Can You Use Any Oil In A Diffuser? Here’s What You Can Use

There’s nothing nicer than opening up a brand new diffuser to give your bedroom, relaxing area, or snug a ‘home spa’ experience! But can you use any oil in a diffuser? and would you like me to help you discover what you can use?

So in a rush to get started, you might be wondering can you use any oil in your diffuser? or whether you’ll need oils that are specifically designed for their aromatherapy properties? 

Before we get into the details, let’s find out the definitive answer first so you can start to enjoy the benefits straight away of your diffuser and appreciate the benefits of 

Can you use any oil in a diffuser? You should only use pure essential oils in a diffuser. Using other oils such as perfumed or cooking oils can result in undesired aromatherapy results, they may not diffuse other oils properly, and could give an unpleasant odor. More importantly, The diffuser could clog or be damaged and your diffuser warranty could be invalidated.

Ok so that’s the mini takeaway covered so you can get started using oil in your diffuser and discovering the benefits, let’s take a look at some reasons that using other oils rather than pure aromatherapy oils your diffuser might not be how to get the best from your diffuser. 

Will any oil work in a diffuser?

Although it might seem like a good idea, there are many reasons why you can’t use any oils in your nebulizing, ultrasonic, heat, and evaporative diffusers.  The crucial reason is that you won’t experience the unique aromatherapy qualities you would do from using pure organic aromatherapy oils. 

Each different type of diffuser has its own unique method for dispersing quality essential oils into the air, to enable you to enjoy their therapeutic benefits.

So you might be wondering how diffusers work and why it’s best to use certified aromatherapy oils to add the benefits of many different herbs and flowers into the air to enjoy the blends. Let’s find out. 

what oil should i use in a diffuser?
what oil can I use in a diffuser?

How do essential oil diffusers work? 

An essential oil diffuser breaks essential oils down into smaller molecules, dispersing them intthe air for a pleasant or calming effect, promoting mental-wellbeing. 

These soothing and calming effects add up to the resulting mental-wellbeing which will come only from the fragrance released by essential oils and not any other oil. 

Let’s take a look at how the four most common diffuser types work, so we can better understand ‘can you use any oil in your diffuser?’ 

  • Nebulizing diffusers. This type of diffuser works by forcing a stream of high-pressure air through small tubes that contain essential oil. This stream of air turns the oil into a fine mist and distributes it around the room. A nebulizing diffuser doesn’t use water which might dilute the scent or go moldy if you leave it in your diffuser! It also doesn’t require the addition of heat which can alter the qualities and therapeutic properties of oils.
  • An ultrasonic diffuser is an aromatherapy diffuser that uses electricity to disperse essential oils into the air. They break the essential oil particles down into their base molecules. These molecules are negatively charged so they disperse by attaching the positively charged molecules in your home.
  • Evaporative diffusers Generally are either passive or active. A good example of a passive diffuser is a reed diffuser.  Reeds used as diffusers act the same as a wick in a candle or lantern. active evaporative diffusers use a small fan that blows across the surface of an absorbent pad, which is soaked in essential oils. This produces just the right amount of energy required for the oil molecules to evaporate into the air.
  • Heat diffusers are more similar to evaporative diffusers than other styles as they also rely on evaporation to work effectively. but instead of a fan that blows cool air, they use heat to speed up the process. Heat diffusers are more at the affordable end of aromatherapy, as a single candle will work, however, they do of course lack many of the safety and other features of other diffusers. 

While you are checking out all things diffuser, head over to find out my favorite immune-boosting diffuser recipes! Beautiful lavender, geranium, lemon, orange, and eucalyptus recipes to bring comfort to flu and cold symptoms while scenting your home.


Cooking oils won’t give you the same sensory experience as pure essential oils 

So now we can see how essential oils work with diffusers, it’s a little easier to understand that standard oils such as those used for cooking won’t give you the same relaxing and sensory experience as using proper pure certified organic essential oils. 

So if your prime reason for using oils in a diffuser is to reap the benefits from power-packed essential oils such as their mood-lifting experience along with glorious scent then other oils won’t give you that spa-like event you might be looking for! 

