Safety Tips for Diffusers:
- Clean your diffuser if water or oils have been sitting for more than a day or two. Water quickly grows microorganisms, and some oils oxidize when exposed to air. Oxidized oils should not be diffused.
- Ultrasonics should be run for a maximum of 30 minutes, two or three times a day for maximum benefit without overexposure
- Nebulizers should be run up to 10 minutes at a time, two to three times a day
- Passive diffusers put very little oil into the air and there are no restrictions. If you are in a confined space like a car or small cubicle, it can still be wise to give yourself a break from the scent.
- When diffusing around children, diffuse for shorter periods of time or reduce the number of drops (if you are using an ultrasonic diffuser)
- Do not diffuse around animals unless you are sure the oil is safe for them. Cats in particular require caution.
- Do not leave oil lamps with open flames unattended
- Do not leave heated diffusers within reach of children.
General tips for using essential oils safely
- Do not use essential oils internally. Some oils can be fatal when consumed in even tiny amounts.
- Do not exceed recommended doses. Just as with traditional medicines, large doses can have adverse effects, some of which can be serious. Just because a compound is natural, it does not mean that it is safe in unlimited amounts. A study by Boyd (as quoted in Schnaubelt) on the expectorant effects of essential oils found that very small doses produced positive effects, while larger doses actually produced a counter effect. In the case of this study, the oils worked best when the air had only a faint aroma. With essential oils, less is more. If using oils topically, always use in recommended dilutions, which is usually 1-3%.
- Many oils are contraindicated during pregnancy. For more information on essential oil use during pregnancy, please see this article.
- Avoid using essential oils around babies and small children without doing proper research. Here is a list of oils that are and are safe for children.
- Know the contraindications for each oil that you are using. Some essential oils are not safe for anyone. Many essential oils are not safe for use by pregnant women, the elderly, around pets, or for persons with certain medical conditions including but not limited to epilepsy and high blood pressure.
- Do not substitute treatment with essential oils for qualified medical advice. If your condition requires the advice of a doctor or other health care practitioner, seek it.
- Some essential oils may not be compatible with homeopathic therapy
- For individualized treatment with aromatherapy, please consult with a certified clinical aromatherapist. Self treatment with essential oils is usually safe if you follow all safety and dosage guidelines, but an aromatherapist will have specialized knowledge. Many oils have the same properties and uses, but may work differently on various individuals. An aromatherapist can develop a customized plan for you. Please be aware that there are different schools of thought in aromatherapy, including those that believe in internal use of essential oils. Do your homework when selecting the right aromatherapist for you. Organizations to help you locate an aromatherapist include NAHA, IFPA and ARC.