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What Can I Put in My Diffuser Instead of Essential Oils

What Can I Put in My Diffuser Instead of Essential Oils

If you have a diffuser, you must love the beautiful scent and benefits of using essential oils in it. There’s a huge range of essential oils; therefore, you can be sure that you’ll find one perfect for your needs. However, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can put in a diffuser besides oil or even use it without oil. 

You can put various products in your diffusers, such as dried herbs, lemon/citrus juices, vanilla extract, perfumes, or vinegar. However, using products other than essential oils might invalidate your device’s warranty, and you might also not get the expected therapeutic benefits. 

It’s best to understand that not every diffuser can support all the listed products above, and there’s a specific way to use them to ensure that your diffuser isn’t clogged or damaged. 

Here’s what you should know about using other products other than essential oils in your diffuser:

What Should You Know Before Adding Other Products To a Diffuser?

There’s a risk of your diffuser being clogged up if it isn’t designed to handle the substances you’re using. It would help if you did the following before opting for other products:

Read the Instructions on the Diffuser

It’s best to read any instructions with your diffuser to check if there are any specific warnings you should be aware of. For example, suppose the instructions tell you not to use anything other than essential oils, and your diffuser stops working. In that case, you might not be able to claim any warranty or guarantee. 

Dilute the Products With Water

It’s best always to dilute other products in your diffuser with water. For example, you can’t add herbs from your pantry and switch on the diffuser because some products could clog up your diffuser. You can only skip diluting essential oils when using them in your diffuser. 

Add Products to Diffuser After Adding Water

Ensure that you’ve added any other products after you’ve added water. This is because the mist in a diffuser is created using ultrasonic vibrations where the water is distributed in micro-partials; therefore, if you add the products first, they will sit on the bottom of the tank and not give the aroma as efficiently. 

Clean the Diffuser Immediately After Use

It’s best to clean your diffuser immediately after use if you’re using anything other than essential oil in it. Cleaning the diffuser is quite a straightforward process because all you need to do is pour out any water and residue, use a soft brush or cloth, and put a small amount of dish soap on the brush or cloth to wipe out the reservoir. A natural detergent is also best if you can access one.  

Signs of Fault

It’s best to stop using your diffuser immediately if it stops misting, shows any sign of default, or any other fault. Then, proceed to clean it out following the above recommendations. 

What Other Oils Can You Put In a Diffuser?

Essential oils have a watery consistency that mixes well with water. Therefore, almost all diffusers can break essential oils down into small particles and dissipate them in the air of your room, leaving a pleasant or calming effect and promoting your mental well-being. 

One of the main reasons essential oils are best for diffusers is that other oils may not have the potency of essential oils, given that it can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.  

However, if you have no essential oils for your diffuser because they’ve become expensive and you can’t afford them anymore, you might be tempted to use other oils in your diffuser.

Here is what you should know before using other oils in your diffuser:

  • It’s fair to assume that some popular oils like rapeseed, sunflower, olive oil, and coconut oil have several benefits when used in cooking and, in many cases, in beauty products. However, it’s best to note that they aren’t suitable for any diffuser.
  • Popular oils such as avocado, coconut, and other nuts such as macadamia are quite popular in our daily products such as shampoos, shower gels, and body lotions. However, while using them on a diffuser may diffuse or vaporize them, it won’t give the benefits of aromatherapy oils. 
  • It’s also worth noting that some cooking oils, such as coconut and palm oil, contain high levels of saturated fat. The saturated fat won’t be good to burn, given its high-fat content, overall density, and weight, which could even damage diffusers. 
  • Additionally, using any other type of oils may produce a faint aroma or might not give any sensory experience at all. Finally, in worst-case scenarios, using oils other than essential oils in any diffuser may give an unpleasant odor or be a fire hazard. 

Can You Put Fabric Softener In a Diffuser?

Some believe that fabric softener in a diffuser will help you experience a longer-lasting and more pleasant scent. While this works, it might not be safe to use on your diffuser due to the following:


Fabric softeners make clothing feel softer and more comfortable. However, they also contain chemicals that can harm people’s health. The main ingredient in fabric softener is lauryl sulfate or SLS, which is harmful to humans when inhaled. 

Fabric Softener Is Not Made For This Purpose

Fabric softener is one of the most used laundry products. However, it’s not made for use in diffusers. The product has no use other than just being a fabric softener for your clothes.

Additionally, fabric softeners contain quaternary compounds, which can cause nose and throat irritation when inhaled. Quaternary compounds make the fabric softener more comfortable to touch; however, when heated up in a diffuser, they can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. 

It’s best to remember that this chemical is commonly found in products treated with fabric softeners. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using fabric softener for diffusing purposes. 

Can You Put Febreze In a Diffuser?

Febreze is a popular air freshener spray. This is how to use it in a diffuser:

  • Cool-mist diffuser: Fill the diffuser with ¼ to ½ cup of Febreze and allow the diffuser to spread the scent throughout your home. 
  • In a reed diffuser: Fill a bottle or jar ¾ way with Febreze. Add rattan reeds and wait two hours. Then, turn the reeds over and insert the dry end into the container. You can rotate the reeds daily and refill the diffuser as needed. 

