Diffusing with Care | Part 3

Wise Diffusing Saves You $$$ 

Apart from the health implications of non-stop diffusing for you, your family and your pets, following these suggested guidelines will also save you $$$ in two ways: One, you will use less essential oils; and two, you will extend the life of your ultrasonic diffuser. 

In a recent conversation, a friend was telling me how quickly they were going through their essential oils.  I asked them how many drops they were using? They answered 10-15 drops.  Yikes!  A 5 ml bottle holds 100-120 drops and a 15 ml holds 300-360 drops.  No wonder they were going through their essential oils so quickly! 

My follow-up questions were: how big is the bowl, and whether they were following the manufacturer’s instructions?  They answered “250 ml (or 1 cup)”, and “yes”.  So, technically, yes, 10 drops is the manufacturer’s recommendation for a diffuser bowl of that size.   My common sense wisdom is to follow the manufacturer’s instruction, right? Well, maybe not.  And here’s why. 


The reason why 10-15 drops is too much (regardless of the size of the bowl) is gravity.  In this instance, gravity refers to the sense of seriousness around diffusing safely - but also natural gravity. 

Essential oils are hydrophobic.  This means that essential oils and water do not naturally mix and most essential oils actually float on water (a few do sink in water).  The main purpose and magic of an ultrasonic diffuser is to make water and oil mix.  Since most essential oils float on the surface of the water in the bowl, they are the first to be diffused out as a mist.  “So what?” you may ask?

When a diffuser, with freshly added drops of essential oil(s), is first turned on, the aroma is more potent than on subsequent uses — because of course some essential oils have now been diffused into the air. But if you start-out with what some manufacturers recommend (i.e., 10+ drops), this is going to pack a powerful aroma-punch with potentially harmful consequences. 

Start by adding only 1-3 drops, then pay attention to the intensity of the aroma each time you turn on your diffuser throughout the day.  You may also be able to see the essential oils floating on top of the water in the bowl - so no need to refresh.  

Also, we quickly become ‘nose blind’ after a relatively short period of exposure time.  You may have noticed that when you first turn-on your diffuser the aroma is quite potent but after 10-15 minutes – not so much. This is not due to the essential oils no longer ‘working’ or that you need to add more essential oils (remember, you just added essential oils and your unit has only been on a short time); but rather, this is due to ‘nose blindness’.  If you notice that this is the case for you, the best and safest practice is to turn-off your diffuser, wait 30 minutes and then start-it up again.  Your nose will have had a chance to rest and you will be able to enjoy your diffuser blend once again. 

We also know that due to an essential oil’s volatility (i.e. it evaporates quickly when exposed to air, sun and heat), by the end of the day (or sooner), the essential oils originally added to your diffuser may have oxidized and lost much of their therapeutic properties. So if you are looking to benefit from the therapeutic properties of a given essential oil or blend of essential oils – you will want to refresh both the water and essential oils each day (or more often). 

A final note about gravity… remember the cool mist your ultrasonic diffuser produces? Well, that mist must land somewhere.  Essential oils are highly-concentrated plant extracts and can cause damage to table tops and floors.  Please take precautions to safeguard the table and floor space around your diffuser including food bowls (and pets such as a caged bird if they are nearby).  Better yet, do not diffuse in the same room as a caged pet (again, I refer you to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association for important safety information in regards to pets and essential oils, especially cats).


We have our nebulizers on sale with our Winter Boost Collection at ljturtle.com

We deliver to local-to-Guelph and Rockwood addresses; all are welcome to do a porch-pick-up. We do not ship nebulizers. 


Lisa June Byers
Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional (CAHP)
Blending and crafting in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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