Diffusers can be used for a lot more than just oil. There are many interesting scents that you can add including vanilla extracts, perfumes, vape liquid or even some natural ingredients such as citrus juice and herbs.
Diffusers are designed to disperse sweet-smelling essential oils into the air and enrich your spaces with beautiful scents. However, as your essential oil runs out, you may find yourself wondering what else you can put in your diffuser.
You may be surprised to know that there are many brilliant things you can use in your diffuser and we’re going to cover them all here. Not only will we do that, but we’ll also show you how to do it. Let’s get started!
The Best Alternatives to Essential Oil in a Diffuser
Thankfully, you can use many other things in your diffuser besides essential oil so don’t worry if you run out! Some of the things you can use in a diffuser are:
- Vanilla extract
- Perfumes or colognes
- Vape juice or e-liquid
- Citrus juice or zest
- Herbs and spices
- Distilled water
Vanilla is a tropical orchid grown in many parts of the world. Vanilla extract is obtained from the pods of the plant, also known as beans, and has been used for flavoring food and drinks for centuries.
You may already have vanilla extract at home. The rich flavor and incredibly smooth aroma make it a popular ingredient for baking. Interestingly, the latter (the incredible calming aroma) makes vanilla extract something that you can use in a diffuser as you would essential oil.
How to use vanilla extract in a diffuser
To use vanilla extracts in a diffuser, simply follow these steps:
- Fill the diffuser with water
- Grab a bottle of vanilla extract
- Add a few drops of the dark brown vanilla extract into the water
- Use more vanilla extract than you would essential oil because the extract is not as strong as vanilla essential oil.
- After the mixture evaporates, clean the diffuser to remove all residue
Benefits of vanilla extracts when used in a diffuser
The pleasant scent is the most obvious benefit, but using vanilla extract in a diffuser has other benefits. These include:
Calming effect – The aroma of vanilla has calming effects and can reduce startle reflexes. This means that vanilla extracts work well as a stress reliever.
Antioxidant effect – Many of the compounds in vanilla extracts have antioxidant effects which means that it protects against cell damage.
Great for the skin – The plentiful antioxidants in vanilla neutralize free radicals, and this reverses skin damage. Vanilla extracts can facilitate healing wounds and cuts, deal with acne flare-ups, and delay signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
How to make vanilla extract yourself
Vanilla extract is something that you can easily make at home by yourself. To obtain the dark brown vanilla extract, the vanilla beans are first dried and cured, then they are soaked in a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol.
The step-by-step process of making vanilla extract at home is:
- Obtain dried vanilla beans
- Slice open a couple of the vanilla beans
- Put the opened-up beans in a bottle
- Pour vodka into the bottle, ensuring that the beans are completely submerged
- Cap the bottle
- Leave the beans in the alcohol mixture for about 8 weeks
- Ensure you shake the bottle at least twice a week so that the main ingredients in the vanilla beans infuse into the alcohol mixture.
Perfume or Cologne
Perfumes and colognes are very common nowadays to make people smell great but they can also be used for your home too. A diffuser enriches your space with pleasant fragrances. However, only oil-based perfumes are safe for use in a diffuser and not alcohol-based perfumes.
How to use perfumes or colognes in a diffuser
Follow these steps to use your favorite scent in a diffuser:
- Fill the diffuser with water
- Grab a bottle of your favorite oil-based perfume or cologne
- Add 3 – 5 drops of the perfume to the water in the diffuser
- Let the fragrance diffuse into the air
- After the mixture evaporates, clean the diffuser to remove residue
Benefits of using perfumes in a diffuser
Smelling nice is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to wearing perfumes. However, using a diffuser with the scent of your favorite perfume does much more.
Soothing effect – Scents, generally, have therapeutic effects. However, it’ll be more calming to have the soothing scent from your favorite perfume, not just on you, but in the air.
Create a signature scent – A particular scent can quickly become part of your identity if you wear it always. However, it becomes a signature when that scent is associated not only with your person but also with your space.
Trigger memories – Generally, scents trigger memories and emotions, and using one in a diffuser will help to make the memories more vivid. For example, if you associate a particular perfume with your grandmother, you can use the diffuser to fill your space with the scent.
Vape juice (vape liquid or e-liquid) is the liquid used in electronic cigarettes.
Vaping simply means smoking an e-cigarette. In the process, the vape juice is heated in the battery-powered e-cigarette and converted into an aerosol that you inhale and exhale.
The vape juice may or may not contain nicotine, but usually contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol, and chemicals used to create flavors. It is these flavor-creating chemicals in vape juice (e-liquid) that make them suitable for use in diffusers.
So, if you or someone in the house smokes e-cigarettes, you can put the vape juice in a diffuser.
