Understanding how diffusers work and how to use an essential oil diffuser correctly will help you get the maximum benefits from the oil you put into the unit.
Let me backtrack a bit. Regardless of the shape or size of a specific model, using the diffuser device itself is easy. All brands include illustrated step-by-step instructions so you can’t really go wrong. However, there’s more to using a diffuser than just the basic setup.
It’s important to dig a little deeper into how to use your essential oil diffuser correctly to get the maximum benefits from the essential oil you add to your device.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article to help you get the most from your aromatherapy journey:
How essential oil diffusers work
Types of essential oil diffusers
Where to place your essential oil diffuser
How to use your essential oil diffuser
How many drops of essential oil to add to your diffuser
How long to diffuse for optimum benefits
How to choose the best diffuser for you
Caring for your diffuser
Safety considerations when using an essential oil diffuser
How Do Essential Oil Diffusers Work?
Diffusers work by dispersing the tiniest components of essential oils into the surrounding atmosphere. Some models do this using heat or steam, while others do this using super-fast vibrations. These microscopic droplets spread around the area, infusing it with the aroma of the essential oil that is in the diffuser. In addition to the amazing aroma, diffusing essential oils also allows you to enjoy the health benefits of the oil used in the device.
Types Of Essential Oil Diffusers & Which One is Best For You
There are 4 main types of essential oil diffusers. Going from most basic to most advanced, these are:
1. Heat Diffusers
Heat diffusers work using either an electric power source or a flame such as a candle to generate heat. These are the cheapest but also the least effective type of diffuser. Heat damages the beneficial properties of essential oils so you don’t get any of the benefits.
Heat diffusers come in a wide range of materials, sizes, and styles. This elephant cut-out diffuser made of soapstone is one of the more elegant pieces I’ve seen.
Buy a heat diffuser only if you are on an extremely tight budget.
2. Evaporative Diffusers
Essential oil pendants and bracelets are a type of evaporative diffuser. Although not the most effective, essential oil jewelry allows you to get the benefits of essential oils when you’re out of the home.
Essential oil jewelry is a great option if you want to use essential oils while outdoors, in the office, or when traveling. What’s more, you can find these in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.
3. Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffusers
Ultrasonic essential oil diffusers are the most popular type of diffuser. They work using water and essential oils. The ultrasonic technology generates a fine mist that contains micro-particles of essential oils.
These diffusers do double duty as mini humidifiers and are especially beneficial in winter. Because no heat is used, the properties of the essential oil remain intact so you get its full therapeutic benefits.
Ultrasonic diffusers offer the best value for money. They are available in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and price points to suit all types of interior settings and budgets.
3. Nebulizing Diffusers
Nebulizing diffusers are the most powerful type of essential oil diffusers. They use neither heat nor water to diffuse the oil. These devices work by using an inbuilt atomizer to generate ultrafine particles of essential oils, which are dispersed into the surrounding atmosphere. There is no loss of aroma and no dilution of therapeutic properties with a nebulizing diffuser.
If you have the budget for it, definitely buy a Nebulizing Diffuser.
While these are the most expensive type of diffusers, they are totally worth it considering you get the strongest aroma and the full therapeutic benefits. Some of the higher-end models such as this AromaTech AroMini BT Essential Oil Nebulizing Diffuser can be controlled by BlueTooth.
More reading on diffusers:
Different Types of Essential Oil Diffusers with a detailed explanation of each
Essential Oil Diffusers with USB Connection – Convenient for use in your car or when away from any plug point. Just plug it into your car or laptop USB port to get the benefits of aromatherapy.
How to Use Your Essential Oil Diffuser
To use an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser:
Step 1– Remove the top cover from the base.
Step 2– Fill the base container with water up to the max line – skip this step for nebulizing diffusers.
Step 3– Add your selected essential oil – scroll below to see how many drops to use.
Step 4– Replace the top cover.
Step 5 – Adjust the mode, light, and mist settings on your diffuser. This will differ from one model to another. The settings are usually user-friendly but when in doubt refer to your manual.
Step 6 – Turn your diffuser on and enjoy the wonderful scent!
Important things to know about using your essential oil diffuser:
Use only pure essential oils in your diffuser. Never use chemical fragrances and oils, which are corrosive. They will damage your device.
