In Aromatherapy, essential oils have many uses and benefits. They seem to have taken over the world of natural remedies. Diffusers can help you enjoy all the benefits of an oil by inhalation. Being new at this, you’re probably wondering how to use essential oils in a diffuser.
For good reason too! To help you get started, I will give you the answers to some frequently asked questions. They will help you with the basic knowledge about diffusing essential oils.
How to use an essential oil diffuser and how exactly do diffusers work? What do essential oils really do when they’re diffused? Why should you even use an essential oil diffuser? etc. All these questions and many others will get an answer in the following chapter.
After establishing the basic knowledge for essential oil diffusers, you can then move on. You’ll find details about types of diffusers to use and details about their benefits. Also, learn how to diffuse essential oils in each type of diffuser.
It is only natural to also know the precaution measures to take while diffusing Aroma oils. I will talk more about that in the last chapter of the article. You’ll also see what essential oils are recommended to use for specific needs (e.g.: relaxation, sleeping, etc.)
As soon as you’ll get past this first chapter, you’ll see it’ll all start making sense. That being said, let’s begin.
Q & A on Why and How to Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser
Essential oils can be used in many different ways. Depending on their situation and needs, people may choose an essence for each. The best part about diffusing essential oils is that you can actually enjoy all of their properties in a high concentration. You can inhale anywhere between 50 – 70% of active molecules.
What does essential oils diffusion mean and how does it all work?
Diffusion is a process that uses heat and water. The heat makes water and oil molecules evaporate. During this process, tiny molecules of essential oils are released into the air.
Those molecules travel through your nasal passage into the brain, lungs and kidneys. Through inhalation, the essential oils molecules go into the bloodstream in a percentage of 50% – 70%.
Inhalation is the second best method to get the oils into the bloodstream. It’s the second after injections. The injection of essential oils however, is never ever recommended!
How do you use a diffuser with essential oils?
Depending on its type, an essential oil diffuser can be used in a few simple ways. They can be heat-based (candle oil burners) or they can use the latest technologies available.
The latter can be ultrasonic diffusers or nebulizers. They’re both different technologies, much superior to the others. You will read more about the diffusion technologies we have available shortly.
In other words oil diffusers can be lit or plugged, or simply inhaled from a piece of cotton pad.
Why diffuse essential oils?
Essential oil molecules have the power to destroy germs and bacteria that thrive in the air. They can be diffused into a working or living space because:
a) Essential oils can refresh the air where you live or work.
b) They can inhibit mold growth.
c) Used regularly, Aroma oils can prevent microbial infections or inflammations.
d) They can help strengthen the immune system.
e) They can also remove foul odors like cigarette smoke, molded fruits & vegetables, etc.
f) When you inhale, essential oil molecules reach the brain as well. They can affect your nervous system and improve your mood.
g) They can also improve oxygen to the brain and all the other organs.
h) Essential oils can help you sleep better and relax more often.
i) During the cold season, they can help you breathe easier. They can protect against many respiratory infections.
j) Combine a massage blend with the diffusion of certain essential oils. That way, you’ll get relief from muscular pain, migraines or sore joints.
k) Essential oils can help you focus better during exams or important projects. Diffuse Rosemary essential oil or citrus oils for that purpose.
l) Aromatic oils can also help repel bugs, mosquitoes, moths and ants. Diffuse Lavender to keep them away from your home.
How many drops of essential oil to put in a diffuser?
The amount of oil drops you use should depend on the oil you use, the room and the purpose. Since aromatic oils can oxidize quite fast, the best way to enjoy their full potential is to add them fresh each time.
I recommend changing the water and cleaning the diffuser’s recipient every couple of days. Aromatic oils are very concentrated, thus their smell and effects can be pretty powerful.
Lighter oils like citrus, Pine, Lavender, etc. can be used at a ratio of 5 – 15 drops. If the room is very large, the oil drops should be more too.
Large rooms are great to diffuse oils in because you ca experiment with as many drops of essential oil as you want to put in your diffuser.
