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Everyday we talk with clients trying to find the best diffuser for them. Many are confused about the many types, but everyone choosing an aroma diffuser shares this requirement: They don't want mold!
- And if that's the case for you too, you don't want a "diffuser" that uses water.
Ultrasonic vaporizing diffusers (UVDs) – the ones that use water – have become very popular for indoor home scenting. They are cheap. They are quiet. Many are attractive. And they are economical to run because it only takes a few drops of liquid aroma or essential oil to add some scent to your space. You pour in water. Add a few drops of scent. A tiny ceramic pin ultrasonically vibrates the water causing it to mist out as cool fog.
But what is coming out is not scent. It's 99.9% water vapor - in this case with 00.1% of the scent you put in. That's why they are not really aroma diffusers. They are humidifiers/vaporizers to which you add some scent.
But here's the most important issue: According to tests performed by Consumer reports, unless you clean ultrasonic diffusers daily and let them dry completely, they are going to grow and emit mold. Breathing mold isn’t good! Even models advertised as “germ-free” and “anti-bacterial” produced mold in Consumer Report's tests. (On an aside…I’m still waiting to meet the person that cleans their diffuser and let's it dry completely everyday. Call me - we've got a job for you in our lab!)
"Every water-using diffuser tested emitted mold spores - even those marked anti-bacterial and germ-free!"
The EPA says that preventing moisture in indoor air is the primary consideration to avoid mold.
And let's not forget mold can be nasty stuff. According to news reports, the latest "super bug" isn't a virus - it's fungus - yeast - mold! Don't expect 10 drops of essential oil to sanitize the water basin. You would have to mix at least 5% to 33% of specific potent essential oils to sufficiently purify the water. But - problem - essential oil and water don’t mix. They separate like oil and vinegar. So even if the essential oil vaporized, (and it likely won't) it would be very expensive to run and the water could still have mold.
Want a better solution? Get a nebulizing diffuser. Don’t buy the ones with the glass bulbs. The tiny tubes clog or the glass breaks. Buy the type with a built in programmable timer. They make bursts of pure, mold-free essential oil with selectable periods of rest in between. This repeats per your settings. The intervals conserve essential oil making it very cost effective. It micronizes the pure oils to a size so small that they scent spaces very efficiently. Some cost pennies per day to run. I'll post a link to my favs soon!
There's one for $99 that you can control with your phone.
If you want a super quiet one, you’ll spend a little more. The sound during bursts ranges from 15dB (about the loudness of deep breathing during sleep) on a very high quality model to about 30dB on a less expensive one. 30db is the loudness of quiet conversation. And they only make sound (a soft hiss) during bursts. A very quiet model is better for sleeping if that's how you intend to use it. The noise of quiet conversation would keep me awake for example.
A big benefit (aside from owning a better diffuser that doesn’t spew mold) is that the essential oils you diffuse are anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and do not have any pollen. So you are fighting airborne microbes as you make your space smell fresh and fantastic. It's like being outdoors with the very same aromas as nature, but pollen-free!
I look forward to your questions and hope you found this information helpful.