diffuser with essential oils - how to clean your diffuser

How to Clean Your Diffuser in 4 Easy Steps

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How to clean your diffuser?  You mean I have to clean my diffuser? Huh?

I diffuse essential oils in multiple rooms, every day. They put in long hours! To keep them up and running so I can enjoy the many benefits of these oils without interruptions, it’s important to clean my diffusers often.

I was so excited to get my Young Living Desert Mist diffuser up and running. I quickly unboxed it, plugged it in, then threw away the box—and immediately regretted doing that because there are actually a few things you need to know about caring for an essential oil diffuser!

Soon refreshing scents of heaven escaped throughout every corner of our house.

After a few months of daily use, it started making loud sounds and shutting off intermittently.

It was only recently, however, that I learned that you should be cleaning your diffuser regularly – in fact, some manufacturers suggest cleaning after every use! 

To get the most out of your diffusers and essential oils, you should clean them regularly. Skipping this step could lead to build-up or malfunctions that ruin both your diffuser and all those glorious scents!

essential oils with diffuser; how to clean your diffuser

The ultrasonic plate had a good amount of build-up and it was clogged. I reached out to a friend who is also an avid user and she walked me through how to clean your diffuser.  Now, my diffuser is back to its original glory. It works beautifully again and the aromas are divine!

Learning how to clean your diffuser is really very simple.

Before we get into HOW to clean diffusers, let’s take a look at some basics:

What is a Diffuser?

A diffuser is an aromatic method of enjoying the benefits of essential oils.  They break down the oils into small particles that “diffuse” into the air and disperse the aroma throughout the room.

Aromatically using essential oils has numerous emotional and therapeutic benefits. They can even help with focus and concentration!

There are many different diffusers out there including some that play music and display different light colors.  The diffuser in our media room is always on the red light setting when the Chiefs play!

I prefer the diffusers from Young Living as they are the highest quality and longest lasting diffusers that I’ve found. They also have a 12 month warranty AND will walk you through how to clean your diffuser, by phone, if necessary!

Why Should You Clean Your Diffuser?

If you use your diffuser often, like me, it’s important to keep it in the best shape possible so that it continues to work effectively.

Diffusers can build up residue left behind from the water and oils you use. That residue can affect how well the diffuser works and the quality of the diffusing.

If you aren’t cleaning your diffuser regularly, here are some things to watch out for:

  • If your diffuser isn’t diffusing properly
  • If you notice it’s not misting the way it used to
  • If you hear any strange noises coming from it
  • If the usual sounds it makes get louder
  • If you notice discoloration on the inside (it looks grimy and dirty, maybe even stained)
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Learning how to clean your diffuser will ensure that your diffuser:

Does not have “build-up” – there are some oils that leave behind a residue it has been diffused. Over time, the oil can build up on the ultrasonic plate, the lid, and even the misting hole. This build-up will affect how the diffuser functions, and may not be emitting the proper stream into the air. 

Does not emit unpleasant scents – it’s really so important to clean out any excess oil left behind in the water reservoir so you don’t accidentally combine scents that are non-complementary. For example, Geranium, a floral scent with a more “spicy” oil, such as Thieves.

Lives a long life– Rinse and wipe your diffuser out after each use and be sure to use a soft cloth so you don’t scratch the ultrasonic plate. 

Keeps the warranty valid – if anything goes wrong with your diffuser it the first year, you can send it back to Young Living for a replacement. Keep in mind, however, they will only replace it if it has been cared for properly. For other brand diffusers, check the warranty information, if any, that comes in the packaging.

How to Clean Your Diffuser

Are you ready?  Follow me as I show you how to clean your diffuser!

Skipping this important step could lead to build-up, odor, and even malfunctions. 

Even if you aren’t noticing any of the diffuser problems mentioned above, it is recommended that you clean your diffuser once or twice a month to reduce the amount of buildup and keep it working optimally.

All diffusers include cleaning instructions in the box, however, you may have no idea where to find the instructions that came with it. No worries!  I’ve got you covered for how to clean your diffuser!

How to clean your diffuser (the method used for diffusers with an ultrasonic plate)

Of course, before you begin, you’ll want to turn off and unplug your diffuser.

Step 1:

Wipe out the reservoir with a wet cotton cloth or Q-tips.

young living diffuser; how to clean your diffuser

Step 2:

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and clean the ultrasonic plate to remove any extra buildup.

inside of young living diffuser being cleaned with q-tip; how to clean your diffuser

Step 3:

Rinse the reservoir with water.

rising diffuser with water; how to clean your diffuser

Step 4:

Wipe it clean and dry up excess water with a soft cloth.

Now you are ready to add water and your favorite essential oils again and diffuse away!

You can also use Thieves Household Cleaner to clean your diffuser. Don’t use dish soap or any other cleaning products you may have laying around. In addition, don’t use an all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner or any other cleaner with potentially toxic ingredients.

If you do, when you diffuse the next time, you’ll be diffusing those chemicals right into your room and lungs!  No way, Jose!  Stick with rubbing alcohol or the amazing Thieves cleaner!

TIP: Rinse and wipe out your diffuser after every use. This will help minimize the essential oil buildup. 

Some diffuser brands recommend cleaning after every use. It may seem easier just to leave the water and the oils in the diffuser for next time, but some oils can be corrosive. If you want your diffuser to have a long life and work at its top performance level, empty it and give it a wipe-down after each use.

You can also inadvertently affect the experience of new oils if there are leftover oils with a different scent that were left. A few other tips to keep your diffuser working at its best are to avoid placing it in direct sunlight or right next to a fan. Make sure to unplug it before you clean it and give the top a wipe down when it gets dusty. Take care of your diffuser and give it regular cleanings to maximize the benefit from your investment.

Troubleshooting your Diffuser

Diffuser not working properly and cleaning your diffuser hasn’t helped? Check out this video for troubleshooting your diffuser.

Now that you know how to clean your diffuser, how often should you clean your diffuser?

You should do a deep clean about every 4 weeks, or as needed.

Tips for Keeping Your Diffuser Healthy

  • Use room temperature purified or distilled water when running your diffuser. Tap water contains minerals that may cause build up. If you choose to use tap water, it is recommended that you clean your diffuser after each use (this is what I do but our water quality is very high).
  • Avoid getting water on the power or operating buttons or even the air vents. Tilt the diffuser to one side to empty excess water, always avoiding the electrical components.
  • Don’t overfill your diffuser with water. Be sure to only fill to the indicated line on your diffuser.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners. (See above)
  • Do not use vinegar to clean your diffuser. Doing so will harm the ultrasonic plate and may void your warranty.

With proper care and simple maintenance, high quality diffusers will last you years and years!

How often do you clean your diffuser?

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