An essential oil diffuser is one of the simplest ways to utilize the benefits of essential oils. Diffusers break down the oils into small particles that can travel in the air so that the aroma is dispersed throughout a room. A diffuser with high-quality essential oils can change the energy and feel of an entire room. Pretty powerful stuff!
If you’re like me and use your diffuser on a regular basis, it’s important to keep it working at its best. Diffusers develop a buildup of residue that can affect the efficiency of the diffuser and the quality of the experience. That means that every once in a while, it needs a good cleaning.
Diffusers require regular cleaning, but if yours is giving you any of the following problems, it’s time to clean it ASAP:
- It diffuses poorly.
- You notice a lack of mist coming from it.
- It starts making strange noises.
- Its usual noises suddenly become louder.
Of course, it might not be doing any of these things, but maybe it’s starting to look rather grimy and gross. My diffuser was looking pretty sad, so I decided it needed a nice cleaning. All diffusers will come with instructions on how to clean them, but if you are like me, you no longer have those instructions. Plus, I wanted an easy trick that I could use to clean any of my machines.
This is how my diffuser looked before I cleaned it:
This is how my diffuser looked after I cleaned it:
Much better right?
All I did was fill up the tank with a solution of half vinegar, half water. I then let it sit overnight, but it really only needs to sit for a few hours. Make sure you use tap water and not filtered water or distilled water. If your diffuser is acting a little weird, I recommend you give it a quick clean and then see how it works. Most of the time, this will fix the problem if you are using tap water.
In the morning, I just took a dry rag and wiped it out. That was it. Now it looks so nice and clean! This technique can be used with most diffusers. You can also take a cotton ball dipped in vinegar and clean the small, tight spots that might not have rinsed away. And don’t forget to dry it thoroughly with cotton swabs or a clean towel after you empty the cleaning solution.
Clean your diffuser often
It’s necessary to keep your diffuser in good shape by cleaning it on a regular basis. While this might seem like a pain in the butt at first it will soon become part of your regular household cleaning routine. And the good news is that cleaning it only takes a few minutes, and you will appreciate how shiny and nice it looks.
Think of your diffuser as an investment in your health and wellbeing. The better you take care of it, the better it will take care of you. You also don’t want to have to bring it in for repairs or buy a new one just because you weren’t keeping it clean; right?
Know how to clean your model of diffuser
It’s a good idea to check the recommendations specific to your diffuser. Check the manual and see what it suggests. Also, take note of the specifics of your warranty. Some diffuser warranties may become void if you use vinegar in them. Diffusers usually give specific instructions for cleaning in the user manual, but if you are unsure, call the customer service of your diffuser’s brand, or check their website for cleaning instructions.
Clean your machine every time you use it
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.
162 thoughts on “How to Clean an Essential Oils Diffuser”
Super advice! I do clean it when I use a different oil, but haven’t thought of doing it like described in the article. That will be my once a moth job 🙂
Do you turn the diffuser on after you add the water and vinegar? Or do you just let it sit without turning it on?
No need to turn it on. Just let it sit overnight!
I’ve been diffusing for awhile but didn’t know the importance of cleaning the diffuser. Thanks for all the great information!
Great post! My diffuser just died on me but I never took care of it. Got a new one and going to implement this daily now
Glad I found this information. Will be cleaning my diffusers tomorrow for sure.
Thank you. I never thought to use vinegar. I’m gladd there is a safe and natural way to clean it that won’t interfere with the oils.
Thanks for this info. My diffuser needs cleaning, and I’ve been wondering how to go about it.
Great tips…Thank you, Plant Therapy
What about the vinegar aroma when you are cleaning the diffuser? I hate it and I wouldn’t like to have it in my bedroom… why is it ok to clean with this acid and not with bleach if both of them are kind of corrosive? Is it about concentration?
Gabriela, I’m sure our team of aromatherapists can shed some light on that question; you can reach out to them at [email protected] 🙂
Just when I was wondering how much vinegar to use, Plant Therapy saves the day again!! I find all my answers in your blogs!!
This was helpful. I usually just rinse my diffuser out well and wipe dry. Any discoloration has come off easily with a wipe but I think this will be helpful in the long run. I find if I don’t rinse frequently it smells like old water. This is not regarding a pt diffuser which I plan to purchase soon!
Thank you for the information! I usually clean my diffuser with a mixture of water and hand soap. I will give this too a try!
Thank you for this! I only clean mine using a mixture of water and a little bit of hand soap so I will try this too!
Can’t wait to give this a try!!
