Homemade (Natural) Reed Diffuser | Tutorial

I have heightened senses system. One of the mood affecting – in fact, it’s probably neurological too – effects is scent. I am sensitive all over, but scent has an amazing effect to magnify the mood by leaps and bounds; better or worse.

I don’t like to light the candles – actually I like the poetically romantic ambience – because of my paranoia nature. I cannot relax when I know something is burning – a notion of open dangers.

Reed diffuser is my current favorite way to scent the room where I spent all the time in. With the growing popularity and demand, the prices are getting more affordable, unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the reed diffusers sold in Singapore.

If you don’t already know, I am quite a DIY Missy too! After much research online, I decide to give the homemade reed diffuser a try!


  • Diffuser bottle (easily replaced with nice and inexpensive small vase from Ikea; or empty parfum bottle – choose glass type for best result)
  • Measuring cup
  • [IMPV] Mixing bottle with cap
  • Teaspoon
  • Funnel
  • Reed sticks (you may use bamboo skewers, but they won’t work as well as reed sticks; reed sticks are more ‘hollow’ which wicks up the oil more effectively)
  • Carrier oil – I use safflower oil (you may use grapeseed, sweet almond oil, or mineral oil; some people use jojoba oil but I think it may be a little thick)
  • Pure essential oils (blends are fine, but normally blends are pre-diluted, so you may need to add more drops)
  • Vodka (any cheap brand will do; I only have the mango flavored vodka now, so I use that)

Step-by-step Guide with Edits:
(The instructions prefixed with [IMPV] are the edited/improvised steps) 

1. Pour 1/4 cup of carrier oil (safflower oil) into measuring cup (or you may use a separate bottle)
[IMPV] More effective to measure the carrier oil and pour into a small bottle (that comes with a cap, for later)

2. Recommended to add 12 drops of pure essential oils; I am making lavender + eucalyptus (both scents are milder), so I added 12 drops of lavender and 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Adjust accordingly to your liking. I like it stronger.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon (1 teaspoon is fine too, if you like the scent to diffuse faster) of vodka
[IMPV] Add more vodka (say around 2 tablespoons) if you have added more essential oil; personally, I will add more alcohol for faster and continuous diffusing of the scent. CAUTION: if adding more alcohol, it makes the diffuser more flammable, keep away from fire. 

4. Mix well
[IMPV] cap the bottle, and shake well – it’s more effective than using spoon/spatula to mix

5. Place funnel into diffuser bottle

6. (Optional – Tip) Place a reed stick through the funnel into the bottle (Oil is denser, and flows slower, by using this method, it helps prevent possible overflow accident when pouring the oil into the bottle)

7. Put around 4-5 (depending on the size of your bottle, and the opening of the mouth) reed sticks.

8. Leave it for a few minutes. Flip the reed sticks around, so that the other ends are also saturated with the oil.

It will take a while before your room is scented.


Swirl the bottle once in a while (weekly); change the reed sticks if the scent doesn’t diffuse as efficiently as it used t0. 

See, most diffuser oils that are sold at the retail stores, are filled with more alcohol, and the diffuser oil used are DPG (Dipropylene glycol)* which is thinner than the carrier oil I am using. With those properties, the reed sticks don’t clog as quickly as compared to using safflower oil. 

*DPG is commonly sold in craft supplies stores, or soap making stores in the US, but it is not as easily available in Singapore. 


It turns out that the safflower oil might still be too heavy, especially that I have added more essential oil which can also attribute to clogging of the reed sticks. So, I added more vodka to the diffuser oil and shook the bottle; this emulsifies the diffuser oil into milky appearance.

The advantage of using the safflower oil (or other natural carrier oils) to make reed diffuser is that it is natural and unlikely to pose as any health threats. While DPG is an effective agent for reed diffuser, I have found undesired effects caused by DPG on the Material Safety Data Sheet, although DPG in fragrance/cosmetic grade is relatively safe and has low toxicity:

Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed
prolonged or repeated exposure can cause:, Central nervous system depression, Nausea, Headache, Vomiting

I guess we have a winner! The benefits of the natural (although less effective) oil outweigh the potential discomfort and possible health threats found in DPG.

Shopping guide:

1. Life Flo Health, Pure Safflower Oil, 16 fl oz (473 ml) – iHerb – USD6.47

2. Now Foods, Essential Oils, Eucalyptus, 2 fl oz (59 ml) – iHerb – USD6.87

3. Now Foods, Essential Oils, Lavender, 1 fl oz (30 ml) – iHerb – USD7.63

4. Now Foods, Essential Oils, Peppermint, 1 fl oz (30 ml) – iHerb – USD5.34

5. Funnel – Qoo10 – SGD4.90

6. Reed Sticks (10″ x 60 sticks) – Ebay – USD8.50


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s