air vent and the air will blow the aroma all of your car diffusing any blend you wish with ZERO toxins! They are interchangeable and super easy to remove.

Final Tips

When diffusing essential oils, there are no rules. Just remember, the idea is to inhale the oils any way, any how. Know that some of the methods will last longer than others but none as long as an ultrasonic diffuser. That’s because they do not release particles into the air through water. The water droplets hold and carry the aroma longer which is why those are the best.

What To Read Next:

23 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe Blends

Essential Oil Diffuser vs. humidifier

High Vibration Essential Oils

My favorite essential oil products and accessories

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