Do Diffusers Work?

We get this question a lot: "Do you have any diffusers that work? I've tried several brands and I can never smell them." 

Diffusers are a great tool in home fragrance to provide a constant scent.  You don't have to light them or keep and eye on them, as you do a candle, so they are a perfect match for powder rooms, foyers and guest bedrooms where you always want it to smell fabulous but can't always keep a candle burning.  Imagine it smelling great when you walk in the home or when unexpected guests arrive.  Diffusers also compliment candles to provide a layering effect to enhance a candle fragrance.

The first thing to consider is the size of the diffuser. Diffusers are the same as candles - the larger the space, the larger the candle/diffuser. Keep smaller candles and diffusers to smaller spaces.  Don't expect a $20-something diffuser that's smaller than your remote controller to fill your family room with fragrance. 

The second thing to consider is the brand. Some brands are more fragrant than others. VOTIVO diffusers are very fragrant and efficient due to their rapid release reed technology (fancy for - they work.) They are also a great value at just $39.

DayNa Decker is another brand that is very fragrant and the large size works well to fill wide open spaces.  The front part of our house is open to the upstairs and I could smell the large diffuser throughout the house.  The price tag is higher, at $87, but these last well over a year.

The last thing to consider is the location.  Place the diffuser in an area that is well traveled.  A diffuser stuck in the corner will stay in the corner.  If you place your diffuser on a table that runs along a long hallway, or in the center of the room on an end table you will notice it more often.  I enjoy having a diffuser on my kitchen window sill.  When a soft breeze flows in I'm surrounded with a scent that makes washing dishes an enjoyable chore.  (Note that diffusers in a window may evaporate faster due to the breeze. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight or the oil may change color or go rancid.)

For brands that aren't as fragrant as VOTIVO and DayNa Decker, think of the diffuser more of a bouquet of flowers.  You may not notice a bouquet of flowers in the corner of a room, but when you walk by you pick up their natural essence.  The same is true for diffusers.  The scent will probably not smack you across the face when you walk in the room but the scent will enchant you as you pass by.  The brand we have most in our home is Antica Farmacista.  I love their fragrances and they way they enhance, but don't dominate, the space so I can have one in every room and not get nauseous walking through the house. 

If you have a diffuser that isn't quite up to snuff, try flipping the reeds.  You can flip a few reeds every few days for a steady scent or all the reeds everyday for a more intense fragrance. Note that the more reeds you flip and the more often you flip them, the faster you'll go through the fragrance oil.  Be sure to remove the diffuser from your table top and wipe down the sides before you place the diffuser back down.  You don't want the oil to drip down the side of the vase and ruin your counter top.  (Been there.)

Also keep in mind that while the fragrance oil might last for years, the fragrance (most likely) will not.  If you've had your diffuser for over a year or longer and it doesn't smell anymore don't take it out on the diffuser.  It's run it's course and it's time to move on.  I've had diffusers last 2 years and even though there is still some scent and oil left - I'm ready to move on.  Ditch the old oil and recycle or reuse the vase. 

Diffuser maintenance tip: If your your diffuser runs out and you decide to get refill oil be sure to empty the vase with any remaining stale oil and wash it out well with soap and water (or put it in the dishwasher if your vase can handle that).  Let the vase (diffuser container) dry completely before adding fresh diffuser refill oil.  Also be sure to use a new set of reeds.  This is extremely important!  Most people reuse their reeds which is one reason they can't smell it anymore.  Over time, diffuser reeds become dusty and clogged from oil and stop working efficiently.  You'd be surprised how much better a diffuser works when you use new reeds. I like the diffuser refill reeds by K. Hall Designs.  Not all brands offer diffuser refills, but K. Hall, DayNa Decker, Trapp and Archipelago Botanicals offer diffuser refill oil.  You can also find diffuser refill oil for Thymes Frasier Fir.

Diffuser trick: Many customers are afraid to bring diffusers into their home because they have kids and/or pets that might have too much fun playing with this new "toy".  You can get an inexpensive diffuser hook to hang most diffusers up on a wall away from any curious hands/paws.  K. Hall, Antica Farmastica, Archipelago Botanicals Excursion, NEST Fragrances and VOTIVO diffusers work well with the diffuser hook. I find this very useful in our powder room where there isn't any shelf space for a diffuser.  I hung it right next to the doorway so as you walk in the bathroom it smells amazing. 

Please do me a favor and don't buy a cheap brand at a discount store or  home decor store. In most cases those are the brands that disappoint customers and turn them away from the product when really it's the brand and not the concept.  Discount and home decor stores don't specialize in home fragrance, and I assure you, the cheap price tag is from cheap ingredients.  Premium ingredients can cost up to thousands of dollars an ounce!  If you want your home to smell beautiful, invest in a beautiful diffuser from a reputable home fragrance brand.  You won't be disappointed.


  1. it's nice fragrances and the blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. Wow! Beautiful blog and I really enjoyed on your blog


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