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The Science Behind Natural Reed Diffusers: Exploring their Benefits, Evaporation and Inhalation

The Science Behind Natural Reed Diffusers: Exploring their Benefits, Evaporation and Inhalation

In recent years, natural reed diffusers have gained significant popularity as an alternative to artificial and oftentimes harmful air fresheners. These eco-friendly home fragrances offer a unique sensory experience, creating a pleasant atmosphere with health benefits to boot. But, have you ever wondered about the science behind these natural diffusers? What, if anything, makes them so different? 

Well, wonder no more! In this blog post, we’ll be delving into the science behind natural reed diffusers and more importantly, their benefits for you. 

The Basics of Natural Reed Diffusers

Before diving straight into advanced science, let’s get started with the simple basics. A reed diffuser consists of an aesthetic container filled with a carefully thought out blend of fragrances, typically composed of natural essential oils. These essential oils are then combined with a ‘base’ or carrier oil. Thin, porous reeds (often rattan) are placed into the fragrance solution, which allows the fragrance to travel up the reeds and disperse into the air, providing a continuous and long-lasting scent that fills your home. To strengthen or weaken the scent in a room, simply add or remove reeds from the diffuser!

Benefits of Natural Reed Diffusers

Natural reed diffusers have numerous benefits over their synthetic counterparts.

  • Environmentally Friendly: One of the most significant advantages of natural reed diffusers is their eco-friendliness. Unlike many synthetic air fresheners that contain harmful chemicals, natural reed diffusers utilise plant-based essential oils that are derived from nature. This makes them a safe and sustainable choice for both your health and the environment.
  • Mood Enhancement: Our sense of smell is deeply connected to our emotions and can significantly influence our mood. Natural reed diffusers harness the power of essential oils, which contain aromatic compounds that can have a positive impact on our mental and emotional well-being. For example, lavender essential oil is widely known for its relaxing properties, which is why it's commonly found in sleep related products. On the other hand, citrus scents like orange or lemon can provide an uplifting and refreshing ambiance. This is something that is always at the forefront of our minds with each and every product we create.
  • Improved Air Quality: Besides their delightful fragrances, reed diffusers can also enhance indoor air quality. Certain essential oils possess antimicrobial properties that can help purify the air by reducing airborne bacteria and viruses. Additionally, natural reed diffusers eliminate the need for aerosol sprays that can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and your home.

Evaporation and Diffusion Mechanisms

The science behind the operation of reed diffusers lies in the principles of evaporation and diffusion. When the reeds are inserted into the scented essential oil blend, the fragrance molecules are absorbed into the reeds due to capillary action. Capillary action is the phenomenon by which a liquid moves through a narrow space, such as a tiny tube or porous material, without the need for external forces.

As the fragrance molecules enter the reeds, they begin to evaporate. Evaporation occurs as the molecules transition from a liquid state to a gas. The porous nature of the reeds facilitates the upward movement of the fragrance molecules. This upward movement is driven by the differences in concentration between the liquid solution and the surrounding air.

Once the fragrance molecules reach the top of the reeds, they disperse into the air, filling the room with a pleasing aroma. The diffusion of fragrance molecules occurs as a result of their random thermal motion, spreading the scent evenly throughout the surrounding space.

The Science of Inhalation

When we inhale the scents emitted by a natural reed diffuser, the aromatic molecules in the air enter our nose. Inside our noses, we have a specialised area called the olfactory epithelium, which contains millions of olfactory receptor cells. These cells have specific receptor proteins that can detect and bind to different aromatic compounds.

When an  aromatic molecule attaches to a receptor protein, it sets off a bunch of chemical signals that zoom up to our brain. These signals get interpreted in a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb - part of the brain's limbic system - which is all about emotions, memories, and how we act. This explains why certain scents can trigger vivid memories or evoke specific emotions. For instance, they can induce relaxation or provide an invigorating effect, which in turn can aid in stress reduction, enhance mood, and even boost cognitive alertness. 


Natural reed diffusers offer a captivating and scientifically backed way to enhance your living space. From their eco-friendly nature to their positive impact on mood and air quality, reed diffusers provide a host of benefits that make them a popular choice among fragrance enthusiasts. Understanding the science behind reed diffusers, including evaporation, diffusion, and the inhalation process, adds another layer of appreciation for these delightful home fragrances. 

So, the next time you enjoy the enchanting aroma of a reed diffuser, take a moment to appreciate the science that makes it all possible.

About Quiet Blue

Quiet Blue was inspired by a desire to create and promote a healthy, toxin free home lifestyle, whilst educating and empowering women with aromatherapy choices that provide mood enhancing support during perimenopause, menopause and those struggling with PCOS.

Our natural reed diffusers are handmade and hand poured by a talented craftswoman and qualified perfumer in Surrey, UK using pure essential oils. These guarantee a clean, fresh and controlled scent release that can last up to 3 months.

We’re proud to offer a number of other natural aromatherapy products, such as our range of natural candles, natural bar soaps & vegan bar soaps!

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