If you’re an essential oil fan, chances are it’s rare for you to be in a room without your trusty diffuser pumping mood-boosting blends into the air (I always have one going at work and at home, TBH). But day by day, as you keep on putting intoxicating drops of calming lavender or energizing citrus in it, you might not realize that you should regularly be cleaning it (oops). But it turns out that you should be.
“Any device that delivers particles into the atmosphere can become contaminated with mold, bacteria, or viruses,” notes Christopher Calapai, DO, a New York-based physician. And the humid environment of the diffuser—when not cleaned regularly—can make it even easier for these to grow, according to allergist and immunologist Purvi Parikh, MD of NYU Langone.
“Health risks associated with this sort of contamination can span from mundane nasal congestion to more serious infections,” says Dr. Calapai. “Those living with lung conditions are especially susceptible to more serious reactions, so it’s important to keep these devices clean.”
Thankfully, making sure you’re protected from breathing in any of the yucky stuff is incredibly easy.
Keep reading to find out how to clean your diffuser.
Keeping it clean
After frequent use, you might notice some dark stuff at the bottom of your diffuser where the water has evaporated. Not to worry, though—that doesn’t mean it’s mold. It’s totally normal.
“The residue of the essential oils falls to the bottom after the water empties,” explains Fiona Hepher, education specialist at Saje Natural Wellness (a Canadian-born wellness shop that’s rapidly expanding in the United States). “All you need to do is grab a tissue with some rubbing alcohol on it and just do a good wipe. To get into the little disc area, do the same but with a Q-tip.”
If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, she notes that you can use a citrus essential oil blend. “Citrus oils are also really great for cleansing because they’re really astringent,” says Hepher.
Though she believes it’s fine to clean your diffuser once every three weeks, Dr. Calapai says to sanitize it once a week. Easy enough since it’s such a simple task.
Another thing to consider is if your nose is sensitive to blended essential oil notes. “If you want to be sure to not get older blends in with what you want to smell now, be sure to clean between uses,” adds Hepher. Because the ultimate goal is infusing the air with gorgeous, nice-smelling plant extracts, after all.
For blend inspo, these are the essential oils that Jenna Dewan Tatum uses to help her kid sleep. And these are 3 ways essential oils can take your workout to the next level.