DIY Reed Diffuser {with Recipes for 11 Best Essential Oil Blends}

So Many Great Reasons to Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

  • Much less expensive than buying one, and they work great!
  • Almost anything (with a narrow neck) works as a vase– match your décor!
  • Create your own custom scent – I’ve shared 11 of my favorites for spring below.  Feel free to use one of those or create your own.
  • It’s really simple.  Just mix 3 ingredients together and you’re done.
  • Great for small rooms where a plug-in diffuser just isn’t practical- perfect for bathrooms!
  • Makes a great gift too!


How to Make a Reed Diffuser with Essential Oils


How to Make a Reed Diffuser 

I make my own essential oil reed diffusers. It’s simple. All you need is…

a glass container with a narrow opening (to slow evaporation)

1/4 cup of a light oil like apricot kernel oil or safflower oil

15-20 drops essential oil (see below for 11 of my favorite spring essential oils blends)

2 Tbsp of alcohol to help oils travel up reeds (vodka works great)

reed sticks



Find a Container

Any narrow-opening container made of an essential-oil-safe material can be turned into a reed diffuser.  Glass, ceramic, earthenware, wood, or stainless steel all work great. Look around your home, you probably already have something that will work. Other great places to find a vase or jar for your reed diffuser?

  • garage sales
  • consignment stores
  • Goodwill or other thrift stores
  • Craft stores (Michaels, JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby)- and don’t forget to use your 40% off coupon


Step-by-Step Instructions

1)  add 1/4 cup of a light oil (like apricot kernel oil or safflower oil) to a glass measuring cup


2)  add 2 Tbsp of alcohol to the measuring cup.  The alcohol is to help thin out the oils and help oils travel up reeds.  Cheap vodka works great!


3)  add 15-20 drops essential oil (see below for 11 of my favorite spring essential oils blends)


4)  use one of the reeds to stir the oil and alcohol mixture.  Stir well until the essential oils and carrier oil are somewhat well dispersed in the alcohol.


5)  pour the oil and alcohol mixture into the vase


6)  bundle the reeds and insert them into the neck of the vase

7)  fan the reeds out


8)  The oil will saturate into reeds, and as it wicks up the reeds, it will release the aroma into the air.  It will take a few days for the reeds to absorb the oil. 

9)  Flip sticks every few days to refresh scent.

10)  replace the oil-alcohol mixture once it evaporates and replace the reed sticks about once a month.


11 of My Favorite Essential Oil Blends- perfect for using in this reed diffuser

10 drops eucalyptus + 10 drops spearmint

6 drops grapefruit + 6 drops orange + 4 drops lemon + 2 drops bergamot

3 drops geranium + 9 drops lavender + 6 drops orange

9 drops lavender + 6 drops clary sage + 6 drops orange

6 drops lemongrass + 6 drops lavender + 6 drops eucalyptus

6 drops tangerine + 6 drops spearmint + 6 drops lemongrass

3 drops geranium + 6 drops lavender + 9 drops lime

12 drops lemon +3 drops frankincense + 3 drops ylang ylang

6 drops lavender + 6 drops  lemon + 6 drops rosemary

6 drops lavender + 6 drops lemon + 6 drops peppermint

6 drops lemon + 6 drops lavender + 6 drops grapefruit


You might also like these other posts on essential oils:

DIY Peppermint Foot Cream {to refresh tired feet}

How to Make an Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace for Less Than $1

20 Favorite Roller Bottle Recipes with Free Printable Labels

Ultimate DIY Sugar Scrub for Softest Smoothest Skin EVER {15 essential oil recipes}

kid-safe and effective DIY bug spray recipes using essential oils

31 Genius Essential Oil Tips & Hacks

21 Roller Bottle Blends for Emotions with Free Printable Labels

Diffuser Blends for Energy


How to Make a Reed Diffuser with Essential Oils fb

How to Make a Reed Diffuser with Essential Oils pin


Interested in more recipes, tips, and ideas for how to use essential oils?

