How to use essential oil Diffusers

Let’s talk about essential oil diffusers and how to use them. There are so many different types of diffusers and each is beneficial in its own way. The one you use is wholly based on your personal preference.

Essential oils on table.
Photo by Lisa Hobbs on Unsplash

If you’re new to the game and aren’t sure what essential oils are, they are 100% natural compounds extracted from parts of plants (flowers, bark, leaves, and roots) that can be used in various ways for aromatic or therapeutic properties.

Not only do essential oils smell amazing, but most importantly, they have been found to reduce stress, treat certain ailments, and aid in sleep & relaxation. More importantly, they come straight from the Earth! However, I can’t guarantee any of these benefits. You’ll just have to try them out and see for yourself!

Note* Take caution when using around pets since they can react differently to the oils than we would.

Check out this related post “What Are Essential Oils?” to learn more about essential oils and what they are used for!

The benefits Of using a diffuser

Essential oil diffusers are amazing additions to a home for many reasons. The most obvious is the wonderful aroma they help emit – they make any space smell delicious – and that isn’t all they’re good for! Of course, it all depends on the oil itself, but essential oils are physically and mentally beneficial.

Some of the top benefits of using an essential oil diffuser are:

  1. Helps you relax.
    • The gentle smells and soothing effects can help even the most anxious individual unwind. The calming effects are more prominent when used in your everyday routine, but they can also be a great resource for isolated times of stress or tension. Try pairing a calming oil with an equally calming activity such as a warm bath, yoga or meditation. Lavender is one of the best oils for this purpose.
  2. Improves clarity and focus.
    • Choose an energizing scent (such as citrus) to boost your mood and concentration. Try diffusing these energetic oils as you prepare for your day, or while you’re working, to truly appreciate the improved alertness.
  3. Safer than candles or incense.
    • While candles and incense are also used for emitting aromas within the surrounding area, they are not the safest things to breathe in. Especially on a daily basis, or if you have a respiratory issue such as asthma. For this purpose, essential oil diffusers are the winner! Long-lasting fragrance without the flame, smoke, or harmful effects on your lungs. Diffusing essential oils can actually be good for you, whereas burning candles and incense truly are not.
  4. Fast fragrance.
    • If you have guests coming and want to make sure your home smells great before they arrive, a diffuser is the way to go! They work so quickly and are pretty powerful, so their scents tend to hang around a bit longer than your traditional methods.
Essential oil diffuser diffusing oils.
Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

Do essential oil diffusers work?

In short… yes. I am a firm believer in diffusing oils (and have quite a collection), but I do realize that not every oil will work for one person in the same way it may work for another. We all have different body chemistry, so it makes sense that essential oil benefits vary depending on the person.

For the most part, the properties are universal, but I still can’t say they WILL work for you. This is one of those “try and see” deals where you just have to dive in to find out what works best. If one doesn’t seem to do the trick, try another!

How to use an essential oil diffuser

As stated in the beginning, there are different types of diffusers – and most are self-explanatory – so I am going to let you in on how to use an electric diffuser. Just in case you’ve never used one before!

  1. Set it up and plug it in.
    • Choose a spot where you’d like to keep your diffuser and plug it in!
    • If you are traveling, a battery operated diffuser is great!
  2. Fill up your tank.
    • This part definitely needs to come after the initial setup so no messes are made. Make sure you follow the guideline on the reservoir for how much water needs to be added.
  3. Add in your essential oils.
    • The fragrance strength will be dependent upon how many drops of oil you use. If you prefer a stronger scent, use more oil. If you prefer a mild scent, use less. It’s all about what you prefer, but keep in mind that certain blends will require specific amounts in order for you to experience the benefits of the oils.
  4. Choose your settings.
    • This is one really nice feature of electric diffusers – the option to adjust its mist strength. This way, even if you follow a blend recipe and it happens to be a bit on the strong side, you can still emit a milder version of that blend without losing the benefits.
Adding oil to diffuser.

Blending Essential Oils

I LOVE blending different oils together and have definitely done my fair share of experimenting with blends, creating something special for every season. A drop here, a drop there; Trial-and-error and referring to my oil note chart and knowing the frequency of oils helps!

The blends usually come out fantastic, however, I will be honest and say I have accidentally created some that were… uh… “less than desirable” to say the least! Hey, we have to learn somehow 🙂

While there are so many blends out there that I would love to share, I am going to focus on two blends that have some truly amazing benefits behind them. You may have even tried them before, but if not, I bet you’ll want to once you read about them!

