How to Get Rid of Essential Oil Smell in Diffuser

aroma diffuser

Maintaining a pleasant and inviting atmosphere at home often involves the use of essential oil diffusers. 

These devices disperse delightful scents, creating an ambiance of relaxation. 

However, sometimes these scents can linger longer than desired, making it essential to know how to eliminate them. 

In this guide, we’ll explore effective methods to get rid of essential oil smells in your diffuser.

Let’s begin.

Understanding Essential Oil Residue

While essential oils offer a range of benefits, they can leave behind a stubborn residue in your diffuser. This residue builds up over time and contributes to the lingering smell. 

Factors like the potency of the oil and the frequency of use play a role in how persistent the scent becomes.

Preventive Measures

Preventing the buildup of essential oil residue is the first step to avoiding persistent smells. Opt for essential oils with lighter scents, as they are less likely to leave behind strong traces. 

Additionally, diluting essential oils before use and using smaller amounts can help reduce the potential for lingering scents.

Regular Cleaning Routine

Developing a consistent cleaning routine is crucial. Cleaning your diffuser after each use prevents oil residue from accumulating. 

To clean effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the diffuser and empty any remaining water.
  2. Wipe down the interior with a soft cloth to remove excess oil.
  3. Use a mixture of water and mild detergent to clean the components.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and let the diffuser air dry before its next use.

Vinegar Solution Technique

Vinegar is a natural cleaner that can tackle tough essential oil residue. Follow these steps to use vinegar for cleaning:

  1. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar.
  2. Fill the diffuser reservoir halfway with the vinegar solution.
  3. Turn on the diffuser and let it run for about 10 minutes.
  4. Empty the reservoir, rinse, and air dry before use.

Citrus and Baking Soda Method

Citrus fruits and baking soda are excellent for neutralizing odors. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Fill the diffuser reservoir with water.
  2. Add a few drops of citrus essential oil.
  3. Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda into the water.
  4. Run the diffuser for a short cycle, then empty, rinse, and dry.

Steam Distillation Cleansing

Steam distillation is a method used to refresh your diffuser’s scent:

  1. Fill the diffuser with water and a few drops of lemon essential oil.
  2. Run the diffuser for a cycle until the water heats up and steam forms.
  3. Allow the steam to clean the diffuser’s interior.
  4. Empty, rinse, and dry the diffuser afterward.

Utilizing Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol dissolves essential oil buildup effectively:

  1. Mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol.
  2. Use a cloth dipped in the mixture to wipe down the interior.
  3. Allow the diffuser to air dry before using it again.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To prevent stubborn smells from returning, adopt these practices:

  • Empty and wipe the diffuser between uses.
  • Perform a thorough cleaning at least once a week.
  • Avoid using heavily concentrated oils frequently.

Alternate Essential Oils

Opt for essential oils with lighter scents that are less likely to leave a strong residue. Oils like lavender, chamomile, and tea tree are excellent options.

Essential Oil Blends for Freshness

Create blends using oils known for their refreshing qualities. For instance, blend lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus for a revitalizing aroma. Experiment with different ratios to find your preferred mix.

Airing and Ventilation

Allowing your diffuser to air out after cleaning helps disperse any remaining scents. Natural ventilation also aids in refreshing the diffuser’s interior.

Storage Practices

Proper storage is crucial to prevent residue buildup. Store your diffuser in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Ensure it’s thoroughly dry before storing it.


Enjoying the benefits of essential oils doesn’t have to come with the challenge of lingering scents. 

By following these methods and incorporating regular maintenance, you can maintain a fresh and inviting ambiance in your living spaces. 

Experiment with different cleaning techniques and essential oil blends to find what works best for you, and say goodbye to stubborn aromas.

Spilled some essential oil on fabrics? We got you. Read How to Remove Essential Oil Smell from Fabric.  


Can I use any type of vinegar for cleaning my diffuser?

It’s recommended to use white vinegar due to its mild scent and cleaning properties.

Is it safe to use rubbing alcohol in my diffuser?

Yes, it’s safe if properly diluted with water. Ensure the diffuser is thoroughly dry before use.

Can I skip cleaning my diffuser if I use the same oil regularly?

Regular cleaning is essential to prevent residue buildup, regardless of the type of oil used.

How often should I deep clean my diffuser?

Deep cleaning once a week is ideal while wiping down after each use helps prevent buildup.

Are there oils that don’t leave a lingering smell?

Yes, lighter oils like citrus and floral scents are less likely to leave strong traces.


Photo by Chris F from Pexels