How To Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

An essential oil diffuser is a perfect way to experience the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils. Keep reading to learn how to use an essential oil diffuser as well as everything else you need to know about essential oil diffusers.

Essential oil diffusers are one of my favorite ways to use essential oils. If you are new to essential oils and would like to learn how to use an essential oil diffuser then you are in the right place.

But first, let’s address some frequently asked questions about essential oil diffusers.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.)

What is the Purpose of an Essential Oil Diffuser?

The main purpose of an essential oil diffuser is to disperse the therapeutic properties and aroma of essential oils throughout the air.

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine in which essential oils are inhaled to experience the wellness and therapeutic benefits of the essential oil and an essential oil diffuser is the perfect device for doing just that.

It is also a great way to make your home, car, or office smell good without the use of synthetic chemicals. Many candles and air fresheners can actually be harmful to your health.

You can click here to learn more about the dangers of store-bought candles and air fresheners.

Benefits of an Essential Oil Diffuser

There are so many benefits of essential oil diffusers. Aside from making your home smell amazing, essential oil diffusers can also help support your immune system, help you sleep, boost your energy, and so much more.

It all depends on the type of essential oils you diffuse. Different essential oils have different benefits.

Are Diffusers Bad for Your Lungs?

Researchers in Tawain claim overexposure to essential oil diffusers can be dangerous based on a study they conducted. You can read more about that study here.

But some argue that the study was flawed because they did not include a control group in their study.

At this point, there hasn’t been enough research to determine whether or not diffusers are bad for your lungs. I would argue that candles and air fresheners are much worse.

But keep in mind that essential oils are very powerful and you don’t need to add very much to your diffuser. A little goes a long way.

Also, some people may be allergic or sensitive to some types of essential oils so you should definitely be aware of that and exercise proper caution.

Is it OK to Use a Diffuser Everyday?

Yes, it is ok to use a diffuser everyday. Some experts recommend using essential oil diffusers intermittently. For example, turning it on for an hour and then turning it off for an hour and then running it for an hour again.

But there just isn’t very much evidence proving that to be beneficial or proving that running your diffuser for longer periods of time is a bad thing.

And that is mainly just because not much research has been done on essential oils at all.

When using an essential oil diffuser and basically when using essential oils in general, you should always exercise caution. Like I mentioned earlier, essential oils are very powerful.

It’s definitely not necessary or beneficial to run your diffuser all day long. But running it for a few hours everyday is totally fine.

If you start to experience unpleasant symptoms like breathing issues or a headache you may want to stop using your diffuser as often.

Is it Safe to Inhale Essential Oils From a Diffuser?

You should only diffuse essential oils in a well-ventilated area. I wouldn’t recommend inhaling essential oils directly from the diffuser.

Are Diffusers Bad for Dogs?

Diffusers themselves are not bad for dogs. But the type of essential oil you are diffusing might be.

Many types of essential oils can be toxic to dogs and should not be diffused around them. You can click here to learn more.

So just be sure to avoid essential oils that may be harmful to your dog, diffuse in a well-ventilated area, make sure your dog has the option to leave the room, and never diffuse essential oils around your dog if it has asthma.

Are Diffusers Bad for Cats?

The same thing goes for cats. You can click here for a list of essential oils that can be toxic to cats.

Is it OK to Use a Diffuser While Pregnant?

Some essential oils should never be used by pregnant women.

I am not a doctor and I recommend talking to your doctor before using essential oils on or around your body while pregnant.

Are Diffusers Safe for Babies?

You should never diffuse essential oils around babies 3 months or younger. Once the baby is older I would recommend talking to your doctor before diffusing essential oils around your baby.

Are Diffusers Good for Plants?

Diffusers aren’t harmful to plants but they are not necessarily good for plants either. Although if your diffuser also functions as a humidifier, which many do, that may be beneficial to your plants.

But only if it is used in a small space or right next to your plants.

Do You Mix Water With Essential Oils in a Diffuser?

