Diffusing is a great method to use to enjoy the benefits of essential oils, plus it’s generally safer than other methods because the diffusion through the air is a forced dilution, minimizing the risk of an adverse reaction. However, this generally safe method can become toxic when implemented incorrectly, so I thought it was important to go over some common mistakes to avoid when diffusing essential oils.
Top 4 Mistakes to Avoid when Diffusing Essential Oils
Mistake 1: Using a Wax Warmer
This is by far the most common and most disturbing mistake I see people making when diffusing their essential oils, and it is a common method recommended by bloggers. The reason this is a mistake is because this method involves heat.
As I mentioned in my post about ways to diffuse essential oils on a budget, heat destroys essential oils at the molecular level, often transforming them into toxic compounds.  So not only are you not getting the benefit of the original oil, but you may also be poisoning yourself if you diffuse using this method.
Mistake 2: Diluting Oils Before Diffusing
Atomizers and ultrasonic diffusers are meant to be used with pure essential oils or undiluted blends of essential oils. The reason I see people getting confused is because a lot of oils have a minimum recommended dilution for use, and it’s not always clarified that this is generally a minimum dilution for skin application.
As I mentioned earlier, diffusing an oil is a sort of forced dilution: when it comes to ultrasonic diffusers you are adding the oil to a much larger amount of water which is one dilution and when the oil diffuses into the air it is technically diluted into the air (because you can’t possibly breathe in every single molecule of the oil that has gotten into the air). With atomizers, the dilution occurs only in the air, but you are still inhaling a much smaller amount of the oil than if you applied the same amount of oil directly to your skin.
Mistake 3: Using Essential Oils to Make Scented Candles
This is similar to mistake number 1, and is a mistake for the same reason: heat. Burning essential oils causes them to degrade and some become toxic, so no matter how fun that DIY candle looks, if it involves heat and essential oils, just don’t do it.
Mistake 4: Not Considering Pets when Diffusing Essential Oils
Not all essential oils are safe to use around pets, and most especially cats. Cats lack a certain enzyme in their liver that makes them unable to process certain compounds that humans and other mammals (such as dogs) are able to process. Due to this inability to process things out of their system, over time toxic buildup can occur leading to health problems and even death.
Diffusing oils that are toxic to cats is much more dangerous than simply applying them to your own skin, because when the oil fills the air, your cat is forcibly exposed, whereas when they are just on your skin the likelihood of your cat’s exposure is much lower.
So to recap:
- Don’t mix essential oils and heat
- Dilution before diffusing isn’t necessary
- Check this post for oils toxic to cats, and then don’t diffuse those oils