How to burn essential oils without a diffuser

by Alison Angold | Qualified Aromatherapist | CIDESCO ITEC

The most effective and easiest ways to burn essential oils (without a diffuser) at home are;

  • Essential oil burner
  • Lamp ring
  • Using your radiator
  • Aroma-stone

There are many ways to effectively use essential oils to reap their many varied benefits, and burning the oils is a great way to inhale the aromas to benefit many different conditions.

A diffuser is one of the most common ways to get the aromas of the oils into the air so you can inhale them. However a diffuser can often end up making the oils smell the same.

Warming the oils, instead of diffusing them, is a much more effective way to release the wonderful aromas – and allowing them to smell more realistic.

3 essential oil bottles on a shelf with a oil burner and wooden stars.  How to burn essential oils without a diffuser.

How to burn essential oils – without a diffuser

When we say ‘burn oils’ we are not literally burning them, just warming them to release their aromas. 

Do be aware that by warming the oils, the chemical structure of the oils are changed slightly, so the potency and therapeutic properties of the oils will be less, than when applied at normal temperature, topically. However the aromas of the oils, by warming them gently in a burner, the aromas are so real, fresh and authentic.

For more uses of essential oils READ HERE

Essential oil burner

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This lovely burner looks so nice, and helps your room smell wonderful!

The easiest way to burn essential oils without a diffuser is to simply use an essential oil burner. An essential oil burner is a piece of equipment with a small bowl or container to add your essential oils, and a space for a tea light underneath, which, when lit, gently warms the essential oils, therefore releasing their aromas.

There are so many different burners that you can choose from to compliment your space at home.  What would be ideal is to get more than one, so you choose different fragrances for each room while matching the décor in the separate rooms too!

There are so many different types of burners available; Here are some my favourite ones:

This is a lovely simple design, that would look good in any home, but particularly in a home with clean white lines, and simple wood tones. This burner gives me a feel of Norwegian ‘Hygge’ decor – warm, cosy, white and wood! The dish is larger than some burners, which means any scents used, will last well.

A perfect simple design, that looks so pretty when the tea light is lit! This was one of my first purchases, as I love stars! Easy to use, and easy to clean, so you can change your aroma’s as often as you like.

I love this unusual, scientific looking essential oil burner! So different from the norm! Handmade, this burner would look great in a kitchen or bathroom!

Another unusual essential oil burner, I love the ‘hanging’ element of this one. Simply add your oils into the receptacle and light your candle below!

Where to use your essential oil burner

The quick answer to this question is – anywhere!  You can really get the benefits of an essential oil burner in any room of your house;

  • Kitchen – great for ridding of cooking smells
  • Lounge – create a relaxing or uplifting atmosphere
  • Hallway – create an inviting atmosphere for guests
  • Bedroom – use essential oils that promote sleep or even even feelings of sensuality
  • Bathroom – antiseptic oils can be used to freshen the area and prevent germs
  • Office – boost your brain power by burning oils to create focus and improve memory

Benefits of burning essential oils in a burner

An essential oil burner is a really simple and quick way of warming the oils and benefitting from their aromas.  Not only do you gain the therapeutic properties of the oils, but a natural scent fills you room, quite unlike the synthetic smells of the usual air fresheners or plug-ins that you can buy.

You can change the scent as often as you like.  Most of the burners you can buy usually only have a small receptacle for adding the oils, meaning that the oils can be swapped out easily.  Simply empty any remaining water/oils, give it a quick wipe over and choose your new scents.

You can tailor-make your aromas to suit your mood.  Or to treat a specific condition or issue you are having at the time.  Each essential oil has a variety of properties that can treat specific conditions associated with the body or mind.  As you inhale the aromas your mood can be uplifted, your anxiety released or respiratory conditions eased.

Here’s a few examples of essential oil blends you can use in your burner (see below for more specific blends);

Focus & calm the mind – Frankincense, Thyme & Bergamot

Boost memory & concentration – Rosemary, Tea tree & Bergamot

Uplifting & Euphoric blend – Jasmine, Lemon & Clary sage

Relieving symptoms of anxiety – Grapefruit, Petitgrain & Chamomile

Happy blend to promote positivity – Basil, Bergamot & Mandarin

Safety precautions of an essential oil burner

Just a few precautions to be aware of while using your burner.

You are obviously dealing with an open flame, so be careful as you are lighting the tea light and do not leave the burner unattended while in use.

Usually, the scents from the essential oils, do not become too overpowering, however proceed with caution if you suffer with respiratory conditions such asthma or bronchitis.  Also be aware of ‘heady’ oils such as ylang ylang or jasmine, which if overused could cause headaches.