So you might be looking through your kitchen cupboards and have spied some exotically scented coconut oil or a hint of the Mediterranean with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and wondering if that would work in your diffuser? 

“standard oils such as those used for cooking won’t give you the same relaxing and sensory experience as using proper certified organic and pure essential oils.” 

Let’s find out. 

oils in a diffuser
some of my favorite essential oils for diffusers

Can I use oils used for cooking in my diffuser?

Although it’s fair to assume that some of our more popular oils like sunflower, rapeseed, coconut, and Olive oil have a number of benefits when used in our cooking and also in many cases in beauty products, it’s worth noting that they aren’t suitable for use in any kind of diffuser..

Avocado oils, coconut, and other nut oils such as Macadamia are having a boom time in many of our daily products such as shower gels, shampoos, and silky smooth body lotions. 

So although using them on a diffuser may diffuse or vaporize them, it will not give you the benefits of aromatherapy oils.

“These calming and relaxing effects and the resulting mental-wellbeing will come only from the fragrance released by essential oils and not any other oil.”

What makes essential oils the only oil to use in diffusers? 

It’s important to understand how pure essential oils are produced so we can better understand why you should only use those oils in your diffusers, so let’s discover a little more below. 

How are essential oils made? 

Essential oils are produced by harvesting, streaming, and pressing plant extracts. The above processes may be performed on different parts of the plant, for example, the flowers, leaves, bark, or fruit to harness the compounds that create their fragrance and other properties. 

Why are pure essential oils so concentrated? 

One of the main reasons that essential oils are shall we say ‘essential’ in diffusers is because 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.

Lavender for instance has so many benefits because of its super concentration! so head over and find out some of the benefits of mixing lavender with other superpower plant oils such as tea tree, how lavender mixes with the beautiful floral ylang ylang and find out why lavender makes my curated list of 21 oils and blends for calm and relaxation!

its not surprising, however, to find out that it takes around 5 coconuts to produce one cup of oil, which makes the oil relatively concentrated, it still doesn’t give you the intense oils that are produced during the essential oil process. 

Is the high-fat content in some oils cause a problem when using a diffuser? 

Although some cooking oils could be fairly low in saturated fat, such as sunflower oil, or other oils from vegetables, nuts, and seeds such as rapeseed, walnut, olive, walnut, and corn oil, others such as coconut and palm oil contain high levels of saturated fat. 

This saturated fat will not be good to burn, given its high-fat content and overall density and weight could even damage diffusers, especially the nebulizer or ultrasonic variety while may also result in ugly oil patches on your ceiling. 

Let’s find out a bit more below about the weight of essential oils and why they are the only kinds of oils to use in diffusers for the best experience. 

I just love the blue on my favorite diffuser!

Does the weight of pure essential oils make them better to diffuse? 

One specialty of pure essential oils is that they are lightweight, which makes them ideal to use in a variety of diffusing devices, right from the ceramic type with a tea light beneath to an all singing and dancing nebulizing version. 

The weight of pure essential oils is ideal for the evaporation process needed to enjoy a diffuser experience. 

In contrast, other types of oil as we mentioned above can be much thicker making the diffusing processes are more complicated or in some cases, the process won’t happen at all. 

“The weight of pure essential oils is ideal for the evaporation process needed to enjoy a diffuser experience.”

How will diffusing different oils rather than essential oils affect odor? 

Essential oils used in a diffuser come in a huge variety of fragrances. 

Each variety of fragrance promotes different moods and calming effects. These effects are more enhanced with the potency and concentrated nature of essential oils. 

However, if you use other types of oils, at best they may produce a vague aroma, or sometimes won’t give any kind of sensory experience at all. 

In worst-case scenarios, using oils other than essential oils in any kind of diffuser may even give an unpleasant odor or even be a fire hazard. 

“In worst-case scenarios, using oils other than essential oilin any kind of diffuser may give an unpleasant odor or even be a fire hazard” 

So now we’ve seen how using other types of household and cooking oils aren’t suitable for use in diffusers, let’s take a look at why perfumed oils, although fragrant, aren’t ideal to use in your brand new diffuser!  