If the purpose is to simply relax and unwind, then a lower amount will do the job. Just make sure you keep your room well ventilated while diffusing essential oils.
Too much oil can saturate the air and cause headaches, nausea and overall, aggravate your state.
To prevent viral infections or soothe respiratory problems, it’s best to diffuse a moderate amount of oils. Also, heavier essences should be mixed with lighter ones for diffusion.
For example, mix Sandalwood or Frankincense with Orange. Or Cinnamon with Grapefruit, Pine, etc.
How often can you diffuse your favorite essential oils?
You can do it several times a day, as long as you keep in mind a few things. Like I said, these concentrated essences are very powerful.
They can saturate the air and their aroma may cause headaches or nausea. That’s why the room you diffuse them in should always be well ventilated.
Also, studies show that diffusing (thus inhaling) essential oils for more than 60 minutes can raise blood pressure. They can make you more agitated and nervous.
Inhalation is the safest way to enjoy the benefits of your oils and get the relief and relaxation you want. Diffuse your essential oils for 20 – 30 minutes, every two hours.
It is known that our smelling receptors become numb after 20 minutes. Under these conditions, it makes the continuous diffusion or Aromatherapy oils a bit useless.
Once you stop the diffuser, the oils will continue diffusing. You will thus continue inhaling them. This means the inhalation will last more than 30 minutes, but below 60! Also, because of all these consequences, you should not sleep with the diffuser on.
Why use essential oils in a diffuser and how to purify the air with one?
Pollution is charged with positive ions. According to the French physicist Jean Bricard, healthy air is charged with negative ions. For instance, at the top of the mountains or around waterfalls, the air is charged with fifty thousand negative ions.
In a forest, the charge is about three thousand and in an office, the charge drops down to twenty. Essential oils charge the air with negative ions.
Thus, the air purification can be done through the diffusion of essential oils. They can eliminate the positive ions of pollution and offer you purer air to breathe. Plus, they can also kill germs and bacteria (or viruses) too.
What type of essential oil should you use in a diffuser?
How to use essential oils in a diffuser is not complicated, but you need to make sure they’re good quality. To be effective and beneficial, essential oils need to be pure Aromatherapy grade. That way, you can use almost any essential oil you like.
There are a few exceptions though. There are a few dangerous essential oils that shouldn’t be diffused and you should know about them too. In the last chapter of this article, I will give you a list with them.
Can carrier (vegetable) oils be used in a diffuser?
Essential oils evaporate during the diffusion, while vegetable oils don’t. They will only ruin the glass or get stuck on the water recipient of your diffuser. Therefore, you should never use carrier oils in diffusers.
There are no special carrier oils for diffusers either. Essential oils mixed with vegetable oils are not recommended in diffusion, period.
How long do essential oils last in a diffuser?
When exposed to air, an aromatic oil oxidizes really fast. Before oxidizing though, it will first evaporate. When diffused again, the scent will not be as powerful, neither will its benefits. Thus, leaving a few drops of essential oil in your aromatherapy diffuser overnight is not a good idea.
How to put essential oils in a diffuser?
Simply pour your essential oil drops from their bottles directly into the water recipient. You can also make your own perfume blend separately and use it in a diffuser.
Where to place your essential oil diffuser?
It mostly depends on the type of diffuser, but most can be placed anywhere you’d like. Some make really nice furniture pieces that can decorate your house, while others have only a practical use (e.g.: cotton pads, Terra-Cotta, etc.).
There are certain situations that won’t allow you to place your diffuser just anywhere. For instance, if you have kids, the diffuser should be placed somewhere high. See more in the last part of the post.
How do you clean your essential oil diffuser?
It depends on the type of diffuser. If it has a special recipient for essential oils then you’ll have to clean it regularly.
Essential oils oxidize after a few days of being exposed to air. You should either use a few drops whenever you diffuse an essential oil, or replace them regularly.
If the recipient of the diffuser is plastic or ceramic, you can clean it with warm water and a bit of dish soap. If you’re using a nebulizer, the glass used there as a recipient may be very fragile.
