Make a reed diffuser in 5 minutes to freshen indoor air safely and naturally.
In summer the gross smells seem to hang around a little longer. The more hot and humid it is the more off-smells seem to cling. But don’t grab the toxic solid air fresheners or sprays. Instead make a reed diffuser and freshen indoor air with natural botanical essential oils. You can make one in less than 5 minutes.
What’s a reed diffuser?
A reed diffuser works without heat and without electricity. They scent indoor air with a light fragrance that permeates a room over time.
A reed diffuser is made in two parts. The first is a container to hold the carrier oil/essential oil mixture. The second part is the natural bamboo sticks that wick the fragrant oil up the stick and into the air.
Any container can be used as a holder. Commercial reed diffuser containers are usually shallow because they hold less oil but you can repurpose attractive bottles for the purpose, provided you use reeds that are at least 3 inches longer than the bottle is tall.
Reed diffuser history
Reed diffusers have been used in European homes for centuries to scent indoor air. The original reed diffuser was an empty olive oil bottle with scented olive oil and rattan sticks.
How do reed diffusers work?
The oil wicks up the prepared reed through capillary action, drawing the fragrance up the reed with the oil. The essential oils evaporate on exposure to the air, scenting the room.
Reeds should be primed by flipping them over in the bottle of oil twice in the first couple of hours of use. Once the reeds are saturated with oil, they will continue to draw up fresh scented oil as the oil evaporates from the tips of the sticks. Reeds should be flipped once a week to maintain a steady supply of fragrance in a room.
It’s important to use a carrier oil with a low iodine value. Carrier oils with high iodine value will seal the reed as the oil is oxidized and prevent the reed from drawing up fresh oil. Olive oil is a light oil that’s easy to find and inexpensive. Sweet almond oil is also a good choice. Fractionated coconut oil will remain liquid at room temperature and is also a good choice for reed diffuser oil. Avoid fast drying oils like grapeseed oil, walnut oil, and sunflower oil.
An attractive bottle collar can make a simple homemade reed diffuser look elegant. You can make one by drilling a hole in the bottle lid or in a cork that fits the bottle. Bottle collars can also be purchased inexpensively at Brambleberry or Amazon.
How long will the fragrance last?
The fragrance in a reed diffuser lasts about 1 month per ounce of carrier oil. The following recipe has 4 ounces of diffuser oil so it should remain fragrant for 3 to 4 months. The diffuser oil should be replaced when the reed sticks no long have a scent. When you replace the carrier oil with fresh oil, also replace the reed sticks at the same time. The bottle and bottle collar can be used over and over again.
DIY reed diffuser
Yield: 1 reed diffuser
½ cup cold pressed olive oil
1 teaspoon sunflower lecithin
1 teaspoon 40 proof vodka
25 drops peppermint essential oil
25 drops rosemary essential oil
40 drops grapefruit essential oil
You’ll also need:
1 — 8 ounce (500 ml) olive oil bottle
5 to 9 – 12 inch bamboo skewers or rattan reeds
Bottle collar that fits your bottle (optional for looks)
Pour the olive oil, lecithin, and rubbing alcohol into the bottle. Cover the top of the bottle with your hand and shake the contents to fully mix the ingredients. The lecithin is an emulsifier that will allow the oil and alcohol to mix, lightening the oil and making it wick easier.
Add the essential oils. Cover the bottle and shake lightly to mix the essential oils with the carrier oil.
Place the bottle collar on the bottle, if you are using one. Put the reeds into the bottle. Let the reeds sit in the oil for 30 minutes. Flip the diffuser reeds. Wait 30 minutes. Flip the diffuser reeds again.
Place the diffuser in the corner where it will not be knocked over. I have one on the back corner of my desk. This recipe keeps me alert and focused during the day.
Other essential oil blends can be used in the read diffuser. Avoid using commercial fragrance oils. While they work to scent the indoor air, the petrochemicals they contain are a source of indoor air pollution.
Other natural air fresheners you can make
Wax Tarts (from my book, The Beeswax Workshop)
One more thing before you go…
If you haven’t already, join my 30 day challenge to make time for herbs. So many of my readers said that they wanted to learn more about herbs, and to find out how to use herbs and essential oils to nourish their life. But they don’t have time. I created a 30 day challenge to give you the time you want to learn more about herbs and to grow in confidence in using them daily.
The 30 Day Callenge is like summer camp for adults. Through this challenge you’ll discover DIY projects and practical action steps you can take right now to make herbs a part of your busy lifestyle. Each challenge can be completed in just 5 to 15 minutes. You’ll have fun. You’ll meet with others who are on the same journey. Each challenge will improve your home and your health – and teach you more about using herbs and essential oils in bitty bite-size lessons. You can start now finding more energy, getting better sleep, enjoying your food more with the 30 day Make Herbs Fun Again Challenge.
Take action now