Can You Use Reed Diffuser Oil in an Electric Diffuser? (Quick Facts)

Electric diffusers were created to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. Reed diffuser oil isn’t created to release any therapeutic benefits; its purpose is solely to add fragrance in a beautiful way. 

Essential oils are often added to reed diffuser oil, but its additional ingredients might damage your electric diffuser. Reed diffuser oil also has a thicker consistency, so it might clog your machine. And because it’s not solely made of essential oil, the fragrance released would be less potent and non-therapeutic. 

Keep reading to learn more about reed diffuser oil and what to actually pour into your electric diffuser.

Can You Use Reed Diffuser Oil in an Electric Diffuser

How Is Reed Diffuser Oil Different?

For those who might not be completely familiar with reed diffusers, they offer an aesthetically pleasing way to fragrance the home. The reeds are most commonly made of natural rattan in stick form. 

But you can also find brown reeds, black ones, and even woody and sponge-like floral shapes. The spongy floral shapes are often made of natural material, like rice paper.

Containers range from minimal to highly decorative. They are often made of glass or ceramic, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Bottle openings are narrow in order to hold the reeds in place.

As the reeds sit in the container, they become saturated with the fragrance oil solution. Tiny pores in each reed create little air pockets that suction liquid. Over time, the oil creeps up through these small holes to the top of the reeds. The portion of the reeds that extend above the container release fragrance into the air. 

Once all of the oil is gone, you can opt to refill the container. If you plan to switch fragrances, you’ll need to change out the reeds too. 

Reed Diffuser Oil Ingredients

More and more companies exclude ingredients like parabens, formaldehyde, and phthalates from their ingredients list. But solvents and carrier oils are often present.

Each fragrance option requires a different formula. For instance, blue tansy is a viscous essential oil. Sandalwood, vanilla, and vetiver are also thicker oils. You’ll notice that they take longer to pour out of the bottle. In most cases, they don’t even flow out of the dropper.

Then there are thinner oils, like peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass that easily pour out of their amber bottles. 

In order for reed diffuser oils to properly saturate reed sticks, it has to be just the right consistency. Otherwise, they’ll clog the small channels within each reed instead of traveling upwards to produce room fragrance.

Fragrance oils are added to essential oils to thin them out. Additional ingredients vary by company. Some add more natural oils, others add alcohol. According to Poison Control, the recipe can contain up to 70% of isopropyl alcohol.

Carrier oils may even be added. If you have reed diffuser oil on hand, take a look at the ingredients list to confirm what’s in yours.

Just know that the list will vary from fragrance to fragrance even when made by the same company.

Is It Harmful to Inhale Reed Diffuser Oil?

Based on two real life incidents shared on the Poison Control website, it appears that there’s a potential for respiratory agitation if reed diffuser oil is inhaled.

Both cases involved children, so it’s possible that their systems were more sensitive to the effects of inhaling these fragrances. Still, it took a couple days for them to recover. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Are There Any Reed Diffuser Oils that Work With Your Electric Diffuser?

The only combination of ingredients that absolutely won’t ruin your electric diffuser are water and essential oils. If your reed diffuser oil lists more ingredients than that, then it should not be poured into your electric diffuser.

It’s unlikely that this would be the case, though. More oils are needed to reach the proper consistency and allow for the fragrance to travel upwards. Also, water would cause reeds to warp. If water is added to the ingredients list, it would likely be in small quantities. Then combined with oil, it’s unlikely that adding water to the ingredients would evenly release fragrance.

Will Reed Diffuser Oil Ruin Your Electric Diffuser?

There are a few reasons why adding reed diffuser oil to your electric diffuser simply wouldn’t work.

Potential Malfunction

Electric diffusers are delicate systems. For instance, ultrasonic diffusers disseminate fragrance using a vibrating plate. Movement from this plate breaks essential oils down to small molecules that, combined with water, spread throughout the room in mist form. It’s a delicate process.

Thicker oils can interfere with this process, even if it’s an essential oil. This is why oils like blue tansy are usually only diffused when they’re part of an essential oil blend. Blue tansy is thinned out by the other oils, making it diffusible.

Since reed diffuser oils can be syrupy, your electric diffuser may not work well or even at all when using these oils. Instead of a mist, you may get more of a sputter.

You’d be required to clean the diffuser more often, which can get annoying. Also, adding reed diffuser oils to your machine may void its warranty. If it stops working altogether, you’d have to be the one to either pay for the repairs or buy a replacement.

Potential Health Risks

Some reed diffuser oils are made without alcohol. But isopropyl alcohol is one of the dominant ingredients in other brands of reed diffuser oil. Although alcohol can be helpful in a lot of ways, like when cleaning wounds, inhaling it can be hazardous.

The New Jersey Department of Health explains that at the very least, you might experience nose and throat irritation. 

Prolonged exposure to this solvent, as in the misting cycles of an electric diffuser, can lead to dizziness, confusion, headaches, and loss of coordination. In extreme cases you may pass out or even stop breathing.

The reason that you aren’t faced with the same dangers when alcohol is added to reed diffuser oil and used as intended is because the alcohol isn’t coming in contact with the vibrating plate that changes its structure.

And when used properly, alcohol in reed diffuser oil evaporates almost immediately when exposed to air.

Little to No Fragrance Release

Electric diffusers are made to release concentrated essential oil fragrance into the air. Reed diffuser oils are not as concentrated.

Adding them to the water in your electric diffuser dilutes the reed diffuser oil even more. What’s released pales in comparison to what you would experience if you were diffusing essential oils.

What Can You Pour Into Your Electric Diffuser?

Water and essential oils are the only two things that you should pour into your electric diffuser. For all the reasons listed above, it’s best to stick with these two.

In order to experience the therapeutic benefits of diffusers, it’s best to use all natural oils, anyway. You can’t experience aromatherapy without 100% natural essential oils.

What’s an Alternative to Pouring Reed Diffuser Oil Into Your Electric Diffuser?

If you’re out of essential oils, but you really want to use your diffuser, there might be an alternative solution.

Remove the Dropper

Sometimes there is still oil in the bottle that can’t flow out of the dropper. I would suggest that you protect your hands with a towel or something similar, and then pull out the dropper. You may have to wiggle it a bit, but it will eventually slide out. 

Take a peek inside the bottle or hold it to the side and check to see if there’s any remaining oil.

If so, fill your diffuser with water as usual and pour the contents of the bottle inside.

Usually, I find that there are at least two or three drops left in the bottle. This is enough oil for a full interval cycle. Aside from this, the only other solution would be to either consider an all natural candle to experience its aromatherapy benefits, or purchase more essential oils.

Buy Large Bottles of Oil

If there is an essential oil fragrance that you use frequently, you may want to consider buying larger bottles of it. For instance, NOW sells 16 oz bottles of peppermint essential oil, which is one aromatherapy oil that helps alleviate migraines. 

Eucalyptus oil is also offered in bigger sizes.

Buy Essential Oil Kits

Companies like artnaturals offer full sets of their most popular oils. For instance, this set of twelve oils includes frankincense, tea tree, tangerine, cinnamon, and more. Each bottle is 10 mL (0.33 fl oz).

Edens Garden also offers a set of twelve that includes grapefruit, bergamot, lemon, lavender, among others. Each bottle is 10 mL (0.33 fl oz).

In Conclusion

Replacing essential oil with reed diffuser oil may seem like a logical solution. But reed diffuser oils include many ingredients in addition to essential oils, some of them hazardous. 

Pouring these ingredients into an electric diffuser may not only ruin the machine, but it may also be harmful to your health. 

Stick to only pouring essential oils into your electric diffuser.

Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

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