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How to use a reed diffuser to make your home smell amazing

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Most air fresheners and candles are anything but fresh and natural. The chemicals in these commercial products can be harmful to your health. In addition, the intense fruity smell of the commercial air fresheners can become overwhelming for you and your guests after some time. 

Reed diffusers are a natural way to make your home smell amazing. They provide a subtle scent to your room without the use of heat or a flame, which is helpful if you have small children or pets in your home. These little bottles of essential oils are also elegant to look at and fit well into any décor. 

Store-bought reed diffusers can be quite pricey at $20 or $30, and you cannot be sure of the quality of the essential oils. But why pay so much when we have most of the raw material used to make DIY essential oil reed diffuser at home. 

Read on as we tell you how to make a reed diffuser at home.

Woman holding a DIY reed diffuser in her hands. Main text over lay says "how to make homemade reed diffusers"

*This post contains affiliate links to the essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing from the links here on my blog is no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What is a reed diffuser?

Reed diffusers are natural air fresheners made by adding essential oils and a base solution to a narrow neck bottle.  Rattan reeds are inserted into this bottle to absorb the liquid from the bottle and release fragrance into the surrounding air. 

The more reeds you add to the bottle, the stronger will be the scent in the room. 

What is the base solution of the reed diffuser?

You can use a carrier oil to form the base solution for your reed diffuser. Sweet almond oil and safflower oil are popular choices as they are light oils and can travel up the reeds more quickly. You can add 25 to 30 drops of essential oil to about 1/4 cup of carrier oil. You can get creative and also blend different oils to use in your DIY reed diffuser.

If you do not want to use carrier oils, you can also use distilled water. The diffuser liquid will evaporate more quickly if you use water instead of carrier oils.

You also need to add a small amount of alcohol to the base mixture as it helps to thin the oils so that they can travel up the reed more quickly. You can use perfumer’s alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or plain old vodka for this purpose.

What type of sticks are used in reed diffusers?

The commercially available reeds are made from rattan. They contain small channels that help the oil to travel up the stick and into the air. You can also use regular bamboo skewers if you are using water as your base. These skewers are less porous, so they will not get clogged with water. You will need to shorten the skewers' length and cut off the pointed tip to make these diffuser reeds DIY alternative.

If you are using a carrier oil, traditional reed sticks are a better choice as they are more porous and better for the oil's thick consistency.

Always ensure that your reed sticks are twice the height of the jar that you use so that the scent is distributed well.

Essential oil reed diffuser recipes

It's so easy to make your own homemade reed diffusers when you have essential oils. Below are several of my favorite DIY reed diffuser recipes. I love placing them around my house in places like the bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen so that as you walk by you get that quick little scent.

lavender DIY reed diffuser on a blue and black surface

Lavender blend reed diffuser recipe

Yield: 1 Reed Diffuser
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: easy


  • Glass Jar with small opening
  • Reed Sticks- 5 to 6
  • Safflower oil- 1/4 cup
  • Lavender essential oil- 10 drops
  • Clary Sage essential oil- 6 drops
  • Orange essential oil- 6 drops
  • Rubbing Alcohol: 2 Tablespoons


  • Glass bowl
  • metal spoon
  • funnel


    1. Pour ¼ cup safflower oil into a glass bowl.
    2. Blend lavender, clary sage, and orange essential oil and add them to the bowl. Add two tablespoons of alcohol and stir till it is incorporated well.
    3. Add this mixture to your glass jar.
    4. Insert reed sticks to this jar.
    5. After a few hours, flip the sticks to saturate the other side of the stick.
    6. Swirl the jar and flip the sticks every week.
    7. When the scent has diminished, you can add a few more drops of your essential oil blend to the jar. 


If scent disappears, check to see if reeds have dust on them. if so replace reeds with new ones.

Energy-boosting reed diffuser recipe

Looking for a reed diffuser blend that is uplifting and refreshing and fun? This DIY reed diffuser recipe will brighten any room.

empty glass bottle lying next to reed diffusers and essential oil bottles of lemongrass, tangerine and spearmint. Showing what is needed to make DIY reed diffusers

Energy-Boosting Reed Diffuser Recipe

Yield: 1 reed diffuser
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Made with energy-boosting oils this reed diffuser recipe will brighten and uplift any area of your home.


