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Diffusing is the perfect way to use essential oils if you are a beginner! It’s easy to do and not as overwhelming as the other options if you’re new to essential oils.
If you’re not ready to splurge on an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser, you can make a simple homemade essential oil diffuser with just a few items.
Keep reading to learn how to make an essential oil reed diffuser.
What is an essential oil reed diffuser?
A reed diffuser is a liquid form of air freshener that dispurses scents into a room using long reeds (or sticks) that are inserted into a glass bottle.
Much like a simplified wick system, a reed diffuser works to easily disperse scent into a room. There is no heat or flame needed as the fragrance is absorbed into the sticks and released over time into the air.
A reed diffuser is also a much cheaper alternative to a traditional essential oil diffuser as they are easy to DIY.
How does a reed diffuser work?
A reed diffuser absorbs the scent from inside the bottle thanks to reed sticks with hollow centers. The carrier oils and essential oils are slowly absorbed into the sticks and then release the fragrance into the air.
A bottle with a smaller neck will allow for the liquid fragrance in the reeds to absorb slower, helping the scent to last longer
The reed sticks are often made out of two types of material:
Rattan reeds are a popular choice for reed diffusers, specifically, because of the hollow channels that run up and down the body of the stick.
They are a bit lighter in composition which makes it easy for the oils to run up and down the stick and release the scent consistently.
M&H 100PCS Reed Diffuser Sticks, 10 Inch Natural Rattan Wood Sticks Essential Oil Aroma Diffuser Sticks Refill Replacement for Aroma Fragrance (100 PCS)
Bamboo reeds also contain hollow channels but are thicker and heavier versus rattan reeds. Due to this added thickness bamboo reeds can sometimes make it more difficult for the oils to flow easily up the stick.
Instead of diffusing the scent into the air like a traditional diffuser, a reed diffuser provides a constant source of fragrance to any room through absorption and slow disbursement.
Traditional diffuser vs reed diffuser
Reed diffusers perform the same thing as a traditional essential oils diffuser but are much less expensive.
Both types of diffusers disperse scent into the air for a refreshing or energizing smell.
A traditional diffuser pushes the scent of essential oils into the air through water evaporation while a reed diffuser does this with oil evaporation and dispersion through wooden sticks.
ASAKUKI 500ml Premium, Essential Oil Diffuser, 5 In 1 Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Fragrant Oil Humidifier Vaporizer, Timer and Auto-Off Safety Switch, 7 LED Light Colors
The main difference is cost and how long it lasts.
A traditional diffuser can cost anywhere from $25-100 or more depending on the package and name brand. On the other hand, a reed diffuser costs between $5-40 or even less if you make one yourself.
A traditional diffuser can last a handful of hours (typically between 9-12 depending on the size of the diffuser), while a reed diffuser can last several weeks when done properly.
5 best essential oil reed diffusers
If you don’t want to take the time to make your own essential oil diffuser, check out these 5 best essential oil reed diffuser that cost less than $40 each.
1. WoodWick Aura Lavender Leaf Reed Diffuser
Lavender Leaf—Fresh lavender intermingled with white cedar and warm sandalwood. Includes a copper diffuser, 10 reeds, two 4-oz. bottles of fragrance oil. Add pleasant scents to your home and individual living spaces with highly concentrated fragrances. Comes with an elegantly designed box perfect for gift giving.
2. RS Sunlight Mirror Reed Diffuser
Minimalist yet elegant design boasting a reflective mirror-like finish will easily complement any contemporary interior. Thanks to its minimalist design and a chic glass bottle will not only fill your home with a pleasant aroma, but also smoothly integrate into a modern home.
3. P.F. Candle Co. Amber & Moss Reed Diffuser
Mossy + Clean At The Start, This Fragrance's Base Of Musk & Amber Evokes A Damp, Wooded Forest Floor Layered With Soft Oakmoss. Low Maintenance + Long Lasting Home Fragrance. Naturally Harvested Rattan Reeds Absorb The Scented Oil, Releasing It Slowly Through Your Surroundings.
How to DIY an essential oil reed diffuser for cheap
Making your own essential oil diffuser is very simple! Here is what you will need:
Reed diffuser sticks – $7
Check out these inexpensive rattan reed diffuser sticks from Amazon. They come in a wide variety of lengths and are made of high quality rattan wood.
