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How to make Reed Diffusers

Home fragrances have become popular within reed diffusers, and the style of bottle and reed plays a part in an aesthetic appeal and matching the interior of the home. Reed diffusers work by the fragrance formula absorbing into the reeds until it is completely saturated, then the aroma evaporates into the air. Depending on the fragrance, base and reeds used, diffusers can vary in terms of strength and duration. Some diffusers offer a long fragrance throw while others remain close to the diffuser itself.

Reed diffusers can be placed anywhere, but consideration needs to be given to get the most out of the fragrance. Environmental factors, room sizes, the base, amount of fragrance and reed selection play a part in how long the reed diffusers will last and how fragrant they are within an area. For example, if it is placed in a small, warm room with thick reeds and a thinner base, it is more likely to give off a stronger fragrance. However, placing a reed diffuser in a larger, cooler room with a thicker base and thin reeds will produce a subtle scent, but will last a longer period. Reed diffusers will usually last around 2 to 3 months.

The advantages of reed diffusers over other fragrance products are that no flame or heat is required, it has little to no maintenance, it is simple to make, it can add to the aesthetic appeal of the home, it does not need anything extra once the reeds are added, it will last both day and night, and no smoke is released. There is no mess, no aerosols and no electric power or batteries are required.

The beauty of making your own reeds diffusers is the simplicity. Synthetic and essential oil can be used to make reed diffuser fragrance, along with a variety of bases. However, thick, or heavy essential oils do not work well in reed diffuser oil blends. If you want a reed diffuser oil that is as strongly fragrant, synthetic fragrance oils may need to be used to achieve this.


There are 3 main types of reeds that people commonly use. These are rattan, bamboo, and fibre, below is an overview of each for consideration.

Bamboo Reeds

Bamboo is a popular choice of reed because of their natural exotic appearance and aesthetic appeal. The issue with these reeds is that their interior has natural barriers within the vessels. This will mean that the fragrance will struggle to consistently wick the reed, and this will in turn affect the fragrance performance. Bamboo is also hard, and it will be difficult for the fragrance to be absorbed. Additionally, thicker solutions are more likely to become clogged in the reed and alcohol-based fragrance oils are not suitable to be used with bamboo reeds. These reeds will also require regular rotation.

Rattan Reeds

Rattan reeds are popular in reed diffusers because they contain open channels that are porous and allow fragrance oil to travel up the reed evenly and consistently. However, depending on the type of oils used, (especially thick oils/bases) it can clog up in the reeds and this will result in a weaker scent. Rattan reeds would require regular rotation to keep the aroma present.

Fibre Reeds

Fibre reeds have been designed to be specifically used in reed diffusers, due to this, this is the reed we recommend. The absorbency within this reed is the most effective and the flow of the fragrance is a consistent and even distribution and will not clog. The fibre reeds can be used in all types of fragrances and bases, they come in different colours, thicknesses, and lengths, which can be trimmed to different sizes as required. These reeds will require less rotation if any. The only considerations that need to be made when using the fibre reeds is that lighter reeds can discolour when they are in the reed diffuser oils and darker reeds can discolour the liquid base. This is a normal occurrence and will not affect the performance of the scent.

Reed Diffuser Base

We have been testing the 3 bases that we have available along with different reeds. We have been looking at how strong the scent throw is, how long it takes to be released and how well the bases and reeds perform within the fragrance oils. We have introduced in our starter packs the different bases to sample, so that people are able to work with and trial these to find out which is the best option for themselves. The bases will work differently depending on the sizes and lengths of the fibre reeds.

DPG/Perfumer’s alcohol

DPG and perfumer’s alcohol can be added together to create a reed diffuser base. Perfumers’ alcohol will reduce the viscosity of the DPG base and the DPG works by diluting the fragrance oil. This allows a thinner base to be created and helps the reed wick much more efficiently. This results in the reeds requiring little to no rotation and will produce a crystal-clear solution on the finished product.

Make your reed diffuser oil with about 30% fragrance, if the IFRA allows that amount of fragrance to be used safely, 60-65% di-Propylene glycol, 5-10% Perfumer’s alcohol.

To make diffuser oil, blend the fragrance oil with the DPG until clear, then add Perfumer’s alcohol to reduce viscosity. You can add 5% or 10% perfumer’s alcohol to make your formula more wick able.

Alcohol-based bases tend to offer a faster and stronger fragrance throw. This is because alcohol evaporates more efficiently compared to oil or water-based fragrances. 

Premixed 25% ethanol 75% DPG.

The premixed reed diffuser base has been produced to be used in fragrance oils and will wick the reed effectively. It is a blend of denatured ethanol (DEB100) and high quality, low odour di-propylene glycol (DPG). Alcohol-based bases tend to offer a faster and stronger fragrance throw. This is because alcohol evaporates more efficiently compared to oil or water-based fragrances.

The ready mixed reed diffuser base is a special formulation that can be used by both professionals and amateurs as a base to make diffusers. When added to fragrance it will produce a clear solution.  The recommended fragrance oil for this base is 20-50% Fragrance oil and 50-80% Reed Diffuser Base, however the IFRA needs to be reviewed to check the maximum amount of fragrance that can be added. The premixed volume can be increased to make up the full volume of the reed diffuser mix, if the IFRA only allows a lower fragrance load, then that is recommended under the directions of the base.

To make, mix the diffuser blend with the fragrance oil slowly and thoroughly until solution is clear. This needs to bind for at least 48 hours, after this period mix your solution and the reeds are ready to be added.

Please note: Fatty based essential oils like jojoba oil will produce cloudy solutions and may require the addition di-propylene glycol to clarify solutions.


Augeo is a thick base and although suitable with the fibre reeds, the Augeo will have to work harder to travel up the reed. This will therefore result in a slower saturation and evaporation rate. A smaller length and a wider diameter reed will achieve a better scent throw, and rotation of the reed more frequently may have to be carried out. From testing, it appears to work more effectively in a smaller, warmer room.

The ratio to make the reed diffuser base is 10% -25% Fragrance oil 75% - 90% Augeo. However, check the IFRA, if the fragrance to be added to the base is less than 10% follow the fragrance load and make up the volume with Augeo.

To make diffuser oil, blend the fragrance oil with the Augeo until clear, place in a sealed container and allow to stand for 2 to 3 days before using.

The above information is a guidance only, always refer to the IFRA and follow the safe limits under each fragrance oil.

Making the reed diffusers

Firstly, decide on the recipe you wish to use (fragrance and base), the volume you want to make and how much of each ingredient you need to do this. The amount of fragrance that can be added safely is documented on the IFRA under that specific fragrance safety information. This is not the recommended amount; this is just a guidance on the amount that can be used safely in the product you are making. There have been changes recently to the volume of fragrance oils in the use for diffusers, this is partly surrounding the safe use of ingredients in fragrance oils and the skin contact with the reeds. This can vary from fragrance to fragrance. You will usually find this documented in 11 but for updated IFRA you will find reed diffusers documented in 10A/B. This can sometimes conflict with the recommended amount of base to fragrance ratio. Always follow the IFRA for the fragrance oil, if it is less than the recommended amount to be added according to what percentage the base is advising to add, then you should make up the 100 % volume with the rest as the base. The fragrance oils specifically formulated for the use in reed diffusers only require 8% fragrance oil and are the most suitable method of making reed diffusers.