Are Diffusers Safe?

Diffusers are an excellent way to spread a fragrance around your house without the use of an open flame. While diffusers are generally safe to use around humans, you should follow certain guidelines to ensure the best experience for everyone in your household, children, and pets included. Here are 11 top tips for using oil diffusers of all kinds safely:

Buy quality essential oils.

Getting high-quality oils for your oil diffuser will ensure that it runs as efficiently and safely as possible. High-quality oils will result in a noticeable but not overwhelming smell that will make your home smell nice without leading to headaches or nausea. Make sure to get your oils from a reputable supplier and look for unadulterated oils without added compounds.

Follow the diffuser instructions.

This should be obvious, but it bears repeating: Follow the instructions that come with your aroma diffuser! They’re rules, not suggestions, and paying attention to them is the best way to ensure that your diffuser stays working for a long time without mishaps.

Use the right amount of oil.

More oil does not equal a better experience when using an aroma diffuser. A few drops might not seem like a lot, but trust us, it’s enough to make your home smell good. In fact, using too much oil can lead to an overpowering and unpleasant smell that causes feelings of headaches and nausea.

Ask your doctor if you’re pregnant.

While essential oils are usually okay for most patients to use (barring an allergy, of course) it’s still a good idea to check with your doctor before using them during pregnancy. Your providers will be able to tell you if it’s safe, offer extra tips, and potentially even recommend certain scents to use or avoid.

Watch out for adverse reactions.

When using an oil diffuser, keep an eye out for signs of allergic or respiratory reactions, including watering or itchy eyes, sneezing, clogged sinuses, and trouble breathing. This is especially important whenever you experiment with a new scent for the first time or if you are already prone to asthma or allergic reactions.

A man is adding essential oil to an aroma diffuser.

Double-check your home’s ventilation.

When using any kind of scented diffuser — whether it’s an electronic diffuser or a reed diffuser — it’s important to do it in a well-ventilated area. Make sure that your vents are all working properly and that air is circulating. You can also consider opening a window if necessary.

Stay away from flames.

Some essential oils are extremely flammable, so keeping them away from open flames is important. Don’t use the oils in the kitchen, and keep any lit candles far away. Also be careful of using electronic diffusers in the bathroom, as you don’t want to accidentally flick water on the power cord.

Don’t continuously run electronic diffusers.

Reed diffusers release small amounts of oil slowly, so they can be left out around-the-clock as long as they’re in a well-ventilated area. However, electronic oil diffusers produce a more concentrated fragrance, so it’s best not to run them continuously. A good rule of thumb is to run the diffuser for a 30-60 minute period and then take a break of the same length.

Aromatic reed freshener on table in room

Keep olfactory fatigue in mind.

Just because you can’t smell the diffuser doesn’t mean that it isn’t running. Olfactory fatigue is a phenomenon that occurs when your sense of smell adapts to a fragrance and you can no longer smell it even though the molecules are still present. If that happens, the solution is usually to take a break from the scent instead of amping up the fragrance.

Be careful with pets and small children.

Since children and pets are smaller than adults, they may be more susceptible to scents. Animals may also have adverse reactions that are different from humans. Cats are particularly vulnerable to fragrances. If you notice them getting sick, turn off the diffuser, open the windows, and take them to the vet if things get worse. While you’re at it, keep the diffuser out of reach so your human and fur children can’t knock it over or ingest the oil.

Clean your diffuser regularly.

Cleaning your diffuser on a regular basis will stop mold from growing and keep it working at optimal levels. While you should follow the manufacturer instructions, you should wipe down the diffuser after each use and deep clean it at least each month.

Follow these 11 tips to use your diffusers safely at home, and don’t forget to check out our collection of high-quality diffuser oils.