Updated: Jun 2
We explore and share some little known facts and findings that we have found about reed diffusers that you most likely don't know about
A tell all on reed diffusers. Find out how to enjoy and be happy with your reed diffuser.
Strange little critters, reed diffusers are. I feel like I've unlocked the key to understanding and being happy with mine. When I decided to start using and experimenting with reed diffusers I had no idea a little thing could be so mysterious and difficult to figure out. I mean it's just a glass bottle, some reed sticks and some fragrance and/or some essential oils, right? There is actually quite a bit to making a good reed diffuser and more importantly knowing how to use it correctly.
Ok I'll just say it now to begin with. Most people are probably using reed diffusers wrong. However, it's not our fault, we are just not being educated correctly or in some cases being misinformed outright. In addition, most of us just simply don't have time to play with a reed diffuser and figure it out. We buy aromas in the store or online and we let it do its thing. What's to figure out? Well, if you ever happen to read all the countless reviews online, namely Amazon, and you'll see a ton of negative reviews and frustrated customers about reed diffusers.
That is what I dive into here. After experimenting, driving myself crazy, and researching online I found out why my reed diffusers and others where not living up to my expectations.
Tip #1 - It's Not The Size That Matters but Location
I remember being so proud when I made my own first reed diffuser. I thought wow, I learned how to mix various essential oils to create a heavenly scent and now I could make my whole house smell wonderful, be the talk of the town, and provide the world with wonderful aromas. Well, not quite. There were many factors I was not aware of that I needed to understand about reed diffusers before smoother sailings. I placed my reed diffuser in our large living room. It smelled great when I was almost next to it. I thought well, it will probably be more powerful once the essential oils climb the reed sticks and start dissipate in a day or two.
Days went by and it did smell slightly stronger but I still needed to be relatively close to it. Then I remembered, oh I just need to "flip the reeds" as everyone states. I did so and again it smelled great but only when near by but not far away. I even used larger and larger bottles but still with the same results. I noticed the same results in open areas of my spa too. I soon found out that the reed diffusers in the bathrooms smelled much stronger but still not to my liking. It was only ok, which leads to my next discovery.
So for Tip # 1, place your reed diffuser in a small area, closed areas are better but small open areas work too. Never place in a large room by itself.
Tip #2 - Mixing Carrier Oils with Essential Oils Won't Work
Yes, you heard that right. Do not mix carrier oils with essential oils. I know this goes against anything and everything on the internet, including YouTube, but it's true. If you want to trap the wonderful essential oil aromas in the bottle and not disperse it to the outside air then there is no better way than using carrier oils with your essential oils. It doesn't matter which carrier oil you use, apricot, coconut, grapeseed, etc. The carrier oils will trap the essential oil aroma in the bottle. I remember trying to figure out for the longest time why my reed diffusers were so weak in smell, I was literally hovering right over the bottles and could barely smell anything. I was doing everything I was supposed to do according to the internet. I finally realized after much trial and tribulation it was the carrier oils that were holding back the scents of the essential oils, I know hard it's to believe. However, again, just read reed diffuser reviews on Amazon and you'll see. What's the solution to this you ask? Read on my friend...
"Carrier oils will trap the aromas of the essential oils in the bottle." –
Tip #3 - Natural Evaporation Should & Actually Must Occur
No evaporation equals little to no aroma. What I began to notice over time is that the carrier oils would sit there even after weeks. I then began to wonder if adding more alcohol would have an effect. Some of my reed diffusers had 1/2 tablespoon alcohol and some did not. Adding more alcohol did help slightly, but only for a time. I then said ok, I'm going to go against everything and put all cards on the table. I decided to work with essential oils only and put it in a bathroom. It was my last desperate attempt to salvage my many weeks long experiments. Lo and behold, eureka! It worked! I had pleasing aroma that was lasting through-out the bathroom for extended periods of time. I then tried putting essential oil only bottles into large areas and it was not as successful. However, I was happy to find that using essential oils only in small areas did the trick. The next step was to super charge the success.
Tip #4 - Add Alcohol to Your Essential Oils bottle
Try adding IPA (100% rubbing alcohol) to your essential oils or better yet grain or grape alcohol. So now we know to leave out carrier oils, although I knew it could be slightly better. By adding a 1/2 tablespoon alcohol to essential oils allowed the scent to lift even more from the bottle and out into the air. I used both IPA and organic grape alcohol (sometimes called Luxury Perfumers Alcohol). Both worked great and even the harsh IPA smell dissipated fairly quickly leaving only the essential oil smell. However, some discerning smellers may not like IPA and may even be able to smell it slightly long afterwards when close up, this is why I only use organic Luxury Perfumers alcohol with my essential oils but only in very small amounts to help lift the smell out into the air.
You will start to notice much quicker evaporation when using essential oils only or essential oils with perfumers alcohol but this is good. Remember evaporation equals aroma. Carrier oils do not allow evaporation.
Tip #5 - A Combination Punch to Get The Most Out of Your Reed Diffuser
Use all of the above mentioned tips together to get the most out of your reed diffuser:
Use reed diffusers in small areas like bathrooms, closets, laundry rooms, and possibly foyers and small bedrooms. Larger bottles and rooms don't work.
Don't use carrier oils with essential oils when making reed diffusers.
Evaporation is your friend and evaporation equals aroma. Even with increased evaporation, your reed diffuser should still last up to 2 months or more.
Try using IPA (100% alcohol) or better yet grape alcohol like perfumers alcohol.
Use all of these methods for an amazing smell and reed diffuser you'll be happy with.
I would also like to quickly add that the type of reed sticks did not matter, we use natural rattan and fiber sticks but we noticed little to no difference.
You may even want to try and use a ready-made reed diffuser brand that uses fragrances vs essential oils, these contain a stronger mix of artificial and natural perfuming methods. During my experimentation I noticed some good success with some brands that did not primarily use essential oils, that used fragrance primarily, but again no reed diffuser worked well in large spaces.
The Right Tool For The Right Job
Reed diffusers are great if they are used properly. Don't use the wrong tool for the job. If you want to create scents for large areas use candles or wax warmers, if you desire aromas for small cozy spaces then reed diffusers are the way to go.
We carry essential oil reed diffusers and one white tea fragrance (one of my favorite scents) reed diffuser. We hope you enjoy creating your own, buying one from us, or obtaining from somewhere else. Enjoy!