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Diffusing 101

Everything You Need to Know About Diffusing Essential Oils

If you love using your essential oils, then you probably know that using an essential oil diffuser is an amazing way to enjoy them! Diffusers release essential oils throughout the air, and when you inhale them, the receptors in your olfactory membrane identify and deliver the sensory stimulation messages to your brain, helping you to perceive the aroma and reap the essential oil’s therapeutic benefits.

But a quick online search of “aromatherapy diffusers” can quickly become overwhelming. There are so many different types, with different functions — how do you figure out which one is right for you? Then if you look further, you’ll start to find that diffusers are not even the only way to diffuse! There are actually many ways to spread the aroma of essential oils.

Hopefully, we can clear up some of the confusion here. That way, you’ll feel more confident about purchasing and caring for whatever diffusion method works best for you!

Types of Diffusion

There are three primary methods of diffusion. You can choose to use a nebulizing diffuser, an ultrasonic diffuser, or a type of passive diffusion, which could be anything from an aromatherapy necklace to a piece of felt you drop oil onto.

First off, diffusers come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. Not only are there the aesthetic differences, but many functional differences as well.

To determine what kind of diffuser is right for your situation, you need to have a good idea about what you want to use your essentials oil for and where you will be diffusing. We do not recommend diffusing in public spaces since there is a possibility a person in that area may have an adverse reaction to a certain oil.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

Plant Therapy NovaFuse diffuser on a table

These are some of the most popular types of diffusers and perfect for use in the home. This simple technology uses ultrasonic frequencies to vibrate a small disk placed under tap water that releases the oil into a fine mist. Ultrasonic diffusers come in many sleek and attractive designs that fits your modern decor, plug into the wall and only require a small amount of water and a few drops of oil.

Nebulizing Diffusers

Plant Therapy nebulizing diffuser

If you want to experience an essential oil as fully as possible, you’ll want to go with a nebulizing diffuser. By not using heat, which can affect the chemical composition of the oils, and no water, which dilutes the oils, a nebulizer lets you enjoy 100% of all your oil’s benefits. It works by an air pump atomizing the essential oil and releasing the oil into the air in the form of tiny droplets, like a fine mist.

Passive Diffusion

Plant Therapy Passive Diffusion

If you have an essential oil, but maybe this isn’t the best time for you to purchase a diffuser, don’t worry about it! Passive diffusion is a wonderful alternative to mechanical devices.

To passively diffuse an essential oil, there are so many things you can use that are probably just sitting around at your house. A tissue, pinecones from the backyard – even a toilet paper roll! As the evaporation process takes place you will be able to inhale the oil’s molecules.

Aromatherapy Diffuser Locket

Plant Therapy aromatherapy jewelry

Jewelry is a great way to carry essential oils. The aroma is subtle, can be easily refreshed as needed, and are often quite pretty. Plant Therapy offers different styles of aromatherapy lockets and these make perfect gifts – either for yourself or someone else. Inside each locket is a small felt pad where a few drops of the essential oil are placed. As it evaporates, the aroma reaches you!

You can also make your own aromatherapy jewelry using baking or air drying clay. After following the clay’s instructions, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, put the jewelry on, and voila! You’re very own, totally unique aromatherapy jewelry.

Reed Diffuser

Similar to a bouquet of flowers, reed diffusers gently fill a space with a beautiful aroma. Plus, you can create your own unique look by using whatever types of reeds and bottles fit your style!

Clay Diffuser Ornaments

When you think of “ornaments” your mind may automatically drift toward Christmas time, but they can actually be made to use all year round. You can buy clay ornaments from your local craft store or make them yourself!

Add a few drops of your essential oil and hang the ornament where ever you want that aroma to linger. Your car, the laundry room, a bathroom – these ornaments can be as versatile as you want them to be! Like aromatherapy jewelry, the scent is released through evaporation.

Safe Diffusion Guidelines

Now that we’ve gone over ways to diffuse, we should discuss safety. If you’re diffusing with a nebulizing or ultrasonic diffuser, it’s important to follow the instructions for that particular diffuser. Those instructions should tell you how to get the most out of your diffuser in the safest way possible.

If possible, purchase a diffuser that has timer settings and automatic shut-off features. This ensures that the diffuser will not be running nonstop all day (which is not a very safe – or effective – way to diffuse essential oils); ideally, you would want to diffuse intermittently if using all day or all night. If the plan is to diffuse all day or night, we recommend diffusing in 15-minute increments, with a half hour break in-between. 

Our diffusers all have several intermittent options and include either a shut-off timer or will shut off automatically when out of the water.

Diffusing With Kids

Plant Therapy Kids

Not every essential oil is safe to diffuse around young children, including babies and toddlers. If you have children in your home, please take the time to review these blogs focused on the safe use of essential oils around kids:

Passive diffusion is a wonderful way to introduce essential oils to children.

Taking Care of Your Diffuser

If you purchase a nebulizing or ultrasonic diffuser, it’s going to require regular cleaning maintenance if you use it often. Diffusers develop a buildup of residue that can affect the efficiency of the diffuser and the quality of the experience.

An unclean diffuser may diffuse poorly, not diffuse at all, make strange noises, or just be suddenly much louder. Or maybe it just looks gross and grimy. Giving your diffuser a good cleaning often remedies many issues and should be the first thing you do if you start noticing it acting a little off.

Also, I know it may be tempting, but don’t let your water and oils sit for long periods of time in the diffuser. This can be corrosive and cause damages that cleaning just can’t fix. It’s a good practice to dump out the water after each use and then wipe out the diffuser’s water reservoir.