This is great as I feel like there can be conflicting information on how and when to clean your diffuser. Thanks!
What a helpful post! I have tried many things to clean my diffuser with no positive results and am really excited to do this simple sounding method!
I had not thought to clean mine every time all the time. Mine does not have the crud build up like the one above, but i will be much more mindful of keeping mine clean. Thanks for the reminder!
What type of vinegar? White vinegar or is apple cider vinegar okay to use?
Jamie, we recommend white vinegar 🙂
Thank you for the informative post! I’ve always just used rubbing alcohol, but lately, it has not been getting off the sticky orangey-brown residue in my diffuser….similar to your picture. I will give the vinegar/water soak a try!
I really needed this info for cleaning out my diffuser. Thank you guys at plant Therapy. Happy new year
I’ve had this blog post open on my browser since Oct… finally getting around to it and starting 2019 with clean diffusers. Thanks for a great post on maintaining our diffusers. Feel free to repost every few months as a reminder!
That’s a great idea, Kathryn!
Thanks for the tips! Vinegar and water to clean atleast once a week. 🙂
WIll vinegar and water soak work to clean the Infinity Diffuser and the Advanced Aromatherapy diffuser? Or would rubbing alcohol be better? Do I need to diffuse it to clean properly?
I am so glad I found this blog! I have been cleaning my diffuser with the same vinegar/water combo every sunday since I recieved my PT diffuser! I really hope it will help extend my diffuser’s life!
so easy! I find if you clean them regularly then you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning. I have a reminder in my phone to do this weekly.
I’m new to essential oils, and my new diffuser and starter kit just arrived today. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I immediately set up my diffuser and wanted to diffuse all the oils to try them out. It was very helpful to know how to clean my diffuser so I can switch from oil to oil until I settle on teh ones I like best. Thanks for the clear instructions.
I will have to start doing 50/50 water and vinegar. I’ve killed 2 diffusers with leaving the vinegar overnight and then they either totally quit or were never the same.
I’m concerned that if I don’t clean the diffuser with vinegar regularly, it will start to smell bad, like a mash of oils all together. Does this happen? I’ve heard that you wipe the inside of the diffuser with a paper towel between uses, but what about when switching oils? I’m using a doTERRA diffuser also, and its insides don’t look like the picture above.
That could definitely happen. I’m someone who diffuses a few days a week, and always make sure to clean with vinegar at least 1x a week with vinegar. With having a different diffuser, it’s always safe to check with the manufacturer to see what they recommend for cleaning 🙂
I have a Muji Ultrasonic Diffuser & no mater how I clean it – it seems impossible to fully remove some of the oils aromas -like cinnamon or any citrus. The company recommends citric acid & water & I have also done vinegar & water & cotton swab with rubbing alcohol ….. Anything else I can do???
Helene, I might reach out to the manufacturer to see what else they recommend for their diffuser.
I never knew it was so easy to clean – doing this ASAP!!!
I like to clean mine once a month and I usually use rubbings alcohol and some cotton balls. I make sure that the plate is clean and the area around it. This is one way to ensure my diffusers last a long time.
Very helpful and easy enough! I usually just rinse and wipe down with a cloth, but I know I need to actually clean it. Some of my oils leave the scent behind though, do I need to do the vinegar soak when this happens?
Vinegar is very helpful for removing previous oils scents. You may need to let it soak longer for stronger smelling oils
Thank you for this post! I just heard about someone cleaning their diffuser and thought “Yikes! Is that something I’m supposed to be doing?? How do I even go about that?!” This is a great and easy way to clean them and I’ll certainly be cleaning mine often now!
I do have one question: why aren’t you supposed to use distilled water? For some reason I always avoided using tap water with my diffuser thinking it would hurt it somehow. I don’t know if I read that somewhere or if it was just a presupposition I never fact-checked, but I’ve always used distilled water in mine. I’ll certainly be switching over to tap water now since it is not only recommended, but so much easier!
Distilled water doesn’t have the minerals present that the sensor needs to read the water level correctly. However, I do not of many who have used distilled water and it seems to be fine. Using tap water is recommended by the manufacturer.
Such an important topic! I clean mine when I remember to do so, but now I know exactly how to do it. Thank you!
Needed this. Thanks!
great idea! i need to clean mine, thanks!
I am absolutely terrible about remembering to clean mine and since I don’t diffuse at night. I let everything air dry, keeps the mold at bay. I do wipe it out…when I remember…
Thanks for the great reminder it’s been awhile since I cleaned mine.
Always good for the reminder to clean it out.
