What is a Diffuser & How Do You Use It?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever when you make a purchase using my link.

Hey guys, today I am going to show you how to use a diffuser! Now I know that the diffuser or essential oil diffuser is a new thing for a lot of people, but it is one of the easiest things to use when you want to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils in your home or office.

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “I don’t know how to use it, should I even get it?”

Well in this post I´m going to tell you how to use it, what you can use it for, and some awesome tips! Let’s dive in!

What Exactly is an Essential Oil Diffuser?

GRATIA NATURALS Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with Essential Oils Set, 6 Nature Relaxing Sounds, 7 Color Night Lights, Ultrasonic Silent Cool Mist Humidifier, Aroma Diffuser for Large Room

An essential oil diffuser is a device that disperses essential oils into the air, and this is such a great way to enjoy their benefits and it has a really nice, calming effect.

Diffusers work by converting liquid essential oils into tiny microparticles. They are then dispersed into the air and carried throughout the room.

Diffusers can have different shapes and sizes but their purpose is exactly the same: to diffuse essential oils into the air! You can get a diffuser to fit any decor, and they come in so many different styles.

NOTE: Essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and are closely related to the field of aromatherapy which is the use of scents to promote wellness. These volatile oils are very concentrated so you will need to use them according to the instructions of the diffuser’s manufacturer.

How to Choose a Diffuser

We’re going to go through the different types and explain their benefits but before we get started, let’s talk about how to choose your new diffuser.

This is probably the most important part of your decision because it can determine whether or not you get the most benefits from an essential oil diffuser. You don’t want to waste your money and you want to make sure that you allow the proper diffusion of oils into the air.

When choosing a diffuser there are a few things that I look for. First off, I think it is a good idea for you to choose a diffuser that has an auto shut-off timer on it. This is a safety feature that will ensure that you won’t damage your diffuser by leaving it on while you’re not around. I’m saying this because mine hasn´t got one and I really regret it. Because of my cats I can never use it for long periods of time but a shut-off timer would have been ideal.

It is also a good idea to look for something that has a few different settings on it. This is important because each setting will have a different effect on the aroma (for example, some will have a ¨pulse¨setting or ¨constant stream¨ setting). Some will also have different LED lighting settings. Mine can show off colours or no light.

Finally, I recommend that you choose a diffuser that is easy to clean. Wipe it every 5 or 6 uses and you will be set.

So, in a nutshell:

  • Choose a diffuser with an auto shut-off timer if possible
  • Choose a diffuser that has a few different settings (timers, LED light control, etc)
  • Choose a diffuser that is easy to clean!
  • Choose one that you like! There is so much variety out there, take your time to find the one that´s perfect for you.

Ok, with all of that out of the way, let’s get started.

What to Use a Diffuser For – Essential Oil Diffuser Benefits

Now that we know what to look for in a diffuser, we’re going to explain what to actually use your diffuser for.

Since this is an essential oil diffuser, there are so many different things you can use it for as different essential oils can be used for different things:

  • Making your living space more conducive to rest/relaxation (bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc. etc.)
  • Making your living space more conducive to grounding/protection (kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. etc.)
  • Creating a soothing environment for you and your family (bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc. etc.
  • Cleaning the air in your living space (this is something that is tricky to do with a candle/incense but it can be done with a diffuser)
  • Putting some oils in and diffusing while you study, work or do something else
  • Layer oil mixes into your living space (this is one of my favourite thing to do) in order to create different moods
  • Use a diffuser to cleanse away negative energy (this isn’t something I write about often but it is something that might interest some of you)
  • Use a diffuser to boost your immunity (this is something that I also do)
  • Use a diffuser to decongest your respiratory system (I also do steam inhalation for this)
  • Use a diffuser to increase focus (you can use this when you’re trying to study, work or something else)
  • Use a diffuser to increase your energy levels
  • Use a diffuser to calm down (i.e. you’re back from a hard day at the office)
  • And more!

You get the point. Essential oils are so useful and there are so many different things you can do with them. I own almost 100 essential oils and I wish I could diffuse some of them more regularly (I don´t diffuser expensive ones like rose absolute) or that I had more time to create new blends.

