Monday, November 9, 2009

How to Make Reed Diffusers

This article outlines step-by-step instructions for how to make your own reed diffuser using essential oils (or fragrance oils). Before you begin, you may want to look at the Reed Diffuser Oil Recipe.

What You Need to Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

Decide on a reed diffuser oil recipe and calculate how much of each ingredient, how many glass bottles (and what sizes), and how many diffuser reed sticks you'll need. Before you begin to make your reed diffuser, make sure you have everything you need.

Ingredients and Supplies You Need to Make a Reed Diffuser:

Essential oil(s) (You also may use fragrance oils.)
Dipropylene glycol, fragrance grade (DPGF) or reed diffuser base oil
Perfumer's alcohol (You may or may not need this.)
Diffuser reeds (Reeds should be a few inches taller than the bottle.)
Narrow neck glass bottle (Do not use plastic or metal containers.)
Some notes about choosing your reed diffuser ingredients: You may find it easiest to use a preformulated reed diffuser base oil rather than DPGF. Although it is possible to make reed diffusers using essential oils, you will get a more strongly fragrant diffuser using fragrance oils instead of essential oils. The ingredients you use to make a reed diffuser may be flammable.

How to Make a Reed Diffuser

1. Add essential oil (or fragrance oil) and fragrance grade dipropylene glycol to the glass bottle (read How to Make Reed Diffuser Oil for the right proportions, or use this Reed Diffuser Oil Recipe). Don't fill the bottle completely full. There must be enough space so that when you put in the diffuser reeds the liquid doesn't spill over the top.
2. Put the cap on the bottle and mix by gently turning the bottle upside down a few times.
3. Remove the cap and insert the diffuser reeds, fanning them out as shown in the photo above. It may take several hours for the oil to wick all the way up the reeds and diffuse the scent into the room. You can "refresh" your reed diffuser by flipping over the reed sticks every few weeks.

Troubleshooting Problems with Your Reed Diffuser

Problem: My reed diffuser oil isn't wicking up the reeds.

How to fix it: Make sure the diffuser sticks you used are reed. Bamboo or other types of wood won't wick the oil. If you're using recycled (i.e. used) reed sticks, you may need to discard them and use new reeds instead. Old, saturated reeds don't wick as well as new, unused reeds. It's best to start with new reeds rather than trying to recycle used ones.
If you're using new reed sticks and your oil isn't wicking, your reed diffuser oil may be too thick (viscous). If you think the oil is too thick, remove the reeds from the bottle and place them on a plate or other surface that won't be damaged by the oils. Add about 5% perfumer's alcohol to the bottle (i.e. if you have 5 oz of reed diffuser oil, you would add 0.25 oz perfumer's alcohol). Cap the bottle and mix gently. If after a day or so it's still not wicking well, you can try adding another 5% perfumer's alcohol.

Problem: My reed diffuser oil is wicking just fine, but the aroma is too weak.

How to fix it: Where is your reed diffuser placed? If it's in a corner of the room or tucked into a bookshelf, there may not be enough air movement around it to diffuse the scent into the room. Try placing your reed diffuser in a location closer to where people pass by, which will help move air past the reeds.
If your reed diffuser is in a good location but it's still not producing much scent, you can add more essential oil until your reed diffuser oil is 50% essential oil. If your reed diffuser oil is 50% essential oil and the scent is still too weak, you may need to try making a different essential oil blend with more strongly fragrant essential oils. Some essential oils are more volatile (i.e. evaporate more easily) than others, and essential oils vary in their perceived intensity. Choosing stronger and/or more volatile essential oils will make your reed diffuser more fragrant. Using synthetic fragrance oils instead of essential oils is another way to make your reed diffuser more strongly fragrant.

More Information About Reed Diffuser Ingredients

Read safety information for dipropylene glycol at More about dipropylene glycol fragrance grade at

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