There are different types of essential oil diffusers which you can learn more about below. The most used type of diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser.

When using an ultrasonic diffuser, you mix water with essential oils into the diffuser’s water tank.

How Many Drops of Essential Oil in Diffuser?

The amount of drops you should add to your diffuser depends on the type of diffuser you are using, the size of the water tank, and the quality of your oils.

Diffusers that don’t require water such as a nebulizing diffuser, only require a few drops. Diffusers with a large water reservoir will require a lot more.

If you are diffusing low-quality oils then you’ll need a lot more drops to achieve a strong scent. I don’t recommend using low-quality oils ever. You should only use high-quality, 100% pure essential oils.

You only need a few drops when using high-quality oils. You can check out some of the brands I recommend below.

Because there are several factors involved, there isn’t a one size fits all answer when it comes to how many drops of essential oil you should add to your diffuser.

But if you are using an ultrasonic diffuser with a 150-200ml water tank, you should only need 3-6 drops of essential oil when using high-quality essential oils.

How to Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

Make sure your diffuser is clean before using. You can learn how to clean it below.

Next, add your water. The more water you add, the longer the diffuser will run. Never fill above the max fill line.

Then add the essential oils. Remember, you should only need 3-6 drops for every 100-200ml of water.

You can adjust the number of drops depending on how much water you add to the diffusers water tank.

Attach the cover, select how long you would like the diffuser to run (if your diffuser has that option), and turn it on.

Always diffuse in a well-ventilated area.

How Long Should You Run a Diffuser with Essential Oils?

The amount of time you should run your diffuser depends on the type of diffuser you are using and also your personal preference.

Nebulizing diffusers do not require any water which means you get the most concentrated fragrance across a large area in a very short period of time. You only need to run these types of diffusers for a few minutes at a time.

Ultrasonic diffusers can be run for hours depending on the size of the room. There is no exact science when it comes to how long you should diffuse essential oils.

Related: Best Essential Oil Recipes for Roller Bottles

Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

There are actually many different types of essential oil diffusers. The most popular is the ultrasonic diffuser.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

The ultrasonic diffuser uses water and essential oils to create a fine mist. The ultrasonic diffuser causes the essential oils to break up into tiny microparticles and disperses them throughout the air.

Nebulizing Diffuser

A nebulizing diffuser does not use heat or water. Instead, it breaks the essential oil up into tiny particles through the use of a high velocity, pressurized air stream, and jet nozzle.

Nebulizing diffusers are usually more expensive and noisier than ultrasonic diffusers.

Heat Diffuser

Heat diffusers use heat elements to gradually evaporate essential oils into the air. Because of the heat, the aroma created from the essential oils can be quite strong.

But unfortunately, the heat can drastically alter the chemical constituents of the oils being diffused which is why I do not recommend this type of diffuser.

Evaporative Diffuser

Evaporative diffusers use airflow to spread the essential oils throughout the air. Although evaporative diffusers can be easy to use and quite affordable, they don’t really work well for large rooms.

What to Look for in an Essential Oil Diffuser

In my opinion, ultrasonic diffusers and nebulizing diffusers are the best. But there are many features to consider before purchasing an essential oil diffuser. You can find out more about each one below.


A timer will allow you to turn your diffuser on for a specific amount of time. There are usually several different hourly options such as 3 hours, 6 hours, or continuous.

I believe a timer is an important feature. I like to use my diffuser when I go to bed. I personally don’t like to run my diffuser all night. So I usually just set the timer for an hour.


Some people like essential oil diffusers with lights, and some people do not. I think the most important thing to consider regarding a light feature is whether or not it can be turned off when the diffuser is running.

I personally don’t care for diffusers with lights, especially colorful lights.

But some people like to use their diffuser as a night light. So it is definitely something to consider when shopping for a new diffuser.


Some diffusers come with remote controls and some do not. Remote controls basically allow you to turn it on and off, adjust the lights, or timer from a distance.

If that is important to you then you’ll definitely want to purchase a diffuser with that feature.


