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How to Diffuse Essential Oils, Safety tips and Recipes

Terri FosterSeptember 22, 2021

Diffusing essential oils is a simple, natural alternative to scented candles, synthetic air fresheners, plugins, and room sprays. Pure essential oils are a safe and effective way to scent your home without any toxins. I have also included a 2 page handout and video training on How to diffuse essential oils below.

I am going to bust some myths about diffusing essential oils around pets and small children, share some safety tips, recipes and more.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This includes some affiliate links and I may earn a small commission on products recommended at no extra cost to you.

What is an essential oil diffuser?

An essential oil diffuser disperses micro droplets of essential oil into the air over a period of time.

Ultrasonic diffusers use water and electronic frequencies to create a fine essential oil mist. Ultrasonic vibrations are created by a small disk under the surface of the water which causes the essential oil to break up into tiny micro particles. They are easy to use, requiring only a small amount of essential oil and recommended for use around pets and small children.  Ultrasonic diffusers also help add moisture to the air.

A nebulizing diffuser breaks down the essential oil into tiny particles through the use of a high velocity, pressurized air stream and jet nozzle. When the oil is released from the diffuser, it goes into the air in a fine mist. The fine mist created by the nebulizing diffuser does not alter the chemical composition or the scent—it diffuses the entire oil at once instead of in stages. The particle size is also small enough to be easily inhaled and used for aromatherapy.

Evaporative essential oil diffusers use air flow to spread the scent of the essential oils into the area. A fan blows air through a filter, such as a tissue or a pad that has essential oils dropped onto it. The moving air causes the oil to evaporate quickly, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into and around the room.

Passive diffusers are simply a material such as felt, lava rocks, wood, dolomite, ceramic, water beads, etc… that hold the essential oil scent.

Essential oil uses

Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds found in plants, seeds, bark, flowers and trees. They help protect the plant to thrive and we get the same benefit when we use them. Pure essential oils are chemical compounds with both physical and emotional health benefits. One drop is 50 – 70 times more potent than herbs. Pure oils are 100% natural and safe for everyone including babies, elderly and fur babies.

Three ways to use essential oils

Aromatic use by smelling them, topical by applying them to our skin and internal by ingesting them. Today we are going to focus on aromatic use and specifically diffusing essential oils.

  • Aromatic use is the best way to use essential oils to effect our mood and emotions.
  • When inhaled, plant molecules work like chemical messengers that send signals to our brain via the limbic system (aka the emotional brain) in under 30 seconds!
  • Add a 4-8 drops to a room diffuser
  • Smell from the bottle
  • Add a drop to your palms, cup around your nose and inhale
  • Make a room or pillow spray

What are the benefits of diffusing essential oils?

Change the mood

My favorite part about diffusing essential oils is we can effect the mood of our entire household diffusing essential oils. For example, Lavender essential oil is calming and soothing. If Lavender is in the diffuser those essential oil molecules are providing calming and soothing benefits to everyone including animals (think kiddos coming home from school grumpy or your partner and their long commute home from work).

Freshen and cleanse the air

Pet odors, cooking odors and teenagers, oh my! Need I say more?

Ditch the toxins

Synthetic fragrances in candles and air fresheners are toxic chemicals causing harm to your health, your pets and your children. For those looking for simple ways to eliminate toxins in their home, aromatic products are some of the easiest places to start. Replace toxins with natural plant based scents that have emotional and physical health benefits. Warning: if you are buying cheap grocery store oils full of synthetic chemicals, you are simply swapping one problem for another. All essential oils are not created equally.

Safety tips for pet owners and small children

I know, this is very controversial. If you are using pure essential oils they are 100% natural and safe for children and pets. These guidelines for pets are helpful when diffusing around small children also.

Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors and cats have 200 million vs humans which have 6 million. A dog’s sense of smell is believed to be 40 times greater than humans. LESS IS MORE!

  • Use common sense and observe your pet or child when diffusing an essential oil for the first time.
  • If you observe odd behavior stop diffusing that particular oil and get them some fresh air.
  • Allow pets to roam freely and never enclose your pet in a room with a diffuser.
  • Keep your diffuser out of reach. If it were to spill they could drink the water.
  • Use less drops of oil and use a water based diffuser.
  • Use the intermittent setting.

According to Janet Roark, DVM, essential oils to use caution with around dogs are Tea Tree, Cassia, Cinnamon, Oregano and Thyme. If your animal is panting or showing signs of distress (not from physical activity) when diffusing an oil, stop your diffuser and get your pet some fresh air.

Essential oils to use caution with around cats: Tea Tree, Cassia, Cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, Peppermint, Spearmint, Birch and Wintergreen.

How to clean an essential oil diffuser

Clean your diffuser once a month. If your diffuser isn’t working like it used to it may just need to be cleaned out.

  • Fill your diffuser half way with water
  • Add 10 drops of white vinegar
  • Run your diffuser for 5 minutes then drain completely.
  • Using a cotton swab dipped in vinegar, clean inside the tight areas. Clean carefully around the ultrasonic unit at the bottom.
  • Rinse out and dry with a soft cloth

How to diffuse essential oils

diffuse essential oils

This is the easy part! Pick an essential oil or blend that fits your mood. Follow your favorite recipe (see the handout below for lots of ideas) or experiment and see what combinations you like.

Here are some ideas:

  • Citrus with floral, mint, and spice
  • Spice with floral, wood, and citrus
  • Herb with wood and mint
  • Tree/Wood with floral, herb, mint, spice, and citrus
  • Floral with spice, wood, and citrus

Each diffuser is going to be a little different. Follow the manufacture guidelines for your diffuser. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Use 4 – 8 essential oil drops
  • Add tap water up to fill line. Filtered water is not needed.
  • Choose 2, 4 or 6 hours or intermittent setting
  • Turn light on or off depending on diffuser

How to choose an essential oil diffuser

I have great news, you’ve got options!

Laluz Diffuser – This beautiful frosted glass diffuser is perfect for your kitchen, living room, or bathroom.  I keep it in my office because it is so pretty.

Pilot Portable Diffuser – it’s the portable diffuser that can go everywhere you do—in the car, to work, or from room to room. Plus, it’s made from eco-friendly materials!

Roam Diffuser – The one we have all been waiting for: CORDLESS! Finally a cordless, battery-operated diffuser to take everywhere you go (camping and TerraShield, anyone?). Love the look, but don’t want to constantly use batteries? This diffuser still comes with an adapter cord. 

Petal diffuser – This is the OG of diffusers and the first one I ever owned. Simple to use and they last forever.

Dawn Aroma Humidifier – I cannot count how many times I have been asked “Can I add essential oils to my humidifier”? With the Dawn Aroma Humidifier, you can now have the ultimate level of comfort in any room. Its smart sleep mode maintains ideal humidity levels throughout the night. Perfect for dry environments and weather.

Volo Marble Diffuser – The beautiful Volo™ Ultrasonic Diffuser comes in onyx and marble finishes, perfect for any room in the home or office. The Volo has a handcrafted polyresin stone top with a custom diamond pattern.

diffuse essential oils

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