what can i put in my diffuser besides oil

5 Alternative Products You Can Put in A Diffuser Besides Oil

In Home Products, Home Tips by Jamie

Do you own an essential oil diffuser and have you been wondering if there are any other alternative products that can be used safely and effectively in it? 

The good news is, you can use many other products in your essential oil diffuser- so long as you prepare the products properly. Some of these products include vanilla extract, vape juice or E-liquid, natural herbs and spices, fresh citrus juice or zest, and perfumes or colognes.

But what else should you consider before using these products in your diffuser, and what can you do to properly clean your diffuser once the new product has been used in it? Let’s dive into some answers now.

Things to Consider Before Using Other Products

What should you consider before using other products in your oil diffuser? There are more considerations than you might think, and taking the extra time and care will ensure that your diffuser works for years to come. Let’s get started on what you should be keeping in mind.

Is it Dangerous to Use Something Other Than Oil in My Diffuser?

No, it isn’t necessarily dangerous to use something other than all natural essential oils in your diffuser. Some products work just fine, others may not produce much of a scent, and some products will potentially damage your diffuser.

It is key to always clean your diffuser properly after using a product other than essential oils inside of it. You should also only ever use different products in a humidity or vaporizer based diffuser, rather than a simpler diffuser or a stick diffuser.

It is important to know what products may harm your device, and what products may even potentially harm you or the people and animals in your home. While there are very few harmful things for humans that can be put in your diffuser, animals are another story.

Be Careful if You Have Pets – Make Sure it is Pet Friendly

Whether it is an essential oil or a new and untested product, you should take some time and do your research about whether it is safe for your cat, dog, bird, etc. Many essential oils are toxic to pets, so please do proper research before adding anything into your diffuser. 

Some harmful essential oils for your four-legged friends include:

  • eucalyptus oil
  • tea tree oil 
  • cinnamon
  • citrus oils
  • peppermint
  • pine
  • wintergreen
  • ylang ylang

Most of these oils can harm your pet if they touch their skin, are ingested, or even breathed in- such as used in a diffuser and distributed in the air. Always check what ingredients are in the products you are hoping to use in your diffuser before activating it!

Will it Affect my Diffuser Warranty?

If you own a diffuser that has a warranty, it may be necessary to read it carefully before using any alternative products inside of it. Some diffusers will mention that you should only use essential oils in it, or else your warranty will be voided.

This is something that manufacturers do in order to prolong the life of your machine. Using alternative products may gum up the inner workings of your diffuser, no matter how well you clean it. If you diffuser stops working and you have used products in it other than essential oils, you may end up voiding your warranty entirely and will be unable to request replacements.

Diluting With Water is Required!

These alternative diffuser products and scents should always be diluted in distilled water, much like the all natural essential oils you have used in the past. Diluting is key for electric diffusers to work, and the humidifying properties allow for equal distribution of these products through the air.

Having an essential oil diffuser with humidifying properties can also help if you are suffering from allergies, a cold, or any other respiratory issues. Steam and diffused scents can be breathed, and many diffusers are perfect for those of you with sinus troubles!

Proper Cleaning Afterwards

The most important part of using alternative products in your diffuser? Ensuring it has been properly cleaned after you are done using it. I recommend cleaning your diffuser after each individual session if you are using alternative products.

Cleaning your diffuser is easy, simple, and should be performed even if you are only using essential oils in it. Here’s my simple guide to cleaning your diffuser:

  • Empty out whatever moisture remains in your diffuser. Refill the device with distilled water or tap water.
  • Add in a teaspoon of white vinegar to your water. Let your diffuser run for at least 15 minutes.
  • You can let the water run out completely, or empty the vinegar mixture after 15 minutes. Once emptied, refill the diffuser with plain water.
  • Run this water through your diffuser for at least 15 minutes, or until you don’t notice any lingering scents inside. 
  • You may have to repeat the vinegar process, should any abnormal smells persist. I also recommend taking a cotton swab to any of your diffuser’s nooks and crannies, especially if you have recently used citrus zest or powdered herbs in your diffuser.

5 Alternative Products You Can Put in A Diffuser Besides Oil

So what can I put in my diffuser besides oil? If you are feeling uninspired by any of your essential oils, you can use other products in your diffuser! These are my own personal top five picks, and they have been proven to work in a diffuser with little issues. However, keep in mind that you may be voiding your diffuser’s warranty if you choose to use these products in it.

1. Vape Juice (E-Liquid)

Capella Flavor Drops Double Watermelon Concentrate 13ml bottle

Did you know that you can use vape juice or E-liquid inside of your essential oil diffusers? Commonly used in vaping and electronic smoking devices, vape juice is a possible alternative product that you can use in your diffuser- especially if you are looking for unique food scents.

