Make Your Own Chemical-Free Essential Oil Diffuser

This DIY project is cheap and easy, and ensures that you won’t have a room full of toxic fragrance.

The purpose of an essential oil diffuser is to spread the aroma of essential oils throughout a home, deodorizing and purifying the air, making a room smell great, and lifting the mood. Some require electricity to heat the essential oils, while others use reeds to diffuse the aroma. Many diffusers, unfortunately, contain artificial fragrances or carrier oils whose phthalate-laden fumes are less than healthy and defeat the purpose of creating a sweet-smelling, purified, and energizing space.

Itís best to away from commercial versions and to make your own essential oil diffuser. That way youíll know exactly whatís in it. It is quick and easy to assemble, using household materials that youíve probably already got. There are a few different versions for the base liquid:

1. Alcohol + Water + Essential Oil

Alcohol evaporates faster than water, which makes it a good option for drawing the scent up through the reeds. It also wonít make a greasy mess if it gets knocked over, unlike the oil-based version below.

Pour ľ cup of hot tap water into an attractive jar or container. Add ľ cup alcohol (I used rubbing alcohol but apparently vodka works, too) and 20-25 drops of whatever essential oil you want to use. Swirl to mix.

2. Carrier Oil + Essential Oil

A ratio of 30% essential oil to 70% carrier oil is recommended. Avoid mineral oil, as itís a petroleum-based product. Try sweet almond or safflower, which are oils with minimal scents. Add essential oil and swirl to mix.

3. Carrier Oil + Alcohol + Essential Oil

Use ľ cup carrier oil (sweet almond or safflower) with 2-3 tbsp vodka and a generous quantity of essential oil (that 30%:70% ratio again).

Pour any of the above combinations into an attractive glass or ceramic vase. Add bamboo skewers (cut off the pointy ends first), special diffuser reeds (order online), or some kind of dried plant material, i.e. twigs, woody stems, reeds, that will draw the liquid upward.

Soak the ends for a couple hours, then flip around. Do this a couple times a week. Top up the mixture with more essential oil as needed.

Wondering which essential oil to choose? Here are a few ideas.

Lemon, lemongrass, and thyme essential oils are good for purification.
Lavender, orange, peppermint, cedarwood, frankincense, and jasmine help to inspire a positive mental state and combat depression.
Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender can reduce tension.
Peppermint can energize.

Written by Katharine Martinko, TreeHugger.

Photo credit Thinkstock

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Rose Becke3 years ago

Great idea

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Barb Hansen
Ba H3 years ago


Erin H.
Erin H3 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Interesting, thank you.

Carolanne Powell
Carolanne Powell3 years ago

With the festive season looming, try cinnaman, orange & lemon. Don't use too much cinnaman though.

Erika M.
Erika M3 years ago

This sounds like a wonderful idea however, heat destroys the anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-biotic properties of essential oils. But, since you are not really diffusing them (like in a cold air diffuser) I guess it would be ok. I use essential oils medicinally and could not be without them. Kath P., essential oils properly diffused will rid your house of viruses, molds and bacteria NATURALLY. They are not a "chemical soup" Kara, thanks for the post, great idea.

Tara W.
Tara W3 years ago

Yesterday I found reeds at a second hand store for 10cents and a vase for 20cents, added the water and alcohol as you described and some grapefruit essential oil. Looks pretty and smells great, thanks for the inspiration!

Tara W.
Tara W3 years ago

Great idea! Would love to see more of these kinds of ideas!

Robert O.
Robert O3 years ago

Thank you.