What Can You Put In A Diffuser? Here Are 8 Safe Options!

What can you put in a diffuser? You can use a variety of oils, but you also have to be careful with certain oils that may damage your device or leave a greasy feel around the house.

Unlike reed diffusers, electric types allow you to control the intensity of the smell. Some are even built with timers, so they will stop diffusing after a specific period. Overall, an electric diffuser has more perks to offer than a traditional reed type.

Still, you have to be careful if you want to use non-oil products on your electric diffusers. This is to prevent damage and for you to enjoy the benefits of the substance you’re doing to diffuse.

Below, we discuss both oil and non-oil options you can diffuse and how you can do so safely. We also included a few reminders and considerations before you try the suggestions.

Things to consider before using diffusers on non-oil liquids

Take note that diffusers are designed for oil-based use. So before you use non-oil products on it, you should consider the following points first:

  • Type of diffuser you have. If you have a nebulizing diffuser, you should never load it with anything other than essential oils. It’s because this type of diffuser doesn’t use water or any method of dilution. With this, non-oil substances can easily cause clogging and malfunctions.
  • The warranty of your diffuser unit. Take note that using non-oil products in your diffuser will invalidate its warranty. It’s important to read the user instructions on the diffuser manual before you run it with other fluids. But if you don’t mind losing warranty coverage, then you’re free to experiment with whatever product you want to diffuse.
  • The preparation of the substance. Whether you’re using oil or non-oil products, you should always dilute it in water. In most cases, you only need a few drops or pinch of the substance you want to diffuse. It will then be mixed with water right into the diffuser tank.
  • The people and pets around you. Lastly, you should be careful when diffusing anything if you have pets or kids. Heavily scented oils or products can irritate kids and animals. Also, some human-safe essential oils can be deadly for dogs, cats, and other domesticated pets.

What can you put in a diffuser?

Do you bought a new diffuser and wondering what you can run with it? Here are 8 oils and non-oil options that you can try. Make sure that you also read our cleaning reminder below to avoid damage to your device.

1.    Essential oils

what can you put in a diffuser

The safest products to use on diffusers are essential oils. After all, this is what diffusers are made for.

Essential oils are concentrated extracts from various stems, leaves, and flowers of different plants. Aside from its naturally fragrant smell, essential oils also deliver a ton of health benefits. Generally, these oils can help relieve headaches, nasal congestion, skin irritations, pain, and more.

There are many essential oil blends you can purchase or you also have the option to mix them on your own. Below are the best options as well as the ones you should be careful about.

Best essential oils for diffusing and their benefits

  • Lavender. Lavender oil is the quintessential diffuser oil. It has a floral scent and calming benefits, making it a big hit among users. When diffused, lavender oil can relieve sinus congestion, headaches, and stress.
  • Sandalwood. Sandalwood oil is known to have a calming and relaxing effect. It can also help ease congestion and coughing. For some, it’s believed that this oil is a natural aphrodisiac.
  • Chamomile. Some of the benefits of chamomile oil are easing anxiety, digestive upset, irritated skin, and insomnia. This is a good diffuser and safe for most kids and pets.
  • Rose. Diffusing rose oil can help alleviate pain, stress, and anxiety. Like sandalwood oil, it’s believed to have aphrodisiac effects.
  • Unoxidized tea tree. Tea tree oil can ease congestion, bad odors, inflammation, acne, and stress. Overall, it will give your room a fresh and slightly earthy scent.

Essential oils you should be careful diffusing

Although essential oils are beneficial, some of them can cause harmful effects on pets, children, and sensitive individuals. Overall, these oils shouldn’t be diffused around kids under the age of six years. 

Here are some of the oils that you should be cautious about while diffusing:

  • Citronella. This essential oil has a heavy citrus scent that can irritate your nose, eyes, and skin. It can also be dangerous for children and pets. To safely diffuse it, you should dilute it well by using limited drops on a tank of water.
  • Peppermint. Peppermint oil can help alleviate congestion, but it should be diluted properly if you’re diffusing it around children and kids.
  • Oregano. Oregano oil has high phenol content that can cause eyes, nose, throat, skin, and nervous system irritation if diffused in concentrated amounts. With this, you should only use one to two drops of oregano oil on your diffuser.
  • Thyme. You should never diffuse thyme oil around infants as this can severely irritate their skin and respiratory system. If you’re going to diffuse it for your own enjoyment, you should only use one to three drops at a time.
  • Lemongrass. Like citronella, lemongrass has a strong citrus consistency. It’s important to dilute it and only use two to three drops for diffusion.