Please join us…

we’re on Facebook here

we’re on Pinterest here

click here to sign up our email newsletter

Hi, I'm Sarah from ONE essential COMMUNITY. We're a community who loves using essential oils, making natural diy items, and helping each other live our healthiest lives! We're so glad you found us. Please join us at

Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care.  Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Disclaimer: Please know that this website contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. The price is exactly the same for you as it would be without the affiliate link.  Thank you for supporting me in this way.

Blog Comments

I can’t find the reeds in any local stores.

Sometimes stores that sell candles and other home fragrances will sell replacement reeds. I believe I’ve seen them in stores like Hallmark, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Yankee Candle.
Another option is to order them online. That’s what I do. Here are the ones I use:
natural color reeds:
black reeds:
Hope that helps,

Pier one import store has the reeds too.

How long does one last before you have to add more?

Hi, Karen.
The scent in mine usually lasts for a few weeks.
When the scent fades, I add more alcohol and essential oil to the existing oil (because the alcohol and essential oil evaporate off much faster than the oil). This usually works for a couple months. When the oil starts to get low, I empty the container, wash it, and make a new blend using the original recipe.

I have a scents of ambiance defuser which has a clay flower that wicks the oil. They want you to use their oil but I want to make my own. Do you think the recipe would work for that as well?

Hi, Sofia.
I’m not familiar with that diffuser. I tried looking it up on line, but I couldn’t find a list of the ingredients in their diffuser oil. Do you by any chance still have the packaging that came with your diffuser oil from scents for ambiance? I would think that there would be a list of ingredients on the box/jar. I’d recommend checking those ingredients against the ingredients in this recipe to see if it seems like it would work.
I’ve never tried this diffuser oil blend in a clay diffuser, and I’d hate for it to ruin your diffuser.

Can I use something besides alcohol (vodka)?

Hi, Laura.
The vodka is to thin out the oil so that it can travel up the reeds. You could try rubbing alcohol instead. It won’t smell great at first, but the smell will go away as the rubbing alcohol evaporates.

Do you recommend making several of these for your house or is one enough to make the whole house smell good? Thanks!

Hi, Jo.
I find that reed diffusers work best in a small enclosed space (like a bathroom, small office, or small bedroom). Even with several placed throughout the house, I don’t think they’d do a great job of making the whole house smell good. For that, I would use an ultrasonic diffuser (the kind that uses water) if your home/room is under 500 sq ft or a nebulizing diffuser for a larger home/room.
What I do is use ultrasonic diffusers in our bedrooms, a nebulizing diffuser on the main floor, and the reed diffusers in our bathrooms. It’s wonderful to always have the bathrooms smelling fresh & clean.

I see you have Sweet Almond oil pictured, is this a suitable subsitute for apricor or safflower oil?

Hi Erika.
Yes, you could also use sweet almond oil. Safflower oil works best, from my experience, because it is the thinnest oil and does the best job of traveling up the reeds. But apricot kernel oil and sweet almond oil also work.

Hi Sarah
My vodka is separated from my oil – is this normal will the vodka just evaporate then leave the oil behind is that the idea? Sorry if that sounds stupid ?

Hi Vanessa.
Oh no, that’s no good. You want the vodka mixed with the oil. The job of the alcohol is to thin down the oil so that it can travel up the reeds and help diffuse the essential oil into the air. The good news is that it should be easy to fix. If the alcohol and oil have separated, then some of the alcohol might have evaporated off. Just add a little more vodka (and more oil and essential oil, too, if some of those have been used up too), then whisk together vigorously to get them incorporated. Put your reeds back in and you should be good to go.
I often do this quick fix several times before I dump the mixture, clean out the bottle, and start all over with a fresh batch of reed diffuser oil/EO/alcohol.

If you don’t want to use vodka or rubbing alcohol try witch hazel. It’s nearly odorless.

Will witch hazel work as well as alcohol or vodka? And would you use the same measurements?

Many people use witch hazel in reed diffusers, but I haven’t personally had good luck with it when I’ve tried it. If you don’t want to use alcohol, then I’d give the witch hazel a try and see if it works for you. Use an equal substitution (2 Tbsp). Please let us know how it works.
– Sarah

Which oils and concentrations are safe around kids?

