How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser

shelf with diffuser on top

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Essential oil diffusers use a heat source to break down the components of essential oils to fill a room with scent. The oils can add to a calm and relaxing atmosphere or create a boost of energy in workspaces, all depending upon the type of oil used. To keep any diffuser working its best, regular cleaning is a must.

How Often to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser

Ideally, a diffuser should be rinsed clean after every use, especially if you are changing the oil scents. Then, depending on how frequently the diffuser is used, it should be thoroughly cleaned at least monthly to remove dust and build-up that affects how well it works.


Each brand and style of essential oil diffuser is slightly different, so before your first cleaning take time to read the manual for specific directions. You do not want to risk voiding a warranty by not following directions. If you have lost your manual, go online for instructions or call customer service.

What You Need


  • All-natural dishwashing detergent
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol


How to Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser After Every Use

  1. Unplug the Diffuser

    Never clean a diffuser or any small appliance while it is still turned on and plugged into a power source.

  2. Empty and Clean the Reservoir

    Pour out any water and oil mixture that remains in the diffuser reservoir. Water that is left standing for a period of time can develop mold and mildew spores.

    Wet a soft cloth with plain water and dot with just a tiny amount of all-natural dishwashing detergent. Use the cloth to wipe out the water reservoir. Rinse out the cleaned reservoir with plain water and dry completely.

  3. Clean the Ultrasonic Plate or Chip

    The ultrasonic plate or chip breaks down the oils into base molecules and then uses water as a transference mechanism to disperse them into the air. What looks like steam is caused by the ultrasonic vibrations causing the the separation of oil molecules and creating an ultra-fine mist.

    To work properly, the ultrasonic chip must be cleaned regularly. Simply dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and rub it over the chip to remove excess oil build-up.

  4. Reassemble the Diffuser

    After reassembling the diffuser, it is ready to refill and use again.

How to Deep Clean an Essential Oil Diffuser

At least monthly, the diffuser should be given a thorough cleaning to keep it working at an optimum level.

What You Will Need



  • Soft cloth
  • Cotton swab
  1. Empty Any Standing Water

    Before doing a deep cleaning of the diffuser, unplug the appliance and empty any standing water and essential oils. Never submerge any part of the diffuser in water or get excess moisture into any control buttons.

  2. Fill the Diffuser With the Cleaning Solution

    Fill the diffuser with plain water to approximately half full. Add 10 drops of distilled white vinegar to help clean and disinfect the reservoir tank.

    Do not use any other type of vinegar or cleaner in the tank.

  3. Run the Diffuser

    Plug-in the diffuser and allow it to run for 10 to 15 minutes. This will give the vinegar and water solution time to cut through any built-up oils in the tank.

  4. Unplug and Empty the Reservoir

    Unplug the diffuser and empty the vinegar and water solution. Use a soft cloth to wipe down and dry the reservoir.

  5. Clean the Ultrasonic Chip

    Give the ultrasonic chip or plate a wipe down with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to ensure that it is completely clean and oil-free.

  6. Wipe Down the Outside

    With the diffuser still unplugged, use a cloth dampened with plain water to wipe down the exterior of the appliance. Reassemble the diffuser and it is ready for the next use.

Troubleshooting Diffuser Problems

If your diffuser is not working properly, a simple cleaning may solve the problem. If not, give these tips a try:

No Power Light

  • Check that the power plug is fully connected to the electrical outlet.
  • Check the power supply to the electrical outlet.
  • Make sure the diffuser is filled with water to the correct level.
  • Empty the diffuser and allow it to dry out for at least 24 hours, refill, and try again.

Low Diffusion

  • Check water levels. Water may be too low.
  • Clean ultrasonic plate and dispersion outlet and remove oil build-up

Diffuser Feels Hot to the Touch

  • Check that the water levels are not too high.
  • Unplug and empty the reservoir. Allow the diffuser to cool and refill correctly.
  • Check to be sure the fan intake is not obstructed or dirty.