Aromatherapy Products for Your Home

Aromatherapy products for the home include diffusers, aromatherapy candles, pillow sprays, room mists, potpourri, scent balls for the car, and incense.
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Product Basics


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An electric diffuser is
on the far right.

Diffusers generally vaporize and disperse essential oils directly into the air, to suppress unwanted smells and also to use essential oils that promote physical and emotional health. There are many different kinds of diffusers available.

Electric diffusers are powered by a pump (like the kind you find in an aquarium) with an attached tube that goes into a glass container with the essential oil.

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Left to right: light-bulb
ring and candle diffusers.

One popular type of manual diffuser is a "light ring," a plastic ring that sits atop a standard light bulb; the heat of the bulb disseminates the oil on the ring into the air.

Another is a candle diffuser, which comes with a ceramic jar or holder for the oil, and a candle to heat the oil. Manual diffusers are generally less expensive but not always as effective. Some trial and error might be needed to find the diffuser that best works for you.

"I find the candle ones are the easiest to use," says Barbara Close, a certified aromatherapist and founder and owner of Naturopathica, a holistic spa in East Hampton, New York, "but if you use any of the citrus oils, they tend to be sticky when the candle burns down. Stick with clean scents like lavender or peppermint." For electric diffusers and light rings, be sure to follow the manufacturer's specific instructions.


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Scented candles can be visually
pleasing as well.

In recent years, the growth and availability of good quality aromatherapy candles has replaced the popularity of diffusers. When choosing an aromatherapy candle, make sure the product is crafted from pure essential oils for the most therapeutic effect. To make the candle last longer, you can try freezing it before use. Allow the candle to burn at least one or two hours the first time you light it to give the essential oils a chance to be released. Keep the wick trimmed to about one-fourth of an inch for a cleaner burn.

Potpourri, Incense, and Room Sprays

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A set for burning incense.

Experts caution that many of the potpourri and incense products on the market today are synthetic and will not give the therapeutic effect of pure essential oils. (In addition, allergic reactions are more common with synthetic than natural products.) Unless fragrance is your only concern, you will want to spend the money for better-quality, pure products. Give the same attention and focus when buying other products like room sprays and pillow mists, reading labels carefully for ingredients.

Some (or much) commercial incense contains perfume, bamboo stick, or lighter fluid -- all potential irritants for people with sensitive systems. Some small companies make natural, botanical incense, but they are few and far between. If you've got your heart set on using incense but need an irritant-free product, you might try making your own.


When using a spray or mist, also use some common sense and a light touch; don't saturate materials with the spray. First test the spray or mist on a piece of paper or a dishcloth. When you use it on a pillow, just do a couple of sprits. If the product is made of essential oils, they are light and evaporate easily so it should not stain pillows or fabric. But be aware: Some synthetic oils could cause stains. Rocca-Lundstrom suggests looking for water-based products or products with the smallest amount of alcohol; these are the least likely to stain.

Continued on page 2:  Health Issues


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