Reed Diffuser FAQ
Making your own reed diffuser is incredibly easy to do! DIY reed diffusers take just a few minutes to make and require very few materials. With our affordable reed diffuser base, beautiful diffuser bottles, and huge selection of fragrance oils, there are tons of ways to get creative with reed diffusers.
What is a reed diffuser?
A reed diffuser is an air freshener made from scented oil that is poured into a glass or ceramic container with a narrow opening. Fiber reeds are placed into the opening of the jar to disperse the scent into the air. The scented oil travels up to the top of the reeds, where it is released into the air.
Why make a reed diffuser?
Reed diffusers are a great alternative to candles and wax melts. Whereas candles require supervision and tend to only give off a strong scent when they’re burning, reed diffusers release a steady stream of fragrance with zero effort on your part. Even wax melts require some supervision, and like candles, their strong smell is only noticeable when your wax warmer is turned on.
Reed diffusers are also a popular alternative to room sprays. While room spray makes the house smell amazing, the smell does dissipate over time and needs to be reapplied regularly. On the other hand, reed diffusers are always working in the background to give your room a pleasant scent.
If you sell candles, soap, or wax melts, reed diffusers are an excellent addition to your product line too. Many customers like the option of a zero-maintenance air freshener that also doubles as beautiful home décor!
How do I make a reed diffuser?
Reed diffusers are very easy to make! All you need to do is combine fragrance oil with reed diffuser base and pour it into a reed diffuser bottle. Lastly, insert reed diffuser sticks into the bottle and wait for the oil to soak into the reeds. See questions below for tips on the correct amount of fragrance to use.
As with any fragrance oil project, you will want to wear gloves when making reed diffusers. For mixing, we highly recommend our Funnel Pitchers. These will make it a breeze to blend your fragrance with the diffuser base and pour it into your containers.
How full should I fill a reed diffuser bottle?
When making a reed diffuser, you don’t want to fill the bottle completely full. You need to leave enough room for the reeds to fit into the bottle without displacing the oil and causing it to spill out. Even once the sticks are added, reed diffuser bottles don’t need to be completely full in order to work. They will disperse their scent as long as there is scented oil in the bottle.
What bottles can I use for reed diffusers?
Most non-porous containers are suitable for making reed diffusers. Glass and ceramic vessels work best. However, you always want to use containers with a wide base and a narrow neck. A wider base makes the reed diffuser sturdy, while the narrow neck and opening ensures that fragrance is released slowly rather than evaporating all at once. It is best to use reed diffuser bottles that are made specifically for that purpose.
Can I use any type of bottle to make a reed diffuser?
For best performance, we do recommend using bottles that are designed for making diffusers. However, you can certainly upcycle a bottle if you have one you want to use.
For safety reasons, make sure to only use bottles with a wide base and a narrow neck. Jars with wide neck openings and vases with narrow bases are not suitable. Any container that can be spilled easily may create a safety hazard (spilled oil makes surfaces slippery and is messy to clean up).
If upcycling a container, you also want to make sure it's not to big or tall. For good fragrance dispersal, the reeds need to be able to stick out of the top of the container (see questions below).
What types of reeds can you use?
Traditionally, reed diffusers used actual dried reeds to diffuse scented oils. A reed is a type of grass with a porous internal structure. Some people still use grass reeds in their diffusers, but today, fiber reeds are a new industry standard. Fiber reeds are designed to provide the best possible capillary action for diffusing oils.
Many people wonder if you can use wood or bamboo in reed diffusers. However, these materials do not have the porous internal structure required for diffusing scents into the air. Wood and bamboo reed diffusers do not work because of the structure of these materials.
How many diffuser reeds do I need to use per bottle?
The number of reeds you need will vary depending on the size of the bottle opening. You generally want enough reeds to comfortably fill the opening without having to shove the reeds in forcefully. On the other hand, having too few reeds can make the fragrance in the bottle to evaporate too quickly. You want enough reeds to provide some blockage for the opening without stuffing it completely full. The reeds should fit easily and fan out from one another at the top.
How far should diffuser reeds stick out of the bottle?
You want several inches of the reed to extend from the top of your reed diffuser bottle. This allows for better fragrance dispersal.
At a minimum, the length of reed sticking out of the bottle should be as tall as the bottle itself. For example, if you're using a 5" tall container, the reeds should ideally stick out at least 5", meaning you will need 10" reeds. Our reeds are a standard length of 10” which is ideal for most diffuser bottles.
The length of reed sticking out of the diffuser bottle doesn't need to be exact. They will work fine if you're using a 6" tall bottle with 10" reeds. Likewise, your diffusers will still work if you're using a 4" bottle with 10" reeds.
Can I cut the reeds to a smaller size?
Yes, if you’re using a very small reed diffuser bottle, you may wish to trim down the reeds to a smaller size. If the reeds stick out too far, it can make the bottle easier to tip over.
It’s easy to trim diffuser reeds by snipping them with a sharp scissors. Depending on the amount you cut off, you may be able to save the ends and use them for a different reed diffuser.
