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Your essential oil diffuser may be full of mold—here's how to clean it

Do this immediately.

Diffuser Credit: Peter Horrox/Getty Images

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Like your coffee maker or your trusty reusable water bottle, your essential oil diffuser is one of those things you use almost every day. But for as much as you use it, how often do you clean it? If you're like me, the answer is probably never.

And that could be damaging both the air in your home and the diffuser itself, according to experts. Not only does a dirty diffuser not run as efficiently, but it can also grow mold and other potentially harmful bacteria. To help keep your diffuser mildew-free, here's how (and when) to clean it, along with our top tips for choosing the best diffuser.

The best way to clean your oil diffuser

Oil
Credit: Nita Yuko/Getty Images

Swap your oils for vinegar to cleanse your diffuser.

Fortunately, cleaning an essential oil diffuser is easy. All you have to do is diffuse a combination of water and white vinegar, experts say. Fill the diffuser with water, add a teaspoon of vinegar, and then let it run as normal. Our senior lab testing technician, Jonathan Chan, adds that if you notice mold in your diffuser, you can easily wipe it down with a microfiber cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.

However, the best way to keep your diffuser clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. "The first step is always prevention," Jonathan explains. "Don't leave standing water when you're done using your diffuser. Instead, you should empty out excess water and wipe it down after use." He also suggests switching the types of essential oils you use, noting that studies have shown that thyme, clove, and rosemary have anti-fungal properties.

How often should you clean your oil diffuser?

While some people suggest cleaning your oil diffuser after every use, other experts say a good rule of thumb is to clean it at least once a week or every time you change your oils. However, according to InnoGear's website (the maker of our favorite essential oil diffuser), you should clean your diffuser after every three uses. This will help keep it functioning smoothly and prevent any bacteria or mildew from building up inside.

What to look for in an essential oil diffuser

InnoGear
Credit: Reviewed/Jackson Ruckar

Stop and smell the diffuser.

Not all essential oil diffusers are created equal. When shopping for a diffuser, consider factors like ease of assembly and use, strength of the diffusion, noise, and any other special features you might want. With all of these in mind, we tested some of the most popular models out there and found this one from InnoGear to be the best.

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"The InnoGear diffuser just checks all the boxes," our smart home editor (and resident diffuser guru!), Sarah Kovac, says. "It’s easy to use, easy to take apart, locks closed, and it’s extremely affordable." Plus, its large capacity means it can run for up to 11 hours straight and even has color-changing lights for added ambiance.

Get the InnoGear Upgraded 150ml Diffuser from Amazon for $15.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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