Essential oils are natural oils that are usually gathered through distillation. They have the characteristic aroma of the plant/source from which they are extracted.
Essential oils can have many positive benefits. For example, peppermint essential oil has been said to help with headaches, motion sickness, and more!
Essential oils have rapidly been growing in popularity over the past few years.
Many people like to use them as perfume or like to use an essential oil diffuser to give their homes a pleasant scent.
However, many people are still unaware of the potential dangers they pose both to us and animals.
As a result, many of us are making big mistakes when it comes to using essential oils and essential oil diffusers.
Read on to find out the dangers of these diffusers, top mistakes people make, and some safety tips for using them in the future.
What Is An Essential Oil Diffuser?
An essential oil diffuser is a device that sprays and spreads essential oils inside your home/ a specific space.
There are many different types of essential oil diffusers, here are a few examples!
These diffusers work by providing a constant supply of air.
With these diffusers, you can alter the airflow and adjust the timer to suit your needs.
Ultrasonic diffusers have a disk that vibrates in water. This breaks up the oil into small molecules and disperses them into the air.
These diffusers are great for diffusing small amounts of oil at a time.
This diffuser uses a fan to evaporate the oils and disperses them into the room.
However, the release of the oils can often be unbalanced.
What Are The Dangers Associated With Essential Oil Diffusers?
Because essential oils are pure and natural, people generally assume that it is safe to diffuse them.
However, there are many dangers associated with essential oils that you need to watch out for.
It is absolutely vital to use these oils according to the product guidelines, so pay close attention to those upon purchasing.
Here are the most common dangers associated with essential oil diffusers:
Diffusing Essential Oils Can Cause Irritation
Some people have found that diffusing essential oils has irritated their airways.
Sometimes, inhaling too much of an essential oil can cause headaches for some people.
Diffusing Essential Oils Can Cause Asthma Attacks
For most people, it is safe to inhale essential oils. However, those with asthma may find that inhaling essential oils causes an asthma attack.
Additionally, inhaling essential oils can sometimes cause pneumonitis, a severe infection in the lungs, in some individuals.
Toxicity To Certain Demographics And Pets
Essential oil inhalation can prove toxic to pets, particularly cats.
Additionally, inhaling essential oils can prove extremely harmful to children and pregnant people.
There Is A Risk Of Microbes In The Diffusers
Ultrasonic diffusers must be cleaned thoroughly and with care.
This is because they have a water reservoir (which is what you must clean), and if left unclean, microbes have the opportunity to grow.
Microbes in your diffuser can lead to infections.
There Is A Danger Of Device Malfunction
Device malfunction is normally bad news for any device. In the case of essential oil diffusers, you risk burning yourself if you mishandle them.
Additionally, irregular or lack of cleaning the diffuser will lead to oil build-up, which brings its own set of dangers.
Some diffusers use an open flame, which is a major safety issue, particularly around pets and young children.
What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid With Essential Oil Diffusers?
Naturally, we are not here to encourage you to pack up your essential oil diffuser and never use it again.
We simply want to make individuals aware of the potential dangers that come with essential oil diffusers, and discuss ways people can use them safely.
When used correctly, essential oils can be great for you. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when using essential oil diffusers that pose a safety risk and do not allow them to feel these benefits.
1. Putting Too Much Oil In The Diffuser
This is definitely the most common mistake people make when it comes to essential oil diffusers. In regards to essential oils, using more does not equal more impact.
Depending on room size, genetics, and age, human noses can detect odors at varying levels of concentration. However, less is definitely more when it comes to essential oils!
Even if you cannot smell the essential oil as it’s being diffused, you are still inhaling the molecules and receiving the benefits.
You definitely don’t want too much of a good thing, so we recommend limiting the essential oil to five or 6 drops at a time, and no more than that.
However, you should always follow the guidelines that come with your diffuser.
2. Using The Essential Oil Diffuser For Too Long
Generally speaking, you should only be using your essential oil diffuser for around fifteen minutes at a time.
When using an essential oil diffuser, we are constantly receiving a stream of the same molecules.
If we receive too many of these molecules then that can lead to olfactory fatigue.
Olfactory fatigue happens in the odor receptors.
While sometimes considered to be a positive thing because it stops overloading in the nervous system, olfactory fatigue shows that using the diffuser continuously does not mean the benefits received from essential oils increase.
Therefore, burning them for longer than the recommended time is not necessary.
3. Using The Essential Oil Diffuser Around Your Pets
If you’re a pet owner, you must be aware of the negative effects using an essential oil diffuser has on your furry friends.
What you may consider a sweet or fresh, pleasant aroma may not be so nice for your pet – and can actually be overpowering and toxic.
If you do not use an essential oil diffuser in the correct way around your dogs, then that can lead to behavioral changes, negative effects on the nervous system, and respiratory problems.
Some essential oils contain compounds known as phenols. This includes:
– Eucalyptus oil
– Peppermint oil
– Tea tree oil
– Ylang Ylang oil
– Pine oil
– Clove oil
– Cinnamon oil
– Wintergreen oil
– Citrus oil
– Pennyroyal oil
– Oil of Sweet Birch
Unfortunately, the phenols in these essential oils are poisonous to cats and can lead to liver failure if used around them.
This is because cats do not have the necessary enzymes to process the phenolic compounds.
If you think your pet is reacting negatively to the essential oils you are using, then it is advisable to call a helpline for poisoned pets.