Can I use perfume oils in a diffuser? 

We’ve all heard of those lovely sounding perfume oils, such as pumpkin spice, cherry blossom, and French Vanilla but are they ok to put in your diffuser? 

There are many different makes between certified organic pure essential oils and synthetic oils with pretty names! 

Firstly perfumed oils although may have some plant extracts, are created in a lab using synthetic additives to produce the fragrance. 

These types of oils ‘mimic’ the real natural scents found in plants, are cheaper to produce, and have a much shorter shelf life than their natural counterparts. 

For example, a fragrance oil produced artificially will last on average between 6 and 12 months, rather than the 2 to 15 years shelf life of a pure organic certified essential oil. 

They are commonly used as fragrances in room sprays, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, and beauty lotions. 

So we can clearly see that given their artificial nature, perfume oils fragrance while perfect for the above uses, just isn’t potent enough to diffuse properly and give the intense sensory experience of real essential oils. 

If you want to know a little more on whether ‘Fragrance Oils Are Safe To Use On Your Skin’ check out my other helpful article.

Ok, so you might now be wondering if there are any other reasons that other oils such as perfumed and those we often use for cooking shouldn’t be in a diffuser, let’s find out. 

Will other oils such as perfumed or cooking oils damage my diffuser? 

As we’ve seen above many other oils have very different properties to essential oils and won’t give the user the sensory experience of pure essential oils. 

Along with the lack of proper diffusion, their density ( weight) as we saw earlier is much heavier than essential oils. 

This can cause them to be too heavy to process in a diffuser and unable to vaporize successfully. The result may be your device will be clogged and in the worst-case scenario, may even damage the device. 

Some oils may even turn solid after reaching temperatures below about 70F/20C, such as Coconut oil which will definitely cause your diffuser to clog. 

If this has happened to you, follow the steps below to get your diffuser working perfectly for you again so you can enjoy your home spa! 

How do I unclog a diffuser? 

  • Start putting some rubbing alcohol in your diffuser tank and let it swirl and swish around for a moment 
  • Leave it for around ½ hour after which you can soak and wash it gently. 
  • Finally, submerge the entire glass reservoir in a container and do a deep, long, hot soapy soak.

This should clear up the clogging and enable you to use it right away. 

Are diffusers warranties still valid if you use other oils rather than for pure essential oils?

Many high-quality diffusers come with a warranty and also aren’t cheap, so it makes sense to adhere to the advice and only use essential oils in your diffuser as it could invalidate your warranty.

The reason it may void the warranty is that synthetic ingredients in perfumed and other oils can’t be guaranteed to diffuse correctly. 

Some brands may also require you to use only 100% essential oils to claim a warranty. So by using any other oils in a diffuser other than the essential oils, you’ll likely shorten the life of your diffuser. 

However, Please be aware that some oils can be very misleading. Even if some oils are described as 100% natural, they may also contain carrier oils. 

Carrier oils are meant to be applied topically and not to be diffused. Carrier oils also have a thick consistency and are likely to clog or ruin your diffuser. 

Always read the labels carefully and make sure you always use certified organic pure essential oils to diffuse for the best vaporizing experience. 

And finally…

So although it’s important to use only pure essential oils in your diffusers, of course, if the cost is no object and you enjoy experimentation then of course it is down to personal choice. 

If you do decide to play around with different oils, we would always recommend you use lighter weight oils such as safflower and sweet almond oils, but we cannot guarantee the result. 

I would also suggest that oils such as benzoin, sandalwood, jojoba, extra virgin olive oil, and perhaps even patchouli are avoided as they don’t diffuse well because they are too thick and heavy.

If you’ve found this article useful, don’t forget to check out some of my other diffuser articles! Now you know what types of oils you can use, you might want to know ‘How Much Oil Do I Use In A Diffuser? This is one of my most frequently asked questions! and find out ‘If You Can Sleep With A Diffuser On’

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