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How to Use Reed Diffusers — Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Harlem Candle Co.



Time to read: 4 min

Reed diffusers are a convenient and long-lasting way to infuse a room with your favorite fragrances. Not only do they smell wonderful, they're often beautifully designed to also add an elegant, stylish vibe to your home décor.

In this article, we’ll explain how to use reed diffusers to make your home or office smell fresh, inviting, and luxurious.

What Are Reed Diffusers and How Do They Work?

Reed diffusers are popular home fragrance products that allow aroma to continuously diffuse into the air throughout an entire room or area. Compared to scented candles, reed diffusers produce fragrances that usually last longer and don't require an open flame. 

While they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, all reed diffusers have 3 main components:

  1. Fragrance oil (usually a simple mixture of essential oils and a base solution)
  2. Reed sticks (which soak up the oil and disperse the scent)
  3. Vessel (usually in the form of glass bottle that holds the oil and reeds)

The aromatic fragrance oil, which often contains a blend of various essential oils, is placed inside the glass vessel of the reed diffuser. 

Reed sticks, traditionally made from natural rattan reeds, are also placed into the vessel so that one end is submerged in the fragrance oil while the other end is exposed to the air. The reeds contain small pores that allow the fragrance oil to be absorbed and travel towards the top half of the stick. 

As the oil reaches the part of the reed that’s outside of the bottle, it evaporates and releases the scent molecules into the air. 

As a result, reed diffusers provide a constant, fresh scent that’s especially great for places like bathrooms and foyers, where you want to maintain that wonderful smell all the time without the need to keep an eye on a lighted candle.

josephine reed diffuser

How to Use Reed Diffusers 

One of the best things about reed diffusers is that they are quick and convenient to use — with minimal maintenance. You can fill up a room with your favorite fragrance in just a matter of minutes. 

Here’s the best way to use a new reed diffuser:

  1. Before you set up your diffuser, place a few paper towels underneath the glass vessel in case of spills. Avoid doing this over wooden or delicate surfaces because the oil may leave stains. 
  2. If the fragrance oil comes in a separate container, the next step is to pour the oil into your vessel until it is approximately ½ to ¾ full. Don’t fill it all the way to the top, or it might overflow when you add the reeds in. Skip this step if your diffuser vessel came with the oil already inside.
  3. Place your reeds into the vessel so that the bottom of the sticks are submerged in the fragrance oil. The number of reeds you add determines how light or strong the scent is (we recommend starting with 6 to 8 reeds).
  4. Give your reeds a few minutes to absorb the oil, then carefully flip them so that the dry end of the stick is in the bottle and the saturated end is in the air.
  5. Spread your reeds out as much as possible to let air circulate between them. Allow up to 24 hours for the fragrance to fully diffuse.
  6. Flip the reeds periodically (around once a week) to keep the scent strong.

After setting it up, a reed diffuser will typically last between 1 to 6 months, depending on the amount of aroma oil in the vessel.

Whenever you want a burst of fragrance, flip the reed sticks. Do this carefully one by one to avoid letting the fragrance oil drip out. We don’t recommend doing this too often though — at most once every 2 to 3 days — because it will cause your oil to evaporate faster. 

If you feel that the scent is too light, you can also add more reeds to your diffuser. At the Harlem Candle Company, our reed diffusers come with 8 high absorbency rattan reeds. This is usually more than enough for most situations, but you can purchase additional rattan reed diffuser sticks online if needed.

Where to Place Your Reed Diffuser

When using a reed diffuser, it’s important to consider the size of the room it’s in and where to place it. Popular places to use reed diffusers include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Foyers and entryways
  • Kitchens 
  • Bedrooms
  • Offices

For smaller rooms and areas like bathrooms and foyers, a small reed diffuser with 6 to 8 reeds is usually sufficient to provide a nice, subtle fragrance. For more spacious areas, you may need additional reed sticks and a larger diffuser to fill up the entire space.

As to where in the room to place it, choose an area with good air circulation but not next to air conditioners, windows, or corners. A neat tip is to think of your diffuser as a vase of flowers. Place it somewhere that people tend to walk by, so that they get a nice whiff of fragrance each time.

Lastly, place your reed diffuser in a cool, shady location. This won’t affect the fragrance, but keeping the bottle at a lower temperature and out of direct sunlight will help it last longer. 

How Often Should You Flip the Reeds?

Flipping your reed sticks every so often provides a fresh burst of fragrance and helps prevent the reeds from getting clogged. We recommend doing this around once a week or every two weeks.

To do this, take the reeds out and put the dry end into the vessel. Do this over a sink or trash can to avoid dripping oil onto your table or furniture. Use a tissue when holding the reeds to keep your fingers from getting oily.

When Should You Replace the Reeds?

Good quality rattan reeds can last up to six months, but after the first month you might notice the scent starting to fade. That’s because dust and other impurities can start to clog up the reed over time, which hinders the fragrance oil from diffusing properly. 

For best results, we recommend switching out your diffuser reeds every 2 to 3 months

Harlem Candle Company Reed Diffusers

Explore Our Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers are an elegant way to infuse delectable aromas into your home. At the Harlem Candle Company, we make beautiful reed diffusers featuring several of our signature fragrances, such as:

If you haven’t used reed diffusers before, you should definitely give them a try. They’re easy-to-use, long-lasting, low-maintenance, and perfect around the holiday season to make your home feel more festive and welcoming.