DIY Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

diy reed diffuser for essential oils

My candle collection is no more…

Well, I still have a few candles hanging around. (Like the DIY Tallow Candles I made last week…), but the massive collection of artificially-scented candles in every imaginable size and shape?

They’re gone.

They’ve actually been gone for a while now. Ever since I started my love affair with essential oils, I’ve gradually lost my tolerance for artificial fragrances. And I’ve replaced it with something else instead:

An obsession love for diffusers.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I have multiple essential oil diffusers all over my house, and I run them a LOT. Diffusing essential oils can help to deodorize your home, lift your mood, purify the air, and just make things smell pretty darn awesome.

(For those who are wondering, I have Lotus, AromaAce, and SpaVapor diffusers. The SpaVapor is definitely the most affordable and is available on Amazon. I’ve also heard good things about the Harmony diffuser–although I don’t own one. Yet. (affiliate links))

However, if you aren’t quite ready to invest in a diffuser, OR you need an off-grid option, I’m excited to share this simple tutorial for DIY Reed Diffusers with you today.

diy reed diffuser

DIY Essential Oil Reed Diffusers

You will need: 


Mix the essential oils and carrier oil together in the glass container.

Place the diffuser sticks in the container. It will take a while for the oil to travel up the sticks, so speed up the process by flipping the sticks after several hours.

Continue to flip the sticks every few days to refresh the scent.

how to make a reed diffuser

My favorite scent combos:

The sky is the limit when it comes to all the essential oil combinations you can create for your reed diffuser! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Peppermint + Wild Orange
  • Lavender + Lemon + Rosemary
  • Cinnamon + Wild Orange
  • Grapefruit + Lemon + Lime
  • Lavender + Eucalyptus
  • White Fir + Cypress
  • Juniper Berry + Lavender
  • Bergamot + Patchouli


  • A container with a narrow-opening is preferred for this project since it will slow down evaporation. Another option would be to find a glass container with a cork, and drill holes in it for the reeds.
  • Heavier oils, such as olive oil or jojoba oil, will take longer to travel up the reeds, so for quicker results, stick with lighter oils, like sweet almond.
  • Some folks add a bit of alcohol (either rubbing alcohol or vodka) to their mixture to help speed up the process of the oil moving through the reeds. I haven’t done that personally, but I suppose it’d be worth a try.
  • Once the reeds become completely saturated, you’ll need to replace them with new ones. And you’ll also need to replenish your oil supply eventually too–although that will depend on what type of essential oils, container, and carrier oil you are using.
  • The scent coming from my reed diffuser is noticeable, but not overwhelmingly strong. For instances where I need a strong blast of scent or a purifying effect, I’ll be sticking with my regular cold-air diffusers. But this is a nice little “accent” diffuser–and it’d make a great gift!

I think it goes without saying… but keep these out of the reach of kids and animals.

how to make a essential oil reed diffuser

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  1. Jennifer says

    I just wanted to give a warning about these diffusers. A friend posted a picture of a dog that had spilled a commercially bought reed diffuser on themself. The owners had washed the dog and thought there was no issue. However, within a week, the dog had massive chemical burns from the oil. Not sure if there was something else in the oil or what, just wanted to give a heads up.

    • says

      Hmmm… That sounds like it might have been caused by whatever was in the commercially-available “reed oils.” They are different than essential oils and do sometimes contain nasty chemicals.

      • Caroline says

        No, actually it could have been a reaction to the essential oil itself. You must be very, very careful with essential oils around pets as most of them are toxic to our animals and the “safe” ones are toxic in any quantity. In addition, some oils that are save for dogs can kill cats. Please, be positive any oil you use on an animal is safe for that animal. In this case, what works for us might kill your pet.

        • says

          Generally, commercially prepared concoctions made for reed diffusers contain various scent substances that are not essential oils. That is what I meant.

          If they are used incorrectly, EOs can be harmful to animals. I don’t ever use any oils on cats as a rule. However, I’ve had success using very diluted concentrations on my dogs, horses, and cattle.

          • Caroline says

            Agreed Jill – I just wanted to clarify in case someone thought to go dump some drops of some oil on their cat especially. I’ve used diluted melaluca oil on the dogs for hot spots, etc. I definitely want to learn more uses for myself and for the dogs/birds.

    • Liz says

      Several essential oils (and other oils) react to radiant light (the sun etc.) exposure when applied to the skin and can cause a mild to severe burn. A burn can happen within minutes, hours, or days after exposure. This primarily true of the citrus oils but does include others.

  2. says

    I’ve been wanting to make these for years. When they first became popular I would buy the ones at Yankee Candle but it was $20 per diffuser! Wish I had kept the bottles though because they were nice. Of the oils you suggested, is there one that typically runs the least expensive?

  3. says

    Jill, this is a great idea! I just can’t handle candles with all the little hands and running feet, it scares me! And I can hardly remember to turn off lights not to mention blow out a candle as we rush out of the house. I’ve tried other scent tricks like plug ins and melting wax but they all smell too strongly. I love this idea and I am putting it on my Pinterest board for my readers and I!

