"How to Make My Diffuser Last Longer?"
You ask, we answer.
A Short History of How it Began
Since thousands of years ago, aromatherapy has been around as roman cultures discovered the healing energies that natural herbs, oils, and spices provide. Harvesting, mixing and burning natural ingredients for medicinal and meditating purposes were not uncommon ways to treat physical or mental wellbeing. However, only in the Middle Ages that scientists and physicians discover the distillation process and start using it for harvesting oils from plants. The process has been being studied and experimented with in different ways. Still, one thing for sure is that extracting oils from plants is just not a simple process. Considering the amount of essential oil that one plant gives out is only 0.01% to 10% of the whole plant, you can imagine how many tons of plants are required to create a few hundred pounds of oil; therefore, the luxurious price of essential oil bottles is understandable.
So how well can you gain the most out of it with the amount paid? In other words, how can you make your diffuser last longer without wasting much scent?
Keep reading, and we will give you tips to increase the lifespan of your diffusers, be it ultrasonic aroma diffusers, nebulising diffusers, or reed diffusers.
General Tips - Indoor Environment
No matter what diffusers you choose to have, an excellent question to ask first is WHERE to put it.
1. Oil, Humidity, and Temperature.
When oils are dispersed into the air, the fragrance molecules will travel through the air and to your nose. The amount of area that these fragrance molecules can spread to depends on the moisture and humidity level in the air.
Suppose your room temperature is relatively low and the air is dry. In that case, it will create slow-moving scent molecules, which cannot travel very far and at the same time, dry air will increase the speed of oil evaporation. This also means that even though your diffuser is diffusing more, the scent molecules cannot travel far enough to cover your room with the fragrance, especially if it is a large space.
Therefore, the first essential tip to make your diffuser last longer is to ensure that the room has sufficient humidity and moderate temperature.
2. Good Air Circulation, but Not Too Good.
As explained earlier, the fragrance molecules travel in the air, and our nose will detect it only when the molecules reach us. Therefore, it makes sense that having good air circulation in the room will enhance the performance of the diffusers. However, that doesn't mean that we should place them where the wind from the fan or aircon directly hits, or even at the window side where all the scent is blown outside. Any fast-moving and robust air can cause oil evaporation to happen more quickly unnecessarily, so the best place to put the diffuser is constant foot traffic that moves the molecules in the air naturally to carry the scent around.
Here onwards are the informative tips according to the type of oil diffusers you are interested in knowing more about. (Skip to "Tips to make Reed Diffusers last longer" if you'd like!)
Tips for Essential Oil Diffusers
Firstly, there are two types of essential oil diffusers.
This is the most common type of diffuser that you can find in the market, which uses water. How does it work? A vibrating disc inside the diffuser generates sound waves, breaking down the water components until it vaporises. When this happens, the essential oil is disrupted, making the tiny oil droplets trapped inside the water droplets as it goes into the air. That is how the cool mist from the ultrasonic diffusers carries the essential oil scent that you put into.
This is a new type of diffuser that does not use water or heat but only use the physics of air pressures to push up tiny particles of the essential oils in their purest form. The shape of the diffuser is made specially to create air pressures such that the oils are broken down into tiny particles to float in the air. Although, it may be a more costly investment than other types of diffusers for its high quality.
How to make them last longer?
Tip 1: Control the amount of oil according to the size of the bottle!
Both of these diffusers need you to put the essential oils in, which means that you can control the amount of essential oils. However, the exact amount necessary depends on the size of the diffusers and the rooms where you place them. The best way is to start with a small amount (e.g. 3-5 drops for a 200ml ultrasonic diffuser) and monitor the level of the fragrance in the room. If your room still does not smell good after an hour or two, then it is probably better to increase the amount of oil put in. Remember that the position of the diffuser also has an impact on how well you can sense the scent! For example, placing a diffuser in your living room might not bring sufficient fragrance as putting it in your bedroom.
