Making your own homemade essential oil diffuser liquid refill is a nice way to continue using your diffuser once all the liquid has evaporated. If you already have essential oils on hand, it’s also fairly cost effective. The bonus is that you can create your own unique fragrances instead of being limited to what is available at stores.
The research for this recipe came about for two reasons; our oil diffuser was empty and needed refilling, and we wanted specific fragrances. We bought the diffuser when it was on sale for $5, but a 7 ounce bottle of diffuser refill was going to cost $10 – $20. Additionally, we wanted to try to create diffuser refills that smelled like our two favorite candles and no such refill existed; specifically, cherry lemonade and almond coconut.
When using essential oils in aromatherapy, you need to use a solvent which will break down (dissolve) and help distribute the essential oil. Obviously, water won’t work because oil and water don’t mix. We’ve seen other recipes where people used olive oil or mineral oil as the carrier oil, but again, getting a well-blended mix may be difficult and the oil may not travel up the reed diffusers. Additionally, olive oil can go rancid depending on temperatures and humidity.
The best solvent would be to use what the perfume industry uses: Ethyl alcohol (not isopropyl alcohol). You can usually find it in your local pharmacy.
In addition to being a liquid refill for your diffuser, you can also use it as an air fragrance by increasing the water by 10% and spraying it into the air using a fine mist spray bottle.
You can also use it to revitalize potpourri, just reduce the alcohol in the recipe in half. Run the potpourri briefly under water to remove dust. Allow it to dry then place the potpourri in a one gallon zip lock bag. Using a fine mist spray bottle, spritz the potpourri tossing it frequently until thoroughly coated. Seal the bag and let it sit for a few days so the oils can be completely absorbed. Then use as you normally would.
DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Liquid Refill Recipe
70-75% 91% Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol (not isopropyl alcohol)
10-20% Essential Oil
7% Water (optional)
3-4% Propylene glycol (optional solvent)
2% Benzyl Benzoate (optional fixative)
Fixatives are a way to make fragrances last longer. Fragrances tend to evaporate quickly and fixatives slow down this process. Benzyl Benzoate at 2%.
Ethyl alcohol is typically the base used for perfumer’s alcohol. You can buy medical grade ethyl rubbing alcohol at your local pharmacy. It is used as an oil solvent and is usually used at 70% ratio or slightly higher.
Propylene glycol is a cosolvent which allows the fragrance oils to be solubilized (dissolved/distributed) in the alcohol. It also helps slow down the evaporation of the alcohol and is typically used at a 3-4% ratio.