2.    Oil-based perfumes

Can you put perfume in a diffuser? As long as the perfume is oil-based, it will be safe to diffuse.

You can diffuse oil-based perfumes just like a typical essential oil. It’s because perfumes will stay on the water surface for easy diffusing. Just add two to three drops into the water. Avoid using too much as the scent would be too intense for your comfort.

You should avoid diffusing alcohol-based perfumes since they will have a weaker smell. Also, it can cause damage to the diffuser if used for a long period or in large amounts.

But can you put cologne in a diffuser? Unfortunately, colognes often contain 80% to 90% alcohol, which can damage a diffuser. Also, it may sting the eyes if diffused in a more concentrated form.

3.    Fragrance oils

Can you put fragrance oil in a diffuser? Yes, fragrance oils are also a good choice for diffusers, especially if you want an aromatic scent around your room. It’s usually a blend of natural essential oils or synthetic compounds. These substances are then mixed with a carrier like mineral oil and propylene glycol.

Overall, fragrance oils can be added to diffusers just like other essential oils. The good thing is that you have a ton of options in the market with varying scents and aromas.

Since fragrance oils use a blend of essential oils, you should be careful before diffusing them. Always read the label first and if it has any strong essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil. Also, you shouldn’t diffuse it around children or pets.

4.    Aromatherapy oil

what can you put in a diffuser

Aromatherapy oils can be used on diffusers, too. It’s quite similar to essential oils, except that aromatherapy oils are milder and gentler in intensity. In fact, aromatherapy oils are also made of essential oil blends, carrier oils, and other botanicals.

Since these are milder, you can safely use them in your diffuser. Start by using one to three drops on your first try then see how intense the aroma will be. You can add more drops later on until you achieve your desired scent strength.

Although it’s a type of oil, you should avoid using aromatherapy oils in a nebulizing diffuser. The non-oil ingredients of the product may cause blockage or damage to the device.

5.    Lemon juice

If you run out of oils and you want a citrusy scent in your home, fresh lemon or lime juice would be a good alternative. Dilute pure lemon juice in water then pours it into your diffuser. This will give off a citrusy smell that doesn’t have a heavy feel to it.

You can also grind the zesty peels of these fruits and add them to your diffuser. However, you have to clean your diffuser right after using it to prevent letting the fine peels from drying and clogging the device.

Also, you should remember that not all citrus fruit juices are suitable for diffusing. For example, pure orange juice isn’t advisable since it has a higher sugar level. Diffusing it may leave a sticky texture on surfaces, not to mention that it may attract ants.

Lastly, never diffuse pure lemon or lime juice. While this is all-natural, the intense scent and acidity of this juice can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, and lungs. Always mix it with water on every use.

6.    Vanilla extracts

Vanilla extracts are a baking staple, but they can also be used in diffusers. If you want a sweet scent, you can use two to three drops of 100% pure vanilla extracts diluted in water.

You can add up to five drops if you want a thicker scent. With the vanilla extract, your house will smell like freshly baked pastries!

Still, you should wash your diffuser tank right after using vanilla extracts. It’s because this product will leave a residue inside that may dry up. But if you clean the tank right away, it should be easy to remove using water and white vinegar.

Also, you should ensure that you’re using 100% vanilla extracts. It’s because watered-down vanilla extracts are mixed with corn syrup, which is something you wouldn’t want to inhale.

7.    Non-nicotine vape liquids

Yes, even vape juice or e-liquids can be used in diffusers! However, make sure that you’re only using nicotine-free types. It’s because the nicotine will cling to your diffuser and it’s also not a substance you’d want your kids or pets to inhale.

To use vape juice in your diffuser, just add three to five drops into the water-filled tank. You can start with fewer drops if you just want to test it first.

