Dry diffusing with Nebulizers
The working principle of the nebulizer is based on an ‘invention’ of Daniel Bernoulli, a Dutch mathematician from the 17th century who found a way to use a restriction in an airflow to ‘lift’ a liquid from a reservoir and found the mathematical explanation for this observation. The first described practical application was designed by a German physician by the name of Dr. Bergson in 1862 who used the principle of Bernoulli to create a device that was able to safely apply a liquid medication to the lungs of sufferers of lung disease by atomizing it into tiny particles that would then be inhaled and enter the lungs effectively. The first asthma medication was administered to the lungs using glass nebulizers in the same way.
During the same period in history, the nebulizing method started to find its way to perfume atomizer applications; and now it is applied to the dispersion of essential oil as well the same way in most nebulizers in the market place.
The working principle of nebulizing is that the oil is atomized into very fine mist by means of a small air pump that blows air over a suction tube that is situated in the essential oil reservoir in the same way a perfume spray bottle atomizes the perfume and releases it into the air.
The air pump that is needed to initiate the Bernoulli principle is represented by the bulb of the perfume atomizer in the drawing on the right; the restriction in the air-tube will cause high velocity air to suck the perfume from the reservoir and the create a ‘mist’; it is the most effective way to carry the liquid into the air and allows the highest possible concentration of pure perfume without addition of other liquids like water in case of ultrasonic diffusers.
Many essential oils have the ability to ‘dissolve’ the plastic, that most ultrasonic diffusers are made of, which will then be released to the air. In addition, if the water used in an ultrasonic diffuser contains unwanted chemicals like chlorides and fluorides, they will also be ‘blown’ into the air. Because of the utilization of glass; the essential oil will remain in its purest form for longer without interaction with the materials that the diffuser is made of. When using an essential oil blend the lightest fractions will be released easier than the heavier fractions; also, if an oil is used that contains a carrier of for instance coconut oil, a residue of the carrier will stay behind over time and slowly reduce the effectiveness of the process; the lightest oils will be distributed easier. This is why the nebulizer glass will need to be flushed when a thick residue is visible on the bottom of the glass reservoir to avoid that the small glass suction tube gets blocked.
In general nebulizers are more expensive as they are often made of hand-crafted glass components. They can be ‘noisier’ than ultrasonic diffusers because of the air pump. Most nebulizers work intermitted in cycles of 2 minutes on and 3 minutes off to get optimum spread of scent in a room. The Bushberry Mist nebulizer as shown has 3 mist settings all in a sequence of 2 minutes on and 3 minutes off. Indicated by a led just below the glass there is Blue for medium flow for 2 hours; Red for high flow for 2 hours and Green for low flow for 4 hours. This makes the Bushberry nebulizer very suitable for professional use as you can leave it running without the need to re-start it after 2 hours. The pump will not ‘suffer’ from long continuous usage as the air flow through the pump will guarantee sufficient cooling. Running the diffuser ‘dry’ after all oil is atomized is not a problem either for the same reason. Operating to touch switches is easy, just swipe over the indicated ‘aroma’ or ‘light’ area.
The quantity of pure essential oil that needs to administered will depend on the type of oil used. A minimum of 5-drops of a 2-hour medium cycle appears to be a good benchmark. The diffuser is also very suitable to nebulize your own blended mix of various oils. The actual usage will strongly depend on the viscosity of the oil so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and some experimenting will be required for the best personal settings. The maximum quantity of oil is 30 ml, the two glass nozzles need to be above the maximum oil level.
The Bushberry Mist nebulizer uses a 5 Volt DC power supply, it is recommended to use the one provided, however the product has been tested for USB connections of computers or telephone chargers that are rated to 1000mA output or higher.
Questions & Answers
Essential oils that are made using steam extraction or distillation processes are the best to use as they don’t leave a residue inside the diffuser. An easy test is to put one drop of the oil intended to use on a piece of printer paper and allow it to evaporate. if there is no residue after a couple of hours than it will not leave a residue in your diffuser. If it leaves a grease spot on the paper than it will leave the same grease behind inside the diffuser and cleaning should be done after every use.
If the oil that you have been using in the nebulizer did not have a carrier oil and did not leave a grease spot on the paper test as described earlier, the cleaning can be easily done using some apple vinegar after removing the glass from the diffuser base. Just swirl while the vinegar is inside the glass, empty the glass and use warm water with a teaspoon of baking soda to flush the glass and neutralize the vinegar. Avoid to attempt to dry the glass inside with a cloth or similar as the glass spray nozzles are very delicate.
Bushberry Nebulizers have been specially tuned to a moderate essential oil consumption, so they are not expensive to run. We used d’Oterra lavender oil (the best selling variety in North America; Europe and Australia) and adjusted the usage to 10 ml per 30 hours of operation in middle setting (blue led)