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- The aromatherapy of an essential oil diffuser can help you relax or boost your energy.
- Every diffuser should be cleaned regularly — at least once a month — to remove dust and oil residue that cause the unit to malfunction.
- Just a few simple cleaning products you have around the house, like isopropyl alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and a few Q-tips, can protect the longevity of your diffuser.
- See also: The best essential oil diffusers
If you rely on an essential oil diffuser to help you relax and get a restful night’s sleep or to boost your energy levels at work, you want to keep it running smoothly and help it last as long as possible. Since nearly every diffuser uses a heat source to break down the components of essential oils, some residue will remain. Once that residue builds up, the unit can overheat or even stop functioning properly. This means you need to clean it regularly.
I’ve tried many different types of diffusers through the years and right now my favorite is the Vitruvi Essential Oil Diffuser. But no matter what style or dispersing method I’ve used, I’ve taken time to read the manual for directions on disassembling the unit and how to clean it. If you have lost the manual, most companies offer information online or by calling customer service.
As a cleaning expert and consultant to several small appliance manufacturers, I recommend thoroughly cleaning a unit each time you change scents and at least once a month to remove dust and oil residue. If you use it daily, bi-monthly cleaning is even better. Cleaning the ultrasonic plate or chip, which breaks down the oil into base molecules and causes water vibrations to disperse ultra-fine mist into the air, is the most important. Failure to clean that component can result in low diffusion or even cause your diffuser to stop functioning.
Steps to routinely clean an essential oil diffuser
These are the steps I use each week to clean my essential oil diffuser. It takes only five minutes or so and keeps the mist flowing smoothly.
- Make sure the diffuser is unplugged from the power outlet.
- Empty any water and oil mixture that remains in the diffuser reservoir.
- Dampen a microfiber cloth and place a small dot of a plant-based dishwashing liquid like Home Made Simple on the cloth.
- Wipe out the water reservoir with the soapy cloth. Rinse out the cleaned reservoir with fresh water and then dry completely with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Dip a Q-tip cotton swab into rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and rub it over the ultrasonic chip or plate to remove any oily residue.
- Reassemble the diffuser, refill with water and oils, and it is ready to use.
Steps to deep clean an essential oil diffuser
If you use your diffuser daily, it will need a more thorough cleaning monthly to remove mineral deposits left from the evaporation of water.
- Unplug the unit and empty any standing water in the diffuser.
- Refill the diffuser’s water reservoir approximately half full with fresh water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of distilled white vinegar (5% acidity). The vinegar will help dissolve any mineral deposits and kill any mold or mildew that has formed.
- Plug the diffuser into a power outlet and let it run for at least 15 minutes so the vinegar solution has time to work.
- Turn off and unplug the diffuser. Empty the vinegar solution from the reservoir. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down and dry the chamber.
- Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and clean the ultrasonic chip or plate to remove any trace oily residue.
- Slightly dampen a microfiber cloth with fresh water to wipe down the exterior and power cord of the diffuser to remove fingerprints and dust. Pay extra attention to areas around the fan exhaust vents and the controls. If the exhaust vents are clogged with dust, the diffuser will overheat and possibly stop working.
- Reassemble the diffuser, fill with a fresh water and oil solution, and enjoy.