How to use an essential oil burner

Fill the receptacle of the burner with some warm water.  Then add in your essential oils – 2-3 drops of each essential oil.  Light a tea light and wait for the aromas to fill the room.

Getting the most from your burner

  • Clean the receptacle of the burner thoroughly every so often, so stale aromas and oil residue can be cleared
  • For a spa experience in your bathroom, close the door, when the burner is in use, so you keep the aromas in the room
  • Create a matching bath oil, so you can benefit from the aromas through inhalation and topical application
  • Learn more about your oils, so you can tailor make blends to suit your mood

Other ways to burn essential oils without a diffuser

Lamp ring

A ceramic lamp ring is literally a ring that sits snugly onto the top of a light bulb of your lamp.  Simply add your essential oils to a small amount of water in the ring, and the warmth of bulb, warms the oils, and the aroma fills the space. Using water in the lamp ring ensures that the essential oils don’t evaporate too quickly or burn and start to smoke.

Try the following blends in your lamp ring;

Focus & concentration – Basil, Lemon & Mandarin

Rest & relax – Lavender & Vetiver

Uplift & revive – Rosemary, Bergamot & lavender

Ceramic lamp ring for essential oils – purchase here


A radiator is an ideal way of warming essential oils, if you don’t have any of the other equipment.  Simply fill a small bowl, with some warm water, add your oils and place carefully on the radiator. You can also buy a special gadget that hangs on radiators, that you can add oils to.

Essential oils on a stool next to radiator.  A small bowl is on the radiator.  How to burn essential oils without a diffuser.

Use these radiators humidifiers to warm essential oils in your room. Simply add a few drops of your chosen essential oils to the water in the humidifiers, and await the aromas to fill your room.


An aroma stone is a gadget that plugs in and uses electricity to warm the oils rather than a candle.  The aroma stone is usually made of glazed porcelain, and the essential oils can be dropped directly on to the stone, without the need of water.  An aroma stone is an ideal way to burn your essential oils, without a naked flame.  

An Aroma-stone, available here.

Recipes for burning essential oils

Use these blends in any of the ways suggested above.

Immune boosting blends

Bergamot, Thyme & Tea Tree – a lovey light blend with an antiseptic note.

Clary sage, Grapefruit & Lemon – an immune strengthening blend with a herby, fruity fragrance.

Orange, Rosewood & Tea Tree

Read more on Immune Boosting Essential oils and recipes here.

Respiratory blend for colds and flu

These blends are ideal for when colds or flu are prevalent in your house.  They are antiviral and antiseptic, so great at relieving the symptoms that come with colds and flu.

Bergamot, Eucalyptus & Rosemary

Marjoram, Peppermint & Ginger

Read more on Essential Oils for Colds & Flu here.

Respiratory blend for coughs and chest congestion

The addition of either a fruity or floral essential oil to the stronger essential oils, of black pepper thyme, cedarwood or frankincense, balances these blends out beautifully.

Black pepper, Thyme & Lemon

Cedarwood, Frankincense & Bergamot

Myrrh & Lavender

Focus and concentration

Burning these oils will help clear and focus the mind, give clarity of thought and are thought to improve memory!

Basil, Lemon & Rosemary

Peppermint & Lemon

Rosewood, Thyme & Orange

Anti-anxiety blend

These blends will help relax and calm both the body and mind at times of stress or anxiety.  They are relaxing, sedating oils that work at calming the nervous system.

Chamomile, clary sage, & Mandarin

Frankincense, Jasmine & Lavender

Melissa, Patchouli, & Mandarin

Read more on Essential Oils for Stress & Anxiety here.

Anti-depressant blends – uplifting and reviving

Any of the following oils blended together, will give a bright, citrus uplifting fragrance.  All citrus oils promote positive emotions and lift feelings of depression and low mood.  Experiment with the oils to find a scent you like!

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Neroli
  • Lemongrass
  • Geranium
  • Lavender


So, you can see its easy to find a way to burn essential oils in your home without a diffuser.  Simply choose your preferred method and experiment with your essential oil blends.  Just a note about safety. 

Ensure you never leave a candle unattended

Once the water and oils have evaporated, either replenish them or remove the receptacle from the heat – the residue of the oils will continue to warm and can end up smelling unpleasant, as well as leaving a ‘hard to clean’ residue in the receptacle.

While burning oils for inhalation, is relatively safe, if you are ever unsure about the use of any essential oils, due to any medical conditions you may have, please consult your local aromatherapy practitioner, contact me, or consult your doctor before use.


About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist, and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years of experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, which has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.