How to Use a Reed Diffuser? 3 Easy Steps

Scented candles are amazing — no argument there. But they have one major disadvantage, you have to keep an eye on them to ensure your house doesn’t go into flames. Fortunately, there’s an alternative —reed diffusers.  You can leave them unattended and they last until all the fragrance oil evaporates.

So how do you use a reed diffuser? Simply put, it depends on how your reed diffuser is packaged. If the oil is already in the vessel, all you have to do is to insert the reeds and you’re good to go. However, if the oil is packaged separately, you’ll need to pour a few drops into the vessel before adding your reeds.

While setting up a reed diffuser is a hassle-free process, you need to be careful when storing the oil. To ensure the oil stays fresh longer, store it in a cool, dark place. When necessary, add a few drops of the oil to the vessel to maintain the fragrance.

How to Set Up a Reed Diffuser

Whether or not you’re successful in adding fragrance to your home using a reed diffuser depends on the procedure you use. For the best results, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Dip the sticks into the oil

If your diffuser comes with the oil already in the diffusing vessel, this step should be easy. Take out the sticks, dip them into the oil, and give them time to absorb the oil. If the oil comes packaged separately, you’ll need to be a bit more cautious.

When adding the oil to the vessel, you need to be careful not to add too much that it spills out when you add the sticks. It’s also advisable to place your diffuser on a non-porous surface and clean any oil drips before placing it on a delicate surface.

Once you’ve added the oils, dip your sticks into the vessel and give them a few minutes to absorb the oil.

Step 2: Flip the sticks

Once you’re certain the sticks have absorbed enough oil, the next thing you need to do is to flip them. The dry unsaturated side of the sticks should be closest to the diffusing vessel and the saturated ends should be in the air.

Step 3: Reposition

Next, dip the dry ends of the sticks into the vessel. With this setup, the saturated ends will now be in the open air, thereby allowing the reed diffuser to naturally permeate your space. The fragrance will continue to evaporate into the air giving your home a luxurious, subtle scent.

If you need to refresh the diffuser, all you need to do is to repeat steps 2 and 3, and you’re good to go. It’s that simple!

reed diffuser on table

The Ultimate Reed Diffuser Buying Guide

As you’ve seen, setting up a reed diffuser is a straightforward process. However, to achieve the best results, you have to invest in a top-notch reed diffuser. But this is easier said than done. With so many options on the market, choosing one can be a tall order.

Luckily, we have some tips you can use to identify the best reed diffuser for your needs. Let’s jump right in.

Bamboo, Synthetic, or Rattan Reed Sticks?

Your first consideration should be the reeds. The cheapest options are made from bamboo and they don’t work (or they shouldn’t work, scientifically speaking). You see, bamboo sticks have nodes that function like tree knots. And inside a bamboo reed, there’s a diaphragm that separates one part of the reed from the next.

As a result, it’s difficult for bamboo to absorb oil properly from one end of the stem to another, which means it’s ineffective for diffusing scents.

Rattan reeds, on the other hand, have no pockets or nodes. These sticks have clear channels inside them which allow for proper absorption of oil and ultimately the diffusion of scents into the air. However, rattan reeds get greasy very fast. You can fix the problem by either changing the reeds frequently or going for thicker ones (which take longer to absorb oil).

Synthetic reeds feature a foam-like texture and are made from polyester stretch yarn in most cases. These types of reeds are highly-absorbent and unlike their rattan counterparts, don’t get greasy. However, they are not the most eco-friendly option since they’re not recyclable. You can find reed sticks on amazon.

Read more about Best Reed Diffuser Sticks.

Number and Thickness of Reeds

The effectiveness of your reed diffuser will also depend on the number and thickness of your reed sticks. Thicker reeds absorb more oil and disperse more scent into the air compared to thinner sticks. However, the thicker the reed sticks are, the more oil you’ll need and the less time your diffuser will last. The best reed thickness is about 3-4mm.

The number of reeds will depend on the size of the room, the thickness of your reed sticks, and how much oil you have in the diffuser. The more sticks you have, the more scent you’ll be able to get.

Read our full article on How Long Do Reed Diffusers Last.


It’s also advisable to consider the size of the bottleneck before buying a reed diffuser. It’s best to go for one with a narrow neck as opposed to a wider one. Wide bottlenecks allow the oil to evaporate directly into the air which makes the oil run out faster. Narrow bottlenecks, on the other hand, restrict the diffusion to the sticks, which makes the oil last longer.


When choosing a reed diffuser, most people focus on the scent. However, while the scent is important, you also need to consider the overall quality of the scented oils you’re getting. Quality reed diffusers have natural essential oils as their base and additional ingredients to thin the oil out to make it suitable for use in a diffuser .

Furthermore, quality oils are thicker and more potent. In most cases, the price of the oil will give you an idea of what kind of quality you’re getting. Oils containing natural ingredients tend to be more expensive compared to those containing synthetic and cheaper ingredients.

Tips on How to Use a Reed Diffuser

Now that you know how to use a reed diffuser and what to look for when purchasing one, how about some tips to make your diffusing process even better?

  1. Place your diffuser on a coaster to prevent oil drips from damaging the countertop.
  2. Place your diffuser in a high traffic area where the fragrance will spread throughout the room with air circulation.
  3. Flip the reeds occasionally for more fragrance.
  4. Flip the rids in a sink and wipe the oil drips off the vessel before placing on a delicate countertop.
  5. Flip all your reeds before going on vacation so that you’re welcomed by an amazing scent when you get back.
  6. Clean your diffuser vessel with warm water and soap before refilling the oil. Read our full article on How to Refill Reed Diffusers.

Now Go!

There you have it: a comprehensive guide on how to use a reed diffuser. Now, you have no excuse for not having an incredible scent in your home. So, begin your search for the best reed diffuser and add that personal touch to your home. You may also want to check our reed diffuser reviews.

Don’t forget to analyze the quality of the reeds and oils before buying, and don’t be afraid to spend a bit more on a quality product. It may help to read user reviews to get an idea of how the diffuser works in real settings before parting with your hard-earned cash. Also, remember to consider the size of your room in order to decide how many reed sticks and oil you need.

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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