How to Clean A Diffuser

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Learning How to Clean a Diffuser? 

Essential oil diffusers are THE perfect tool to liven a space. You can handpick essential oils to freshen, cleanse, energize, ground, uplift, or calm the senses all with the help of a diffuser. 

If you’re a fan of essential oils too, it’s likely you have an essential oil diffuser blend for just about anything. Not to mention, a diffuser in nearly every room. 

In fact, it’s rare in our home not to have at least one diffuser pumping a mood-boosting blend into the air! I always have one going while I write and our daughter won’t let us forget to have hers on at bedtime. 

And after cooking dinner, the diffuser in the kitchen works like a charm to get rid of any funky smells. That’s just one of the many ways I utilize my cleaning diffuser blends. No matter what I’m diffusing, day by day, our diffusers can get a bit gross on the inside.  

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Related: Spring Essential Oil Blends

Related: The ABCs of Diffusing Essential Oils

Diffuser Care 101: Use our easy tips on how to clean a diffuser to help them run better and last longer.

Do you have to clean a diffuser?

I’ve learned that everyday use can cause some icky stuff to form inside a diffuser. Although, it’s totally normal. What causes buildup in diffusers? 

Primarily there are three things to blame for all the ickiness: 

#1 Water and essential oils evaporate and diffuse at different rates. Over time essential oil residue will buildup in the bottom of the water reservoir and on the oscillator disk.  

What’s an oscillator disk? It’s the small round plate, typically in a little hole or dividend at the bottom of the diffuser. When we turn on a diffuser, the oscillator vibrates incredibly fast. This vibration, in turn, creates the mist that pillows out of the diffuser. 

#2 The type of water you add to your diffuser can cause additional buildup. I’m sure you’ve wondered if you can use tap water for diffusing? The answer depends on the condition of your tap water. Tap water often has a high content of iron, lime, or other heavy minerals. If you have hard water stains in your shower, bathtub, or sinks – absolutely do not pour it into your diffusers!  Most manufacturers recommend using distilled or filtered water for diffusing.  

#3 I know you’ve heard it before but I have to say it again: the quality of the essential oils you buy matters! If you are diffusing an oil that is diluted with a carrier oil or who knows what else, it can impact the use of your diffusers. These are the only essential oils I use.

Again, do you have to clean a diffuser? Here’s the deal,

Regardless of the water and oils, you choose to diffuse and the type of diffuser you have, learning how to clean a diffuser is imperative to the accuracy of diffusion and the longevity of your diffuser itself.   

Basically, if you want your home to smell amazing while benefiting from the aromatherapy essential oils provide you’ve gotta clean them! A diffuser that is layered in grime with a clogged oscillator disk will not work properly. And you’ll be essentially wasting your money on oils. Not to mention, a dirty diffuser can stop working altogether. 

So, let’s get-em clean ladies! 

Have you shown your diffusers some love lately? When was the last time you cleaned yours? Use our simple tips on how to clean a diffuser quickly and easily.

How to Clean a Diffuser: 3 Methods for Cleaning Essential Oil Diffusers

Now that you’re aware of why we need to maintain our diffusers, I’ve got 3 methods on how to clean a diffuser. I’ll start with the quickest technique and then share two deep cleaning options after that. And as always, you can consult the manual that came with your diffuser for cleaning instructions too. 

#1 How to Clean a Diffuser with Rubbing Alcohol – Quickest Method

I recommend giving your most often used diffusers a quick clean up once a week. It only takes a few minutes and it greatly helps to reduce build-up and keep things running smoothly. 

  1. Turn off and unplug your diffuser. Then pour out any residual water and oil that may be in the water reservoir.
  2. Wipe out the inside of the diffuser with a microfiber cloth or other lint-free towel. 
  3. Then dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently clean the oscillator plate at the bottom of the diffuser. 
  4. Use the other side of the cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean any other crevices with excess build-up. 
  5. Rinse the reservoir with distilled or filtered water and wipe clean with the other side of the microfiber cloth. 
  6. Finish by cleaning the outside of the diffuser with the damp microfiber towel. 

#2 How Deep Clean a Diffuser with Vinegar 

Once a month I give our diffusers a thorough deep cleaning. How do you deep clean a diffuser? There are two options for deep cleaning a diffuser. Both can help restore a diffuser you’ve either been running with hard water or cheap oils. 

  1. Fill the water reservoir halfway up to the line with distilled water.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of distilled white vinegar to the water reservoir. 
  3. Turn on the diffuser and run for 5 minutes to allow the vinegar to break up any hard water stains and oil residue. 
  4. After running, turn off the diffuser, unplug, and pour the contents out. 
  5. Rinse with distilled water and use a lint-free cloth to wipe the inside and outside clean.  

#3 How Deep Clean a Diffuser with Castile Soap

Dislike the smell of vinegar, but need to give your diffuser a deep clean? Me too! How do you clean an oil diffuser without vinegar? Castile soap does an amazing job as a gentle natural cleanser. Like distilled vinegar, Castile soap can remove tough buildup and deep clean a diffuser to help it run quieter and more efficiently. 

  1. Turn off and unplug your diffuser before pouring out any remaining water and oil in the reservoir. 
  2. Fill your kitchen sink halfway up with warm water and several drops of Castile soap to create a diffuser bath. 
  3. Take a look at each of your diffuser parts. Those that do not contain any electrical components can be added to the bath. 
  4. Allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Then using a soft cloth, wipe the entire surface of each diffuser part. 
  5. For areas with stubborn buildup use a cotton swab with a few drops of lemon essential oil to remove. 
  6. Rinse each part and dry with a lint-free cloth. 
  7. Make sure all the parts are dry before putting it back together. 
Essential Oil Diffuser Care Printable

Add these quick tips for diffuser care to your essential oil training with our printable sheet from the Oily Chic Library.

How Often Should You Clean a Diffuser?

Young Living recommends that you rinse or wipe out your diffuser after every use to minimize buildup. As well as giving your diffuser a deep clean every 1 to 2 months. 

We use our diffusers so often, that I don’t take the time to clean them in between each use. So, I do a quick clean once a week and a deep clean once a month. It’s really up to you how often you clean yours! 

However, if you’ve noticed one of your diffusers isn’t working optimally or making loud noises – then it’s definitely time to plan a deep clean! 

Use these simple tips on how to clean a diffuser quickly and easily. So, you can get back to filling your home with all the uplifting aromas! Have you shown your diffusers some love lately? When was the last time you cleaned yours? Share it in the comments if you dare! Tag #oilychic on Instagram to share your diffuser cleaning with us. 

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