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How To: Make an Inexpensive DIY Reed Diffuser

by on Mar 15, 2011

Inside: how to make a DIY reed diffuser to make your house smell amazing, fresh and clean.

You can pick up all you want, but the true indicator of how clean a home really is? The way it smells. During spring cleaning season, we wait for the days where it’s warm enough to open the windows and air out the house, and do some serious scrubbing to get rid of the worst odor offenders. And when all’s back to neutral, it’s time to fill your home with a fresh, clean scent.

Most chemical-based air fresheners are 1) bad for you 2) bad for the earth, and 3) don’t actually make your house smell better, they just add more pollutants to mask the smells and trick you into thinking they’re doing something. As an allergy-sufferer, I’ve found that essential oils are the only aroma-makers that I can stand, and of course, I love finding ways to do things myself. So, I visited The Candle Lab and learned a bit more about aroma oils and how they work, and whipped up this easy DIY reed diffuser.

I love the idea of making my own diffuser oil, cause I can whip it up in small batches, and eventually, during produce season, I’d like to experiment with making my own essential oils. Until then, mixing up my own solution using a purchase essential oil is still way less expensive.

reed diffuser materials

  • Small vase or glass bottle
  • Mineral oil 
  • Vodka
  • Diffuser reeds
  • Essential oil

Any container will work. The best have wider base and a small openning at the top to discourage evaporation. I really wanted the Jonathan Adler Southampton diffuser, but at $70, I opted for the sorta-similar $2.00 FÄRM vase from IKEA. Mineral oil can be found at the pharmacy, and the vodka can be as cheap as you’d like, just make sure its not diluted. Although they may look similar, diffuser reeds are not the same as bamboo skewers. They might work in a pinch, but you can find the reeds for a dollar or two, and they’re much more efficient.

pouring mineral oil

The mineral oil is used as a non-evaporating base to hold the essential oils. Start by pouring a 1/4 cup of oil into a measuring cup. Then, add 2-3 tablespoon of vodka. This won’t mix naturally, so stir thoroughly to emulsify them. The vodka thins the oils to get it to the right consistency to move up the reeds.

add essential oil/fragrance

Next, add the essential oil to the mixture. Your ratio should be around 75% base to 25% essential oil. Stir thoroughly.

Then just pour everything into your container, and insert 5-6 reeds. After a few hours, flip the reeds over, and continue to flip every few days. Your DIY reed diffuser is done, and your house should start smelling delightful in no time. 

With the cost of the vase, reeds, and oil, I spent maybe $5.00, and I’ll be able to keep whipping up refills for just a dollar or two. Excellent!

Happy cleaning.

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  1. Can I use Eau De Toilette versions of perfumes in home made reed diffusers? I have a bottle of Channel that I was given as a gift but I don’t usually wear perfume and was wondering if I can use it to scent my room instead. I notice perfumes already have alcohol content (up to 95% of it could be alcohol) so wonder if I still need to stick to the alcohol quantities specified on your recipe if using perfumes. Or if using perfumes is a workable idea at all.

  2. Making our own essential oil diffuser is always the best way because it’s safe and more convenient for us, especially when we do not have full knowledge to buy a real diffuser in many types of diffuser out there. Thanks a lot for your direction about an inexpensive reed diffuser, it’s very helpful!

  3. Diffusing EO is always the better option than using synth etic air fresheners. I have been using EO for last few years but learnt to make own blend very recently. Will use reed diffuser next time, thanks for the post!