How to Clean Your Essential Oil Diffuser And Fix Common Issues

Essential oils have claimed the crown for popularity in recent years. They are the oils that we extract from plants and have many uses.

These uses include healing, both spiritual and physical, relaxation, mental health aids, sleep aids, and more.

There are essential oils that are most commonly in use. These are lavender, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, rose, bergamot, sandalwood, tea tree, chamomile, and jasmine.

How to Clean Your Essential Oil Diffuser And Fix Common Issues

Each oil has different qualities and purposes. For example, lavender is known to help with falling asleep and other sleep related issues.

An essential oil diffuser takes the chosen oil and casts its scent around an area, for example, a bathroom or your bedroom.

Sometimes, the diffuser can become blocked or perhaps just need a general maintenance clean. When this happens, there are a few easy solutions you can try.

This guide explores the best ways to clean your essential oil diffuser. We also take a look at some common issues you might encounter as an essential oil diffuser owner, and how to resolve them.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers are typically small and decorative. They come in all shapes and sizes. Their purpose is to either burn away or diffuse, in other ways, the essential oil of your choosing.

In doing this, they transfer the scent into your immediate atmosphere. You breathe in the fumes or the diffused oil and this sets off a reaction in your body, depending on the type of oil used.

They foster a sense of wellness and relaxation—think spa day, but in your own home and at your own pace. It’s a quick and easy way to set in place some self-care.

But, like anything, they need maintaining. They often become less effective in their purpose when they have been used for a period of time without being cleaned.

How To Clean Your Diffuser: Step-By-Step Guide

So, how do you clean your essential oil diffuser? We’ve put together a step-by-step how-to guide so that you never have to wonder again.


—White Vinegar
—Cotton Swabs
—Dry Cloth (microfiber is best)

First Things First

You’re going to need water. This can be tap water, bottled water, boiled water, but water is key.

Take enough water to fill your diffuser half way. It doesn’t have to be hot, but boiled water that has cooled down is the best, and most sanitary type of water to use. It is the best type to clean properly with.

Furthermore, it is really important to only fill the diffuser to around half way. Try to avoid the max fill line at all costs.

Next Up

You’re going to need vinegar. Specifically, white vinegar.

Vinegar acts as a remover for any essential oil residue. Residue may become coated to the insides of the diffuser, making the diffusion process less effective.

10 drops, which equates to around 0.5ML, is all you will need.

Pop the vinegar in the diffuser, and mix it in with the water. Just a gentle stir will do.

Then, leave it alone for about forty to forty-five minutes.

Up Next

After completing the first few steps, it’s time to allow the diffuser to run for ten minutes.

Turn it on, and just leave it to do its thing for ten minutes.

This sets in motion the diffusing action, and allows the water and vinegar mixture to permeate all areas of the device.

Once this has been done, make sure to empty and drain. Emptying and draining the diffuser will ensure that no water or vinegar residues are left behind.

You don’t want the smell of vinegar coming through when you’re trying to benefit from your essential oils!

Time For Manual Cleaning

Once you have completed the first three steps, it is time for a bit of work from you.

In order to clean every small crease and fold, you will probably need something like a cotton swab.

Cotton swabs are the right texture, and small enough to be able to clean small areas efficiently.

You can also wipe around with a dry cloth to remove any remaining dirt or residue that might be hanging around.


Last but not least, it’s time for a thorough rinse through. Clean water, boiled or not, is next on the list.

You can simply add it to the diffuser, and ensure that it has had a deep rinse out.

If you want to dry it before putting in new essential oil, that’s up to you. It may enhance the essential oils from a dry diffuser.

And, that’s that.

If you follow these easy steps, your diffuser will look brand new, and work much more efficiently after such a deep clean.

White vinegar is a very effective substance for creating a deep and thorough clean. That being said, it’s not always recommended and can actually make your warranty null and void.

Most diffusers come with advice and cleaning instructions as a part of the manual. This is normally in the box with the diffuser product. If not, it will be easy to find the manual for your specific diffuser online.

Before using any substance or cleaning product, check in with the guidance beforehand. This is the best way to make sure you’re not causing any damage to your diffuser.

How Often Does My Diffuser Need Cleaning?

How Often Does My Diffuser Need Cleaning?

Some people clean their essential oil diffuser after every use. This is not really necessary, but it can keep the diffuser fresh and like new.

It all depends on how much you use the diffuser, and what types of essential oils you use. Some oils are stronger than others and, therefore, require a more frequent cleaning.

That being said, as long as you are giving your diffuser a deep clean once a week (with regular use), that will be more than sufficient to maintain it properly!

Common Issues With An Essential Oil Diffuser

However, sometimes a deep clean just isn’t enough.

If that’s the case, what can you do? First step is to troubleshoot the problem. There can be a few different issues that stop your diffuser from working properly.

  1. Diffuser is not diffusing properly.
  2. Diffuser has no power.
  3. Diffuser water is too hot.
  4. Diffuser turns on, but doesn’t diffuse.
  5. Diffuser is making unusual noises.