All ultrasonic diffusers have a Max Water Line marked inside the base container. Do not exceed this Max Line when filling water or your device will not work properly. Don’t go by estimates. For best results, refer to the manual for the recommended water amount your diffuser requires.
Preferably use distilled water. Hard water can leave mineral deposits which, in time, can damage the machine and reduce functionality or even cause it to stop working.
How Many Drops of Essential Oils to Add to Your Ultrasonic Diffuser
This doesn’t apply to nebulizing diffusers, which do not use water.
The amount of water and essential oils required depends on the size of the device. Larger capacity devices can hold more water and run for a longer period of time but you will also need to add more drops of essential oil so it is not too diluted.
When you add too few drops of essential oil in a larger quantity of water, you won’t enjoy either the aroma or the therapeutic benefits.
Fortunately, you don’t have to guess how many drops of essential oil to put in your diffuser. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended number of drops to use in each model. Limit the number of drops to the recommended maximum or less but not more. Adding more drops doesn’t equal extra benefits.
When you first start diffusing it’s better to take it slow. User fewer drops than recommended and diffuser for shorter periods of time at first. Too much too soon can overwhelm your senses. You may also experience headaches and nausea.
Remember, you can always add a few more drops of essential oil if you find the aroma too diluted but you can’t remove the excess oil if it is too strong. Essential oils are concentrated. One drop can make a significant difference. If you want to increase the concentration, always do this one drop at a time.
How Long To Diffuse For Optimum Benefits
Yes, there are limits to how long you should diffuse essential oils. This is regardless of whether you are diffusing oils to get the health benefits or just to infuse the space with wonderful aromas.
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts. Leaving the unit on for too long can create an overpowering atmosphere. Aim for balance.
30 – 60 minutes is a good diffusing interval. Leave the device on for a maximum of 30 minutes when you’re just starting out. Increase slowly to a maximum of 60 minutes, then switch it off. Keep it off for as long as you kept it on, then put it back on if you want to continue diffusing.
Switching it off and on will allow you to enjoy the oils without any risks of headaches or nausea. This applies to diffusing essential oils at night too.
While leaving your new device on all night to help you sleep better may sound like a good idea, it’s not. In fact, leaving it on all night may cause headaches. The best way to use your diffuser at night is to keep it on for 1- 2 hours on a low setting and set the timer to shut it down after that.
Where To Place Your Essential Oil Diffuser: Dos & Don’ts
Where you place the unit is important. These few dos and don’ts will help you choose the perfect spot.
- Do place your diffuser in a cool spot not too far from where you are.
- Don’t place the unit near an open window as the aroma will escape outside.
- Don’t place the unit in a sunny spot. Direct sunlight will destroy the properties of the essential oil.
- Do choose a spot where it looks good and complements the surrounding décor.
- Do choose a spot that you frequent, whether that’s the bedroom, living room, study, or kitchen.
- Do choose a solid table or surface that’s within reach of a plug point.
- Don’t place the unit in the direct path of a fan. This will redirect the vapors and scatter the essential oil molecules away from you.
- Do place the device on a low coffee table as the mist with essential oils rises upwards. This allows you to get the full aroma and therapeutic benefits.
- Don’t choose a high shelf unless you’re trying to keep it out of reach of small kits or pets.
How to Clean Your Diffuser
Make it a habit to never leave the water and essential oils in the reservoir for days at a time without use. Essential oils can be corrosive and will damage the mechanism. Cleaning your diffuser regularly will help to prevent mineral build-up that could damage the device and shorten its life span.
Here’s an easy way to clean your diffuser after every use.
- Unplug the diffuser before cleaning.
- Empty the water from the reservoir.
- Wipe the inside with a soft dry cloth.
- Dip a clean cotton swab in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the ultrasonic chip to remove possible mineral build-up. Klenzor Essential Oil Diffuser & Humidifier Tablets make easy work of cleaning your ultrasonic diffuser, These tablets are environmentally friendly, EPA approved, and will keep your diffuser running efficiently.
- Gently wipe the surface with a damp cloth and a little soap if necessary. Finish off with a clean dry cloth.
Safety Considerations When Using An Essential Oil Diffuser
Use only the recommended number of drops in your diffuser. Don’t be tempted to add extra.
Fill the water up to the maximum fill line. Do not overfill or your aroma diffuser may not run properly.
Keep the diffuser out of reach of little children and pets.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.