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Why Doesn’t the Scent last?

by Penny Keay

We are often asked how long are the essential oils going to last in the air (room).

There are a few factors that need to be considered to help determine how long the essential oil may last when you diffuse them.

First is the viscosity – the thick and thinness of the essential oil itself. Top note oils are the most volatile and will disperse into the air quickly.

Oils like orange, lemon, and other citrus will not last long and if you want to smell them after a couple hours you will need to reapply more to your diffuser.

Heavier oils like Patchouli, Vetiver and Sandalwood are considered base notes and have the longest lasting capabilities of upto several days.

Many oils fall in between the top (thin) and base (thick) oils and will have varying degrees of the length of time they will last. Meaning they will last from 3 hours to 24 hours but usually not too much longer than that.

To help the scent last longer on the Top and Middle note essential oils blend them with a little of a base note essential oil. The blend will often times be very pleasant and will linger longer.

The Second reason they may not last long is the room temperature along with the Third Reason - the room’s air currents. As the temperatures rise the molecules are excited more and will evaporate more quickly. Also any air movement from heating and ventilation systems will help them to dissipate quickly too.

What’s the answer to help? This is not easy. You can try using diffusers that diffuse more slowly such as Terra Cotta disc type

Here the essential oils soak into the clay and they are slowly released into the air over a period of several hours. Be sure to add a base note essential oil – just a drop or two to the blend you will be applying to your disc. This will help it to dispel the oils more slowly too.

As for any fan style diffuser – you will have to test the oils to see how often you need to reapply. The speed of the fan and room temperatures will again produce an unknown situation for your room whether it is at home or at the office.

Another method that helps to let the scent linger is the use of soy/bees wax tarts. Using a low temperature electric tart warmer and adding your essential oils to the melted wax, stirring slightly after adding the essential oils will help the scent to be release very slowly as compared to other methods.

The Tealight Wax melter /warmers are good too but because that tiny tealight candle can produce more heat than the electric warmers the scent may not last as long.

The last Factor can be that of Olfactory fatigue which has been covered in a previous Tip of the Week and in several newsletters. Please Click Here for the main article on Olfactory fatigue or Click Here for another article or do a Search for Past Newsletters or Tip of the Weeks for more information on Olfactory fatigue.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with your essential oils when you can’t smell them, it’s just that they have evaporated into the air and - or dissipated to a point where your nose may not be able to smell or detect them.

They are there and are working for you, but just not detectable by your nose. Add more essential oils to the diffusers if you want and enjoy!


To learn more about Top, Middle and Base notes, Viscosity and other terms you may not be familiar with in aromatherapy, please use the "Search box" at the top of the page. Type in any of the terms you want to learn more and you will get a list of several articles to help you continue your Aromatherapy Journey.

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© 2009, 2016 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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