How to use e-liquids in a diffuser
Follow these steps to put e-liquids in your diffuser for use as essential oil:
- Fill the diffuser with water
- Grab a vial of a vape juice
- Add 5 – 10 drops of the liquid into the water in the diffuser
- Run the diffuser and let the scent fill the room
One benefit of using vape juice in a diffuser is that you’ll have the option to choose from a range of exciting scents. These include strawberry cheesecake, berry pie, lemon meringue, vanilla bean, banoffee pie, and much more.
However, when using vape juice in diffusers, there are some things to take note of, such as:
Do not use e-liquids with nicotine – The kick that comes from smoking comes from the nicotine in the cigarettes. Some e-liquids contain nicotine but these are not suitable for a diffuser.
Use the e-liquid generously – The e-liquids become more alive when they are heated, but the diffuser emits a cool mist. So, to have a good feel of the scent, you would have to use about twice more e-liquid than you would other liquids.
Citrus Juice or Vest
The brightly colored citrus fruits are a burst of sweetness anytime. The citrus class of fruits includes oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits.
Citrus juices are the sweet juices pressed out of these fruits, while the citrus zests are the outermost skin layer of these fruits.
Citrus is one of the most popular fruit commodities in the world because of its nutritional values as well as refreshing flavor and aroma. The latter (refreshing flavor and aroma) makes citrus juices and zests suitable for use in diffusers.
How to use citrus juices in a diffuser
- Fill your diffuser with water
- Grab some citrus fruits (orange, lemon, or lime)
- Cut the fruit in two
- Squeeze out the juice into a small bowl or cup
- Remove the pips (the small hard seeds)
- Add 5 – 8 teaspoons of the freshly extracted juice into the water in the diffuser
- Run the diffuser and let it fill the air with the citrus scent
- After the mixture evaporates, clean the diffuser
When using citrus zests, shave off the peels from the fruit and grate them. You may use the kitchen tools called zesters to get fine zests straight off the back of the fruit. Then add 2 teaspoons of the zests to the water in the diffuser and run it.
One thing to consider using citrus is that the zests are more effective than the juice. You may know that peels of citrus fruits are sometimes added to dishes to intensify the citrus flavor.
This is because the zests of citrus fruits contain natural oils, and so give a stronger aroma than the juice.
So, since you will not eat the zest anyways, you may decide to drink your nutritious citrus juices, and use the zests instead in your diffuser.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are parts of plants that are often used to enhance the flavor and taste of food.
The difference between herbs and spices is where they are obtained from in the plant. Herbs typically come from the leafy parts, while spices come from seeds, fruits, barks, and roots. Many herbs and fruits are aromatic, making them suitable for use in a diffuser.
How to use herbs and spices in a diffuser
To use a diffuser to fill your space with the sweet aroma of herbs and spices, follow these steps:
- Obtain dried herbs or spices
- Grind them thoroughly
- Remove residue, woody bits, or rough chops that can clog the diffuser
- Fill up the diffuser with water
- Add 2 – 5 teaspoons of dried herb or spice to the water in the diffuser
- Run your diffuser and let the scent fill the air
- Clean up immediately after use
Some herbs that you can use in a diffuser include:
Some spices that are excellent for use in a diffuser include:
- Black pepper
- Star anise
Using herbs and spices have many benefits besides filling your space with pleasant scents and are very beneficial to health because of their high antioxidant content. They protect against cell damage and many spices will also help you fight flu and cold symptoms.
Water is one liquid that you should always put in a diffuser before adding your essential oil or the above-mentioned alternatives.
Interestingly, you can run your diffuser with only water in it. However, in this case, the diffuser will simply act as a mild humidifier. Simply fill the diffuser with distilled water, and run the device, allowing the cool mist to fill the air.
When running a diffuser with water, you should take note of the following:
The humidifying effect is weak – A diffuser is not a humidifier, so when you are using it as one, do not expect the same results. The diffuser gives off a lot of cool mist.
Use distilled water – It may not be best to use water from a faucet. This is because it will contain bacteria and minerals, and these can also be dispersed into the air by the diffuser.
FAQs On What Can You Put In A Diffuser Besides Oil
How does a diffuser work?
A diffuser is a device that uses ultrasonic waves to disperse a mixture of water and essential oil into the air. Water is poured into it, and drops of the essential oils are added. Then vibrations of a plate in the diffuser mix the oil with the water and cause ultrasonic waves. These ultrasonic waves turn the mixture into a fine mist that is dispersed into the air.
Can you use a diffuser without oil?
You absolutely can. You can use a diffuser to fill your rooms with exciting scents such as vanilla extracts, perfumes, vape juice, citrus juice, as well as herbs, and spices.
What should you know when using products other than essential oil in a diffuser?
Diffusers are designed to be used with essential oils. So, before using it with a fragrant substance besides essential oil, you should watch out for warranties.
Can you use a diffuser with just water?
Yes, you can. In that case, it will function as a humidifier, dispersing cool mist into the air to raise humidity. However, you should use distilled water, because bacteria or minerals in water can also be dispersed into the air.