Can You Put Perfume in a Diffuser? (Explained for Beginners)

When you love your personal fragrance, you might begin to wonder if your home can smell the same way. Diffusers efficiently distribute fragrance into the air, but should you diffuse your favorite perfume?

In short, it depends on the kind of diffuser you have. Your water diffuser would still function properly if you poured perfume into it. But you wouldn’t experience the health benefits that result from pure essential oils, so I wouldn’t recommend pouring perfume into that kind of diffuser.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of diffusers and their intended function. I’ll also suggest alternative ways that you can use perfume to freshen your home.

Can You Put Perfume in a Diffuser

Can You Diffuse Perfume?

Not everything that you can do is something that you should do. But there are some instances where diffusing perfume is okay.

I would suggest paying close attention to the type of diffuser you’ll be using. If you have a manual diffuser that uses oils without incorporating heat, water, or electricity, then you’ll likely be safe. Otherwise, I would suggest that you only pour essential oils into your diffuser.

How Are Diffusers Used?

There are many different types of diffusers. Clay diffusers, evaporative diffusers, reed diffusers, candle diffusers, heat diffusers, water/humidifying diffusers, and nebulizing diffusers.

The manner in which they distribute fragrance into the air varies. Some simply evaporate, others use heat or otherwise transform the scent molecules prior to dispersing fragrance.

Can I Put Perfume in a Clay Diffuser?

Clay diffusers, also called terracotta pots, hold fragrance oils and disperses them as the oils seep into the clay.

This option might not work well with perfumes because they don’t have as high of an oil content. Your perfume might also evaporate too quickly using this method. 

Can I Put Perfume in an Evaporative Diffuser?

Somewhat similar to a reed diffuser, evaporative diffusers release fragrance into the air without the use of heat or water.

These diffusers have a pad or tray for you to pour your fragrance oils. Then a small fan is used to release the fragrance into the air as it evaporates.

I would think it would be safe to pour perfume into the diffusing pad because the perfume would evaporate as it normally would if you’d sprayed it onto your body. Using this method, the fan would aid in wider distribution of the scent.

Can I Put Perfume in a Reed Diffuser?

Reed diffusers use bamboo or other porous wood sticks to absorb oils and fragrances that are released into the air. 

Because this diffusing method is simply a mechanism for evaporating the fragrance, it seems safe to pour perfume into a reed diffuser.

If adding your own perfume to a reed diffuser, be sure that you blend it with a carrier oil to dilute the fragrance a bit and prevent it from evaporating too quickly.

Can I Put Perfume in a Candle Diffuser?

Candle diffusers are multi-part objects. Usually there’s a small bowl or container that will hold your fragrance oil or essential oil. There’s also a base component that you’d sit the bowl in. In the center of the base is an area for you to place a tealight candle.

Lighting the candle beneath the bowl warms up the liquid that’s sitting inside the bowl.

Perfumes are flammable, so I wouldn’t take the chance of using perfume around the open flame of a candle diffuser.

Also, the heat could potentially alter the chemical composition of the perfume, and you might end up inhaling fumes instead of a pleasant fragrance.

Can I Put Perfume in a Heat Diffuser?

A heat diffuser can come in different forms. Ultimately there’s a heat source like a metal plate or light bulb that you warm after placing oil in its compartment. As the temperature of the oil increases, fragrance is released into the air. 

Because heat can transform a substance, I would advise against adding perfume to your heat diffuser.

Instead, it’s best to add fragrance oils or essential oils that are created for this purpose.

Can I Put Perfume in a Water or Humidifying Diffuser?

Diffusers that operate using water might be called water diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers, or nebulizing diffusers. Once water is added to the reservoir, you would then add essential oils to the water. After plugging in the device and powering it up, the device would create vibrations that make tiny particles out of the oils and water, creating a mist. 

As the mist floats into the air, it distributes fragrance. If it’s a nebulizing diffuser, it would also add moisture to the air. 

