Everything You Need to Know About Passive Diffusion - Everyday Essentials

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Naturally Blended

Passive Diffusion with Lotus Diffuser

Everything You Need to Know About Passive Diffusion

We love essential oils. You love essential oils. And we love finding all the ways to enjoy them throughout our homes. Chances are you have a favorite carrier oil, a go-to roll-on, and an ultrasonic diffuser in your most important rooms. If you’ve decided to branch out and give passive diffusion a try, it might strike you as, well, a tad underwhelming. But even though passive diffusion is more subtle than other forms, it has a lot going for it. 

Passive Lotus Diffuser

Passive Versus Active Diffusion

With active diffusion, usually by an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser, your essential oils are pumped into the air and dispersed throughout your space. It can fill larger rooms with the scent of your favorite sweet treat, like Pumpkin Pie, or a much-needed feel better blend like Sniffle Stopper or Germ Fighter. And when you use an intermittent setting, you’ll get a fresh boost of scent throughout the day (or night). 

Passive diffusion acts much differently as there’s nothing pushing the oils into the air. They evaporate on their own and gently scent the air around your passive diffuser until the scent dissipates completely. Some examples of passive diffusion include our Passive Lotus Diffuser, the Crystal Carfresh Diffuser, aromatherapy necklaces,  or reed diffusers.

Benefits of Passive Diffusion

With passive diffusion being so subtle, you might wonder why bother with it all? Because passive diffusion is so subtle, it makes it perfect for scenting small spaces like a desk, small bathroom, car, or bedside table. Only a few drops are needed and you can enjoy a brain-boosting blend while you work, or take in the soothing scents of Sweet Slumber while you sleep. Passive diffusion is one of the best ways to enjoy your essential oils without having to worry about bothering other people and with very little risk. If you find yourself sensitive to essential oils, passive diffusion would be a good way for you to benefit from the oils without them being too overpowering or irritating. 

All the Fall blends and lotus diffuser

Tips for Getting the Most of Your Passive Diffuser

The biggest thing to keep in mind when considering passive diffusion is that it isn’t going to be as strong or powerful as a regular diffuser. It isn’t going to scent an entire room, smell as strong, or last as long as an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser. Passive diffusers are great options if you want to enjoy essential oils while sitting at a desk but aren’t going to make much of a difference in a bedroom or living room setting. 

It’s also important to keep your passive diffuser clean. If you have one of our beautiful passive lotus diffusers, an occasional dusting is sufficient to keep it looking and working great. Just be sure to dust before adding new essential oils. After using your passive lotus diffuser several times, you can do a deep clean by using a cotton cloth dipped in diluted white vinegar to gently wipe the plaster clean. 

If you’re going for longevity when you’re passively diffusing your essential oils, there are some that are going to perform better than others: base notes. These heavier oils are the slowest to evaporate and will stick around the longest. Blends like Maple Leaf, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Cupcake, Luckier, Pumpkin Pie, and Chocolate Truffle are all rich, delightful blends that are full of wonderful base notes and are perfect for passive diffusion. But if citrus and florals are your favorites, don’t let that stop you! Just know that they might not last as long.


What oils are your favorite in passive diffusers? Tell us in the comments below! 

184 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Passive Diffusion”

  1. I have the lotus flower passive diffuser in my office at work and I love using Mercury Retrograde. Working at a college, this helps with all the emotions flying around!

  2. I love citrus scents for passive diffusing. I have a small, terracotta little pot. Would this work well for passive diffusing, or would it absorb most of the essential oil?

  3. I enjoy the Worry Free synergy blend. I put a couple drops on a cotton pad and insert it into my mask at work. If things start to get stressful I just take a few deep breaths, and it helps to recenter.

  4. I have been using passive diffusion more to be careful around my cats. I use the lotus diffuser next to my computer when I’m working. I like to use uplifting oils or blends while working. I use one of the aroma plush animals at night to help me sleep. I really like that passive diffusion gives a few more options when it’s not ideal to use a regular diffuser. I even bought a bracelet to use when I have errands.

  5. I have not heard much about passive diffusion. I want to try this by my bed for sleep so I’m not running my diffuser all night – get more longevity out of my diffuser!

  6. I’m afraid to try it because I love strong scents and am afraid I’d be disappointed. I don’t really sit down too much during the day.

  7. We use passive diffusion all the time because we have cats in the house so can’t use our diffusers. I often wear a leather bracelet with a drop or two of Immune Aid – one of my favourite blends! I currently have a cotton pad with a drop of organic peppermint on it in my pre-wear mask pouch so when I pull out a mask to wear it has the calming and cooling scent of peppermint, reducing my anxiety at having to wear the mask and pre-emptively helping circumvent the debilitating headache that folllows.

  8. I have never tried this type of diffuser. How long would the scent last on your night table? Would the scent be similar to what you would smell from lighting a scented candle?

    1. Hi Dawn, how long the scent lasts depends on the size of your room, how many drops you use, and what oils you use. So it’s hard to say exactly. Passive diffusion doesn’t last as long as an ultrasonic diffuser and probably doesn’t permeate the room as much as a candle. That being said, it is the perfect choice for a nightstand as it should give you at least a couple of hours of scent at bedtime.

  9. I have not tried passive diffusing as of yet, but I believe this is what I need for my son who suffers from anxiety. With Covid here, he is participating in online schooling and this seems perfect to set up on his desk! Going to try the tranquility one I think first. Has more smells he already knows and likes. Thanks for the info!

  10. We have not bought the passive diffuser yet. With all of these great recommendations, we will have to surely consider it!

  11. My favorite way to use a passive diffuser is to make my own Diffusers necklaces and earrings. I would love to try the Lotus Flower!