These are the most commonly reported issues with essential oils diffusers. Thankfully, there are solutions for all five issues that you can try.

The Fixes

Diffuser Is Not Diffusing Properly

Your diffuser is running, the water level is correct, with the correct amount of essential oil, it is plugged in and ready to go. But, it’s just not diffusing properly. What could the issue be?

Well, there are a few things to try to fix this difficulty.

  1. Double-check the water levels. Sometimes, it may have been overlooked. If the water level is too high or too low, the diffuser won’t diffuse efficiently.
  2. Double-check the fan. Fans are a big part of what keeps diffusers running smoothly. If they have been blocked by essential oil flakes or dried bits, it is time to give it a clean.
  3. Double-check the settings. Diffusers have dials that dictate how much they emit into the air. It is entirely possible that you’ve turned it down without realizing.

Diffuser Has No Power

Sometimes you may find your diffuser just isn’t switching on at all. If this happens, you could try the following:

  1. It might sound obvious, but check that the plug is switched on and pressed in firmly to the wall socket. We’re all caught out by this from time to time.
  2. Replace the fuse in the plug. Fuses blow for various reasons, and sometimes need to be changed. It is quick and easy enough, just make sure you buy the right fuse for your power adaptor.
  3. Make sure the adaptor is plugged into the diffuser properly. Again, it may seem obvious, but things often look as though they are connected when in fact, they aren’t.
  4. Drain and dry the diffuser. As with anything electric, the electric connection is very sensitive to water.

It is easy to splash the water where it shouldn’t go, especially if you move your diffuser around a lot. It is possible that something has got wet, that should be dry.

If you’ve tried everything else on the list, with no success, try this. Completely drain the diffuser. Dry it with a dry cloth and leave it to rest for a 24-hour period. Then try to refill and plug back in.

Diffuser Water Is Too Hot

Sometimes, the water in the diffuser may reach temperatures that are too hot for the diffuser to cope with.

If The Water Level Is Too High

  1. It could be as simple as your diffuser has been overfilled. Empty some out, and make sure that the liquid is not above the ‘max’ indicator line.
  2. Completely unplug the diffuser. Drain it out. Leave it alone for a couple of hours. Refill and try again.

If The Water Level Is Okay

  1. Make sure the diffuser is set unobstructed. Anything such as a towel, or books, clothes etc. sat underneath the machine can cause overheating very easily. It needs to be placed on an even surface, on its own.
  2. The fan may be clogged. Sometimes, the diffuser fan can get debris from the inside or outside world stuck that causes a drop in function. Without the fan working properly, it wouldn’t take much time for the diffuser to become overheated. Clean the fan, and try the diffusing cycle again.

Diffuser Turns On, But Doesn’t Diffuse

Unlike a diffuser turning on and not diffusing properly, sometimes you may find the diffuser doesn’t diffuse at all. If that’s the case, try these options below to see if it fixes the problem.

  1. Turn it off and on again. Check the power source, if it is plugged in properly at both sides (diffuser and wall socket), then try turning it off at the source. Leave it for about 30 seconds, then turn it back on. Sometimes, it just needs a little reset.
  2. Drain the diffuser, and start again. It could be worth restarting the whole process. Drain the diffuser completely, then refill both the water level (to the correct height) and the essential oil of choice.
  3. There could be an electrical fault. If it is a fault in the mechanism itself, check your warranty. Lots of companies provide warranties on their products.

Your diffuser might be covered for the cost of repair under the standard consumer warranty. If that’s the case, get in touch with the manufacturer and request a repair or replacement.

Diffuser Makes Unusual Noises

Like anything mechanical and electric, you may hear unusual noises coming from your diffuser from time to time. Rule out the following to make sure your diffuser is not about to break and see if they fix the problem.

  1. Clean the fan. The fan is an important part of the diffuser process. It keeps the diffuser from overheating and ensures a smooth diffusing experience. As we’ve seen, the fan can become blocked from time to time. The noise may be a physical blockage in the fan mechanism. If you find something, great. Clean the fan, and that’s the issue solved.
  2. Water level is too low. If the water level is too low, the diffuser may be straining to work at proper levels. Simply top the water up to the required levels and see if that provides a solution.
  3. Mechanical fault. Unfortunately, sometimes when electrical devices start making weird noises, it’s time for them to be replaced. Check your warranty, as you may be eligible for a free replacement if your diffuser is a recent purchase.

Final Thoughts

Essential oil diffusers can be relaxing and a meditative experience. But they do require a bit of maintenance to keep them running smoothly and working as they should.

Now you know how to clean your diffuser easily and quickly. Just remember to always check your specific device’s instruction manual before using any external cleaning products or substances.

That way, you can avoid any damage.

As we’ve discovered, there are quite a few common things that can cause problems. Thankfully, there are also some simple solutions to try at home.

Remember, if all else fails, there is always the option to return it to the manufacturer for a replacement device.

Hannah Shiftle
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