FREE Shipping For Orders Over £35
FREE Shipping For Orders Over £35
Cart 0

How to make Reed Diffusers: an easy DIY starter guide

aromatherapy Blending carrier oils Essential Oil info Fragrance oils recipes Wellbeing

How to make Reed Diffusers: easy DIY guide for essential oil lovers.


Want to learn how to make a homemade reed diffuser?  It may sound tricky, but it is actually really easy. Promise. 

Whilst we love a good scented candle, it could be a fire hazard and needs to the be manned at all times. However, reed diffusers are far more consistent, longer lasting and does not require flame, electricity or batteries to fill your home with a favourite scent. 

If you love your natural and chemical free options when fragrancing your home, you can absolutely sidestep the expensive, chemically induced commercial reed diffusers you find in stores and make one yourself. 


Answering some of the frequently asked questions about how to make Reed Diffusers at home: 

Can I use water in my reed diffuser? 

Yes, absolutely, but it depends which reed diffuser recipe you chose. Water and oils don’t mix, but alcohol and oil are miscible, which means that they can mix and form an even solution. If you chose to use water base, you will need some form of alcohol. For example, water and ethyl alcohol will form a strong bond between them when mixed together, therefore a separation between alcohol, water and essential oil is less likely to happen. We do not, however, recommend using alcohol when creating your reed diffuser blend. It can be tricky to get the right stuff, plus, it has an unpleasant odour which tends to distort the smell of you essential oils. 

What is the best carrier oil for reed diffuser? 

Some of our favourites are Fractioned Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. 

Can I use baby oil for reed diffuser? 

We have seen some articles online suggesting that you could use an unscented baby oil for your reed diffuser. You can use baby oil as a carrier oil but typical vegetable and fruit carrier oils should be used first. Baby oil is not as easily absorbed through your reed diffuser sticks like vegetable oil is. It was created to prevent other substances from coming in and going out and it works the same way for your reed sticks. We would advise to find an alternative option to baby oil when creating your homemade reed diffuser. 

Can I use olive oil for reed diffuser? 

You can use just about any type of lightweight oil, such as coconut oil, safflower oil, or sweet almond oil. Avoid using solid coconut oil, and other heavy oils, such as extra virgin olive oil and jojoba oil; they will take too long to travel up the diffuser. 

How can I make my reed diffuser smell stronger? 

Once you find the best base and essential oil recipe for your reed diffuser, making it last longer is easy. You can either increase the frequency at which you turn over your reeds, add more essential oils to your recipe to make the smell stronger, and make sure you use at least 8 reed sticks ( the more sticks you use, the stronger the smell).  If you want to use homemade reed diffuser in a larger rooms ) such as living room), consider having a couple of diffusers dotted around to help the smell cary better. 


Abbey Essetials recipe on ho to make your own reed diffuser

We tested several reed diffuser recipes commonly found online,  and many of those were fluctuating in quality and length on scent output. 

In our lab after some careful testing, we found a recipe that seems to tick all the boxes.

Materials required to Make Your Own Essential Oil Diffuser 

A clean glass jar preferably with a narrow neck.
Reeds of your choice ( we recommend 8 - 10 per diffuser)
Water 96% 
Fragrance 2.5%
Essential Oils, absolute oils and fragrance oils are completely soluble at the concentrations above.

It’s really important to use a bottle or jar with a narrow opening as the oil will evaporate at a slower rate than a jar with a wide opening. This means the scent will be stronger when using a bottle or jar with a narrow opening.

We have tried both natural and synthetic reeds. Both work well but the fibre reed (synthetic) seems to be superior with this recipe, however if you prefer a natural alternative, rattan reed will work just fine. The rate of fragrance transmission through the reeds is good and lasts well. During our tests we discovered that fibre wicks are less prone to blocking, which allows for the essential oils to ‘travel’ and be absorbed better. The natural reeds need to be inverted in the fragrance solution ever 2-3 days. Fibre ones less often. 

As mentioned before, the intensity of the aroma depends on the number of sticks used - eight is an optimal number. And if you want your diffuser to have a stronger scent, just add more essential oil.

Never heard of Polysorbates? 

They are emulsifiers with mild surfactant properties and are used primarily to solubilize essential oils into water-based cosmetics. Since oil and water don’t naturally mix, you need a solubilizer or emulsifier for the oil and water molecules to bond and avoid that layer of oils at the top of your product. Polysorbates help prevent the need for “shake before use” products and perfumes, but depending on the specific makeup of your essential oils can cause the liquid to become a little cloudy. You’ll have to experiment with your particular essential oil blend to figure out which oils cause cloudiness and which don’t. 


To make 250ml of Diffuser Oil you will need, 240 ml of water, 3.75 ml of Polysorbate and 6.25 ml of essential oils or blend of your choice. To measure smaller quantities you can use our measuring cylinder or small medicine cup measures. You can adjust these numbers depending on how much diffusers you will be making. 

All you need to do as mix the ingredients together, pour the liquid in the diffuser of your choice and place your reeds in. Make sure you turn them over after 2-3 hours as it helps the oil infuse better so and you can enjoy the aroma filling your home sooner. 


Diffuser Oil Recipes to get you started

Wake-Me-Up: 15 drops each sweet orange and peppermint
Sweet floral: 25 drops jasmine absolute
Just Breathe: 15 drops juniper and 10 drops pine or rosemary
Get Cozy: 10 drops each Clove, Cinnamon and Vanilla
Clean Combo: 10 drops each lemon, sweet orange and grapefruit
Stress Reliever: 20 drops lavender, 5 drops patchouli 


We hope that you found this post useful. Perhaps useful enough to try and make your very own reed diffuser?! 😉  If so, we would love to hear and see how you get on so do make sure you tag us in your photos on social media - Abbey Essentials on Facebook and @AbbeyEssentials on Instagram. And while you’re there, give us a follow too! 

Older Post Newer Post

  • Abbey Essentials on

    Hi Sean,

    You can purchase Polysorbate 20 directly from our website. £8.99 for 500g.

  • Abbey Essentials on

    Hi Amanda,

    Please, contact us directly regarding your project on 01603610883 and we will be happy to try and help you.

  • Amanda on

    I’m just now starting a candle business and bought some little baby bottles to hang from mirror in car for car scents . Would you mind helping me figure out what I need to add to the oil of the customers scent? And can I buy whatever else I need to use on Amazon thank you for your time

  • Sean on

    Where would one find polysorbate?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published