Diffusing essential oils

Using a diffuser is one of the easiest ways to utilize essential oils for aromatherapy. You can also get a chance to use the essential oils that are less safe for frequent topical use but extremely beneficial aromatically like clove and cinnamon. When diffusing essential oils there are two methods you can use: a passive diffuser and an active diffuser.

Passive Diffusers

Passive diffusers naturally release the essential oils you choose through their evaporation. Typically, these diffusers will give a less intense aroma. Some types of passive diffusers include ones like this clay lotus diffuser from Plant Therapy, aromatherapy jewelry like bracelets or necklaces, or reed diffusers. Even a simple gauze pad or tissue can act as a passive diffuser!

Passive diffusers are perfect for small spaces like your desk, bedside table, or car because they give off a light scent that’s perfect for smaller spaces. It is also a great way to use your essential oils for aromatherapy without bothering other people who may be sensitive to strong smells. If you have ever found yourself overwhelmed by the scent of essential oils, a passive diffuser may be the perfect option for you.

Active Diffusers

Active diffusers are pushed into the air and dispersed throughout your space by using a nebulizer or ultrasonic diffuser. These diffusers are great for filling larger rooms with the scent of your essential oils and are perfect for blends that help support the immune system or are meant to be used simply for their aromas.

Each active diffuser will come with its own set of safety instructions. Read these carefully! For example, most ultrasonic diffusers should only be used for 60 minutes before turning them off for at least 30-60 minutes. There are some diffusers now that even come with automatic shutoffs or timers like this one, making them convenient for everyday use.

The TL;DR version of active vs. passive diffusers:

Active diffusers push the essential oils into the air and can fill bigger spaces with a stronger aroma.

Passive diffusers use the natural evaporation of the essential oils to give a small space a gentle aroma.

There’s also a third choice I didn’t mention earlier and that is:

Personal Aromatherapy Inhalers

Personal aromatherapy inhalers don’t fit neatly into the active or passive category (although they are passive in that they don’t require outside stimulus to be activated). These discrete inhalers give the same strong aroma as an active diffuser. They are a great choice for using essential oils aromatically. Personal aromatherapy inhalers are small in size and convenient to carry with you.

Aromatherapy inhalers come in a variety of colors and options, from these sleek aluminum cased ones from Mountain Rose Herbs to plain, simple white ones like these found on Amazon. Those inhalers are sold “blank”, or without essential oils, so you can make your own blend just how you like it. I recommend sticking to 15 drops per inhaler. You can also find pre-made aromatherapy inhalers here with a variety of blends to choose from. This is a way to try out aromatherapy inhalers for yourself without the fuss of choosing and making your own.

Choosing A Diffuser

Choosing a type of diffuser to use is a very individual choice. It depends on the size of your space, how sensitive you are to smells, and if you share your home or space with other family members or pets. You may also choose to have both types of diffusers. A passive diffuser may be the perfect choice for your office so that you do not disturb coworkers. When you’re back at home, an active diffuser may be the right option for your living room so that you can fill your space with your favorite soothing scents.

Diffusing essential oils is a great way to use aromatherapy regularly without the worry of properly diluting essential oils for topical use. It is also a fun way to come up with inviting scents to use in your home along with their added therapeutic benefits.

Safety Considerations

Always make sure you diffuse your essential oils in a well-ventilated space and follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Pregnant people, individuals with respiratory illnesses, infants, and pets can be very sensitive to the aroma of essential oils. Dogs, and especially cats, should always be free to leave the room if you are diffusing essential oils whether by an active diffuser or passive diffuser. Some essential oils can be harmful to your pets if they cannot safely leave the space.

Make sure you do your due diligence on researching safety precautions about your chosen essential oils. Some essential oils, such as the popular essential oil peppermint, are not safe for very young children. Others are contraindicated for specific health issues. You should stick to using 3-5 drops of essential oil per 100mL of water for an active diffuser.

In the case of infants, I highly recommend NOT diffusing around children under 3 months. You also should not diffuse for longer than 30 minutes without a 60-minute break and only repeat diffusing, if necessary, when children are present in the household. Also make sure that you dilute the essential oils properly in your active diffuser’s water – two to three drops per day for children. Just because essential oils are natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe for all.


Which diffuser do you think you’d prefer? Maybe an active diffuser at home and a beautiful piece of aromatherapy jewelry for on-the-go? Whichever type of diffuser you choose, if it’s the right choice for your needs then it’s the perfect one!

I love carrying aromatherapy inhalers when I’m out and about but at home I have a simple ultrasonic diffuser in my main room. It’s a well ventilated space for a big diffuser and my pets can get up and leave whenever they’d like.

We’re getting ready to launch our line of diffuser essential oil blends at Airmid Holistics in 2022 & I cannot WAIT to hear about how my fantastic clients & customers choose to use their essential oil blends.

Published by AirmidHolistics

Hi! I’m Melissa Murray, a certified aromatherapist, herbalist, & holistic health practitioner & founder of Airmid Holistics, LLC! I hold an Associates of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine, a Diploma in Holistic Health Practice, & a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I’ve used aromatherapy personally & professionally for over a decade & began to seriously pursue my formal education in holistic medicine after my military career ended abruptly due to an injury. I want to help people learn how to achieve their health & wellness goals with aromatherapy support & educate them on the safe use of essential oils.

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