To avoid damaging or breaking the glass you should make a vinegar and water solution. Spray it on all the parts, leave on for a few minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.
These would be the most common questions and answers for those who’ve never used a diffuser before.
Of course, if you have a question that I didn’t foresee, then please don’t be shy and ask me in the comments section. I’ll make sure to give you a clear and detailed answer.
Next on our list is finding out how to use essential oils in a diffuser in a simple way. But you will also find out more about the many types of diffusers that are available on the market, and not only.
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers and Ways to Diffuse Essential Oils
I have divided the types of essential oil diffusers in 3 categories. There will be inexpensive diffusers, moderately priced diffusers and more expensive diffusers.
I will tell you how to use essential oils in diffusers from each category. You will then see their advantages and disadvantages and make informed decisions when buying one.
Inexpensive Essential Oil Diffusers
1) Tissue or cotton pad diffusers.
How to use essential oils in a diffuser so simple and inexpensive? The cotton pads will absorb the essential oils and disperse them into the air for a brief period of time.
Every time you move, it can send waves of essential oil molecules and fragrances. Add 4 – 5 drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton pad and place it close by.
Unfortunately, in a matter of 2 or 3 hours the scent will slowly fade away. Essential oils oxidize and evaporate in contact with air. That’s the main concern for using this diffusion method.
Replacing the pad each day would solve that problem though. Otherwise, you could still use it for a fast inhalation at work or in a bus.
2) Terra-Cotta dishes or pendant diffusers.
How to use essential oils in a diffuser made from Terra-Cotta? Well, this fired clay is well-known for its porous and absorbent qualities. Once you pour a few essential oil drops onto a Terra-Cotta surface, it will start diffusing the scent right away.
This is the part where you should make sure you absolutely like the oil you’re diffusing. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to switch off the scent. However, the aroma will not last a long time and it will need constant refreshing.
Pendant diffusers are not only good for their therapeutic benefits, but they make really nice jewelry pieces too. They can be necklaces, rings or bracelets.
3) Steam diffusers.
This method requires some boiled water and a few drops of essential oil. The steam of the boiling water will help the oils disperse through the atmosphere.
Once the water cools off though, the oils will no longer be diffused. It will, however, work as a fast method to purify and remove foul odors before your guests show up.
Moderately Priced Essential Oil Diffusers
1) Electric essential oil diffusers.
How to use essential oils in an electric aromatherapy diffuser? The only difference between this diffuser and the candle burner is that you don’t need a candle anymore. When you turn it off, you don’t get a nasty smell like when using candles.
But the principle is the same. Heat will help the oil molecules disperse into the air and the scent can last a longer time.
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or oils in a cup of water and place on the electric heat diffuser. Keep it plugged it for as long as necessary, and make sure you check on the water constantly.
The downside however, is that high heat can also destroy the oil molecules. That will decrease the beneficial properties of your oils.
2) Candle burners.
How to use essential oils in a candle diffuser? You could let a candle burn for a few minutes until it melts and add a few drops in the melted wax.
Make sure you don’t pour the oils over the wick. Also make sure you don’t keep it too close to your face when lighting the candle.
Essential oils are flammable, which means they can catch fire very fast. Or you can use a traditional ceramic oil diffuser (candle burner). It is a great way of diffusing essential oils with a candle.
You should check the water in the small recipient of the candle burner, as it will evaporate fast. Candle burners are a good way of controlling the scent and its intensity in your home.
Let the candle burn for 15 – 20 minutes and then put it out. Light it again in a few hours and make sure the room is well ventilated.
Allow at least an hour between changing essential oils in the burner. They are powerful and they can make you dizzy or nauseated if you diffuse too much or too often.
3) Ultrasonic diffusers.
These diffusers use water and ultrasonic waves. They help essential oils disperse better in the air and they can last a long time, even after turning them off. Ultrasonic diffusers can be programmed and they also make nice décor pieces.
