AAA: How Long Should I Diffuse?

by Bella Martinez August 21, 2019

AAA: How Long Should I Diffuse?

Diffusion is one of the most prevalent ways to enjoy essential oils and obtain their natural benefits. As aromatherapy lovers ourselves, we admit to getting carried away with diffusing. We love switching on the diffuser in the morning, noon and night to help alleviate stress, create an aromatic atmosphere, keep germs at bay — you name it. But just how long should you leave the diffuser on? Don’t miss this commonly overlooked essential oil safety tip.


Have you ever used an essential oil continuously, then noticed it didn’t work as well as it once had or that you’ve become nose-blind? It may be that your body has adapted to that oil, rendering it less effective than when you had first used it. Most people are familiar with the way you can build up a tolerance to alcohol and medications. This is known as habituation, and it can occur if you use the same substance too often.

Luckily, you can avoid habituation by alternating the essential oils you use and by reducing the duration you use them. Along with limiting topical use of essential oils, restricting your diffuser’s “on” setting is another way to prevent your EO tolerance.

Safety Issues

Along with essential oil habituation, there are safety issues at play when it comes to prolonged essential oil exposure. One study showed that after an hour of being exposed to essential oils, volunteers experienced increased heart rates, which researchers concluded could be harmful to heart health. However, the same study revealed a 15-60 minute EO exposure resulted in deeper relaxation and decreased heart rate. Overexposure to diffusion can also lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea, brain fog and more. Thus, the importance of limiting your diffuser time can’t be understated.

How Long Should I Diffuse?

So just how long should you keep the diffuser on? With an active diffuser, such as the Diamond Diffuser and Ceramic Ultrasonic, 30-60 minutes on and 30-60 minutes off is recommended for preventing habituation and overuse of essential oils. A shorter interval may be warranted for young children, the elderly and those with compromised health. If you wish to diffuse for longer periods, passive diffusers, such as the Ceramic Bloom and Reed Diffuser, are a safe option as they emit lower concentrations of essential oils than active diffusers. As we like to say here at Edens Garden, less is more when it comes to EOs.

Diffuser Intervals

Ceramic Ultrasonic Diffuser: 

  • 1st Interval: Continuous diffusion
  • 2nd Interval: 30 seconds on/30 seconds off

Diamond Ultrasonic Diffuser:

  • 1st Interval: 3 hours of continuous diffusion
  • 2nd Interval: 8 hours of intermittent (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) diffusion
  • 3rd Interval: 1 hour of continuous diffusion
  • 4th Interval: 2 hours of continuous diffusion

The Diamond Diffuser’s third interval makes it easy to abide the 60-minute “on” rule. With the Ceramic Ultrasonic and the Diamond Diffuser’s other intervals, a timer is a good way to ensure you’re not treading into overexposure territory.

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