How to Make a Reed Diffuser with Essential Oils

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 

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  (click here for natural reeds or click here for black reeds)



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
  • Here are a few from Amazon to give you an idea of what to look for

with metalclick here

black square click here

set of 4 clear click here

3 multi color click here

blueclick here


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— (click here for natural reeds or click here for black reeds)

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


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By | 2017-04-19T11:03:00+00:00 February 28th, 2016|Essential Oils|26 Comments


  1. A. July 6, 2016 at 10:25 am - Reply

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

  2. Karen September 4, 2016 at 5:19 am - Reply

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

    • Sarah Lewis September 4, 2016 at 10:22 am - Reply

      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.

  3. Sofia September 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    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?

    • Sarah Lewis September 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      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.

  4. Laura F. September 19, 2016 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    Can I use something besides alcohol (vodka)?

    • Sarah Lewis October 7, 2016 at 10:23 am - Reply

      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.

  5. Jo September 24, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

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

    • Sarah Lewis October 7, 2016 at 10:12 am - Reply

      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.

  6. Erika October 25, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

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

    • Sarah Lewis November 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      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.

  7. Vanessa November 12, 2016 at 7:16 am - Reply

    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 🙈

    • Sarah Lewis November 21, 2016 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      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.

  8. Launa January 28, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

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

    • Laura February 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm - Reply

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

      • Sarah Lewis February 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

        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

  9. Margret March 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Which oils and concentrations are safe around kids?

  10. Ryan July 7, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

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

    • Sarah Lewis July 7, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      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.

  11. Rachel August 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    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?

    • Sarah Lewis August 5, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      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

  12. Kim August 16, 2017 at 3:54 am - Reply

    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).

    • Sarah Lewis August 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      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.

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