December 4, 2019

By  Teri

What Am I Supposed To Do With This Diffuser?

Essential oil diffusers sometimes need to be discussed.

The Conversation Between Me & Someone

Someone: "I have this diffuser. I got it about a year ago."

Me: "How do you like it? What's your favorite blend?"

Someone: "My favorite what? What are you talking about?"

Me: "Oh! Do you have essential oils to use in it?"

Someone: "Yes, I have essential oils. I got them as a gift with that diffuser. I have no idea what they are for."

Me: "So, you haven't tried any of the oils in the diffuser?"

Someone: "Well, yes, but it didn't work. I put a few drops of oil in the diffuser & turned it on...then nothing. What a waste of time!"

Me: "How much water did you use?"

Someone: "Water???"

Sometimes we forget that not everyone runs a diffuser every day. Not everyone experiments with essential oil blends to get just the right effect from our essential oil diffuser. If you are new to essential oil diffusers, you've come to the right place!

Cool-Mist / Ultrasonic Diffusers

The diffuser in question is the most popular -  a cool mist / ultrasonic diffuser. It's relatively inexpensive, easy to use, can act as a humidifier, and comes in a variety of sizes.

I'm going to pretend you are Someone and you know nothing about cool mist diffusers.

There are only a few things you need to know to use one:

1. Put water in the diffuser.

Fill to your desired level, but not above the max line.

Diffuser Max Water Line
Floating Oil Drops

2. Add essential oil drops.

You can use a single oil or create a blend by adding a few drops of different oils. (We will talk about blending in another post.) 

When adding drops of essential oil, take into consideration:

  • The amount of water in the diffuser.
    • Here's what I use as a general guideline: 150 ml diffuser = 4-6 drops, 300 ml diffuser = 5-8 drops, 500 ml diffuser = 6-10 drops, 800 ml diffuser = 12-18 drops.

  • The size of the room and the ceiling height.
    • In a small room with a low ceiling, use the number of drops on the low end of the guideline range.
    • In a small room with a high ceiling, you can use the average number of drops, based on the general guidelines, but start out on the lower end.
    • In a large room with a low ceiling, you may need to use the higher end of the range of drops.
    • In a large room with high ceilings or wide-open areas, you might need to add a couple more drops than the guidelines indicates. I suggest using a larger diffuser in these areas. I opt for 500 - 800 ml diffusers in the areas of my house where the ceiling is at 20 feet, and the space is an open area.
  • The intensity of the essential oil's aroma.
    • If using citrus oils, you can use more drops. Of all oils, the aroma of citrus essential oils dissipates the fastest, so more drops can be added.
    • When using oils with strong intensity aromas, start with 1 or 2 drops and increase slowly. You can become overwhelmed by the smell of some essential oils. Examples of oils with intense aromas are Spikenard, Thyme, Vetiver, Spike Lavender, and Eucalyptus. We will talk more about aroma intensity in another post.
    • When using oils possessing medium intensity aromas, general guidelines work well.
  • The diffusing purpose. What is the reason for diffusing?  It's good to know that there is more to essential oil diffusing than simply freshening the air. There are multiple reasons to diffuse essential oils, here are some of them:
    1. Freshen the air.
    2. Affect emotions.
    3. As a Sleep aid.
    4. Kill airborne viruses and bacteria.
    5. Stress reduction.
    6. As a therapeutic treatment for an illness or condition.

The diffuser I'm using as an example is my husband's office diffuser (yep, diffusing provides assistance at work too). All diffusers are very similar, so yours should work about the same. 

3. Turn on the Diffuser

Press the Mist Button, it is the power button. After turning it on, you can make additional selections.
  • Press 1 - 3 times to select the length of time you want the diffuser to run. 
    •  Power on  = 60 minutes 
    • 1 times = 120 minutes
    • 2 times = 180 minutes
    • 3 times, and the diffuser runs until it's out of water. When the diffuser runs out of water, it automatically shuts off.
    • Pressing the 4th time shuts off the diffuser.
Mist Button
High/Low Button

4. Set the mist level.

Press the High/Low Button:  1 beep = mist flow is low.  Press again: 2 beeps = mist flow is high.

5. Light Settings - use the Light Button.

Turning on the diffuser automatically turns on the light. By default, it cycles through all colors.

  1. Press to change the light color if you don't want the diffuser to cycle through the colors.
  2. Press & hold the Light button to shut the diffuser light off. The diffuser will continue to mist.
Light Button

How does this diffuser work?

Basically, it's pretty simple. Ultrasonic diffusers vibrate the water, combining mist with the essential oil and forces an oil-infused, cool mist to flow up and out of the top of the diffuser. It behaves much like a humidifier, but with the ability to handle essential oils. Do not use essential oils in a regular humidifier, the oils can erode the inside of the machine and ruin it.

Some people have mistakenly assumed the mist is steam, due to the mist visually resembling steam. It's not steam, so no worries of getting scalded.

We are almost done

This was a snapshot of how to use a cool mist / ultrasonic diffuser. Remember to only diffuse high-quality essential oils. (We will discuss determining essential oil quality in another post.)

Teri Salisbury

Teri Salisbury

Thank You!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post about ultrasonic essential oil diffusers. If you have any questions or comments, you can email me at teri@selfhealthsolutions.com


NAHA Certified Aromatherapist


Certified Aromatherapist Founder - SHS Adult survivor of childhood learning disabilities (I'm still trying to get rid of those). Dyslexic, eccentric, idiosyncratic & always ready to fight for a good cause. Cancer survivor. Currently battling with AS.

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