  • Apricot Kernel Oil- 1/4 cup
  • Tangerine Oil- 8 drops
  • Spearmint oil - 8 drops
  • Lemongrass oil- 8 drops
  • Vodka- 2 tablespoons
  • Glass Container with small opening
  • Reed Sticks - 8


  • Glass Measuring Cup
  • Metal spoon


    1. Pour ¼ cup of apricot kernel oil into a measuring cup.
    2. Add two tablespoons of vodka to the cup.
    3. Add tangerine, spearmint, and lemongrass essential oils to the cup.
    4. Stir till the essential oils and the carrier oil are well dispersed in the alcohol.
    5. Pour this mixture into a glass container.
    6. Insert the reeds in the small opening of the bottle and fan them out.
    7. The oil will saturate the reeds and release the aroma into the air.
    8. Flip the sticks every few days.

Water-based essential oil DIY diffuser recipe

This simple reed diffuser recipes can be made with just 4 ingredients. This is a great recipe when you want something light and airy or when you need Oil for reed diffuser that will go in a smaller room.

glass bottle laying next to brown reed diffusers and bottles of lemon and orange essential oils. Showing tools needed to make a reed diffuser

Water-based essential oil DIY reed diffuser recipe

Yield: 1 reed diffuser
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: easy

A simple recipe only needing 4 ingredients. Love its fun citrusy scent.


  • Distilled Water- 1/3 cup
  • Rubbing Alcohol- 2 teaspoons
  • Lemon Essential Oil - 10 drops
  • Orange Essential Oil - 10 drops
  • A glass bottle with a small opening
  • Bamboo Skewers


    1. Mix the water and alcohol in the glass bottle.
    2. Add lemon and orange essential oils into the bottle.
    3. Cut the bamboo skewers to double the size of the bottle. Cut off the pointy ends of the skewers.
    4. Put these trimmed skewers in the glass bottle.

How to use a reed diffuser?

Reed diffusers have become quite popular for home fragrance lately. Unlike candles, they do not need a flame, which means no risk of fire. To use a reed diffuser, you must follow these steps – 

  • Pour the DIY reed diffuser oil mixture that you have prepared into a glass bottle. 
  • Place the reed sticks into the glass bottle to soak up the oil.
  • After a few hours, flip the sticks so that the dry end is now inside the bottle and the saturated end is in the air. 
  • The reed diffuser will evaporate into the air, creating a subtle scent. 
top image is looking down on to a DIY reed diffuser and the bottom images shows two essential oils that can be used to make homemade reed diffusers.

10 Tips to get the most smell out of your reed diffuser

There is a common misconception that reed diffusers do not last very long. The truth of the matter is that reed diffusers are a great way to add scent to your room and require very little care. Here are some tips to make the most out of your reed diffuser – 

  1. Flipping the end of the reeds once a week helps to refresh and prolong the fragrance.
  2. The smaller the opening of the neck of the bottle, the better it is. This will force the oil to travel up the wick rather than evaporating through the neck.
  3. Keep the reed diffuser away from direct sunlight. The heat from the sun will cause the fragrance in the diffuser to evaporate much faster.
  4. Place your DIY reed diffuser in such a place where it can use the airflow in your home.
  5. Pick the right-sized diffuser for the room. A 250 to 250 ml diffuser can work well for a bathroom but not for a bigger room. 
  6. Essential oil diffuser sticks tend to get dirty and clogged over time. Change the reeds regularly.
  7. You should also replace the oil once it starts to lose its scent or starts to smell bad. You will need to replace it after a month or so.
  8. Less essential oil sticks mean less scent. You can use fewer sticks if you are using your DIY diffuser in a small space like a bathroom. 
  9. Reed diffusers can also leave a ring on your table. So, always place your reed diffuser on a coaster to avoid leaving marks on wooden surfaces.
  10. Diffusers should be left untouched for them to work correctly. Keep them out of reach of small children. Homemade diffuser oil should not be ingested. Spilled DIY diffuser oil can also damage table surfaces. 