Just got this diffuser for my birthday and now I will make sure to clean it good thank you!!
Very important information that people don’t realize. Thanks for a great article
Great tip! Thanks for sharing this, gotta clean mine soon!
This blog was great! Thank you for the tips on how to clean my diffuser. I learned a lot. My diffuser will be cleaned properly from now on!
Thank you, wasn’t quite sure how to go about cleaning mine
Sometimes I actually diffuse vinegar and water for a few minutes to clear out old smells in our diffusers. I diffuse outside, so we aren’t breathing all that vinegar!
thanks for this post. I do NOT clean mine enough and just went all through the house and gathered them all together to clean at once!
Thank you! I want really sure on how to clean mine!
I never realized how badly mine needed to be cleaned. I put off and put off reading this, and my diffuser bit the dust last night
Thank you for the tips, I never realized how often you should clean them out!
I also use a water-vinegar solution to gently clean the outside of the diffuser. Sometimes a white film develops on the outside and the solution cuts through it right away.
This was a much needed blog post and has some valuable information. Thank you for sharing. I remember once I accidentally popped my lid to the diffuser and I thought it was broken, only to find, it was another opportunity to clean the diffuser parts for optimal use and experience. I don’t recall if cleaning the diffuser lid is in the manual, but it sure should be added. I have brought many diffusers and by far the PT diffuser is my favorite.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us! Cleaning the lid is very important so thank you for that suggestion in the manual. Happy to hear you love our diffuser 🙂
Thank you for posting this! Sometimes mine struggles and I wipe it out with a paper towel but it’s only a short term fix. I love that the vinegar idea is so easy, just what I need!
You’ll have to give it a try if you haven’t yet! It’s works wonders 🙂
Thanks for this! I’ve been diffusing straight vinegar to clean my Aromafuse, eeekk! I’ll quit doing that ASAP.
Thank you for this post! My diffuser needs cleanes, so this is timely!
I use vinegar and water also to clean my diffusers. Cleans them right up. Great blog post.
Glad to know I’m not the only one slacking on cleaning my diffuser but it does need to be done more often.
This is such a great reminder…and so easy! Thank you!
Thanks for the reminder. I have also read that citric acid works well. Do you know if this can be used in the Plant Therapy diffusers?
Amber, for our Aromafuse we recommend using vinegar/water. I have no experience using citric acid and would be cautious about doing so as it could damage the mist chip.
Now I know what I will be doing this weekend!!
Why tap water? I stopped using tap water over a year ago and switched to distilled…with the tap water i was noticing a mildew smell. I wipe mine out daily and do the vinegar thing every couple of months and as long as I use distilled water everything is fine.
Kelly, tap water has more natural minerals which the sensor chip detects on our aromafuse to help create the mist. It’s harder for the sensor chip to detect if the water is distilled, filtered etc. I can’t speak for every other diffuser so it’s a good idea to check with manufacturer of the diffuer. I understand some people have been just fine with distilled or filtered water, this is just our recommendation for our diffuser 🙂
Thank you for the reminder. They work so much better when they are clean. 😀
This is a great article. I am saving it to my Pintrest
What is the purpose of the tap water? I know to only use distilled during diffusion, but why tap for cleaning purposes? Very interesting post!
Haley, for our Aromafuse, we actually recommend diffusing with and cleaning with tap water as it has more natural minerals than the distilled/filtered water will have. These mineral are detected by the sensor chip and allow for the diffuser to mist properly.
I think I need to get mine cleaned out 🙂
Can you please explain why tap water is better to use than filtered or distilled?? I always just assumed the purer the water, the better the benefits. Especially if you have hard water or other minerals or negative sediments in town water, you never know really what’s in tap?? And I have heard this before (to use tap), but I really need to know why, it’s driving me nuts! Lol…also I’ve been told room temp water is better, so I usually have a dedicated water bottle for my diffuser, is this true too? Thanks in advance!
Tap water has more natural minerals which the sensor chip detects on our aromafuse to help create the mist. It’s harder for the sensor chip to detect if the water is distilled, filtered etc. It can also depend on they type of diffuser you have. I always recommend checking the user manual for your particular diffuser. I do know several people who have used filtered water in their aromafuse with no issues but do not have direct experience with distilled water. As for the temperature of the water, that is something that I have heard mixed opinions on, and do not have a definite answer for that.
Great information. Thank you!
Appreciate this post! I think I’ll set a weekly calendar reminder to clean mine.
I run vinegar through my diffuser for 5 minutes before each refill. Keeps them working great!