It differs by the child’s age and how the essential oil is used (aromatically, topically). Here’s a great article all about using essential oils safely with kids from another blogger who specializes in EO safety:

Good post. I don’t see a link for you favorite essential oils. What brands to you think work best?

I use several different brands of essential oils. I mostly use doTERRA, Young Living, Plant Therapy, and Edens Garden. I try to share recipes and tips for the more common essential oils. And if you don’t have a specific oil, no worries, I usually post several different recipes so people can find a version that works for the EOs that they have on hand.

I made this recipe step by step several days ago and I can still only smell the rubbing alcohol? Will that smell go away or do I need to do something different?

alcohol smell has always disappeared within a day or so for me.
Here are two options I can think of. Maybe other people have more ideas?
1) add more essential oils – different brands and different EOs can have stronger and weaker scents
2) instead of rubbing alcohol, substitute with an alcohol that has little to no scent, like everclear or vodka

Wondering how you think tequila would work? It’s the only kind of alcohol I keep on hand (other than rubbing & I’d rather skip the smell issue with that).

I haven’t tried it, but I think tequila should work just fine (assuming you like the smell). Vodka usually has a higher alcohol content (up to 88%) than tequila (usually about 40%), so if folks have vodka, I believe that would be better, but it’s worth a shot to see if tequila would work, too. Let us know how to it goes.

Whats the use of light oils? Is there any substitute. ?

The light carrier oils help dilute the essential oils, help them travel up the diffuser reeds, and prevent the essential oils from evaporating too quickly. You can use any light carrier oil, but I don’t know of a substitute for them.

Hi Sara,thanks for taking my question. I’m looking for a vanilla fragrance can you recommend an essential oil brand name for me to buy that has a high-quality vanilla it could be in combination with cinnamon or another spice as well?

There isn’t vanilla essential oil, but Plant Therapy makes a good vanilla oleoresin. It’s solvent extracted vanilla that will mix well with the alcohol used in this reed diffuser recipe. You can find it on Plant Therapy’s website or click here to find it on Amazon.

I make my own vanilla. I found an old bottle of vodka in the house, steeped some vanilla beans, put it in a dark cupboard, shook it every now and then. Waited till it smelled incredible! This could be a source of vanilla scent + the alcohol. (I’ve made different amounts- once as a joke I got a tiny bottle as a stocking stuffer- cut up a bean- every time- great vanilla!)

I tried using Vegetable oli from the supermarket, but the mixture just keeps separating. Is this because the oil is too think?

Yes, that’s probably what’s happening. Light, viscous oils work best.
But you can still use it (and not waste your essential oils). Just give the mixture a good stir to blend it as well as you can. Then flip the reeds around a couple times a day (stirring again each time you flip them over). With the vegetable oil, the oil mixture is likely too thick to travel up the reeds, but by flipping the reeds over, the oil/essential oils will evaporate into the room.

I made this using almond oil and vodka with ssential oils, but I can’t smell anything unless I get my nose right down to the opening.. I used 1/4 cup almond oils, at least 30 drops of essential oil and about 1 1/2 tsp vodka.. any suggestions?

I would try adding more vodka (or Everclear). I use 4 times what you used (2 Tbsp vs 1 1/2 tsp). The alcohol combines with the essential oil and then helps it to travel up the reeds and diffuse into the air.

Hi, Can you use wooden skewers in place of reed diffusers?

I’ve seen other people use wooden skewers, sticks from their backyard, and other wood sticks in place of the reeds. SO you could give it a shot.
But I’ve always had the best luck using reeds that are made for diffusing. They have a series of little channels in the reeds that direct the oil mixture up the reed and out into the air.

Thank you for sharing your ideas, suggestions (for substitutes), & experiences. Though I feel I have a fairly good understanding of EO and the uses for them, you have provided SO much information in a relatively small area. It’s great not having to read an entire book to get this info. (I like to read, it’s just a time issue for me.)

Leave a Comment