You can buy vape juice at any vape or smoke shop. However, make sure you are purchasing vape juice that is nicotine-free, as this is not something you will want to breathe in. It is easy to use E-liquid in place of essential oils in your diffuser.

Simply fill your device with water, add up to five drops of your desired vape juice scent, and run your machine. There are many popular scents used in vaping that might suit a diffuser, such as lemon meringue, strawberry cheesecake, berry blends, and seasonal food favorites like pumpkin pie.

2. Vanilla Extract

Most people keep vanilla extract in their homes for baking, but did you know that 100% pure vanilla extract can also be used in a home diffuser? You will want to ensure that your vanilla is indeed real and not imitation before proceeding.

If you have extract that is made from vanilla beans, you are ready to diffuse. Fill your machine with water, add up to five drops of vanilla extract, and turn it on. It will make your home smell as though you have been baking all day without having to lift a finger!

Vanilla extract can leave a residue inside of your machine due to the alcohol involved in extracting the scent. There may also be a natural oil texture left behind. Make sure you clean your machine after the fact, but it should be a quick and easy clean!

3. Squeezed Citrus Fruit Juices

One of the easiest forms of fresh citrus smells is simply adding juice to your diffuser. However, it is important to note that this juice should always be freshly squeezed so that you aren’t adding any excess sugars into your diffuser.

Lemons, limes, or oranges are perfect for this. Simply fill your diffuser with water, squeeze your fresh citrus, and add five to ten drops of the juice to your diffuser. It will smell fresh and citrusy for some time, and you can keep your fresh juice in the fridge for up to a week.

You may also consider using finely zested citrus peel in your diffuser as well. However, you will want to clean your diffuser immediately afterward, as the zest can dry or get stuck in your diffuser much more easily than the juice.

4. Natural Herbs and Spices

If you are a fan of cinnamon, rosemary, or other herbs and spices, you don’t necessarily need to purchase the expensive essential oil versions of these in order to use them in your diffuser. You can use the powdered herb form of these very popular scents!

Given that powdered herbs and spices can get messy, I recommend cleaning your diffuser immediately after use. But the process is simple for these products as well: fill your diffuser, add a pinch of your chosen spice, and let the diffuser run.

I do not recommend using spices and herbs in your diffuser if you are hoping to utilize your diffuser’s warranty. These alternative products are most likely to gum up the inner workings of your machine, and they can be the most difficult to clean. However, they will still work in a diffuser, should you wish to try it out.

5. Perfume, Cologne, and After Shave

If you have a preferred scent to use on your skin, why can’t you also use it in a diffuser? The good news is, you can! Perfumes and colognes utilize essential oils and natural products as is, so they will also work in a diffuser.

It is important that your perfume, cologne, or aftershave is oil-based rather than alcohol or any other product-based. You will use it just like essential oils, though keep in mind that the scent may be weaker when used in an oil diffuser rather than when the product is applied directly to your skin.

Fill your diffuser with water, add in five or so drops of your favorite scent, and let the smell fill the room. You should make sure that your diffuser gets cleaned after using these products, but it should wipe up very easily.


Diffuser FAQs

Still have questions regarding what can and can’t be used in your essential oil diffuser? Let’s answer some of them together.

Can I Damage my Diffuser Using Alternative Products Besides Oil?

It is possible to damage your diffuser if you choose to use alternative products in it besides essential oils. This is why many diffuser manufacturers will render your warranty voided if you choose to do this. However, many alternative products will not permanently damage your diffuser.

So long as you are taking the time to properly clean your machine, using some alternative products in your diffuser can be safe and practical. However, neglecting to clean your product can lead to your diffuser getting damaged, and some products should never be used in a diffuser.

Can I put Vicks VapoRub in my Diffuser?

No, it is not recommended to put Vicks VapoRub in your essential oil diffuser, or any humidifying product in general. Vicks is designed to be rubbed on your chest, and when placed too close to your nose, it can have adverse affects. You should not breathe in Vicks in a steam or diffused form.

Can You Use Any Oil in a Diffuser?

While some oils may be tempting to use in a diffuser, only essential oils are recommended. Some oils may leave a lot of build up and residue inside of your machine, and many will not produce a pleasant or desired scent.

Sticking with pure and extracted essential oils will always produce a pleasant smell, even when diffused in water. Some other alternative products will also smell nice, but most other oils will not translate well when diluted in water.

But Remember, Essential Oils Designed for Your Diffuser Will Be More Effective

No matter the effectiveness of the alternative product you would like to use in your diffuser, all-natural essential oils are going to be the best choice. If your diffuser is made to work with essential oils, then perhaps you should choose to use them more often than other options.

Have you put certain products in your diffuser besides essential oils? Tell us what has proven effective in the comments below!

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.