Skip to Content

How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser

How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser

There are several ways of utilizing essential oils in your life. One of the easiest and most popular ways of using them is diffusing them into the air using an essential oil diffuser. However, whether you’re creating new blends or a familiar aromatic ambiance, the chances are that your diffuser puts in a lot of hours; therefore, it’s crucial to clean it.

Cleaning the diffuser is essential because a dirty essential oil diffuser can affect how well it works. Here is how to do it:

Why Should You Clean Your Essential Oil Diffuser?

It’s best to keep your essential oil diffuser clean even if the oils have cleaning properties. For instance, if you take a journey from your essential oil journey and let water sit in the diffuser for a while, there is a possibility that mildew or mold can grow in it.

Naturally, you don’t want mildew or mold to be diffusing into your air. However, mold issues are not quite prevalent when it comes to diffusers.

The most common issue for essential oil diffusers is a lack of functionality. For example, essential oils might leave an oily residue on your diffuser, and once the residue builds up, it can deter the diffuser’s ability to perform at maximum capacity.

Additionally, essential oils with a strong scent might linger in your diffuser, creating an unpleasant experience when you switch to another essential oil.

How Often Should You Clean Your Essential Oil Diffuser?

Ideally, you should rinse your diffuser after every use, especially if you’re changing the oil scents. Then, depending on how frequently you use the diffuser, you should clean it thoroughly at least monthly to remove any build-up and dust that might affect how well it works. Finally, remember to unplug the diffuser before cleaning it.

It’s best to remember that each brand and style of essential oil diffuser is slightly different; therefore, take time to read the manual for specific directions before cleaning yours. You don’t want to risk voiding a warranty because of failure to follow directions. If you have lost your manual, you can call customer service or go online for instructions.

How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser With Vinegar

If you’re looking for an affordable method of cleaning your essential oil diffuser, you can use vinegar. You can use white vinegar to clean your diffuser at least monthly to keep it working at an optimum level.

What You Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swab
  • Soft cloth


Empty Any Standing Water

Before cleaning the diffuser, you can unplug and empty any essential oils and standing water. Ensure that you don’t submerge any part of the diffuser in water or get excess moisture into any control buttons.

Fill the Diffuser With Water and Vinegar Solution

Fill the essential oil diffuser with plain water until approximately half full. Then, add at least ten drops of distilled white vinegar to help clean and disinfect the reservoir tank.

Run the Essential Oil Diffuser

Plug in the diffuser and let it run for ten to fifteen minutes to give the vinegar and water solution time to cut through any built-up oils in the tank.

Unplug and Empty the Reservoir

Unplug the essential oil diffuser and empty the water and vinegar solution. Then, you can use a soft cloth to wipe down and dry the reservoir.

Clean the Ultrasonic Chip

You can give the ultrasonic plate or chip a wipe down using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. This step ensures that the ultrasonic chip is oil-free and completely clean.

Wipe Down the Outside

While the diffuser is still unplugged, you can use a cloth dampened with plain water to wipe down the diffuser’s exterior. After this procedure, reassemble the diffuser for subsequent use.

How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser With Rubbing Alcohol

If you don’t want to use water and vinegar to deep clean your essential oil diffuser, you can wipe it down using rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol disinfects your essential oil diffuser and prevents mold from growing on the diffuser’s reservoir.

You can dip a cotton ball or swab into rubbing alcohol and rub it all over the ultrasonic plate or chip to remove any oily residue. This step ensures that the diffuser is oil-free and thoroughly clean.

How to Clean a Diffuser With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a strong water-soluble solution, which causes a powerful chemical reaction that eliminates all the impurities that get in the way of the essential oils in the diffuser. You can clean your essential oil diffuser using lemon juice by following these steps:

Turn the Diffuser Off

It’s best to power down your diffuser before cleaning it to prevent any electrical damage to it. Also, it’s best to wait for at least five minutes after turning it off to enable the device to cool down.

You can also remove the power adapter from the diffuser because you will use water to clean it, and it’s best not to get the adapter wet because it might damage the diffuser permanently.

Prepare the Lemon Juice Solution

While the diffuser is cooling down, you can prepare the lemon juice solution that will help you clean the diffuser.

To make the solution, get at least four tablespoons of lemon juice solution and make a solution with warm water. Then, fill the reservoir with the solution up to the halfway mark.

Apply the Solution on the Device

Once the solution is ready, you can apply it to the diffuser. But, first, pour down the solution into the diffuser and let it remain there for at least ten minutes. This step is critical because it helps ensure that impurities are eliminated.

Check this too: Haier Dehumidifier How to and Troubleshooting Guide

Ensure that you don’t use a lot of the lemon juice solution than recommended to prevent wastage and avoid damaging the device. However, the procedure is quite simple if you use enough lemon juice to eliminate the impurities.


Empty the reservoir’s contents and clean the inside of the top lid and the diffuser with the remaining water. Ensure that you remove all oils and there is no dirt.

After rinsing, use a wet cloth to thoroughly clean the corner spaces to ensure no oil is left.

