Tips for Cleaning A Diffuser

I utilize my essential oil diffuser almost every day. It’s a small way that I can set the tone in my home. For example, I enjoy diffusing a citrus oil such as lemon on cleaning days, relaxing lavender in the evenings, cedar wood when we need some cozy, and tea tree or frankincense when we aren’t feeling well.

With all the uses I put my diffusers through, they definitely need a good cleaning every once in awhile (probably more often than I do it actually), but I didn’t always know how to best clean them out. Sure, I can wipe down the outside surfaces to remove dust, and clean the inside of grime and hard water residue, but how does one actually clean the portions that you can’t see? And what if it has a musty smell from sitting between uses?

This blog post will focus on the answers to all of those questions and more! While you’re here, learn a bit more about using essential oils in the home by reading these blog posts: Using Lemon Essential Oil in the Home, DIY Natural All Purpose House Cleaner, Non-Toxic Glass Cleaner, and All Natural Febreeze Spray.

Come along as we learn how to properly clean out an essential oil diffuser. Say good-bye to musty odors from infrequent uses, find tips for cleaning stubborn grime and hard water residue, and assurance that your diffuser is sending healthy water into the air of your home. Find more on DIY Natural Home Products at the very end of this post!

Why Should You Clean a Diffuser?

Cleaning your diffuser on occasion will prolong its life, prevent the growth of mold, and reduce the amount of particle build up inside of it. It’s very easy for mold to grow in a diffuser since they are filled with water almost constantly.

A small amount of water remains in the bottom of the diffuser even after running it through a full cycle, so a deep clean assures that nothing harmful builds up inside of it.

Certain essential oils, such as cedar wood, are very thick. This means that they cause sticky build-up on the sides and bottom of the diffuser. Those oils will only continue to build on the inside, resulting in a shorter lifespan for the diffuser if left uncleaned.

A quick and thorough clean of your diffuser benefits the machine itself and also those who breathe in that which it omits!

How Often Should I Clean My Diffuser?

I suggest a quick clean after each use. Simply dump out any remaining water and rinse clean. Give it a deep clean once a week or as needed.

how to deep clean a diffuser

What You’ll Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Lemon essential oil
  • A Q-tip


  1. Unplug the diffuser and remove any remaining water.
  2. Fill the diffuser to the fill line with a mixture of half water and vinegar. 
  3. Add 4-6 drops of lemon essential oil.
  4. Allow the diffuser to run the entire cycle. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, place the diffuser in the bathroom and close the door to prevent it from smelling up the whole house. 
  5. When the diffuser run cycle is complete, take a q-tip, dip it in vinegar and clean around the edges and small areas of the diffuser.
  6. Allow it to air dry completely. 

Keep in Mind

  • A good substitute for vinegar is rubbing alcohol. Dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and gently clean around the inside edges of your diffuser, avoiding the ultrasonic plate or heating element. Next, add 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil to a damp cloth and wipe the inside of the diffuser clean. Rinse and air dry. 
  • The most effective natural approach to killing mold is baking soda and vinegar. However, I would not put baking soda into the diffuser or near the ultrasonic plate or heating element.

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