How to Use an Essential Oil Diffuser for Best Results

Essential oils are known to be a great aid for many health conditions. Complaints such as headaches, snoring, cold sores, warts and more can all be helped with the use of essential oils.  Plus, they can be applied topically to benefit skin and muscles.

But, unless you are trying to focus the effects of an oil onto a specific pain point, diffusing is the most beneficial means of getting the best results from your essential oil therapy.

Inhaling essential oil mist opens up your nasal passages and allows the oil to get into your olfactory system quickly and safely. Essential oils have multiple uses  and benefits in a diffused form such as:

  • Removing unwanted odors within a space
  • Aiding meditation practice
  • Removing bacteria from the air
  • Relieving headache and cold symptoms
  • Improving sleep
  • Removing mold from a space
  • Creating a calm atmosphere
  • Improving memory and motivation.

To maximize your results, it’s important to use your diffuser properly. Below is a complete guide on how to use an essential oil diffuser, including a chart on the right number of essential oil drops to use.

What Is A Diffuser

To start, diffusers are devices that are used to disperse essential oil into the air. There are various types of diffusers and each distributes the oil in a different way.  They types of diffuser available are:

  • Evaporative
  • Nebulizing
  • Humidifying
  • Ultrasonic
  • Heat

Read more about the types of diffusers.

The most popular type of diffuser is ultrasonic.  These are electric and use a mixture of water and essential oil.  Small ultrasonic vibrations produce a fine mist carrying the oil which is released from the diffuser.  Only a small quantity of oil is required making them the most efficient devices for diffusion.

How to Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

The below instructions are relevant to ultrasonic diffusers which are the most popular and commonly used.  These are meant as a general guide – please refer to your manufacturers instructions also.

(If you are looking for a new diffuser check out our guide on the best ultrasonic diffusers).

How to Use Essential Oil Diffuser

Step 1:  Choose a location for your diffuser.

You can put a diffuser anywhere in your home – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or office. After all, there is an essential oil for every part of the house.

Position your diffuser in an open, well ventilated space away from direct sunlight or fans.  It is best to place it up off the floor to make it easier for the mist to disperse.

Step 2: Add water.

Read your manual to make sure you add the correct amount of water. Remember, don’t overfill it – there is usually a fill line to stay below.  If you overfill it, the diffuser won’t work correctly.

Step 3: Add your essential oil.

The amount of oil to add will depend on the size of your diffuser – use the chart below as a guide and check the manual too.  It is better to start with the smaller quantity and add more if needed.  Less is more when it comes to essential oils.

You can start with a single oil or try one of these essential oil blends for the diffuser.

Step 4: Start it up!

Make sure you have the cap or top back on the diffuser before you plug it in.  Let the diffuser run and enjoy the aromatic and therapeutic benefits it delivers.

How Many Drops Of Essential Oil In Diffuser

As a general rule, use 3-5 drops per 100ml of water used in your diffuser.  Start with the lower quantity and if needed, use more for a stronger effect.

How Many Essential Oil Drops In Diffuser

Suggestions for Effective Diffuser Use

  • For the best results, place the diffuser on flat, firm and elevated surface.  If it is wooden, use a lightweight towel or cloth under the diffuser to prevent water damage.
  • Keep the device out of direct sunlight and away from fans. You don’t want to waste precious essential oil.
  • Do not use essential oils on infants, children, pregnant women, or the elderly without consulting a doctor.
  • There are studies that indicate the therapeutic benefits of oils are highest at 30-45 minutes.  After this, there is no increase in effectiveness, in fact it may decline.  As a result, if you want to maximize therapeutic benefits, consider running the diffuser at intervals (some have an interval setting feature).  While shorter intervals maximize therapeutic effects, you can run your diffuser for longer periods to enjoy the aromatic benefits.
  • It is a good idea to clean your diffuser after every use, even if it is just a quick wipe out with a cloth. At the end of the day, be sure you dump any remaining water out of the reservoir and wash it with warm water a small brush. Then rinse it out. If water is left in the diffuser, it could start to go moldy.  For a more thorough clean, follow these instructions for how to clean a diffuser.


More and more homes, offices and work spaces are starting to use essential oil diffusers.  Diffusing oils is a simple way to enjoy aromatherapy.  Use the above guidelines to maximize the use of your diffuser and introduce diffusion into your daily routine.


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