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Metro DIY Project: Tried-And-Tested Reed Diffuser Recipes For Your Home

Here are some recipes you can try for a do-it-yourself reed diffuser

Reed diffusers are great additions to any home if you’re looking for that subtle but relaxing scent to fill up a room. But you’ll find that good ones might cost a bit and can be frustrating because you have to keep buying new ones when the liquid runs out. Worse, you’ll find yourself with so many reed diffuser bottles that you feel bad to throw away because they just look so nice.

So, why not concoct your own reed diffuser recipe to refill your old bottles—maybe used diffuser bottles or some random old bottles you have around? Maybe you also have a few essential oil bottles lying around, some of them part of a set that you bought but never touched?

There’s always beauty and practicality in breathing new life into old things and reusing stuff you have lying around the house. One part of living sustainably, of course, is to make the most out of the things that you welcome at home, so you don’t have to keep buying things that will end up in the trash too soon.

With this in mind, we scoured the web for some reed diffuser recipes and tried them out to bring a fresh new scent into our homes. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make your own.

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What you need

The items that you need to create your DIY reed diffuser varies depending on the recipe that you would use. But here are the non-negotiables that you should have on hand:

Old bottle with small opening – This can be old makeup bottles, old reed diffuser bottles, or used amber bottles. You want a bottle with a small opening so that your diffuser formula won’t evaporate out of the bottle too quickly. Just make sure to clean and dry them properly before use.

Reed sticks – You’ll find some people using barbecue sticks but don’t be fooled; those won’t work well. Just get some bamboo reed sticks from Shopee or Lazada to get the job done since they’re pretty cheap, just around 5 pesos per stick.

Essential oil – Use high-quality pure essential oils for maximum fragrance and healing effects. Some of our favorites are essential oils from Theradrops or Young Living.

Reed diffuser recipes

You’ll find a ton of different reed diffuser recipes online, which can be a bit confusing especially if you don’t want to buy so many products that you’ll end up not using. Here are some of our tried-and-tested reed diffuser recipes, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each recipe, and what we thought about each one so you’ll have the choice to pick the one you’ll go for.

Alcohol + Water + Essential Oil

This is one of the most straightforward recipes for your DIY reed diffuser. If you’re thinking, “But water and oil don’t mix!” Don’t worry because oil and alcohol are actually miscible so that means they can be mixed to create an even solution. This is why for this recipe, you have to make sure that you mix the oil and alcohol first before adding the water.

Make sure that you’re using an alcohol that’s at least 95% in concentration. The regular rubbing alcohol that you have lying around just won’t cut it.

One of the strengths of this recipe is that you won’t have greasy oil all over your hands or table when you’re doing it. The downside is that alcohol easily evaporates so expect this formula to also easily evaporate, so you might need to refill more often.


  1. Add 50ml of alcohol and 30 drops of your choice of essential oil in the bottle. 
  2. Stir the alcohol and oil until they’re completely mixed.
  3. Add 50ml of hot water and stir.

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Carrier Oil + Alcohol + Essential Oil

This is one of the most popular and widely used recipes for DIY reed diffusers. The strength of this recipe is that it evaporates less compared to the first recipe because it uses less alcohol. It also uses all-natural ingredients compared with other commercial reed diffusers, which appeals to people concerned with chemically-laden products in their homes.

So what does “carrier oil” mean? This oil essentially is what dilutes your essential oil. The best carrier oils to use are super thin oils like safflower oil, sweet almond oil, or fractionated coconut oil. Don’t bother using the more viscous oils you have at home because those won’t let the scent travel up the reeds.

To create this recipe, keep in mind this ratio: 70% carrier oil to 30% essential oil, with the addition of 30-45ml of alcohol to aid in the diffusion of the scent.

The downside of this recipe is that it doesn’t diffuse scent as well as the first one and you might need to flip the reeds more often to release the scent.


  1. Pour 30ml of essential oil and 70ml of your carrier oil into the bottle.
  2. Add in 30-45ml of alcohol and stir until everything is mixed.
  3. Flip the reeds after 24 hours.
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Polysorbate-20 + Essential Oil + Water

One of the downsides of using alcohol in your reed diffuser concoction is that there will be a tendency for the liquids to separate, so you have to keep mixing or changing the solution often. To remedy this, you can eliminate the alcohol altogether and just use Polysorbate-20, a liquid solubilizer and emulsifier used in most skincare and home products.

Of course, this one is a non-natural approach to creating your DIY reed diffuser, but it works very well in diffusing the scent in your room. You can easily grab a bottle of this one from Craftology.

One of the downsides of this formula is that it uses a lot of water, which can be a breeding ground of bacteria. To prevent this, you can change the liquid once every few days or add tea tree oil to your formula. Tea tree needs to be at least 5% of your solution so it can act as a preservative.


  1. Mix 30ml of your essential oil and 30ml of Polysorbate-20 to your bottle.
  2. Add 100ml of hot water and mix.

Mixing and shopping tips

You can choose the right essential oil to use for your room depending on the benefits that you want to get from your diffuser. This is why we highly recommend to source from brands like Theradrops, who carry pure and premium essential oils.

For essential oil suggestions, you can use rosemary in a room you work in, since it improves memory and helps you become more alert. Lemongrass works well in your living room or areas in your home where there’s high traffic since it relieves anxiety and irritability. Use orange if you have a yoga or meditation area, since it has cheerful and uplifting benefits and can reduce pulse rate. And of course, lavender is always good for the bedroom so you can relax and calm the mind and senses before going to sleep.

To shop for other ingredients like carrier oils and Polysurbate-20, you can check out Craftology’s website at They are a one-stop shop for all your raw material needs for DIY skincare, perfume, diffusers, and even candles. They also have a Shopee store for easy checkout.