Best essential oils for your reed diffuser

You can use any essential oil for your reed diffuser. Pick any aroma that you like. You can also create your own blend and use it in your homemade reed diffuser. Here are a few essential oil blends you can try for different rooms in your home–

Welcome blend

This essential oil blend will create a pleasant and welcoming aroma in the room.

  • 3 drops Lavender oil
  • 5 drops peppermint oil
  • 6 drops Roman chamomile

Happiness blend

Living rooms are rooms that are most used in the house. It is the place where the family and friends gather and relax. Here's a DIY reed diffuser blend to use in your living room.

  • 3 drops bergamot
  • 2 drops geranium
  • 3 drops lavender

Purifying blend

Diffusing essential oils in the kitchen can help purify the air and remove any unpleasant aromas. Here’s a reed diffuser recipe for your kitchen – 

  • 2 drops eucalyptus
  • 2 drops lemon 
  • 1 drop thyme

Calming blend

Your bedroom is a place to rest and relax. Placing your DIY reed diffuser in your bedroom can help you to relax and sleep better. Here's a blend for your bedroom – 

  • 4 drops lavender
  • 3 drops wild orange
  • 3 drops frankincense

Uplifting blend

Diffusing essential oils in the bathroom can help deodorize the bathroom. The aroma of this blend can also energize you and prepare you for the day ahead.

  • 1 drop lemon
  • 2 drops rosemary
  • 1 drop peppermint

Best carrier oil for reed diffuser

The carrier oil that you use for your diffuser should be light and should have no scent. The two most popular carrier oils for reed diffusers are –

  • Sweet almond oil
  • Safflower oil

These oils are light, and they travel up the reed more easily. 

FAQ’s for Essential oil DIY diffuser

How can I make my reed diffuser smell stronger?

If you want to make your reed diffuser smell stronger, use rattan reed and not bamboo skewers. Rattan reeds have small channels that allow diffuser oil to be pulled up and released into the air.

You can also add more sticks to make sure that the diffuser smells stronger. Flip the sticks at least once a week.

When everything else fails, add more essential oils.

Why does my reed diffuser not smell?

If your DIY reed diffuser is no longer giving off any scent, the reeds may have become clogged with dust. Replace these reeds with new ones to get the beautiful scent again.

Can I use olive oil for the reed diffuser?

You can use light oils like sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, or safflower oil as your base for the diffuser. Olive oil is a heavy oil and will take too long to travel up the diffuser. So, avoid using it for your reed diffuser.

Can I use baby oil to make a reed diffuser DIY recipe?

Yes, you can use baby oil as a base oil for your diffuser as it is mineral oil.

Can I reuse reeds for the diffuser?

No, it would be best if you did not reuse diffuser reeds in different scents. The reeds' cells are already filled with the oil that you have been using, and placing the same reed in a container with a different scent will not work. Reeds cannot be cleaned and reused, so you must discard them when done with them.

When Should I not use a Reed Diffuser?

If you have small children in the house I would avoid using reed diffusers. With the colorful liquid and the small bottles with funny sticks coming out they are very eye catching to little ones.

Most reed diffusers use ingredients like Isoproply Alcohol and essential oils that can be very dangerous if swallowed by children and could also cause major skin irritation if spilled on skin.

If you think your child may have swallowed any liquid from your diffuser immediately use the webPOISONCONTROL® online tool or call Poison Control at1-800-222-1222.

Final notes

Now that you have learned how easy it is to make these reed diffusers, it's time to whip up a bunch. Place your homemade reed diffusers around different parts of your home. These essential oils reed diffusers also make a great gift. Go ahead and enjoy the sweet smell of your DIY reed diffuser.

Looking to buy the best essential oils so you can create your own Reed diffuser recipes? I'd love to help get you started!

When you sign up with me as your enroller you get amazing support and education for not only the lavender, lemon and rosemary oils you need for a creating DIY reed diffuser recipes, but all the wonderful essential oils and non-toxic products Young Living has to offer.

As a bonus, I have a FREE Essential oils reference app for you just for enrolling with me! I want you to love your oils and getting the most out of them you can.

Ready to get started? Click on the below image and let's get the young living starter kit in your hands.

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Written by Manveen Grewal , Edited by Ruth Rackley

Diffuser with sticks

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