How To Clean Essential Oil Diffuser

How To Clean Essential Oil Diffuser - Trobuleshooting Guide

Essential oil diffusers are a long time investment. One would never buy an essential oil diffuser to use it for a few months and throw it away. When you buy one, you would like to get a diffuser that would serve you for a long period. Guess what? Proper maintenance and upkeep are the keys to longer life of your essential oil diffuser. In this article, I will share some of the most effective and often neglected methods to clean essential oil diffuser so that it serves you for an extended period.

Read the user manual first

Each essential oil diffuser is made differently. Although, many of them have similar shapes, they could be using different materials in their construction. There are a few more good reasons to read the user manual. Product specific instructions are always mentioned in the user manual. If you do not follow the details correctly, the manufacturer may not honor the warranty on your product. Most importantly, if you own a diffuser already, then you may not read the user manual of the second product. Since we assume that the working is similar, we neglect the user manual. This is a big mistake.

How to Clean Essential Oil Diffuser

Each diffuser is made differently. The underlying technology behind each type of diffuser also varies. Hence, the methods for cleaning the diffuser also varies. In the following sections, we take a look at how each type of diffuser is cleaned.

Do keep in mind that these are general directions that are meant to complement the user manual; not to replace them.

If there is any conflict in the contents, always go ahead with what is mentioned in the user manual.

How To Clean Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Ultrasonic diffusers are the most common type of diffusers. They are simple to operate and cheap compared to cold air diffusers. Since they are simple to operate, we often neglect the product specific aspects of the diffuser. Some diffusers need distilled water, while some others recommend tap water. Some diffusers require you to drain the leftover water in a particular direction, while others may not have that requirement. You should avoid certain essential oils in some essential oil diffusers. Only user manual can help you find out which.

In general, ultrasonic diffusers need more maintenance than other type of diffusers.

Having said that, one must not underestimate ultrasonic essential oil diffusers. They are cheap, quiet and provide many features that are not available in other type of diffusers. Although, it takes some time to clean essential oil diffuser for the first time, it becomes easier if you do this regularly.

Many manufacturers advise their customers to clean the diffuser when oil is changed. However, I do not agree with this. They assume that you will change the oil at least on a weekly basis. This is may not hold true for everyone. The only essential oil I use is lavender oil. It does not mean that I need not clean the diffuser.

I clean my essential oil diffusers after each use. Cleaning diffusers after each use has many advantages:

  1. Remove dissolved minerals and dirt in tap water
  2. Minimise the chances of water leaking into the electronic circuit area
  3. Clean the surface of ceramic / crystal piezoelectric material

Power off the diffuser and disconnect the power cable before cleaning the diffuser

Cleaning Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser Daily

Following steps should guide you clean essential oil diffuser on a daily basis:

  1. Power off the diffuser
  2. Remove the power adapter connection from the base of the diffuser
  3. Take the diffuser near to your water tap
  4. Slowly remove the top lid of the diffuser; care must be taken not to spill the condensed water
  5. Drain the remaining water in the reservoir through proper side
  6. Wipe the outside of the diffuser with a slightly wet piece of cloth
  7. Wipe the inside of the diffuser with a piece of soft cotton cloth or paper towel
  8. Invert the diffuser and let it dry for sometime

Seven steps to follow each day looks like a difficult task. However, with most things in life, this can be converted into a habit. Do this regularly for 21 days continuously and it will become a habit. This daily cleaning itself can keep the diffuser in a good condition. However, this alone will not suffice. For a long term operation, you need to clean the diffuser thoroughly at least once in a month.

Deep Clean Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Most manufacturers give their recommendations in the user manual that accompanies the product. Correctly following the suggested methods are important, because the material used are different for different diffusers, although all of them are plastic. Yet, there are two main types of cleaning the diffuser thoroughly. I will explain each of those methods below.

Cleaning Diffuser with Citric Acid
  1. Power down the diffuser
  2. Remove the power adapter connection from the diffuser body
  3. Take the diffuser near to your tap
  4. Gently remove the top lid, making sure that the condensed water does not spill over your valuables
  5. Drain water in the reservoir, if any
  6. Make a solution of one tablespoon of citric acid and 100 ml  warm water and fill the reservoir up to the halfway mark
  7. Keep the solution in the diffuser for 10 minutes
  8. Empty the contents of the reservoir and clean the inside of the top lid and the diffuser with remaining water
  9. Clean the ceramic piezoelectric material and corner spaces thoroughly using a wet cloth
  10. Wipe the unit with a dry cloth
  11. Let the diffuser air out and dry naturally at least for four hours
Cleaning Diffuser with Vinegar
  1. Power off the diffuser
  2. Remove the top lid of the diffuser
  3. Fill clean water in the reservoir up to the halfway mark
  4. Add 8-12 drops of white vinegar in the water
  5. Turn on the diffuser and operate it for at least five minutes
  6. Turn off the diffuser and remove the power connection to the base unit
  7. Take the diffuser near to a water tap and drain remaining water in the reservoir
  8. Using a wet cloth clean the inside of the diffuser, especially hard to reach parts and piezoelectric ceramic part
  9. Clean the top lid and exterior portion of the diffuser with a wet cloth
  10. Using a dry cloth, wipe the diffuser and let it air out for at least four hours

If you do not clean and dry the diffuser frequently, the leftover water may enter the base unit of the diffuser and damage the electronic circuitry. Since ultrasonic diffusers cause water essential oil buildup in the form of mist, there is a high probability that it may enter the base unit. Once the mist enters base unit, things can go out of your hand. Essential oils are highly corrosive and can affect the working of electronic components.