As for nebulising diffusers, the essential oil that's put in will be recycled inside until all the oils evaporate, so do not rush and over-add oils in!
Tip 2: Put a limit on how long to diffuse.
If you want to save on the amount of essential oil used for diffusers, the best advice is not to let the diffuser run for too long. Research shows that inhaling the fragrance of diffusers for too long does not necessarily mean a good thing. It is recommended to have a diffuser running only for one hour before you sleep, for example, because the amount of scent molecules in your room should already be enough to fall asleep smoothly. Many models have an automatic shut off feature with timer settings. These options may help cut your spending on essential oils.
Tip 3: Remember to clean the inner part of the bottle.
Whether with or without water, cleaning the diffuser bottle after using it will prevent oils or dirt from stacking up inside because it might be why your diffuser does not provide a good smell anymore over time. For an ultrasonic diffuser, it is best to wash the inside after it runs out of water before putting the new essential oil in. It is best to clean thoroughly with a dishwasher for a nebulising diffuser, especially if you add a different aroma oil scent.
- Reed Diffusers
Reed diffusers are practical and easy to use because they do not require heat and water. Essential oils or fragrance oils are already added to the bottle you purchase, so there is no need to buy the oils separately.
How does it work?
As the name suggests, reed diffusers use the reeds to absorb the oil and slowly transport it into the air from the top of the reed as it evaporates. Just think of it as the bundle of mini straws that naturally absorb the oil and move it upwards to disperse. The scent is released as it evaporates thanks to the fragrances in reed diffusers, usually alcohol or solvent-based. These compounds are naturally found in plants and fruits when the essential oils are extracted. Alcohol or solvent-based reed diffusers increase volatility, and the fragrance is more noticeable. Therefore, the smell should be strong enough even with fewer reeds. On the other hand, alcohol-free reed diffusers may sound more natural. Still, no alcohol means the evaporation rate is much slower, making the scents less noticeable and urging you to use more reeds.
How to make them last longer?
Tip 1: Use good-quality reeds.
Since reeds are the main thing that gives out the scent, make sure that you use good-quality reeds for better absorption. The ideal reeds to use are rattan reeds. Rattan (or Ratan), usually 2 to 4 inches in diameter, is a broad term for several hundred species of climbing palms. Rattan reeds are the natural material containing small hollow tubes in each reed, and they can better absorb and distribute the oil evenly. Other reeds types include bamboo or fiber reeds, which are not recommended. Bamboo reeds are built to have node-like channels, stopping the oil from spreading, and fiber reeds (poly & cotton blend) absorb too quickly that they waste lots of oil.
Tip 2: The quality of the oil inside the diffuser bottle matters.
The difference between high-quality reed diffusers and otherwise is the quality of the oils mixed within. For example, oils with too many synthetic fillers can clog the reeds, causing them to stop diffusing the scent. Poorly mixed oils may allow for a heavy smell at first and evaporate too fast that it consumes oils too quickly.
A high-quality reed diffuser would simply last longer because the natural oils are mixed in a perfect ratio, allowing for a smooth absorption at a steady rate.
Tip 3: Take out the reeds when you don't need it running!
If you are not at home for some time, you may not need the diffuser to keep sending out the fragrance. If so, simply put them on a tray! Remember to close the bottle's cap and cover the reeds with some cloth to prevent dust, hair, or dirt particles from the room.
Tip 4: Flip the reeds once in 2-3 weeks.
If you feel that the fragrance from your reed diffuser is not strong anymore, you can try to turn the reeds upside down or simply stir the oil inside. Be cautious not to use any tools other than the reeds to stir! Especially, do not try to use water to dilute the oil or add different oils to the existing ones!
If this method does not increase the scents, it might be time to change the reeds!
COMMON QUESTION: "Can I reuse my reeds?"
A simple answer to this is NO. Once the reeds suck up the oil, they will not absorb any more oil no matter how much you clean or scrub them. It is useless to put used reeds back because they will not soak any more oil.