"Help! I want to start using Essential Oils but I don’t know where to start!"
I see so many of you who like the idea of using essential oils but don’t know how to go about this. You may have heard of the great benefits of using essential oils, but also heard about what can go wrong. Or you may have smelled some beautiful essential oils but are not sure how to bring that aroma into your own home.
Getting into essential oils, using them in your home or for the benefit of yourself and your family can be rewarding, fun and enhance health and wellbeing too.
But where to start?
One of the easiest ways to start using essential oils at home, is with an essential oil diffuser, sometimes called an Ultrasonic Diffuser. To operate, you simply add water and essential oil and when you switch it on it creates a cool mist which is a combination of the water and oil. It is not steam, and therefore there is no risk of burning (either you or the oil!)
Alternatively there are Essential Oil Vaporisers, the best of which use no water but just a gentle heat to vaporise the essential oils – simple, safe and effective.
Why should you diffuse essential oils?
The most obvious reason many people diffuse is simply to create a nice smell. Certainly essential oils can be preferable when compared to synthetic air fresheners. But diffusing essential oils can have other benefits too.
Diffusing is generally a low dose general method of use so is ideal when used for effects for the whole family or household as everyone is breathing the same air. Diffusing can create an uplifting atmosphere during stressful times, or a relaxing atmosphere at the end of the day. Diffusing essential oils can also help create a healthier atmosphere in the cold and flu season. You can use a diffuser in a central open area of the home to benefit everyone, or in a single room for more localised benefits.
Given the stress and health concerns we are all dealing with at the moment, this is a great time to consider introducing a diffuser to the home and reaping the benefits!
Essential Oil Diffuser FAQs
Which essential oils can I use in a diffuser?
Can I use a diffuser anywhere in the home?
Generally yes you can. Of course as an electrical item be aware of not using one anywhere near water (in the kitchen or bathroom for example) for safety. I would also advise caution using diffusers in children’s rooms when you are not there to supervise them. (For example, put a diffuser on for an hour before bed, and then turn off at bedtime.)
How much essential oil should I use in my diffuser?
The amount of essential oil you should use depends on a few things including – the particular essential oils you use, the size of the room, how open the space is, who is in the room and even personal preference. I usually recommend starting with 4-5 drops and adjusting if required. Remember you can always add more oil but you can’t take it out!
Don’t top up the oil too often – depending on the essential oils used these can last for several hours and will still be circulating in the air even when the diffuser appears to have emptied.
How long will the oil last?
This depends on the essential oil as some will tend to vaporise more quickly than others. It can also depend on how your diffuser woks – if it has an intermittent setting, this will tend to allow the oil to last longer than if you use a continuous setting.
Irrespective of the setting diffusers have a limited amount of time that they will operate. (Vaporisers will be different, as some can operate continuously.) Whilst you can refill Diffusers and continue to operate them, I do recommend taking regular breaks. As well as being better for you from a safety perspective, taking breaks from diffusing also helps you to enjoy the aroma more as you can become habituated to an aroma if you smell it for long periods and therefore no longer be aware of the aroma.
Can I diffuse around children? Or Babies?
The answer to that is a qualified yes. Whilst you can use a diffuser in the home with kids, you do need to be aware of safety issues (see above). You should also stick to some of the more gentle essential oils, such as lavender or citrus oils for example. And use less essential oil in the diffuser, as children will be more sensitive to the aroma and effects. If using a diffuser in a child’s bedroom, (many people like to use a diffuser to help with sleep) I recommend using only very small amount of essential oil (say 1-2 drops) and only for an hour before bedtime. Turn the diffuser off when your child goes to bed and make sure it is kept somewhere out of reach.
Can I diffuse with pets in the house?
If you diffuse at low levels, use limited amounts of oil and take regular breaks, animals will often be ok with you using essential oils. Remember that animals will generally have a much more sensitive sense of smell than we do, so something we find pleasant, an animal will find overpowering. Try to have some areas of the home where you do not diffuse, and where you animal can take themselves if they need to. (Or give them access to outside if safe and/or appropriate.) For animals that are confined (such as caged birds, rodents, reptiles etc) I would avoid diffusing near them as they are unable to take action to remove themselves.
Always pay attention to any change in your pets’ behaviour or health which might result from essential oil use and stop diffusing if you do happen to see any adverse effects.
Do I need to clean my diffuser? And how often should I clean it?
You do need to clean your diffuser regularly. Your diffuser should come with cleaning instructions. I recommend cleaning your diffuser regularly, even if you always use the same essential oil or blend. Definitely clean it if you want to change to another essential oil, to avoid contaminating your new blend with the old one. Diffusers are generally quite easy to clean – provided you do it regularly! Most people who run into problems with their diffuser fail to clean it regularly – which may reduce the efficiency and lifespan of the appliance.
How do I know which essential oil to use? How many do I need to have?
It can be fun to read and learn about different essential oils and what to use each one for. It is possible to get carried away with the initial enthusiasm and buy a whole lot of oils that you have no idea what to do with!
I suggest starting with just a few – perhaps a couple of single essential oils ( such as lavender, lemon, eucalyptus etc) and a few blends (such as a couple to relax with and some others to stimulate or uplift the mood) to start with. Blends are useful for the beginner, as a lot of the hard work has been done for you. Although as you become more familiar with your essential oils, you may like to try creating your own combinations!
Try one essential oil or blend at a time and observe what effect it has. Take note of which essential oils you prefer at different times of the day. You may have a preference for fresh scents such and Lemon or Orange Sweet in the morning. Or a relaxing oil such as Lavender at night. You may like to use a stimulating essential oil such as Rosemary or Peppermint if you are working (or if the kids are studying!) Or try a few different blends and see what effects they have. Experiment and have fun with it!
How do I learn more about essential oils?
A great start is this very blog and website! We have information on each of the essential oils and blends to help you become familiar with them. Our blog also has info and ideas on different ways to use essential oils.
And if you have any questions – just let us know! Pop your question in the comments or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more detailed instruction or advice, we also offer professional aromatherapy consultations which can be tailored to your particular needs.
And finally just a few general cautions –
- Essential Oils are flammable so keep them away from any naked flames
- Store Essential Oils in a cool dark place
- Do not add essential oils to food or drink
- Do not use essential oils neat (undiluted) on the skin
- Keep essential oils away from pets or children
Are you starting your essential oil journey? Let us know how it goes! Or share your essential oil experiences and tip in the comments.