How to use an essential oil diffuser


While essential oil aromatherapy and diffusion is gaining popularity, it’s by no means new. Essential oil diffusion has been used in spiritual ceremonies since as early as 4500 BC, making it an ancient addition to your self-care routine.

What’s the best way to use an essential oil diffuser?

Essential oil diffusers are a popular aromatherapy tool that works by agitating the molecules in essential oils to create breathable particles which float in the air. The aromas of essential oil diffusers mist into the air and then inhaled. The benefits of inhaling the mist vary according to the properties of the oil you’re diffusing. 

Diffusing essential oils is an excellent addition to your self-care rituals and can also become an integral healthy part of your daily routine. You might choose to diffuse calming lavender when reading or taking a bath before bed. Try some energizing frankincense while washing your face and brewing your coffee in the morning. By stacking essential oil aromatherapy onto the good habits you already have, you can add balance and relaxation to your life and bring soothing aromas into your home. 

What is an essential oil diffuser?

 Aura Cacia, Discover Essential Oils Kit

Essential oil diffusers release pleasant-smelling, relaxing or invigorating aromas into the air by breaking essential oils into small, breathable molecules.

Now Foods, Solutions, Ultrasonic Faux Wood Grain Oil Diffuser

The most commonly used type of essential oil diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser

Ultrasonic diffusers contain a tank holding water and oil. The diffuser sends ultrasonic vibrations into the reservoir at a frequency undetectable to humans, agitating the water and releasing a fine mist of essential oils and humidity into the air. 

Other types of essential oil diffusers 

We recommend that you avoid evaporative diffusers, heat diffusers and nebulizing diffusers. Evaporative diffusers turn the aroma of essential oils into a gas, which degrades the oil’s potency. Likewise, heat diffusers use electricity to heat and disperse oils. In doing so, they denature oils and strip them of their therapeutic properties. 

Nebulizing diffusers use pressurized air to burst a mist of oil into the air without any humidity. Nebulizers aren’t as budget-friendly as ultrasonic diffusers, and they’re also a bit louder. They use more oil because the oil isn’t diluted with water, and therefore they also don’t offer any of the lung and breathing benefits that ultrasonic diffusers do. 

How to select which essential oils to diffuse 

Different essential oils have various uses in aromatherapy, so you should familiarize yourself with the therapeutic properties of the most commonly used essential oils when deciding which oils to diffuse. 

Mild By Nature, Peace, Essential Oil Blend

Select blends indicate to use only therapeutic-grade, high-quality essential oils. You can select a peace or sleep essential oil blend to relax and get ready for bed or an awake or happy blend to energize in the morning and start your day off in a great mood. 

Now Foods, Essential Oils, Lavender

You can also choose individual essential oils to create your own blends or diffuse individually to create your own ambiance and energy. Popular choices include lavender essential oil for relaxation and peppermint for energy and focus. You’ll want to invest in a collection of essential oils, which you can buy individually or in a starter kit

How to use an essential oil diffuser

Essential oil diffusers require minimal knowledge and setup. Always refer to the specific instructions from your essential oil diffuser’s manufacturer. Here’s a general guide that will work with most models. 

  1. Set up your diffuser by selecting a surface in your home like a shelf, nightstand or table with proximity to an electrical outlet. You might wish to place the diffuser in your living room or office to help you relax throughout the day or in your bedroom to unwind before bed. 
  2. Fill up the diffuser’s tank with water. Be sure not to fill above the fill line indicated inside the tank.
  3. Add the essential oils. Add between five and 10 drops of essential oil, depending on the size of the diffuser and the room. 
  4. Experiment with the settings on your diffuser. Some diffusers include multiple options for mist intensity and various illuminating LED light colors and patterns. You might try green light for concentration and blues and purples for relaxation. 

How to clean your diffuser 

You don’t need to clean your essential oil diffuser after every use. Even if some oil residue in the tank, this will simply blend with the scent of the blend you add next, which can create a pleasant, balanced aroma. 

12" x 12" Buff Pro Multi-Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Clean your diffuser about once every six uses. To start, unplug your diffuser. Pour any leftover water into the sink and wipe the tank clean with a damp cloth.

Mrs Meyer's, Cleaner Spray Countertop Lemon Verbena

You can use a natural cleaner if you feel inclined to, but you don’t need to use anything. Be sure not to use any harsh chemical cleaners, which can be bad for your diffuser and you.

Rinse your diffuser and discard the water in the sink. Allow the tank to dry completely before its next use. 

What you need to buy for diffusing essential oils 

Breathe Essential Oil Diffuser

Breathe Essential Oil Diffuser

A heatless ultrasonic diffuser with an automatic shut off feature and a chic imitation wood design. This diffuser’s settings offer two brightness options and 16 colors to choose from. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Anjou Set of 18 Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils

Anjou Set of 18 Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils

This is a great choice for getting started with essential oils. Includes peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, sweet orange, lemongrass, bergamot and more, so you can create your own blends to set whatever mood you want. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

TJ Moree Bamboo Diffuser Holder Carousel from TJ Moree 

TJ Moree Bamboo Diffuser Holder Carousel from TJ Moree 

Store and display your essential oil collection in style with this essential oil carousel holder. The base of the bamboo storage carousel has slots for your essential oils, and the top will hold your essential oil diffuser. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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