Do I need to flip the reeds?
Some people recommend flipping reed diffuser reeds every week or so. However, we have not found this to be necessary with our reeds. Our fiber reeds provide excellent fragrance dispersal without flipping.
Do I need to replace the reeds?
No, you can use the same reeds for the entire lifespan of your reed diffuser. Our reeds are designed to deliver fragrance without clogging, and will continue to deliver a strong scent as long as there are no additives or foreign materials in the oil that may clog the reed. If the reeds do get clogged with foreign material, you can replace them with fresh reeds.
How long will the scent last in my reed diffuser?
Reed diffusers can keep their scent for a very long time. Depending on the percent of fragrance used and the size of the bottle, fragrances can last for up to a year. Larger diffuser bottles will retain their scent longer due to the fact that they hold a larger volume of mixture.
Does the oil evaporate in reed diffusers? What do I do when it’s empty?
When you use your reed diffuser, the oil level will go down as the fragrance evaporates. This is a natural part of the process. Once the oil is gone, wash the diffuser bottle and dispose of the used sticks. The bottle can be reused again to make a fresh reed diffuser!
Can I reuse reed diffuser sticks?
Because reed diffuser sticks become saturated with oil, they generally cannot be reused to make a fresh reed diffuser. For best results, we recommend always using fresh sticks when making a new reed diffuser, even if you are using the same scent.
What fragrance oils can I use?
Any of our fragrance oils can be used to make reed diffusers. Our fragrance oils are concentrated formulations, and must be mixed with reed diffuser base before using them in a diffuser.
How much fragrance should I use?
Our reed diffuser base can handle a high percentage of fragrance oil. In testing, we have successfully mixed in up to 50% fragrance oil for a 1:1 ratio of fragrance oil to reed diffuser base. However, please note that this ratio will smell extremely potent, and will be much too strong for most people’s taste.
An ideal fragrance-to-base ratio will be closer to 10% fragrance. You can use more or less depending on your preferences. It’s always best to start low and work your way up.
You may find that you need to use a different amount of fragrance oil depending on the scent you are using. For example, 10% might be great for one oil, but a concentration of 8% may be better for a different oil. As with any project, be sure to test with a small quantity first before making a larger batch.
Is there a max amount of fragrance I can safely use?
Please note that reed diffusers have their own category on IFRA certificates. All of our fragrance oils are compatible to be mixed with reed diffuser base, but it is important to check the IFRA certificate to see the maximum amount of fragrance allowed.
While many fragrance oils can be used at high percentages in reed diffusers, the IFRA does have low limits for certain fragrance oils. For such fragrances, it means that a very low percent of fragrance can be used for reed diffusers.
To determine how much fragrance you can use in your reed diffuser formula, check category 10A on the IFRA certificate for the fragrance you want to use. IFRA certificates are available on all of our fragrance pages.
If the fragrance you want to use has a low IFRA limit for reed diffusers, you can still try making a diffuser with the maximum amount of fragrance allowed by the IFRA. As our fragrances are highly concentrated, you may find that fragrances still smell great in a reed diffuser even when using a low percent of fragrance.
Will fragrances color my diffuser oil?
Our diffuser base is a clear liquid. However, some fragrance oils naturally have a yellow to brown color. The color of the fragrance oil will be visible when it’s mixed with the diffuser base.
Most customers expect reed diffuser oils to be yellow in color, so it’s not something you need to worry about. If you prefer not to see the oil itself, our opaque reed diffuser bottles, black reed diffuser bottles, and dark green diffuser bottles will hide the color of the oil.
Can I add color to my reed diffuser oil?
You can use liquid candle dyes to make colorful reed diffuser oil. We don’t recommend using food coloring or powdered colorants. Any powder ingredients may clog the reeds, making it difficult for them to deliver a strong scent. That means mica, glitter, glow in the dark powder, and fluorescent powder are not suitable for coloring reed diffuser oil. Candle dye chips are also not compatible. Liquid candle dye is the only colorant that we’ve found to work effectively.
If adding color to reed diffuser oil, please consider the color of the fragrance oil you are using. Fragrance oils with a naturally darker color may affect the final color of your product.
Are reed diffusers safe?
Yes, reed diffusers are safe to make and use. Our reed diffuser base is non-toxic and DPG-free. Because reed diffusers don’t use a flame, they are also a cleaner alternative to candles. Whereas candles can produce soot (especially if not wicked properly), reed diffusers deliver fragrance into the air without any heat or flame required. You can use reed diffusers without supervising them at all. Just make sure the bottle is in a secure location where it won’t tip or be accessible to children or pets.
More Product FAQs
Have a question about other products we carry? Please review our product FAQ pages:
- Fragrance Oil FAQs
- Candle Wick FAQs
- Colorant FAQs (mica, glitter, fluorescent powder, glow powder, candle dye)
- Wax FAQs
- Aroma Bead FAQs
- Main FAQ