Dry the Diffuser

This step is crucial because you can’t turn the device on if it’s still wet. Get a dry microfiber cloth to help you dry out most of the water in the diffuser. The fabric will help you get at least 90% of the device dry. Dry the diffuser as best as you can to ensure that the rest of the process is faster for you.

After drying the diffuser with the microfiber cloth, let it air out naturally to ensure that it’s 100% dry and ready to be used again. Skipping this part can damage the diffuser; therefore, it’s a crucial step to be followed.

How to Clean a Diffuser With Baking Soda

If you want to deal with oil residue and mineral deposits in the water reservoir and lid, you can soak them in a little baking soda and warm water. However, it’s best not to submerge any electronic components of your diffuser.

What You Need

  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 6 to 8 drops of dish detergent
  • Clean tap water
  • Paper towel or a microfiber cloth


  • Fill a medium-sized bowl with warm water.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of dish detergent and stir well.
  • Soak the water reservoir and lid for at least one hour.
  • Rinse the diffuser with clean tap water and dry all the parts thoroughly using a paper towel or a dry microfiber cloth.
  • You can also air-dry the parts to ensure that they are completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.

How to Clean Essential Oil Residue

You can clean any essential oil residue from the diffuser by dipping a Q-tip cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and rubbing it over the ultrasonic plate or chip. Once done, reassemble your diffuser, refill it with water and oils, and it will be ready for subsequent use.

How to Clean a Diffuser With Mold

If there’s mold growth in your essential oil diffuser, you should take the necessary steps to clean it. Failure to clean your diffuser could cause mold spores to be dispersed in the air with a mixture of essential oils and water.

Here is how you can clean a diffuser with mold:

Use Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most effective natural remedies for removing and killing mold from infected places. You can clean your mold infected diffuser by following these steps:

  • Put clean water into the diffuser and add about ten drops of white distilled vinegar.
  • Allow the device to run for about three to five minutes.
  • Empty the diffuser and rinse it thoroughly.

Vinegar is effective on its own; however, you can mix it with other mold-killing solutions such as salt, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda. However, avoid mixing vinegar with bleach because the resultant solution is highly toxic.

Bleach is a great mold removal agent; however, it can be toxic. Therefore, you should avoid diffusing it completely.

Essential Oils

The effectiveness of pure essential oils gives them the proficiency to combat mold naturally. However, it’s best to understand that not all essential oils can clean off the mold. Some of the most effective essential oils include:

  • Lemon
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Clove oil
  • Tea tree
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon

If you want to get rid of the mold, you can put any of the above essential oils in the affected diffuser.

How to Prevent Mold Growth Inside a Diffuser

Some essential oil diffusers, such as ultrasonic devices or nebulizers, should be filled with a mixture of essential oils and water. However, mold could thrive without proper maintenance because it only needs food and moisture to flourish.

While it might be pretty impossible to prevent oil and moisture residue from building up in the diffuser, it’s best to take the following steps to prevent mold growth:

Clean the Diffuser

It’s best to change the water and essential oils mixture every 24 hours. After that, you can use vinegar, lemon juice, or rubbing alcohol to clean the device. These three ingredients are pretty handy in removing oil residue from the diffuser’s components.

Proper Storage of the Diffuser

If you’re not using your diffuser, it’s best to store it appropriately. Proper storage entails a thorough clean-up of the device to remove the entire oil residue that would otherwise serve as the mold’s food. After cleaning the machine, it’s best to ensure that it’s completely dry before reassembling the parts for storage.

How to Get Musty Smell Out of an Essential Oil Diffuser

You can get rid of the musty smell in your oil diffuser by diffusing a mixture of white vinegar and water. All you have to do is fill the diffuser, add a teaspoon of vinegar, and then let it run as usual. If you also note mold in the diffuser, you can wipe it down using a microfiber cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Can I Leave Water in My Oil Diffuser?

The best way to ensure that your diffuser is clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. It’s best not to leave standing water after using your diffuser. Instead, empty any excess water and wipe the diffuser down after use to prevent mold growth.

You can also switch the types of essential oils used in the diffuser. For example, clove, rosemary, and thyme have anti-fungal properties.

How Do You Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser With Apple Cider Vinegar?

You can clean an essential oil diffuser with apple cider vinegar by following these steps:

  • Fill the diffuser up halfway with distilled water and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • Turn the diffuser on and run a cleaning cycle.
  • Drain and rinse the diffuser using distilled water and a Q tip to clean around the disc area lightly.

Why Does the Water in My Diffuser Look Cloudy?

The water in your diffuser might look cloudy if the oil is not pure essential oil but an aromatic one. Aromatic oils are carrier oils (non-volatile oils) with some essential oil or equivalent compound to provide odor. Being non-volatile means that they will always remain in the water giving a cloudy look.

Check this too: Do Air Purifiers Really Help with Mold?

The residue often doesn’t have any odor, and adding water will always yield a cloudy look again because the carrier oil will never evaporate. If you want to remove the cloudy look, you can throw the residue away and load a few drops of fresh oil in the diffuser.

If you use your essential oil diffuser daily, you will need to clean it daily and deep clean it at least monthly to avoid having a gross essential oil diffuser. Regular cleaning can also help you deal with any stains in your essential oil diffuser.