Some Popular Essential Oil Blends

For me, citrus is a well-loved scent; Energizing, positive, fresh, and strong. While Citrus generally reminds me of Spring, it is extremely versatile and can be used in any season. A popular Citrus blend I enjoy is this 3-Ingredient Citrus Blend – a perfect mixture of Citrus, Orange, and Bergamot. It also helps to support your immune system.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bergamot, it is a fruit grown in Italy and is widely used in perfumes, teas, and bath & body products. This recipe gives you the perfect amount of citrusy scent without being too overpowering. Of course, if you prefer stronger (or not so strong) you can adjust by adding more or less of the oils.

Essential oils cinnamom and orange on table.

Another blend I had in mind for today is a favorite when it comes to parents of babies or small children. Oh yeah, essential oils are absolutely safe for children! Within reason, of course (which we will talk about below). There are even certain brands (such as Plant Therapy) that have a line of their own oils and blends geared specifically towards children – diluted perfectly for little bodies – whether the oils are diffused, or applied topically.

A Baby-Safe Essential Oil Blend for Coughs & Congestion is truly a saving grace during this time of year! With COVID-19, flu season, and summer colds, this one is sure to give your sweet little one (and you) some relief. Let it be known, that I am not insinuating this should stand in place of advice or medications given to you by your child’s pediatrician, but it is an excellent remedy and totally worth a shot! Especially if you do happen to prefer alternative remedies over prescriptions or OTC medications.

Lavender, Frankincense, and Lemon essential oils are the components of this magical mixture – all of which are completely baby-friendly. Lavender is one of the most calming oils out there; Extremely therapeutic and gentle for even the most sensitive individuals. Frankincense is similar to Eucalyptus, but is safer when it comes to babies and small children; It can open the sinuses and clear the airways of any congestion issues your little one may be facing.

Lemon is greatly-recognized as a disinfectant and anti-bacterial (which is why it is so widely used in cleaning products and hand soaps). These 3 ingredients come together perfectly, creating a gentle and effective diffusion for the baby.

Baby laying down.

Where to place your diffuser

As far as where to put your essential oil diffuser, that is completely up to you. It is suggested you keep your diffuser in a room where the most time is spent. It is also suggested to keep your diffuser out of direct sunlight and on a flat surface. By doing so, you can avoid spills and messes.

If you’re like me, you may enjoy multiple diffusers in the home. Each can serve a different purpose. In the bedrooms, I like to diffuse lavender at night to aid in more restful sleep. This is an awesome idea for those of you who have trouble sleeping or those who have children. There are even neat diffusers with built-in nightlights that the kids will love! In the living room or kitchen, I prefer a more energizing oil. It also gets rid of any funky smells your home may be harboring after you cook dinner!

Even though essential oils are safe, you don’t want your diffuser to sit where you are directly inhaling the mist. The ingredients within the mist may not sit well with you in that way. Direct inhalation is a lot different than a gradual mist distributed around the room.

How to clean your diffuser

Cleaning your diffuser will help extend its life since hard water and sticky oils can be tough on them. They get a little grimy and harbor residue, so a good clean always helps. Nothing major, just a 10-15 minute clean once or twice a week.

The secret trick? Vinegar – the ultimate cleaning tool! That, and a few Q-tips. For an extra clean diffuser, use a drop or two of Dawn dish soap. You don’t need a whole lot, just enough to catch any residual grime you may have missed. Don’t worry, your diffuser won’t smell like vinegar once you run a new oil through.

Cleaning essential oil diffuser.

Is diffusing safe?

Diffusing essential oils is extremely safe IF you do not have allergies to the oils you plan on using. Unlike other methods of using essential oils, diffusing is considered safer because the oils are diluted with water! It’s still important to do your research before purchasing and using these oils. Some additional factors to consider are:

  1. Age
  2. Underlying health conditions
  3. Medications and supplements
  4. Oil chemical composition and purity
  5. Duration of use
  6. Dosage

Pregnant women, babies, and small children may have increased sensitivity to essential oils. ALWAYS make sure to speak to your healthcare provider or do your research before using essential oils with babies and children. Even if they are diluted. There are some awesome benefits involved if they can be tolerated, you just have to tread lightly if this is a new practice in your home. If your child has asthma, you need to take extra precautions when diffusing so you don’t irritate their lungs.

Certain oils (including, but not limited to, Tea Tree, Citrus, and Wintergreen) are deadly to cats and dogs. Again, even if they are diluted. Their systems just don’t process and accept certain elements the way ours do. You should Google a full list of essential oils that are safe – as well as a list of which ones are toxic – before using them around your pets. If you aren’t sure, give your veterinarian a call and ask which ones are okay to use and which aren’t.