  4. Melissa says

    Thanks for the tips. I am by no means an expert on using reed diffusers, but since I couldn’t afford the fancier ones, I did some research before buying my reeds. Everything I read said that bamboo reeds or skewers do NOT work well for diffusing because they are solid. Diffusing reeds should be made of rattan, which contains tiny passages (like a bunch of itty bitty straws) that allow the oil to work its way up. When my rattan reeds arrived, I looked at the top of them, and sure enough I could see lots of tiny holes. I looked at the bamboo skewers I use for shish kabobs, and sure enough they were solid throughout. So I definitely stick with rattan for this method of diffusing oils.

    • says

      Yes— I agree. The rattan reeds seem to be much better suited for this project. Mine have tiny holes in them as well. However, I’ve seen several other folks say they had success with the skewers, so I thought I’d include it. But rattan is still my first choice!

  5. Robynne Catheron says

    Although I like oil diffusers, I’m with Jennifer on this. A veterinarian recently posted photos of their office cat who, unbeknownst to anyone, had knocked over their reed diffuser and then laid in the spilled oil. It was cinnamon essential oil. Once the staff realized the cat had made a mess, they thoroughly cleaned the oil from her side and belly. By the end of the week, even with attention and daily care, the residual eo had completely burned through the cat’s fur and skin. I don’t know if the danger is with just the cinnamon essential oil or any eo, but I strongly recommend not using any type of reed diffusers around animals.

    • Tracy says

      Some of the issue could be how the essential oil was cleaned off the cat. Water pushes essential oils deeper so it’s a bad choice to clean essential oils off of anything fleshy.

  6. says

    Loved it! I’ve done the same thing and couldn’t have written it better. I also repurpose Glade Plug-Ins and Scentsy warmers with a few drops of essential oils. Breathe clean my friends!

  7. Stephanie says

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I knew I wanted to do this until I can fit the cool air diffuser into my budget. My first oils will arrive this week and I’m excited to begin diffusing them in our bedrooms.
    I am very grateful you shared the reeds you use. I had the wrong type of reeds in my amazon cart. & would have been so disappointed.
    Love your blog and all your recipes!!

  8. Judi says

    I was at the Dollar Store the other day and noticed they had Diffusers for sale. I picked up a package containing the reeds, bottle and ‘scent’. I came home, tossed the ‘scent’ and used the rest with my essential oils and voila! One stop, one buck!

  9. David P. French says

    Jill, What mixtures and types of oils would I use to make a chamomile diffuser?
    And, do you think the diffuser mixtures you find in Garden Ridge or Pier One are worth even trying?

    • says

      Hi David,

      Could you clarify a bit on what you mean about the chamomile diffuser? And I would guess that the diffuser mixtures you can purchase in most stores are synthetic-grade scents. They might make your home smell nice, but they won’t offer any other benefits.

  10. Michelle says

    I’m curious if using a reed diffuser would have therapeutic benefits. I am not ready to invest in an expensive diffuser, but would using reeds with a mix like OnGuard in a bedroom be helpful in getting over a cold?

    • says

      I think a cold-air diffuser is best for that sort of application. The reed ones are nice for a little bit of scent here and there, but it’s definitely not as powerful as a regular diffuser. You can get them off Amazon for pretty decent prices though.

  11. Sara says

    When making my own reed diffuser can I used extra virgin coconut oil instead of fractionated coconut oil? Thanks.

  12. Jayne says

    About two years ago, I purchased an oil fragrance (used with reeds) called, SUMMER. The store that I purchased it from closed. I would love to find this fragrance again. It was my favorite of all time. Got any ideAs on how I might find it again? was an upscale type Bed, Bath and Pantry Store. Thanks. I enjoy your site!

  13. Carol says

    Please help! I really really want to make and enjoy some scent diffusers using essential oils! However, I am not getting enough scent!!
    I used about 1/2 c. of Grapeseed oil, a couple teaspoons of rubbing alcohol and about 20 drops of essential oil (Bergamot and Lavender and also Eucalyptus and Lemongrass). I first used some reeds that had been used before and decided they were saturated. I then used some bamboo skewers….but felt they were not porous enough. I then bought some reeds at Yankee Candle and also some at Pier One.
    However…..still not a strong enough scent to make it worthwhile. One small bottle is in my walkin closet with the door closed. Surely THAT room should have a scent!!
    I do keep turning the reeds, but am not happy with the results.
    Can you offer a suggestion for me?
    Thank you….love your website!
    What am I doing wrong?

      • Carol says

        I would still like to know (as I asked in an above Comment), what is the best liquid to use in the reed diffusers?
        I’ve used grapeseed oil, almond oil and water…..each separately.
        It doesn’t seem that the liquid travels up the reeds very well.
        Any advice? PLEASE?!!!

  14. Donna says

    Thanks for posting this! I’d been wondering how to do it and had been having trouble finding reeds. Looking forward to trying it!