How to Clean a Diffuser

I have long been a fan of using essential oil diffusers in our home. If you were to drop by for a visit, chances are you would find a diffuser running somewhere. I keep one in the kitchen and family area to gently scent the air, help remove cooking odors, and set a calming mood. There is also often one in a child’s bedroom to help ward off germs, set the stage for restful sleep or remove odors. With all of the use diffusers get, it is important to keep them clean in order to keep the ultrasonic plate free of residue as well as remove any residual oil or sediment. I am sharing two methods for cleaning your diffuser, including a quick clean and a deep clean method.

As always, consult the manual or the manufacturer of your diffuser when in doubt when it comes to maintenance and cleaning.

I like to clean the diffuser when I change the oils. The quick clean method works perfectly for removing residual oil in between a monthly deep clean.  I love this diffuser – it works great and has a decor-ish look so it blends right in.

Quick Clean:

  1. Be sure to unplug your diffuser.
  2. Pour out any residual water from the rear of the diffuser, taking care to not let any buttons or the cord outlet get wet.
  3. Wipe out the interior of the water tank using a damp microfiber cloth or soft cotton cloth.
  4. Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the ultrasonic chip or plate that is on the bottom of the diffuser.
  5. Wipe the exterior of the diffuser down with your damp microfiber or soft cotton cloth.

Every month or so, I give our diffusers a more thorough cleaning. A deeper cleaning will keep your diffuser running more quietly and efficiently as well as remove some of the tougher buildup that can occur. You may have heard of different cleaning options, including using vinegar to tackle the buildup and scale. If you choose to use vinegar, check with the manufacturer of your diffuser first as it voids the warranty for some.

Deep Clean:

  1. Unplug your diffuser and pour out any residual water and oil that may still be in the tank.
  2. Examine the lid or top to your diffuser and remove any pieces or components that you are able to so you can thoroughly clean all the washable parts. Never submerge any pieces that contain electrical components.
  3. Combine warm water and several drops of castile soap or a gentle dish soap in a bowl. Using your cloth, clean and wipe the entire top and pieces. You can use a Q-tip or a soft brush to get at those tricky little nooks and crannies. Rinse, dry and set aside these pieces.
  4. If your diffuser has a buildup issue, use a cloth saturated in rubbing alcohol and gently rub the interior of the tank. Use a Q-tip or small brush to gently clean the ultrasonic chip or plate.
  5. You can also use several drops of lemon essential oil on your cloth to remove stubborn buildup. Lemon essential oil is great for removing sticky bits and residue.
  6. Wipe down the tank with a clean cloth one last time, put it back together and diffuse to your hearts content.


I use doTERRA and Plant Therapy essential oils.

Always use caution around pets and children when using essential oils.  

Change the way you clean –  order my book SIMPLY CLEAN today!

Here are a couple more essential oil posts that you might enjoy!  Just click on the image to go to the post.


  1. Oh this is perfect! Our diffusers are looking a little rough! I’m totally doing this today!


  2. Colleen says:

    I have also seen recommendations to use citric acid (powder) for cleaning diffusers. Have you ever used it and do you have any methods for doing so?

  3. Perfect timing! I was just saying this morning that I need to clean our diffusers! Thanks so much for the step-by-step instructions and links to your favorite products/tools, too…that totally helps cleaning-inept (I am self-proclaimed, haha).

  4. Okay, I have tried so many times to get a smell out of my difuser. I used this honeysuckle rose oil in my diffuser once and HATED the smell and now the whole diffuser smells like that and no matter what I do, I can’t get that to go away. This is my last ditch effort before I throw it away and get a new one. I just cleaned it with castille soap and water, but it still smells like honeysuckle rose. Any suggestions?

  5. Tiffany says:

    I am just finding your site. love it so far 🙂 What kind of diffuser do you use for a large living area? My living room kitchen and dining room is all OPEN 🙁 finding it hard for diffuser to work in this area because its so open

  6. I’ve been using a diffuser for years and I’ve been cleaning them wrong for years! Until now , that is. I’m so glad I came across this post. Your tips really inspire me to get up and clean, clean, clean. I have read all of your books and often go back to them for reference, I’m really impressed with the cleaning society and so much more that I’ve taking part in that you offer. I highly recommend others check out what you have to offer. I’m at the point where I’m doing deep cleans each season and weekly up keep. As a Single Guy in a 1 bedroom APT., I never realized ho2 many things I’ve missed in the past that needed cleaning. All I can say is Thank You Clean Mama!

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