Pets laying on grass outside.
Photo by Andrew S on Unsplash

If you’d like to do a little more digging on this subject, you can find more info on essential oil safety here. The great thing is, as long as you do your research and know what you’re diffusing, you can enjoy your diffuser as often as you’d like! If you have no adverse reactions, there really is no limit to how much you use it – as long as you have a quality diffuser. A cheap diffuser will do the same job, of course, it just may not hold up as well over time. The oils may break down the plastics in the diffuser, so it may be a good investment to purchase one with a sturdier-made base. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with having a diffuser, so you’re going to want one that lasts!

How to use essential oils WITHOUT a diffuser

Since essential oils have such a wide range of properties, they can be used in many different ways. Each method of use has specific benefits – some greater than others – but all amazing in their own way. We already know about using essential oil diffusers, but how else can we use the oils?

  1. Skincare and massage.
    • The most important part of this method is dilution. Use a carrier oil (I prefer coconut oil) to dilute before applying. Once the oil has been diluted, you may use it anywhere on your body that you feel can benefit from its properties. Add a few drops to help keep acne at bay. Make sure to use caution around the eyes and mouth. Making a blend in a rollerball to have on the go is an excellent option. You can also put a few drops in your cosmetic products!
  2. Shower or bath.
    • Add a few drops to your shampoo, conditioner, or body wash. Since these already contain compounds that will aid in dilution, there’s no need to dilute your oil with a carrier. Add a few drops to a washcloth and set it somewhere inside the shower for inhalation, or add a few drops in your bathwater.
  3. Humidifier.
    • Check with the humidifier’s manufacturer before adding oils to the tank. If it is permitted to use them, place a few drops into the tank and it will naturally vaporize throughout the room. Make sure you clean your humidifier just as you would your diffuser.
  4. Inhale.
    • Simply open the bottle of oil and inhale deeply without letting the oil touch your skin. Remember. since it is concentrated, you don’t want direct contact until it has been diluted.
  5. Steam method.
    • Place a bowl of hot water on the table with a few drops of essential oil in the water. Lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and the bowl. Deeply inhale the steam from the bowl for several minutes.
  6. Dry evaporation.
    • Take a cotton ball, or piece of fabric, and add your choice of essential oil. Set the oil-covered item out (where it cannot be messed with) and allow it to naturally disperse the oils.
Applying essential oil topically.
Photo by Chelsea shapouri on Unsplash

Other types of diffusers you might like

Electric diffusers may have been the main event, but they’re not the only type of diffuser out there. There are several ways to diffuse your essential oils for their full aromatherapy benefits. Here are a few other diffuser methods:

  1. Reed diffuser
    • Sticks full of tiny channels that passively release fragrance into the air, non-stop. These channels absorb the oil and push it towards the top of the reed. Since these do not require electricity, they can be used just about anywhere!
  2. Terracotta diffuser
    • Unglazed Terracotta is porous; It absorbs and releases oils extremely well. You may have seen people wearing Terracotta necklace pendants – adding drops of oil directly to the pendant, allowing it to naturally evaporate over time.
  3. Room mist and sprays
    • A super simple mixture created with water and oils in a spray bottle makes for an effective room mist. However, the aroma may be weakened when mixed with water, so this method is not as effective as others.
  4. Candle diffuser
    • These types of diffusers also mix oil with water. Heat is an additional element in this method that creates a somewhat stronger aroma, due to the oil being warmed and dispersed slowly. The oil and water mixture is placed in a glass bowl and positioned over a candle. It must be placed on a flat, steady surface since there is an open flame.
  5. Car diffuser
    • These are neat – and very convenient – when it comes to diffusing oils in your vehicle. Wicks Nola Candle Company has the cute style you see pictured below; They also sell aroma oils that smell AMAZING! They usually come pre-filled with your choice of fragrance, but you can also purchase them empty and fill them yourself. Make sure to dilute, as concentrated oils can cause irritation. You’ll also want to keep the plastic stopper in place to avoid any spills.
Hanging diffuser for car.

Final Diffuser Takeaways

While there are so many ways to use essential oils, diffusing essential oils is one of the most effective methods out there. Take your time. Shop around and find the diffuser that fits best with your preference and lifestyle. Check into any oils you plan on diffusing – before you purchase them. As long as you do your research, you should be golden! Create a personal blend, all your own, and enjoy the benefits.

Other essential oil articles

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Top 2023 oil Vent & USB diffusers for your Car

Humidifier vs Air Purifier: What’s the Difference?

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