  12. I love the passive lotus diffuser. I have placed one in several rooms of the house and add a few drops each morning. The result is one amazing smelling home!

  13. Haven’t had the best luck with passive diffusing but love to put a few drops in my palms or wrists and inhaling 10 deep breaths.

  14. I dont know if a have a fav, there are so many. But for passive diffusing at my desk i love to mix patchouli and sweet orange.

  15. Currently, peppermint and either lemon or orange is my favorite in the craft room, though I think the bathrooms definitely need their own lotus diffusers with…. lemon or orange and peppermint? Ok, maybe Defender or Germ Fighter.

  16. I have been contemplating getting a passive diffuser but want something I can put in my daughter’s bedroom. I don’t want her messing with a normal diffuser but wondering if it would give off enough scent for her room??

    1. Hi Angela, that depends on the size of her room. But something like this would be perfect for a bedside table or desk!

  17. I have the Lotus passive diffusers in all of the bedrooms. I LOVE using Lavender with it. I just helps create a relaxing, calming, sleepy time vibe in the rooms.

  18. I tend to enjoy anything with a hint of fall or winter – so something like Pumpkin Pie or Holly Berries. Those scents tend to bring back fond memories and a sense of comfort. And my husband tends to prefer them as well.

  19. I absolutely love taking Germ Fighter and a couple drops of Geranium mix in a spray bottle with witch hazel and water and spritzing my lotus diffuser down and sitting it in my living area. It gives off a great mild fall smell while helping sanitize the air. And the Geranium just adds a mild beauty to the air.

  20. I have only used Sweet Orange in my passive diffuser but I really haven’t noticed it. I may need to try a stronger scent.

  21. I have not tried the passive diffuser, pied my curiosity. I’ll have to order the lotus diffuser soon! I can imagine Holiday Blend mixed with Tangerine. Perfect for Fall and Winter.

  22. I have not tried the Passive Diffusers yet but have read a lot about them recently. Will certainly have to give them a try. Right now I love the warm woodsy scents along with the holiday scents too.

  23. I have loved using Harvest Moon in my lotus diffuser. I use it in a small bathroom and can smell it for a good 2-3days ❣️

  24. I’d like to give a passive diffuser a try for use in a small bathroom! Seems like a great alternative to reed diffusers using synthetic fragrances.

  25. I bought a lotus diffuser for myself and love it. I have it on my nightstand next to my bed. I bought one for my daughter whose boyfriend didn’t like her diffusing oils into the air, she loves it… Today I bought another for one of my other daughters…she is going to love it, too!

  26. I am a creature of habit! I use lime for passive diffusion. It is clean, fresh and universal! I use it year round, in the fall I add a drop of clove to the lime, and in the winter, I add a drop of peppermint for a fresh, crisp winter smell!

    1. Hi Annette, you’ll definitely get the same benefits with passive diffusion when it comes to personal health. But a passive diffuser may not provide the same air-purifying benefits that an ultrasonic diffuser will.

  27. I usually love lemon and lavender for passive diffusion. Both are a must have!! They are so powerful and today they act also as antivirals

  28. I’m excited to try passive diffusing with a lotus diffuser! Thank you for explaining which oils would last longer. This is very helpful

  29. I frequently used lavender and peppermint via passive diffusion during my pregnancy to help with nausea and overall stress and found it to be gentle yet effective. Plant Therapy’s Lotus diffuser is by far one of the most attractive that I have seen.

  30. I use lime, bergamot, and lemongrass for my 4th grader at her “virtual classroom” desk every morning. She loves it and asks for it if I happen to forget! It’s such a refreshing and bright blend it puts her in the right mood to tackle the day ahead.

  31. this is the first time i’ve heard about + read about passive diffusing. i’ll definitely consider it fit oils i diffuse around our dog and grandkids!

  32. A very great alternative to a diffuser. Mine is by my bed with wood spice. I can smell it for a few days with a few drops applied the first day. I hope I can snag the Mercury retrograde bundle!

  33. Is it better to use this type of diffuser for one oil or oil blend long term, or can you clean it daily and use a different oil every day?

    1. It doesn’t matter if you use singles or blends, whatever is best for you! The lotus diffuser can be cleaned regularly, but daily might not be the best option. You’ll probably have the best experience if you use the same or similar oils for a bit before you clean your diffuser and swap it out.

  34. I had a friend give me the blend Meditation. I just purchased the Lotus Passive and used the Meditation in it and I am in LOVE!! I put it in my home office and it was as if my mind opened up a whole new creative side.

  35. I have purchased the lotus passive diffuser for my daughter to use in her college dorm for the purpose to ensure that if the use of her active diffuser may intrude on her roommate, the passive diffuser is a backup option. The use of her essential oils on campus during the current health concerns have been paramount to ensure she maintains a strong immunity. She doesn’t want to be without her oils and we appreciate having this option. The lotus passive diffuser is also so adorable 🙂 I’m going to get a few more for gifts this holiday season.

  36. Do you have examples of additional heavier oils that would be best for passive diffusion? I enjoy Sleep Tight at night as a traditional diffuser is too loud – I’m a light sleeper. Going to try Luckier on the lotus diffuser too. Love the suggestions!

    1. Hi Lacey, any oil that’s a base note (or a blend that’s heavy with the base notes) is going to linger a little longer. You can find a comprehensive list of top, middle and base notes in this blog post. Lucky for you, many base notes are grounding and woodsy oils that are great for relaxation and sleep!

  37. Lemon cupcake is one of my favorite oils to add to my assume diffuser. I use it in a small 1/2 bath and it smells so lovely

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