At the same time, if it’s too cheap, an ultrasonic diffuser can also break more easily or stop working for various reasons.
More expensive ones will last a long time though. Add between 7 – 10 drops of essential oils in the bowl of the ultrasonic diffuser and let it wrap its mist around you. Depending on the manufacturer’s indications, you can add more or less EO drops.
More Expensive Essential Oil Diffusers
How to use essential oils in a diffuser that’s normally used in labs or for medicinal purposes? It’s exactly this reason why they’re among the best essential oil diffusers right now. They’re also expensive.
The oil recipient is made out of a very fragile, but good quality glass. Nebulizers don’t need water, only pure essential oils.
There, the essential oil molecules are transformed into even tinier particles. They are released into a fine mist. That makes the oils last longer in the air, even 2 or 3 hours after the nebulizer has been stopped. This means that you should only diffuse for 10 – 20 minutes tops.
Nebulizers represent the latest in Aroma diffusing technologies. They are safer because they don’t use heat. Follow the manufacturer’s indications as per how much water and essential oil drops you can use. Check out this article to see what makes them great for large space diffusion.
Now you know how to use essential oils in a diffuser, no matter the type you’re using. But you should also know about the precautions that go with their use.
Recommended Essential Oils per Type of Need and Precautions
You can control the intensity of your essential oils scent by adding more or less, depending on the space or need. For instance, to improve respiratory problems during the cold season, you can add up to 10 drops of essential oil in your diffuser. For the other needs you can lower the quantity of essential oil drops accordingly.
Recommended essential oils to remove FOUL ODORS:
- May Chang essential oil (also known as Litsea cubeba)
- Pine essential oil.
- Lavender essential oil (lavandula angustifolia)
- Cedar essential oil.
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Juniper essential oil.
- Lemon essential oil.
Recommended essential oils to REPEL INSECTS:
- Geranium essential oil.
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Lemongrass essential oil.
- Lavandin essential oil.
- Clove essential oil.
Recommended essential oils for EASY BREATHING:
- Rosemary essential oil.
- Lavender essential oil (angustifolia type)
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Niaouli essential oil.
- Eucalyptus essential oil.
- Pine essential oil.
- Chamomile essential oil
- Thyme essential oil.
Recommended essential oils for TOTAL RELAXATION:
- Sweet Orange essential oil.
- Chamomile essential oil.
- Marjoram essential oil.
- Rose Geranium essential oil.
- Ylang-Ylang essential oil.
- Lavender essential oil.
Precaution measures needed when using essential oils in a diffuser
There are a few things you should take into consideration before and during the diffusion of essential oils:
- Children and pets should not be exposed to intense essential oil diffusions. You can either keep the diffuser in a room where they don’t have access, or put it some place wide and high enough to enjoy a subtle aroma.
- Pregnant women, diabetics and people with other health conditions should not diffuse essential oils for a long time. Or without the consent of a doctor.
- Test the essential oils you want to use for allergies. Pour a drop on your wrist or soft inside of the elbow and wait a few hours. Make sure there’s no allergic reaction before using them.
- Don’t diffuse essential oils continuously. They may cause headaches, nausea, vertigo and even vomiting.
Here are those essential oils that are considered irritating to the mucous membrane. They should not be diffused at all if there are other health concerns involved. Or diffuse a very tiny amount in a wide space to avoid irritating your nasal passages.
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Thyme ct. thymol essential oil.
- Caraway essential oil.
- Clove essential oil.
- Cinnamon essential oil.
- Lemongrass essential oil.
- Bay essential oil.
The purpose of this article is to help all beginners learn how to use essential oils in a diffuser. Besides that, you’ve also found out the reasons why people like or need to diffuse essential oils in their living or working space. Just a few drops of a favorite essential oil and everything might change for the better in an instant.
Make sure you don’t overuse them and be careful with those that can irritate the mucous membrane. Be safe and enjoy the benefits of essential oils every day in your improvised or bought diffusers.
What type of essential oil diffuser are you using? How many times a day do you use it? I would very much like to know which ones are your favorites.