Most perfumes I’ve encountered have a thin liquid consistency, similar to most essential oils. Thin oils are the only ones that properly diffuse in devices from this category. Thicker ones, like benzoin, vetiver, and sometimes sandalwood, are too sticky and will clog up your water diffuser. 

While the consistency of perfume makes it appropriate to pour into an ultrasonic diffuser, perfumes are not an appropriate choice for pouring into this kind of diffuser. While perfumes won’t clog up your diffuser, diffusing them might cause you to feel ill. More on this below.

Can I Put Perfume in a Nebulizing Diffuser?

Nebulizing diffusers offer the best method for inhaling all of the healing properties of essential oils. They’re the purest form of diffusing natural oils because they don’t use heat or water, which breaks down or dilutes the oils. 

A small pump creates pressure to reduce essential oils down to nanoparticles that produce an ultra-fine mist. Unlike nebulizing diffusers, you’ll hardly notice the mist, and it won’t leave a residue on your table or wall.

Due to the fact that nebulizing diffusers reduce oils into tiny, microscopic particles, I would not add perfume to this kind of diffuser. Nebulizing diffusers are also more sensitive devices. Pouring anything except essential oils in them might damage the machine.

What’s the Difference Between Essential Oils and Perfumes?

Pure essential oils are derived from plant matter. Whether it’s a flower petal, tree root, resin, seeds, any part of the plant where its oils can be extracted, that’s all that makes up the essential oil.

There aren’t any additives, solvents, fixatives, and such. This isn’t the case with perfume.

While there are some natural ingredients, like plant extracts and water in some perfumes, most of the ingredients used to make perfume are created in a lab.

Perfumes are a mixture of natural and synthetic aromatic compounds combined with chemicals determined to be safe for human use. But their sole purpose is to add pleasant fragrance, not offer healing benefits.

Why Shouldn’t You Add Perfume to Certain Types of Diffusers?

The goal of diffusing essential oils goes beyond fragrance alone. Different essential oils offer different benefits. Some can help reduce inflammation, battle insomnia, reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, fight germs, and more.

A nice smelling perfume can tempt you to simply add a few drops to the water in your diffuser to make your space smell nice. But you’ll be distributing more than scent. You would be releasing all of the perfume ingredients into the air on a microscopic level.

This means that you’d be inhaling a mist of not only fragrance, alcohol, and water, but all other solvents and ingredients that make up the perfume’s formula.

At the very least, inhaling perfume in a fine mist form can cause a headache, throat irritation, eye irritation, or dizziness. 

In more severe cases, diffusing perfume might trigger an asthma attack or exacerbate a respiratory condition.

Most severely, there might even be hormonal changes experienced after prolonged exposure to perfume particles.

There can be upwards of 300 ingredients used to formulate a perfume. You would have to ask yourself if you would want to inhale those tiny particles from a diffuser. Simply put, diffusing your perfume in a device that uses heat, water, or electricity might be flat out toxic.

Can Your Home Smell Like Your Favorite Perfume?

I would strongly advise against diffusing perfume. It would be unhealthy for you to inhale perfume particles at a microscopic level. Perfumes are not created to release health benefits; they’re created to make objects, people, and food smell nice.

There are many different essential oils that you can diffuse in place of your perfume. If you want your home to smell like your perfume, there are alternative solutions.

Sometimes you can find a candle or room spray that smells just like your favorite perfume. Companies like Diptyque Paris, Tom Ford, and Glasshouse Fragrances offer matching home and personal fragrances.

Lastly, if you have fabric covered furniture, you can also test an inconspicuous area of your furniture to ensure that your perfume won’t cause discoloration. If it passes the test, then it’s okay to occasionally spray perfume onto your furniture.

The scent might only last for a day or two, depending on how concentrated your perfume is, but this time frame might be sufficient in some circumstances.


Hello and welcome to Fragrance Advice! My name is Grace Young, and I’ve been drawn to fragrances since I was a little girl. There's just something about scent that brings me so much joy! 

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