Can You Put Fragrance Oil In a Diffuser?

Although essential oils are the most common in diffusers, you can also use fragrance oils as a substitute. These oils are used in scented candles and wax melts; therefore, they are safe. 

There are two types of fragrance oils: synthetic and natural fragrance oils. Synthetic fragrance oil is created in the laboratory by mixing aromatic compounds with natural extracts, while natural fragrance oil is created from natural products. 

It’s best to avoid using synthetic fragrance oils because they can be dangerous to your health and can cause skin sensitivity because of their chemical composition. On the other hand, natural fragrance oils that don’t contain phthalate are suitable for diffusers, and some even recommend their use.  

When choosing fragrance oils, choose the ones that are used for diffusion because there’s a possibility that fragrances can be created compared to essential oils. However, fragrance oils are used for different purposes, including cleaning agents, skincare products, and diffusing. Fragrance oils will most often have what they are best for; therefore, choose the ones created for diffusion.

Fragrance oils should be safe if you follow instructions and take precautions. You will also need to know how many drops are enough for the diffuser and how to use them safely. It’s also best to understand that fragrance oils do not have aromatherapeutic benefits; therefore, they’re perfect if you want a great scent for your room. They are also perfect because they come in a wide variety of fragrances.

How to Safely Use Fragrance Oils In Your Diffuser

It’s best to measure the amount of fragrance oil you put into your diffuser because too little might not be enough to go around the whole room, and too many drops might saturate the room. For example, after choosing a high-quality natural fragrance oil, use about three drops in your 100ml diffuser; fragrance oils have stronger scents than essential oils; therefore, fewer drops are better. However, you might need to increase the drops if you’re using the diffuser in a larger room. 

It would help to also test-run the diffuser for a short time to help you know what amount is enough. Then, you can add more drops and try again until you get the perfect quantity. Be sure to start from little when test-running, and note that some scents are stronger than others, so that you might need lesser drops for such oils. 

Fragrance oils are more oily than essential oils; therefore, they are most likely to clog your diffuser. In this case, you will need to clean it after every use and deep clean it regularly. 

Can You Put Lemon Juice In a Diffuser?

Lemon is one of the most versatile citrus essential oils, and it’s relatively affordable to purchase. However, if you don’t have lemon essential oils at hand and looking for an essential oil substitute, you can consider lemon juice. After all, lemon essential oils come from real lemons; therefore, it’s okay to use the natural fruit or oil for diffusing purposes.

Here’s how you can use lemon in your diffuser:

  • Cut the lemon in two and place it in a bowl.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice and add a few drops to your diffuser’s water.
  • Diffuse the water lemon solution in the air and enjoy.

Can You Put Vanilla Extract In a Diffuser?

Vanilla essential oil is quite expensive; therefore, if you love its warm and comforting smell, you might wonder if you can put vanilla extract in a diffuser. 

Vanilla extract is cheaper than vanilla essential oil, and you probably already have it at home; therefore, the cooking extract seems like a smart ingredient to use in a diffuser, but you probably should not. 

Vanilla essential oil and vanilla extract does not work the same because it is a tincture, i.e., made with alcohol. On the other hand, a vanilla essential oil is the actual plant property that’s distilled down to a liquid. 

If you add an alcohol-based tincture to a diffuser, the alcohol will burn off quickly, and the scent won’t last long. Additionally, if you try using vanilla extract in your diffuser, you’ll have to add more drops than you normally do when using essential oil to get a strong smell.

While the alcohol will eventually burn off, a sticky residue could remain from the extract, which could damage your diffuser. You will also be left with the burden of cleaning the diffuser even if it isn’t damaged. 

However, if you love the vanilla scent, you can try these ways to use vanilla extract without a diffuser:

  • Boil water with vanilla extract, and simmer it on low once it reaches the boiling point.
  • Add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the top of incandescent lights that get hot. 
  • Use essential oil combinations that contain vanilla fragrances in them. However, you can still get the desired smell of vanilla without using pure vanilla essential oil. 

Can I Put Laundry Detergent In My Diffuser?

Some laundry detergents contain harsh surfactants, which can irritate the skin and lungs. In addition, if some amounts of the laundry detergent are released into the air, you will breathe them in, and they might come into contact with your skin if you stand or sit close to your diffuser. 

Before using your laundry detergent in your diffuser, ask yourself if you would be comfortable drinking out a cup of the chemical that was put in. If you wouldn’t, using laundry detergent in your diffuser isn’t safe.

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If you want to clean your diffuser, opt for mild dish soap because it’s the safest and most effective cleaning choice for your diffuser. 

Essential oils are great for extra comfort in your home. They safely fill a space with natural and beautiful fragrance of your choice and are quite easy to clean and maintain. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new combinations of aromas and explore the creativity essential oil diffusers afford.