Overall, you can choose from various vape juice scents and flavors. However, as with using vanilla extracts, it’s crucial to clean your diffuser immediately after use. This is to remove residues before it dries and messes up your device.

8.    Powdered herbs

Did you know that you can also use a non-liquid substance in your diffuser? Powdered herbs can be used, too!

Natural herbs like rosemary, juniper, basil, and more can be grounded and added to your diffuser. You can also do the same with lavender and peppermint.

However, before you can use herbs and spices in your diffuser, you have to ensure that it’s dry. Also, you must ground or chop it into fine powder or the tiniest possible size. This is to prevent the herb from clogging the diffuser. You should consider using a spice grinder for this purpose.

After that, you need to add one to two teaspoonfuls into a bowl of water. Stir and press the powder to extract its essence.

Next, strain the mixture to remove large particles that could clog the diffuser. Finally, you can add the mixture to your diffuser.

As with any non-oil substance, it’s crucial to clean your diffuser after using herbs or spices. You wouldn’t want the herb particles to dry inside your device as this could mix in your next diffusing and cause a foul odor.

Important reminder: clean your diffuser after each use!

Whatever you choose to diffuse from the list above, it’s important to clean your diffuser after each use. This is to prevent the product from causing blockages or leaving a slimy film inside the device. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Unplug your diffuser from the power source.
  • Add water into your diffuser until it’s halfway full.
  • Next, add 10 to 15 drops of white vinegar, which will help remove oils and particles left in the diffuser.
  • Let this soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • After that, run your diffuser for 5 minutes with the vinegar solution on. Make sure that you do this in a ventilated area or right next to an open window.
  • Once done, drain the remaining diluted vinegar from your diffuser.
  • Use a cotton swab to clean the corners and crevices of the diffuser tank.
  • Rinse with clean water, drain, then wipe using a clean cloth or cotton balls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I put fabric softener in a diffuser?

A: You should never pour fabric softener into a diffuser. It will void the warranty of your diffuser and it might cause irritations. After all, you’re not supposed to inhale fabric softeners. It may also damage your diffuser in the long run.

Q: Can I run the diffuser with water only?

A: Overall, it’s safe to use your diffuser with just water on it. However, don’t turn it on if it’s empty as it may burn the internal parts and damage the diffuser for good. On the other hand, you shouldn’t run a diffuser with just oil in it. Unless you have a waterless diffuser, failure to dilute your oils can damage the unit.

Q: Do diffusers help with dry air?

A: While diffusers aren’t made to stabilize humidity levels as humidifiers do, they can still help ease dry air to some extent. It’s because oils need to be diluted in water first. But if your main goal is to restore moisture in the air, you’re better off using a humidifier instead.

Q: Do diffusers cause molds?

A: Diffusers can also cause molds like humidifiers. It’s due to the moisture it contains. Still, it will only happen if the user doesn’t clean the unit regularly. Also, not changing the water inside the tank will allow various pathogens to grow. It’s important to replace the water inside the diffuser before each use to avoid this problem.

Q: Can I run vinegar in my diffuser?

A: You should never run vinegar in your diffuser inside your room. This is a recipe for massive skin, nose, and eye irritation. You should only run vinegar in the unit if it’s the purpose of cleaning it. Even then, you should only do so for 3 to 5 minutes in a ventilated area or the bathroom.

Q: Can you put perfume in an oil diffuser

A: As long as the perfume is oil-based, it will be safe to use on an oil diffuser. Still, you should dilute the perfume and try to avoid using it on nebulizer diffuser types.

Q: Can you use Wallflower oil in a diffuser?

A: The contents of Wallflower Fragrance Plugs from Bath & Body Works can be used in diffusers. However, make sure that you dilute it just like using other oils. This is a good solution if you find the originally plugged diffuser too weak for your liking.

Final words

What can you put in a diffuser? You can use various oils as well as oil-based perfumes, fragrances, citrus juices, vanilla extracts, and even ground herbs! Whatever you choose, make sure that you clean the diffuser after each use. This is to prevent the product from leaving residues and contaminating your next diffuser mix.