I personally think it is very important that a diffuser is aesthetically pleasing. Some diffusers are downright ugly!

Most people like to leave their diffusers out on the counter or bedside table so I think it’s important to choose one that looks nice.


For some people, price is the number one thing that they consider when purchasing a diffuser. And I think it is important too.

The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot to get a high-quality diffuser. You can get a really good diffuser for around $25-$40 on Amazon.


Some diffusers can be quite loud when they are on which can be pretty annoying. Make sure to choose a diffuser that runs super quietly. Trust me, you will be happy you did!

Run Time

If you like to run your diffuser for long periods of time then you’ll definitely want to check and see how long the run time is on any diffuser you are considering buying.

Run times vary greatly from diffuser to diffuser. Some run for 4 hours max and some can run up to 20 hours.


Coverage is a very important feature worth considering. You’ll definitely want to pick a diffuser based on the size of the room you plan on using it in.

Some diffusers are meant to be used in small areas and some are meant to be used in much larger areas. Definitely check to see the coverage area on any diffuser you are considering purchasing.

Especially if you plan on using it in a very large room.

Related: Ultimate Library of Essential Oil Recipes

Best Essential Oil Diffuser

There are many great essential oil diffusers on the market today. Because the thousands of options can be a bit overwhelming, I compiled a list of the best essential oil diffusers.

I highly recommend the diffusers on this list. Not only do they work great but they are affordable too!

Best Essential Oils To Diffuse

When it comes to the best essential oils to diffuse, that mainly comes down to personal preference or what purpose you are trying to achieve with your essential oils.

If you are desiring immune support, an energy boost, sleep support, or stress relief check out the posts below.

If you just want your home to smell good, you can’t go wrong with the essential oils below.

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Frankincense

You can even mix two or three of the oils above to create your own custom blend.

Best Diffuser Blends

There are literally thousands of different diffuser blends. You can check out the best spring diffuser blends and the best fall diffuser blends. A few of my favorite go-to everyday blends are below.

Garden Breeze

  • 3 drops peppermint
  • 1 drop lavender
  • 1 drop bergamot

Good Morning

  • 2 drops orange
  • 2 drops grapefruit
  • 1 drop spearmint

Fresh Flowers

  • 2 drops lavender
  • 3 drops ylang ylang

Where to Buy Essential Oils

You have many options when it comes to buying essential oils. But keep in mind not all essential oils are created equal.

Some brands are definitely better than others. The most important thing to consider when purchasing essential oils is making sure the oils are 100% pure.

You can read this post – how to choose an essential oil brand to determine whether or not your oils are of the highest quality.

You can also check out this post – fake essential oil brands you should avoid – to discover essential oil brands to stay far away from and also learn how to spot fake essential oils.

High-quality oils don’t have to cost a lot of money either. Several brands I love and recommend like Florihana, Simply Earth, and Plant Therapy sell high-quality oils at affordable prices.

How To Clean Your Diffuser

In order to keep your diffuser running well, you should clean it often.

The first thing you should do when trying to figure out how to clean your diffuser is to look through the owner’s manual that came with your diffuser. The owner’s manual should include cleaning instructions.

If it doesn’t or if you lost the manual I can help. Cleaning a diffuser is quite simple. Just follow the directions below.

  1. Unplug the diffuser
  2. Completely empty the water tank
  3. Wet a clean rag with warm water and wipe out the inside of the diffuser
  4. Use a cotton swab or small brush to get into tiny crevices
  5. Wash lid or cover with warm water and soap
  6. Dry everything well with a clean cloth

You should clean your diffuser after every couple of uses. And never let water or oils sit in the diffuser when not in use. Empty diffuser completely if any oils or water remain in the tank after use.

Well, I think that just about covers everything you should know about essential oil diffusers. If you have a question I forgot to answer please let me know in the comments below.

And if you would like to learn even more about essential oils make sure to check out my ultimate beginner’s guide to essential oils!

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