How To Clean Fan Diffuser

Fan diffusers or evaporative diffusers are easy to clean in comparison to the ultrasonic diffusers. These diffusers do not use water. So there are no complications related to spilling of the excess water or condensation of the mist and essential oils. These type of diffusers do not need frequent maintenance. However, it does require you to change oil pads and cleaning occasionally.

The only thing which you change regularly is the oil. Whenever you change the oil, it is better to change the refill pads as well. When to add essential oil, the pads must not be over saturated.

Fan diffusers are not suited for dusty areas of your home.

Over a period of time, the diffuser fan tends to accumulate a lot of dust from surroundings. So when you change the oil, you must ensure that the fan blades are clean. In case you find dust, you must clean the fan blades with a wet cloth and remove the  dust. If the fan is not working properly, it tends to make loud noise. That noise is a good indicates problems with the diffuser. A regular inspection can keep fan diffuser in good shape. It takes a bit more time to clean essential oil diffuser of fan type, the less frequent cleaning compensates for the time spent.

How To Clean Cold Air Diffuser

Like fan diffusers, cold air diffusers (nebulizer diffusers) are not very popular now. They became unpopular because the fan used to produce much noise. However, these cold air diffusers are making a comeback because of improved noise insulation technology leading to lower noise. Cold air diffusers are a little bit more expensive than the other types of diffusers. However, they are the best type of diffusers out there in the market. If you want to enjoy aromatherapy at its best, then you must get a cold air diffuser.

Cold air diffusers, just like fan diffusers, do not use water. They use essential oil diffusers in their purest form – something which ultrasonic diffusers cannot do. So the amount of cleaning you need to do is minimal as well.

These type of diffusers do not require much maintenance. When the mist output is considerably less, it is time for some maintenance. Usually, the diffuser output is low when the oil clogs up the glass tube of the diffuser. Hence, removing the clogged up essential oil cleans up the diffuser and restores its functionality. Rubbing alcohol can remove the clogged up oil easily. Follow the steps to clean your cold air diffuser.

  1. Remove the glass top from the base of the diffuser
  2. Rinse the glass in warm water. Adding a little amount of soap to the solution would also be beneficial.
  3. Take the glass and pour two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol inside the glass tube
  4. Shake the glass tube vigorously with both the ends closed
  5. Wash the glass tube in warm water again
  6. Air out the glass tube for a couple of hours
  7. Put the glass tube back on the diffuser

Air out the glass pieces at a safe place in your home where pets and kids cannot reach

Please do not wipe the glass tubes with dry or wet cloths. Let the glass pieces air dry naturally.

How To Keep Essential Oil Diffusers In Good Condition

There are a few important things you should keep in mind, while you own a diffuser.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

  • Clean the diffuser after each use
  • Do not overfill ultrasonic essential oil diffusers. Water should be kept just below the maximum water level mark
  • Drain water through the designated side only. There is an air vent by the side of water reservoir. Water should never enter that vent. Check user manual for instructions to locate the vent.
  • Do not leave water in the diffuser for long periods without using the diffuser
  • Dry the diffuser after cleaning before using it again
  • Do not dip the diffuser in water to clean the diffuser
  • Pressing the piezoelectric ceramic piece may damage the part

Fan Diffussers

  1. Do not over saturate the oil refill pads
  2. Do not dip the diffuser in water to clean the exterior
  3. Keep the diffuser in a ventilated area with good air flow
  4. Keep an eye on the fan inside the diffuser. Accumulated dust can affect the mist output

Cold Air Diffuser

  1. Keep the diffuser in a ventilated area with good air flow
  2. If the diffuser makes more sound than usual, please contact the technical support of the company
  3. Do not fill the diffuser with more oil than needed
  4. Do not add water with the essential oil
  5. Keep the diffuser out of reach of children and pets


Keeping an essential oil diffuser clean and pristine condition is good not just for diffusers, but humans also. A diffuser, whatever be the the technology it be using, working in good condition produces best results. The quality of mist is as important as the quality of the essential oils and diffuser. The upkeep of the essential oil diffusers is something the manufacturer cannot do. The end users of the product has to do it.

Buying a diffuser is easy; maintaining one in good condition is difficult. It is not difficult because of the time required to do that. Rather, if it becomes a habit, then it is easy. Just like many other things. Like driving.

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