A quick note: even if you don’t believe in the power of essential oils, there are still some uses I’ve mentioned that can be beneficial to you and your home. For example, there’s nothing more uplifting than the scent of grapefruit and orange in the mornings. Another fantastic mix is lavender and rosemary (I grow both by the way), which will make for a very calm and focused environment. Also, there’s nothing more refreshing than the smell of peppermint and eucalyptus mixed together! These are just a few examples of why using a diffuser can be beneficial to you.

There are so many ways to use an essential oil diffuser, but here I’ll share a few of my favourite ways with you.

Where to Place Your New Diffuser

One of the first things you are going to want to do is decide where you want to put the diffuser.

Now, most people want to put their diffusers on a table or something similar but you don’t have to. If you want to, you can put it on your nightstand, on top of your wardrobe or on your dresser. Think of strategic places where the diffuser will be easy for you to reach and won’t be obstructed.

Personally, I like to put my diffuser on my working desk because it´s easy to keep an eye on (so I don’t forget to switch it off!) and I have it at hand if it’s time to add more essential oils.

NOTE: I’m building my bedroom as we speak and I’ll be diffusing oils there as well when the cats are not around. It will create a wonderfully soothing and relaxing atmosphere. They’re also great in bathrooms and other small rooms where you want to de-stress or relax.

Careful with placing your diffuser on surfaces where spillage is likely to occur (if people are around and it then becomes easy to knock). Also, be sure to position where the air can flow freely and that it is out of reach from kids or pets. Finally, don’t leave items that can be easily damaged near it (i.e. your phone) in case there’s a spillage (either from knocking it or maybe you add too much water, it has happened to me before).

The Best Diffusers for Essential Oils

There are two main types of diffusers: ultrasonic and nebulizer although there are other ones that I’ll also discuss below.

NOTE: If you’re starting out I recommend you get an ultrasonic diffuser because all you do is add water, a few drops of essential oil, flick the switch on and off you go. There’s no need to worry about anything else. They’re also a lot more affordable than nebulizers. Over time you can move on to a nebulizer if you wish and I´ll discuss those below.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the diffusers and their benefits, as well as pros and cons. First, let’s take a look at the ultrasonic diffuser.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

GRATIA NATURALS Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with Essential Oils Set, 7 Color Night Lights, 2 Mist Options, 4 Timer, Ultrasonic Silent Cool Mist Humidifier, Aroma Diffuser for Large Room

This is the one I use and is probably the most popular type of diffuser. They work by sending high-frequency sound waves through a mist which then helps disperse the beautiful scents. Because no heat is used to disperse the oils, they keep their therapeutic benefits. You can use them in the bedroom, bathroom or anywhere else.

Ultrasonic diffusers are a GREAT option for beginners they’re incredibly easy to use. There are many designs to choose from so you’re very likely to find one you love.

NOTE: These diffusers act also as humidifiers. This is very good if you live in a dry climate but not so good if where you live is humid as more water will be released into the air.

Ultrasonic diffusers are extremely popular and there are so many benefits to using one. I personally own an ultrasonic diffuser and I have been impressed with it so far.

Must-have features:

  • Automatic shut-off
  • Get one with BPA free plastic (so it won’t break down)
  • Water reservoir should be based on the size
  • Intermittent running time (optional)
  • Option of no light, different colours to choose from


  • Try to match your room/house style
  • Luxury feature: music integrated
  • Luxury feature: remote control/app for controlling with your phone
  • Luxury feature: candle-like flicker effect

CLEANING TIP: Deep clean once a month with water and vinegar. Careful not to damage the ultrasonic device.

Also, make sure to get the brand and model that is highly recommended by aromatherapists and respected by previous buyers.

Nebulizer Diffuser

This diffuser forces a stream of air through the essential oil and into small water droplets that are then turned into a mist that then gets distributed into the air. You could think of it as a type of “oil nebulization”. The pros of such diffusers are that they don’t use water to create the mist so there’s no risk of bacteria, mould or other toxins that are released from the water if it is left standing too long.

Radiance Nebulizing Diffuser

Evaporative Diffuser

There are passive and active versions. The differences between them are the types of air circulation tech used for the diffuser. Active versions have fans that blow air through which creates the mist and passive diffusers don’t use motors to do this but instead, use air to create the evaporation (i.e. a wick). Active evaporative diffusers can be louder and consume more energy than other diffusers. Passive are silent, obviously, but can take longer to disperse the oils in the room. A bathroom could do with a passive diffuser as it is a small room and a slow-release might be the way to go.