However, you can still use essential oils around your pets in a safe way. You must ensure you leave a door, window, or both open when diffusing essential oils around animals.
This ensures they are able to leave the room if the oils become too overpowering for them.
4. Leaving The Essential Oil Diffuser On At Night
Some essential oils like frankincense, marjoram, and lavender have been proven to be excellent when it comes to helping you sleep.
This has led to the assumption that you should use these oils in your diffuser and leave it on overnight.
However, this is not likely to result in a good night’s sleep – in fact, you may not get the benefits you think you will at all.
As you sleep, your body works. It focuses on the repair of your cells, organs, and muscles, and rest.
Even if there are essential oil molecules in the air your brain is less responsive and therefore you are much less likely to inhale them.
Therefore, essential oils diffused at night are essentially pointless.
To reap the benefits of them and get a good night’s sleep, we recommend using the pro-sleep oils around half an hour before you go to bed.
5. Using The Essential Oil Diffuser While Pregnant Or Around Pregnant People
Using essential oils around pregnant people during their first trimester is a big no-no!
The first trimester is regarded as the most important and critical time of the pregnancy, and it is important to protect the fetus at this stage.
Therefore, they must not be exposed to concentrated substances, like essential oils.
However, it is possible to diffuse essential oils around pregnant people during their second and third trimesters.
In fact, a lot of hospitals actually encourage diffusing oils, such as lavender, during labor because it is now believed to be beneficial!
If pregnant and using an essential oil diffuser at home, we recommend using around two to three drops of essential oil and only for fifteen minutes.
What Are Some Essential Oils To Avoid Diffusing If You Are Pregnant?
If you’re debating what essential oils to use while pregnant, then here is a list of ones that are generally considered safe after the first trimester (provided they are used correctly)
– Ylang Ylang
However, you must discuss this with a doctor or a medical professional before using an essential oil diffuser.
Please do not use essential oils or an essential oil diffuser while in your second or third trimester without consulting a professional beforehand.
Here are some essential oils you should avoid using altogether while pregnant:
– Black pepper
– Tea Tree
– Roman chamomile
– Clary Sage
Please take note that this may not be an exhaustive list.
Safety Tips For Essential Oil Diffusers
Despite the dangers and common mistakes people make when using essential oil diffusers, there are ways to handle them safely. We have some useful safety tips here:
Follow The Instructions
It is always a good idea to follow the instructions that come with your diffuser. This is the best way to avoid accidents and mistakes and ensures your diffuser will work as smoothly as possible.
Use The Recommended Amount Of Essential Oil
As mentioned before, you only need a limited amount of essential oil to feel the benefits, and it is best to stick to that amount.
If you use too much oil, you will not feel ‘more’ benefits, but you may get a headache, irritation in your airways, and in some cases an asthma attack and pneumonitis.
Use The Essential Oil Diffuser In A Well-Ventilated Space
Diffusing essential oils is normally safe to do in well-ventilated spaces in short bursts of time.
Try opening a window, a door, and ensure your vents are in working order.
Do Not Put Your Diffuser Next To An Open Flame
Essential oils are extremely flammable, so it is best to keep them far away from any open flames.
This includes keeping them in the kitchen while you are cooking with gas, or by a candle.
Ensure You Clean Your Essential Oil Diffuser Regularly
Ideally, you should clean your diffuser after every use. You can simply wipe it down after use, and then give it a deep clean every month.
This is extremely important if you want to protect the diffuser, and yourself, from microbes and mold, and keep the diffuser in working order.
Remember Olfactory Fatigue
Olfactory fatigue happens in your odor receptors, and it proves there is no need for an excessive amount of essential oil in the diffuser.
Always remember that just because you cannot smell the oils, does not mean they are not present and not working.
Additionally, if you cannot smell the essential oils, it may be a sign to take a break and hit the ‘off’ button on the diffuser.
Invest In Essential Oils Of Good Quality
If you purchase excellent quality essential oils from a reliable source, you are ensuring the best possible results not only for yourself but your diffuser as well.
Avoid Using The Essential Oil Diffuser In The Bathroom
If the diffuser comes into contact with water then it poses a safety issue.
Watch Out For Signs Of An Allergic Reaction
This is a particularly useful tip when using a particular oil for the first time, but it can also prove useful every single time you use your essential oil diffuser.
You should always watch out for signs of an allergic, or negative reaction in yourself, the people around you, and animals. Things to look out for are:
– Difficulty breathing
– Itchy eyes
– Eyes watering
– Clogged sinuses
Please note that this may not be an exhaustive list.
Essential Oils That Are Typically Safe To Use
Some essential oils are considered to be safe for children and pets. However, please ensure you still follow the safety steps provided above.
Here is a list of the essential oils considered safe for animals and children:
Essential oils have grown in popularity over recent years, and have many health benefits.
However, when it comes to using them in diffusers in our own homes, we need to be cautious. There are many dangers associated with essential oil diffusers.
Using too much oil in a cramped space with no ventilation, or using certain oils around pets and specific demographics can prove anything from irritating to toxic to fatal.
There are many more risks associated with, and mistakes made when using essential oil diffusers, so it is important to remember the key safety steps when purchasing one for your home.
Always use the recommended amount of oil and follow the instructions that come with the essential oil diffuser.
Keep your space well ventilated, clean your diffuser regularly, and keep an eye out for irritation in yourself, animals, and the people around you.
It is important to discuss using essential oils with your doctor or medical professional if pregnant.