You will almost always get a pack of reed diffuser sticks when you purchase a reed diffuser, however this probably won’t be the case if you are buying a reed diffuser refill, so you might have to buy new reeds to replace the old used ones.
Take your time in choosing your new diffuser reeds. Knowing which ones are the best will ensure your diffuser works as well as it can, creating a light, beautiful and lingering fragrance for your room of choice. The wrong choice of reed diffuser sticks will mean that the fragrance will not diffuse as well as it should and therefore you won’t benefit from it’s beautiful perfume.
About Reed Diffusers
The diffuser is a very popular, environmentally-friendly, economical and safe choice for fragrancing your home, as it doesn’t use fire or electricity yet it still leaves you with a subtle aroma that can last for several months, if used properly.
The reed diffuser has a very simple construction that includes the diffuser oil, reeds and an attractive (normally glass) container. The reeds or sticks do the important job of carrying the aroma and diffusing it into the room.
One thing to note is that if the diffuser container isn’t glass, then it is very likely that the diffuser liquid does not contain a large amount of pure fragrance oils and consequently won’t be as fragrant or strong.
So how do they work?
The best reed diffuser sticks are made of rattan, which aren’t hollow, but have several channels inside the stem (almost like a honeycomb or similar to a tree). It’s these channels that soak up the oils from the bottle that slowly permeates around your room.
Rattan reeds generally have 20 or more honeycomb channels that carry the oil from the container and release the fragrance through an evaporation diffusion process (hence them being called diffusers).
The reeds will have to be flipped over in the container every few weeks to obtain the maximum benefit and to ensure the fragrance keeps on wafting around your home.
Replacement diffuser sticks are available in different lengths, thicknesses, materials and colours. Obviously, you choose the colour of the reeds on the basis of well they will fit with the décor of your room or the style of the bottle. It may be surprising to know that coloured reeds do not have ‘blocked’ pores. Instead, it has been found that colouring the reeds opens a few additional pores or channels in the reeds and diffusion is increased by about 5 – 10%. In other words, coloured reeds work better!
The length and thickness are little more of a technical choice, the longer or the thicker the reeds the stronger the scent but also the more elegant and unusual the diffuser looks. If you find the perfect reeds for you but they are too long for the bottle you have, then don’t hesitate to trim them down to suit. This will not affect their function.
Rattan vs Other Materials
The market is filled with a vast array of fragrance diffusing products so it can be hard to know what’s good and what isn’t.
You will find reeds made from the following materials:
- balsa wood,
- paper, or
- synthetic versions (sometimes referred to as ‘power reeds’).
Experience has found that rattan reeds work the best.
Ceramic, bamboo and balsa reeds are not as porous by comparison, with ceramic being the least performing. Here is a more technical explanation: bamboo sticks have nodes, which stops them from being able to properly soak up the oils, whereas the rattan reeds have a clear channel that enables the oils to be infused properly.
Paper reeds are similar to papier-mâché and in the process of making them, their pores get blocked by glue or starch.
Synthetic reeds actually work very well! They have, however, two main negatives; the first being they are synthetic and not eco-friendly, and secondly, they don’t look as attractive as they tend to collect dust and their surface and colour are not all that attractive. The simple fact that you won’t find this type in exclusive or top end reed diffuser confirms this.
Try to only use rattan reeds where possible as it will ensure you get the absolute maximum benefit from your diffuser.
Changing and Replacing Reeds
Top quality rattan reeds can last from anywhere between 6 to 12 months, if you look after them. When your fragrance is no longer being released, or you just can’t smell it as well anymore, it’s time to replace them.
When you take the reeds out of the bottle to dispose of them, make sure you never place them on any wooden surfaces as the oils can damage and stain the wood.
Most people insert between 5 and 10 reeds into a bottle. The number of reeds you insert regulates the intensity of the perfume in the room. If you don’t want the aroma to be as intense, use less reeds. Equally, if you prefer a strong scent for your home, then feel free to insert them all.
Changing the reeds however, doesn’t mean you can’t then re-use the container. After disposing of the old reeds, wash the container thoroughly with soap and leave to dry it, and then refill it with the new fragrance oil and place in the new reeds. This is great if you have a really useful or pretty bottle that you want to use again and again.
These tips will help you get the best out of your reed diffuser…
- If there is oil in the container but you aren’t getting that great fragrance anymore, your reeds need to be changed.
- The longevity of your reed diffuser will be reduce, if it is close to a radiator or open window.
- If the fragrance diffuser is going to be placed in a smaller space, use fewer reeds to stop the fragrance from being too overpowering.
- Make sure you don’t over fill the container before you insert new reeds.
- Use containers with a narrow neck to prevent the oil from evaporating too quickly, especially if your diffuser contains alcohol.
- Check for fakes when choosing diffuser reeds: bamboo skewers look very similar to the rattan
When you’re buying your new diffuser sticks, you may also be looking for a new reed diffuser refill oil. There are generally three different types of diffuser refills:
- 1st Generation: these reed diffuser refills contain a mixture of oil and alcohol. Whilst alcohol is fresh, it normally does not last. If you have bought a reed diffuser in the past that felt did not last long enough, then chances are that it contained a large amount of alcohol.
- 2nd Generation: these were developed when manufacturers were looking for a cheaper alternative to alcohol and which also lasted longer. Typically, they contain a large amount of synthetic solvents and a smaller amount of fragrance. The solvents are, however, not healthy to inhale and these diffusers should be avoided nowadays.
- 3rd Generation: this is the best reed diffuser refill oil to buy right now, as it is both healthy and long-lasting. It is, however, a more expensive product and not many manufacturers make them yet.
How do you spot them?
- If the manufacturer states ‘non-VOC’ or ‘non volatile organic compounds’, then this is the clearest indication that this a 3rd generation reed diffuser refill oil.
- It might state ‘natural’, but this might refer to the fragrance part only and the oil can still be full of cheap, unhealthy solvents.
- The manufacturer should state that their 100ml of fragrance infused diffuser oil last upwards of 3 months. This another very strong confirmation that you are buying a healthy diffuser..
We agree, it’s not easy to spot reed diffuser refills that belong to the 3rd generation and there might well be fakes on the market. Hence why you only buy from a trusted source or reputable manufacturer. This is one of these cases where quality isn’t cheap.
The little bit of extra time you take now when selecting a new oil refill and new diffuser sticks will reward you with a diffuser that is both healthy for your family and long-lasting in its performance.