Can You Diffuse Fragrance Oils And Perfumes?

Whether you’ve been recently gifted a diffuser or you’ve had one sitting on your nightstand for years now, perhaps you’ve wondered if you can diffuse your collection of fragrance oils and perfumes. You’ve likely heard that essential oils are safe bets to use in those machines, but maybe you’re not sure about the others.

Fragrance oils and perfumes can be used in diffusers, but only if they are oil-based, not alcohol-based. Alcohol-based perfumes can quickly evaporate, leading to a loss of the scent. In addition, alcohol-based perfumes are also more flammable, so it’s not suitable for a diffuser.

Know you’re not alone in asking this question, as many people wonder the same thing as they stare at their collection of scents! We’ll talk about why it’s safe to use perfumes and fragrance oils in your diffuser, as well as discuss what scents you could use and how to diffuse them properly.  

Can I Diffuse Fragrance Oils And Perfumes?

Yes, you can diffuse fragrance oils and perfumes, but only if they are oil-based. 

Fragrance oils are pretty self-explanatory (though we will discuss them in just a bit), but alcohol-based perfumes do not work well in a diffuser. 

Use Oil-Based Perfumes Over Alcohol-Based Perfumes

Alcohol-based perfumes may smell divine, but they aren’t so great for our skin or diffuser devices. These kinds of fragrances often have harsh chemicals that can harm our skin (such as strip it of moisture) and cause damage to diffusers.

Alcohol-based fragrances evaporate quickly, therefore requiring the use of strong, synthetic, and often harmful fixatives. Fixatives help stabilize a fragrance and slow down the evaporation rate in some of the more volatile ingredients in one, allowing only a continuous and gradual change in the aroma as it fades away on your skin. 

Fixatives also carry notes throughout the stages of evaporation, so you can continue smelling them as you wear your favorite scent.

These synthetic fixatives and the alcohol base in a perfume do not make for a great diffuser experience. By nature, alcohol is highly flammable, so it is advised not to put alcohol-based fragrances and perfumes in your diffuser. 

If you’ve ever tried to buy alcohol-based perfume online and ship it overseas to you, you’ve probably realized that airmail carriers won’t ship perfumes containing alcohol by plane. It’s too flammable, and the same goes for your scents with the same base. 

You Can Use Fragrance Oils

Go online, and you’ll find different answers on this one, but furniture industry and home decor experts like Kristina from Letti and Co., mostly agree that fragrance oils are safe to use in your diffuser, so long as you water them down.

It should be noted, however, that fragrance oils typically contain carrier oils — such as coconut oil or Jojoba oil — for topical purposes. They help “carry” the scent into the skin when applied. 

Because carrier oils are thick in texture, they will likely damage your diffuser, especially if you don’t clean up the inside of your diffuser regularly after you’ve finished using it. 

You Should Stick With Essential Oils

Should you want to extend the life of your diffuser, you should forgo using fragrance oils or perfumes and stick to essential oils. Essential oils do contain carrier oils, but they are used to help dilute the essential oil mixture, unlike for their topical purpose in fragrance oils to help keep the scent in the skin. 

What Is Diffusing?

Now before we go any further, maybe you’re new to fragrance diffusing in general. What is diffusing? 

Diffusing is the process of dispersing essential oils so that the aroma from them fills the entire room with its scent. This is often done with a diffusing device, but sometimes wooden sticks are used to disperse the scent.

Many people opt to go the more natural route and use essential oils in their diffusers, like lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, sage, or grapefruit. These oils are naturally anti-microbial and help keep cold and flu germs away when introduced into the air via a puff of mist from a diffuser. 

Don’t be surprised to find calming oils like lavender, chamomile, and clary sage warming up in people’s diffusers in times of stress. These naturally have a soothing effect, which is why so many people gravitate towards flowery scents – they’ve been proven to help us feel calm. 

Other individuals, on the other hand (you, perhaps, since you’re reading this article?), like to enjoy their favorite wearable scents in a diffuser. 

If you do this, make sure that you double-check that your fragrance is not an alcohol-based one (it must be oil-based), and remember to add some water when pouring into the diffuser. At the end of this post, I discuss what oil-based fragrances you could use.

How To Diffuse Fragrance Oils And Perfumes

Stop longing for your house to smell like Maison Louis Marie No. 4 Bois de Balincourt or Diptyque Philosykos

You only need an oil-based scent, some water, and a diffuser to do this:

  1. Choose your desired oil-based cologne or perfume 
  2. Add a splash or two of water to your diffuser
  3. Pour 3-5 drops of the perfume product into the diffuser
  4. Allow the fragrance to diffuse into the air
  5. Enjoy!

When Should I Clean My Diffuser?

It’s suggested that you regularly clean your diffuser regardless of what kind of product you use. However, if you use a fragrance oil or perfume, you’ll want to clean it more often to help sustain the lifespan of the diffuser. 

It is recommended to clean your diffuser every time it runs out of its scent. Regardless of what product you use, regular cleaning is a good practise. It will keep your diffuser running smoothly and it prevents different scents from mixing.

Once you’re finished diffusing the fragrance, ensure that you remove all traces of oil or water inside the device. Regular cleanings prevent the accumulation of water, oil, or minerals left behind on the vibrating disk. 

The vibration from the disk creates the mist or steam that comes out of your diffuser, dispersing the scent. It’s a critical part of your unit, so do take proper care of it by rinsing and drying everything off once done — or else you may be spending money on a replacement vibrating disk rather than a new fragrance for your machine. 

How To Clean Your Diffuser If You Use Fragrance Oils Or Perfume

Now that you’ve used one of your favorite perfumes or your go-to fragrance oil in your diffuser, you need to clean it to ensure your device keeps working correctly. 

You can easily make a natural solution using vinegar and warm water for a good clean. It only takes a few hours to do, and most of the time is spent with you getting other things done while the solution is soaking and cleaning in your diffuser’s water container. 

How to clean your diffuser:

  1. Mix 60ml of vinegar (¼ cup) with some warm water.
  2. Pour the solution into the water container inside the diffuser.
  3. Let the solution soak inside the water container for 3 hours. Keep the machine off. 
  4. After 3 hours, pour the water out. 
  5. Use a cotton swab to gently rub loose and clean off any build-up on the vibratory disk. Be gentle; you don’t have to use much pressure.
  6. Rinse the diffuser and fill it with clean, cold water.
  7. Plug the unit back in.
  8. Turn it on to start the misting process. 
  9. Done!

What Oil-Based Fragrances And Perfumes Can I Use?

You’ve learned about which types of scent forms you can use in your diffuser and how to clean it, but now it’s time to talk about what fragrance oils and perfumes would be suitable for diffusing. 

You can diffuse any oil-based fragrance you like. Most of the typical fragrances you can buy in a store are alcohol-based, but there are different companies that exlcusively sell oil-based fragrances. These usually come in much smaller bottles, as the oil-based perfumes are much more concentrated.

There are also a bunch of companies that recreate popular scents into an oil-based version. This is an easy way for you to still diffuse your personal favorite perfume or cologne.

The main rule with diffusing is that as long as it isn’t alcohol-based, you’re good to go!

Jasper Pieterse

Hi, my name is Jasper and I've been a long time fragrance fan. Ever since 2014, I started to get a huge interest in fragrances and I've had my nose on countless of different fragrances. I'm excited to share my experiences!

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