Thank you for this!!!
Thank you for the reminder! ❤️
Confession…I’ve never cleaned mine other than rinsing out with water. Thanks so much for the tip!
Thanks for the info!
I’ve been in the market for a diffuser for a while but could never commit – glad to see this guidance as I plan on using it daily!
My diffuser could use a good cleaning. Thanks!
Thank you so much for the tips on these blogs. They are sure very helpful. Now off to clean my diffuser.
Happy to provide helpful information to our amazing customers 🙂
Thanks for the info. I knew that I was supposed to clean my diffuser regularly; but I was just wiping it out and using a q-tip in the crevices. Doing this tonight…and I’m sure my diffuser will be working better and looking better in the morning!
Thanks for the reminder to clean my diffuser. I’ve cleaned the upstairs one recently, but I keep forgetting to clean the one in the family room
Why tap water?
Tap water includes natural minerals that help the water diffuse into a vapor better than distilled water. I understand that some areas tap water is not ideal, and have heard that filtered water still works. Please keep in mind that all diffuers are different and it’s best to read the user manual for best recommendation.
I’m just starting to notice some staining inside from oil buildup… guess it’s time for a vinegar soak!
I always forget to do this, thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for reminding me to clean my diffuser!
I use vinegar to clean alot of things. Great advise.
I love this! I was just thinking about this the other day. Thank you for posting. My only issue is that I have terrible tap water. So, I’m thinking I will use purified water with my vinegar. Do you think it’s a good idea for those of us with bad tap water (highly polluted as many of the systems are now, sadly)?
Lindsey, that is understandable, we have very hard tap water here, and know that many people have used filtered water as an alternative. It comes down to what the user manual suggests for your particular diffuser. I know that tap water has more natural minerals which the sensor chip detects on our aromafuse to help create the mist. It’s harder for the sensor chip to detect if the water is distilled, filtered etc.
I use vinegar to clean mine and sometimes I’ve diffused it get the gunk loose from the hard to reach top places. Thanks for the tips.
Wow, just like a couple other comments mentioned, I was just wondering about that this morning when I was dumping out the remaining water and oil from diffusing Sweet Dreams last night and saw the blue stains left from the Blue Tansy. Will the vinegar remove those stains from the Plant Therapy AromaFuse diffuser?
Janet, the vinegar should help to remove those stains. For more stubborn stains, I would leave the water/vinegar in the diffuser for longer.
I have 5 diffusers in my house so cleaning after every use would be a lot of work. So every Sunday I bring them into my bathroom where I spray each one with a cleaning solution of vinegar & water, let sit for several hours then rinse and wipe down with a soft cloth.
Learned about this blogpost from your Facebook live video! I just came to my moms and I think her diffuser is in need of a clean! Thanks for this post!
Good tips! I don’t clean mine nearly as much as I should.
A clean diffuser ensures optimal effective oil diffusing for expected effects.
Great reminder to go clean mine now! Lol
The vinegar and water work great to clean all of mine!
Thanks for the reminder – I had better do this
I didn’t realize you had to clean them so often. Do you need to do this when always using the same oil?
Maria, it’s not absolutely necessary to do it after each use, but I do recommend if you are using daily, to cleaning at least 2x a week.
The metal ring in my diffuser rusted and I had only had the diffuser for a couple of months. I cleaned it regularly. Any ideas why this might have happened? Is it possible for oils to do this?
Melissa, i have not had any personal experience with rusting. Is it possible that you are not wiping the diffuser dry in between uses? What do you use to clean it?
I’m confused by “Make sure you use tap water and not filtered or distilled water.” Why would I not use distilled water?
The distilled water doesn’t have the minerals present that the sensor needs to read the water level.
i noticed a difference after wiping it down after every use especially if i change the oils.
Thanks for the information. I have never cleaned mine with vinegar, I have just wipe them out and rinsed that. That is great advice.
Any recommendations for diffusers that don’t use water? Such as plant therapy’s diffuse on the move?
Jackie, for the Diffuse on the Move, I have had success with just diffusing water by itself for an hour or so to help clean it. Then you can use a cloth to clean the sensor chip off 🙂
How would putting the diffuser beside a fan shorten it’s lifespan?
Kim, it’s not really that it shortens the lifespan of the diffuser, but it is not going to work as well with a fan close to it. The volatile oils can lose their potency/therapeutic benefits if diffused right next to a fan.
I usually just wipe my diffuser out with a paper towel between uses. It removes any leftover oil residue and gets rid of mineral buildup.