Bamboo skewers work too, if you already have them lying around but they won’t be as effective as using rattan reed sticks.
Where to buy reed diffuser sticks
Rattan reed diffuser sticks are pretty inexpensive and can be bought from any of the following places:
- Amazon – one of the most popular, and most convenient, places to buy the best reed diffuser sticks.
- Walmart – has inexpensive diffuser sticks, refills and other accessories for this DIY project.
- Michael’s – offers a large variety of craft items as well as reed sticks for your DIY diffuser.
- Most craft stores – choose your favorite craft store as they should have reed diffuser sticks available.
Dark glass jar with a narrow opening – $3 (or free)
Choose a dark glass jar with a narrow opening for this DIY project. You can use a brown or blue colored bottle.
The darker the bottle the better for preserving essential oils.
This is also a great time to upcycle or reuse any other bottle you have lying around the house. For example, an old vanilla extract bottle that’s clean is a great option.
Dark glass bottles help preserve your essential oils and carrier oils so they last longer. The dark color protects them from any exposure to heat and the sun’s rays.
Essential oils also perform better in glass bottles due to the strength of oils versus a plastic bottle. So, try to find a glass bottle when possible.
Remember: the smaller the neck of the bottle the slower the liquid fragrance will absorb into the reeds, helping the scent to last longer.
High quality carrier oil – $12
Thicker oils like olive oil or jojoba oil should be avoided as they can clog the reeds and not disperse the scent correctly.
Avoid using just water as it is too thin and will evaporate quickly. Carrier oils like coconut oil or sweet almond oil are the best recommendations for a reed diffuser.
Pure almond oil makes the perfect carrier oil for essential oils. Use it to make a natural almond oil lotion, a pregnancy almond massage oil, a moisturizing body oil, hydrating face oil serum, or a clean and nourishing makeup remover.
Favorite Essential oils
Finally, pick your favorite essential oil scents to create a custom fragrance for your essential oil reed diffuser.
My favorite essential oils come from Rocky Mountain Oils due to their high quality and reputable source. I also really enjoy the affordable oils from Plant Therapy.
Choose a combination of essential oil scents that you like best or that you want to enjoy for that particular room.
For the bedroom you may want more calming or relaxing scents while in the kitchen you can mix some energizing fragrances.
Here is the formula for adding essential oils to your reed diffuser:
For every ½ cup of carrier oil = 30 drops total of essential oils.
You can also use a teaspoon of carrier agent, like vodka or 90% rubbing alcohol to help disperse the oils evenly.
Create your custom reed diffuser
Combine about ½ cup carrier oil with about 30 drops of essential oils. You can choose just 1 scent or mix and max, as long as the total amount used equals 30 drops.
Mix together and pour mixture into your dark glass jar.
Place the diffuser sticks in the jar and wait a few minutes for the scent to “travel” up the reeds.
Trim reeds to a size that you prefer, or that matches the size of the container.
Flip the reeds over and let this side sit for a few minutes to absorb the mixture on both sides of the sticks.
Once per week pick up the bottle and swirl the mixture around to freshen everything up. You can also flip the reeds to refresh the scent in the room.
After a while the sticks will become saturated with oils and won’t be as effective. In this case, replace the carrier oil and the essential oils along with fresh sticks.
Also, the more sticks you use the more often you’ll have to replace them.
Note: make sure to keep it up and away from kids and pets so the jar doesn’t get knocked over and spilled.
Reed diffuser essential oil recipes
Now that you’ve learned how to make an essential oil reed diffuser, you can enjoy the aromatic benefits of your essential oils.
Here are a few reed diffuser essential oil recipes to get you started (30 drops is sufficient):
- Clean Lavender – Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint
- Citrus Fresh – Lemon & Orange
- Rich & Warm – Bergamot, Lavender & Frankincense
- Woodsy Calm – Peppermint & Tea Tree
- Warm Spices – Clove, Cinnamon & Orange
While reed diffusers aren’t as effective as the other types, they are a great way to start diffusing.
You will want to toss all your scented candles in the trash after you start using a reed diffuser!