An evaporative diffuser might not have the same therapeutic benefits as other diffusers as the delivery of the essential oils is unbalanced and also the fan of active ones can be louder than other diffusers as well.

Heat Diffuser (i.e. Oil Burners)

Similar to evaporative diffusers but use heat instead of air (think of the ceramic small diffusers that use a small tea light, they’re heat diffusers). There are two types of heat diffusers: the electric ones and the candle-based ones. The latter can be very dangerous (especially since they can get extremely hot and burn you) so I’d advise against using them particularly if you have kids or pets. Because the essential oils get heated they might lose some of their therapeutic benefits although some heat diffusers use very low temperatures in order to avoid this from happening.

They are very economical and silent. They can also add ambience because of the lovely little flame. The oils though won’t be dispersed in a balanced way and the chemical components of the essential oil can change because of the heat.

NOTE: I used to disperse my oils using a small tea light candle heat diffuser many years ago before I had heard of the ultrasonic diffusers. I suppose they were the most popular diffuser around at the time and although I did love it I realised the dangers of having a flame heat the oils. Also, the scent was too strong after a while and I would have it on and off because of this very reason.

Choosing the right kind of diffuser is a must and knowing how to use it makes all the difference in creating a healthy home.

Which Oils Should You Use with Your Diffuser?

GRATIA NATURALS Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with Essential Oils Set, 7 Color Night Lights, 2 Mist Options, 4 Timer, Ultrasonic Silent Cool Mist Humidifier, Aroma Diffuser for Large Room

I know, I know, we just said that you can use diffusers for so many different things but in order to get the most out of it, there are some oils that are best to use for particular purposes.

Here, I’ll list some of the most popular oils which you can use with your diffuser. These oils create a wonderfully scented living environment and they have many health benefits to them as well.

For protection/ grounding:

Palo Santo (or as we call it “Holy Wood”), Patchouli and Frankincense are great diffusing oils.  They are extremely protective and will protect you from negative energies. These oils work great for grounding, protection and for your home’s energy. Add 3 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser.

For cleansing/ purification:

Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass and Rosemary are great diffusing oils to help you purify your home’s environment. Add 1-2 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser.

For inspiring creativity:

Lemon Myrtle is a wonderful oil to put in or around the house when you are trying to be creative. It helps to for inspiration and it is also wonderfully uplifting. Add 6 drops of the oil to your diffuser.

For boosting energy:

Grapefruit, Geranium, Lemon, Melaleuca and Peppermint are some wonderful oils to put in your diffuser for a boost of energy. Add 2-3 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser if you’re adding all of them. Or combine them to suit your taste. Just keep testing different combination and eventually you will find out what’s best for you. Try to keep the overall count of drops to around 6-8.

For boosting immune system:

Bergamot, Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender and Mandarin are oils that work wonderfully for boosting your immune system. Add 2-3 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser.

For mood enhancement:

Lavender, Orange, Sandalwood and Vetiver are wonderful oils you can add to your diffuser for a boost of positive energy. Add 3-4 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser.

For easy respiratory congestion:

Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Pine and Tea Tree are great oils to add to your diffuser if you are suffering from respiratory issues and congestion. Add 2-3 drops of each essential oil to your diffuser.

And many more!

There are many more blends you can try on your diffusers but these are a good starting point for beginners.

Did you realize there are so many wonderful benefits that a diffuser can offer?
They can bring great pleasure to our homes as well as many health benefits and emotional wellbeing to us.

NOTE: You will also want to do a little research on the particular oils you are going to use.  For example, do you have an area in your home that is sensitive to the oils?  Do you have pets? If so, which oils should be used around them? Do you have a specific physical or emotional need that an oil can help with? These are all questions that you will want to ask yourself before purchasing and diffusing.

Using the Right Amounts

Now that the diffuser is set up and the oils have been selected, you can get started using it. But first, let’s talk about what amount to use of essential oils.

There are different levels of therapeutic benefits in oils.  There’s the topical or skin level, there’s the internal level and then there’s the mind/ body level. Diffusors work mainly on the mind/ body level, that is why it is best to find the right balance by adding the recommended amounts of oil to your diffuser.

An idea on amounts:

1 drop – A very small amount to get you started, a single drop is barely enough to even feel the diffuser’s effects.

2-5 drops – This is where you start seeing the benefits. With this amount of oils in your diffuser, you can expect to see a more noticeable difference between a room that has been diffused and an untreated one.

