Essential Oil Diffuser FAQs

Many households enjoy using essential oil diffusers to relax, unwind, and tackle odors—especially during winter when it’s harder to open windows.

Adding a dash of lavender or jasmine scent to a diffuser adds ambiance and humidity, making it easier to breathe—literally!

However, there are some health risks associated with diffusers, leading to a lot of unanswered questions.

We’ve put together science-backed answers to all your essential oil questions, but don’t hesitate to contact your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning team to learn more.

Everything You Need to Know About Essential Oil Diffusers

Whether you’re an experienced enthusiast or in the early stages of researching essential oils, there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to evaluating the health risks associated with the inhalation of essential oils. We’ve collected some of the most commonly asked questions about essential oils to make enjoying these products as relaxing as they’re intended to be.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of natural plants and substances. Examples include eucalyptus, lavender, and orange.

How are essential oils made from plants?

Manufacturers produce essential oils via one of four distillation methods:

  • Cold-pressed distillation
  • Steam extraction
  • Supercritical CO2 distillation
  • Subcritical CO2 distillation

Which method is used is decided by the material or end-use.

Check the label of any essential oil product to find out how it was distilled. Remember that how the product is distilled is less important than what’s in the tincture; check the label to see what secondary ingredients may have been used.

What are the benefits of using essential oils diffusers?

The most common way to use essential oils is with diffusers. Advocates of aromatherapy believe regular use of essential oils improves symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

However, research on the efficacy of essential oil diffusers is limited at best. Most trials are focused on animals or conducted on small sample sizes. It’s also difficult to accurately measure what are often subjective outcomes. It may be enough for you that you enjoy misting with your favorite essential oils, but, according to science, the commonly assumed benefits are yet to be proven.

What are the risks of using essential oils diffusers?

Essential oils are nature-derived and often marketed as eco-friendly and non-chemical. Diffusers also lower the concentration of essential oils by mixing them with water vapor, greatly reducing the risk of irritation. Still, inhalation of essential oils can cause respiratory symptoms, trigger allergic reactions, and irritate skin in certain individuals.

Some healthcare providers advise pregnant women and children to reduce or avoid essential oils altogether.

Are essential oils bad for air quality?

While some essential oil diffusers claim to cleanse indoor air, there’s growing evidence that these devices cause more harm than good. An analysis of 24 commercially available essential oil misting products found the diffusion process emitted 595 volatile organic compounds during normal use, including toxins like acetone.

Related: What Factors Affect Indoor Air Quality?

Are essential oil diffusers safe for pets?

Essential oils are highly concentrated and certain ones can be toxic to pets. Even limited exposure can be too intense for cats and dogs and could cause breathing problems or skin reactions.

Diffusors trap particles of the oil that can land on your pet. In some cases, dogs and cats could ingest those particles while cleaning themselves.

A few essential oils are safe for dogs and cats (but you may want to check with your vet first):

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Bergamot

Other essential oils are bad for dogs and should always be avoided:

  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen
  • Pennyroyal
  • Cinnamon
  • Pine
  • Tea tree
  • Clove
  • Anise
  • Juniper
  • Citrus

Your cat or dog may react to other essential oils, so monitor for symptoms of essential oil poisoning, like nausea, vomiting, wheezing, and diarrhea.

Can you put too much oil in a diffuser?

You can have too much of a good thing. Overloading your diffuser can make the scent overpowering, causing headaches, dizziness, and respiratory symptoms. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and consider using smaller quantities until you know how you, your family, and your pets will react.

Make Indoor Air Quality a Priority in Your Home with One Hour

Make your home a safe place to live, work, and breathe with a well-maintained HVAC system. From seasonal tune-ups to a comprehensive indoor air quality inspection, count on One Hour. Our technicians can help improve ventilation and even lower your monthly energy costs with a few small tweaks.

Book your appointment or call (800) 893-3523 today!