Using a diffuser is one of my daily routines to help perk me up in the morning, keep cold and flu at bay, and even to help encourage restful sleep, but when you use a diffuser as often as I do, you notice when things start to smell a bit off.
That’s the issue with most diffusers. The bowl that houses the ultrasonic ceramic disk is typically made of plastic and while that aspect can help keep diffusers more affordable, it doesn’t help with the fact that plastic inevitably absorbs odors.
You may be wondering what odors I’m talking about. I mean, essential oils are obviously very aromatic substances, right?
Well, here’s the thing, essential oils have their own evaporation rates.
These rates are categorized as:
• Top notes – the chemicals in an oil that evaporate quickly
• Middle notes – the chemicals in an oil that evaporate slower than top notes but faster than base notes
• Base notes – the chemicals in an oil that evaporate slowly
When thinking of notes, you can think of them as having their own weight as well. Top notes are “light” and therefore evaporate more quickly than “heavier” base notes.
Every essential oil has its own chemical makeup that includes most if not all of these “notes”.
When an essential oil or essential oil blend is added to your diffuser, the top and middle notes will evaporate much more quickly than its base notes.
In fact, some chemical components of an oil’s base notes are too heavy to diffuse into the air.
It is these “heavier” compounds that are left behind in your diffuser and cause it to smell off.
How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser
I’m sure you know the smell of an oil that has lost its depth.
Take lavender for example. When you first add it to your diffuser and turn it on, it has a vibrant and fresh lavender aroma.
After about 20 minutes though, you come back only to find that the lavender has lost its full and robust scent. In fact, it smells completely different than the lavender you added to your diffuser just minutes ago!
It is this off smell that is the smell that is left behind in your diffuser.
One of the popular blends that I notice this the most with is Thieves essential oil.
It smells so good when you first add it to a diffuser, but after using it for weeks on end during cold and flu season, you really start to notice how it has infused the plastic components of your diffuser with the lack-luster shadow of its former self.
Now your diffuser smells like “old thieves blend” no matter what essential oil you add to it.
If this is happening to you, then it’s time to clean your essential oil diffuser!
A Simple Way to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser
If you use your diffuser on a regular basis, you should try to clean your diffuser once a week.
This will ensure that the ultrasonic disk doesn’t “gum-up” from the base and middle notes of the essential oils you are using.
It also helps prevent those same notes from permeating your entire diffuser with unpleasant odors.
To clean your diffuser, you will need:
Make sure you are familiar with the cleaning recommendations for your particular diffuser.
Next, you will want to fill your diffuser with warm water almost to the fill line.
Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the warm water in the diffuser and give it a stir to mix.
Run the diffuser as you normally would for a good 15-20 minutes with the vinegar solution.
After 15 or so minutes, pour out any remaining vinegar solution and use a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar to clean all of the crevices and grooves in the diffuser like around the ultrasonic disk, the corners, and the top piece of the diffuser.
Rinse thoroughly and wipe everything dry with a soft cloth.
You should notice that the diffuser smells much fresher than before!
If it still smells like “old essential oils”, repeat the process as needed.
The next time you diffuse your oils they should smell fresh and vibrant without the underlying odor of lingering base notes.
How to Keep Your Diffuser Smelling Fresh
One of the most important things you can do that will not only keep your diffuser smelling fresh but also extend its life, is to make sure to empty out your diffuser after each use and wipe it clean.
It sounds cumbersome, but you should never leave standing water with or without oils in your diffuser. Doing this will either encourage mineral buildup or even corrode your diffuser.
Not only that, it gives the essential oils a chance to infuse the plastic components of your diffuser and leave behind icky smells.
Simply empty your diffuser after each use and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.
Have you cleaned your diffuser recently? What do you use to clean it? Please share in the comments below!
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