Such a timely blog because people ask all the time. Now I can share the link to this article. And how did you know I need to clean mine? Lol
Thank you for this wonderful reminder! I do clean mine out but probably should do so more often than I do! I really like my Aromafuse and want it to last as long as possible!! 🙂
I have leftover pumpkin pie smell after soaking it overnight. Maybe some of the scent is trapped in the lid? Are you able to clean the lid of the aromafuse somehow?
This is a great question, Sandra! The answer is yes! If you look at the inside of the lid, there is a plastic insert (white opaque color) that can be removed from the actual lid. You can separate the inner piece and lid then soak in a water/vinegar solution. Please note that when you go to place that inner piece back in the lid, there are 6 tiny tabs that it will need to be pressed under (fully) to mist properly. Making sure that the inner plastic piece is pressed in all the way is very important, and is my first troubleshooting step when mist doesn’t appear to be producing as normal
Thanks for the great tips!!
Thank you for this blog!!!
This is a great reminder and information. I wipe mine out often with a paper towel and that works good. I will have to try using vinegar as I never have before.
Why is tap water recommended? Our city watee is extremely hard.
We recommend that you use tap water in your diffuser because it includes natural minerals that help the water diffuse into a vapor better than distilled water will. Every diffuser is different though, so I would recommend checking your diffuers manual to see what is recommended.
So glad I came across this! Just wiped mine down but did not know about the vinegar solution! I will be doing that. Thanks
Ah yes, great reminder to give the diffuser a cleaning. The vinegar trick works great if you have hard water leaving minerals behind too.
I have always used rubbing alcohol to clean my diffuser.
Every diffuser is different, so it’s good to check the manual first 🙂
I was actually just wondering how to clean my diffuser! Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the info!
I think that my diffuser could really use a good cleaning. Thanks for this great blog post!
Thanks for the tips. I never thought of using vinegar to clean my diffuse but it makes so much sense. Will do this tonight.
Wow! Such a simple way to clean a much needed thing in my home. It never occurred to me to clean it
It’s definitely something to get in the habit of. It can help produce more mist if there is too much product build up 🙂
I’m so glad that I read this. I bet this is why the mist in my diffuser has reduced! Thank you!
I have tried this when my diffuser started acting up and it worked! Vinegar is a great natural cleaner.
Okay. I know why you should not use distilled water. It is too pure and will “steal” the minerals and some other chemicals right out of your diffuser. However, why not filtered water? There is no such concern with regular filtered water. Some people have hard water that is so bad that using tap water will cause serious problems. Others have water that is barely safe (if it is safe at all). Filtered water is just tap water that has been put through a filter to remove some of the excess impurities. It is the equivalent of tap water in the areas with better tap water. Why wouldn’t we use it?
Yvonne, I understand your concern with using tap water in certain areas. The reason we recommend tap water is because of the minerals in it that help the water diffuse into vapor better than distilled or filtered water. However, I have known several people to use filtered water for their diffusers with no issues, and I do believe it will work better than distilled water. Keep in mind, every diffuser is different. If something is working just fine for you, and your diffuser then that’s what matters 🙂
Some good tips! Whenever I hear someone say they have diffuser problems I suggest cleaning. Vinegar is a good go to, but I have always found following the specific instructions provided with the diffuser is important to. I follow the written instructions and run vinegar through it (yes, I diffuse it) every couple of months!
This is an excellent point! It’s great to read the provided instructions for your particular diffuse. Thank you for sharing!
I try to wipe mine out after every use!
Thanks for this post! I was actually just wondering how to do this properly.
You’re welcome! It’s very important for diffusers to be cleaned 🙂
Vinegar and water work awesome to clean my diffusers. I try to do it every other week or so. Seems to work well so far.
I need to do this! I’ve never cleaned it with vinegar.
It’s great for cleaning with! You’ll notice the difference
I always left vinegar only for a while and diffused it over night (not in the bedroom) – would that harm the diffuser?
Sue, every diffuser is different. There is a possibility it could harm the sensor chip. We suggest only letting it soak, rather than diffusing.
Thank you for the helpful hints. I usually just use dawn dish soap and Q-tip and I have left water in it for days and even diffuse coffee and citrus oils and my diffusers are in great condition. I am diffusing Harvest moon and Heneybell right now in my rose gold diffuser.
It’s so important to do this regularly. I definitely need to start cleaning mine more often.
It is important! Hope this friendly reminder helped 🙂
Thanks for the tips on cleaning my diffuser
Why clean it with tap water? Instead of distilled water? I live in flint we can’t Evan fri K are water.