6-8 drops – A 6-8 drop total amount of essential oils is where you start seeing the benefits in full. This is how many drops you need to start feeling confident that your home’s environment will be changed for the better.

TIP: Mixing is important when considering this level of diffusing. It will help to build the strength of the scent. You do not want to overpower the room with a lot of essential oils as it can be very overwhelming for some people.

NOTE: Make sure that you are using a blend that is appropriate for your environment and personal preferences. You don’t want to be filling your room with a scent that is too strong or not enough of a scent. A good rule of thumb is to test different blends and eventually you’ll find the oil(s) that you find most attractive. Don’t try to understand everything at once, it took me a good couple of years (and still learning!) to know my way around the oils. Just get started and let the scents guide you.

And whether you are using it in an ultrasonic diffuser, a nebulizer diffuser an evaporative diffuser or an oil burner, the amount of drops I recommend will be the same.

Now that you have your oils added in and are ready to go, turn on your diffuser and enjoy its benefits.

Tips for Diffusing Oils

The biggest tip I can give you is to make sure that you are actually diffusing your oils. It is easy to get excited about buying your diffuser and an essential oil kit only to use it once or twice and put it away in storage thinking there’s more to this science than what you already know. Don’t do this!

When I bought my diffuser I wasn’t sure how to use it so was using it sparingly. It took me a while to get used to it because I had to create the habit of remembering to diffuse the oils. So I ended up diffusing only every now and then, instead of making the most of my diffuser.

So, instead of just purchasing a diffuser impulsively, I recommend that you do your research first and then purchase an essential oil kit so that you will actually use it by learning about each oil. Watch a bunch of YouTube videos, figure out what you think will work for you and love using it as I do!

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always turn the diffuser off when you leave the room so that it will not be running. You can also unplug the diffuser and remove it from the outlet.
  • Make sure you clean your diffuser every now and then (I’m not very good at this I must admit). An oil that is strong will leave a residue on the glass and will not disperse very well.
  • Use safety measures to protect yourself from the heat of the oil. If you have any issues with sensitivity or asthma, you may want to consult your doctor.
  • Carry on with the same routine you would normally use for meditative practices (meditation, relaxation, breathing exercises).

Who is at risk of inhaling essential oils

Speak with your doctor before using essential oils. There could be adverse reactions if you have any pre-existing conditions that disrupt the body’s normal metabolism or response to the oils. Also, it is strongly recommended that pregnant avoid using essential oils. Pets and children should be kept away from the area where the diffuser is during use.

Here’s a great list of cautions to keep in mind:

  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Under medication
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Skin conditions
  • Avoid using in direct sunlight or areas with strong sun
  • Avoid using near children
  • Avoid using near pets

FAQs About Essential Oils and Diffusers

  1. When should I diffuse essential oils?
    You can diffuse an oil in any situation where you are feeling stressed or tense. For example, if you have a lot on your mind after work and you put your feet up for a couple of hours, that would be a good time to diffuse some essential oils. Essential oils effectively help you calm down and diffuse an oil while doing so can provide a sense of peace and serenity all over the body. Lavender, for example, is pretty much known as the stress-reliever.

In addition, you should diffuse essential oils when you are feeling sick or have a cold/flu because they are natural antibacterial agents, which means they will help to fight off the germs and viruses that often cause respiratory diseases. You can also diffuse them in fall or winter to help boost your immune system. Other benefits of diffusing include that it improves air quality.

  1. How do I diffuse essential oils?
    You can diffuse an oil by putting it in a diffuser and turning on the diffuser. That is all you need to know, honestly. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to use your diffuser.
  2. What are some of the benefits of diffusing essential oils?
    Diffusing essential oils is an easy way to help your body experience the benefit they provide. It only takes a few minutes and can have an impact that lasts the rest of your day or even longer. This can help you make better decisions, avoid stressful situations, and improve your moods naturally.

GRATIA NATURALS Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser with Essential Oils Set, 7 Color Night Lights, 2 Mist Options, 4 Timer, Ultrasonic Silent Cool Mist Humidifier, Aroma Diffuser for Large Room

Do you already own a diffuser?

Or do you have a favourite diffuser? Also, do you have any questions about using essential oils in your home?

Let me know in the comments below.



Disclosure: Some links on this post are affiliate links which means I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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