Is It Safe to Directly Put Essential Oils In Air Purifiers?

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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Key Takeaways

  • No, you cannot put essential oil in a typical air purifier. Doing so will clog the air filters.
  • For aromatherapy and for adding fragrance, you should use a diffuser for essential oils.
  • While you can use a diffuser and an air purifier together, it is not recommended since the air purifier will remove all the scent.

I’m constantly approached by people wanting to make their houses smell better and their homes calmer. Nowadays, essential oils have emerged as one of the top choices for people looking to do that.

In my experience, air purifiers are the top choice for eliminating unpleasant odors in a space. Air purifiers are the best for removing odors, but unfortunately, essential oils typically cannot be added to them.

If you’re considering adding essential oils to your air purifier, there are a few things you need to know. Below I’ll go over the potential benefits and drawbacks of using essential oils in your air purifier.

Air Purifiers And Essential Oils Combined– Is It Possible?

You can’t use essential oils with most air purifiers. Some modern models have compartments or sponges that can hold and disperse these oils, but this is not common.

Some hybrid products that can diffuse or humidify and purify the air may have an essential oils feature, but this may not be as effective as a dedicated essential oil diffuser.

Normal air purifiers are handy machines that suck in air, filter out infectious airborne particles, and release the newly cleaned air back into the room. They can be used at home or in the office to get rid of harmful air pollutants.

There are a few common types of air purifier filters, including HEPA filters, activated carbon filters (activated charcoal filters), UV, ozone, water, and ionic. Each of these comes with pros and cons when it comes to air filtration that needs to be carefully considered before purchase.

Essential oil fans love their fresh scent and environmentally friendly properties. For some, essential oil scents provide a fresh smell in their home and many people find that inhaling essential oils reduces stress, improves mood, and increases concentration. Unfortunately, diffusing essential oils in air purifiers is simply not feasible.

Can You Put Essential Oils Directly On The Air Filter?

I do not recommend putting any essential oils directly on the air purifier’s filter, especially not a HEPA filter. At best, this can clog the filter, which will cause it to be less effective at air filtration.

At worst, when you use essential oils with an air filter, it can corrode or damage the internal parts of your air purifier, causing a health hazard and unnecessary money-wasting to buy a replacement.

Because of this, it is best to avoid using essential oils on air filters when trying to freshen up your home. Read over your product’s instruction manual carefully to find the specialized essential oil compartment or fragrance sponge alongside any tips and tricks.

Type Of Air Purifiers Best Used With Essential Oils

Of the air purifier model types, many people suggest that you can use essential oils with water-bowl style and water-based air purifiers. Sometimes called air washers, these use a swirling bowl of water to pull pollutants from the air throughout the day. Some suggest adding a few drops to the water itself to achieve your desired effect.

However, I’ve never come across any evidence to suggest that water-based air purifiers work best with essential oils. I do not recommend adding essential oils to any air purifier that is not explicitly designed with oils in mind, not even a water-based air purifier.

Additionally, do not add essential oils to the air purifier filter – at best, this could stop the filter from being as effective due to the oil coating valuable filtration areas or damage the air purifier at worst. Even a high-quality HEPA filter is useless if it’s damaged.

If you want some air purifier fragrance, I recommend finding a model with fragrances built into its design or purchasing an essential oil diffuser instead. This allows you to get that fresh essential oil smell without damaging your air purifier and potentially causing a health hazard.

I wouldn’t use a diffuser and an air purifier at the same time though because the oil particles may be filtered out of the air during the air purification process.

What Essential Oils Are Best To Use With An Air Purifier?

If you have a purifier that can also disperse essential oils into the air, you still need to be careful when adding essential oil. Your favorite essential oil may not mix well with your purifier.

Avoid sticky, sappier oils like cedar and myrrh as these can clog up the machine and cause a mess. Some of the best oils to use in diffusers are:

  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Tea tree oil

It is best to try using a few drops at first and gradually increasing the dose each day to see what works best. An aroma’s strength can be dictated by how pungent the oil itself is as well as the size of the room the air purifier is in.

Common Air Purifier And Essential Oil Questions

How Long Do Essential Oils Last In The Air?

How long essential oils linger in the air depends on depends on room size, oil quantity, and machine operation duration. Try topping up the sponge over the course of the day or adding more drops initially to see what works best for your home.

What’s The Difference Between A Diffuser And An Air Purifier?

The main difference between a diffuser and an air purifier is that diffusers release essential oils, and air purifiers eliminate pollutants. Diffusers are used for aromatherapy purposes, while air purifiers improve indoor air quality by eliminating harmful particles.

Can You Pair Diffusers With HEPA Filters?

HEPA filters cannot be directly paired with diffusers because diffusers are not designed to accommodate air filtration systems. Essential oil diffusers are meant for dispersing essential oils, whereas HEPA filters are used in air purifiers for removing pollutants.


I completely understand the desire to add essential oils to your air purifier. Two birds with one stone, right? However, it’s important to know that putting essential oils in most purifiers can damage them.

You’ll need to find a model with a specified oil diffusion function or buy a diffuser to use alongside your purifier. Always check your manual and exercise caution when considering using these oils.

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Josh Mitchell


Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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