Guest brought a "diffuser" for essential oils

I think I may have my first difficult guest…I’m a little concerned.

She is visiting her daughter and grandchild for the holiday weekend.

The main item is: as she got settled and was getting ready to go out with family when she mentions she can’t sleep without her diffuser for essential oils. I expressed my concern that I do not want odors lingering in the room after a guest has left. I also used as an example that I have changed my laundry detergent to an unscented one on the advice of a previous guest who said my “fresh scent” sheets were annoying to her.

She said essential oils will not aggravate anyone with a sensitivity to odors. I am skeptical but left it at I would leave it to her judgement but reiterated my concern that I do not want any following guest to come in and be able to detect a smell.

Anyone have experience with these?

There were a couple of other statements made that indicate to me she will not be easy to satisfy…

level of air conditioning (yes, we have it - but I get the impression she wants it MUCH colder). I offered to provide an extra fan and she semi-smiled and said she came prepared with her own.

expressed concern over having to share the driveway (actually we leave the entire driveway for our guests but it was the way she expressed it that sent a “oh no!” vibe)

Dismissed my breakfast offerings with a “Oh I guess I’ll just have coffee” I make it clear in the listing we offer a continental breakfast to include coffee tea, cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, and bagels.

Anyway - should I be concerned about the diffuser?

How soon does the following guest arrive? If within two days after your current one leaves, it might be wiser not to allow a foreign scent into your home, especially if you are not familiar with it. Remember too, that your next guest will be judging your place and her stay by whatever she experiences so consider the risk.

Also, since your current guest is seemingly so adamant about needing the diffuser, it would help to think about how you will handle the situation if she goes against your wishes and uses it anyway.

I can’t even imagine what her concern would be over having to share the driveway. Mighty strange.

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Yes, you should be concerned about the diffuser. I am sensitive to smells. I find that essential oils are worse than perfume. Alcohol based perfumes evaporate. Essential oils leave their odor for much longer. If a guest told me that they couldn’t sleep unless they disbursed a scented product; I would tell them that our listing is not a good fit for them and they should move on. I don’t understand why guests with such particular needs don’t ask before they book.


She’s rude and presumptuous to just bring it and not exhibit any sort of sensitivity about whether it’s allowed. I don’t allow any burning things after an incident. Don’t essential oils need to be lit ?

You should leave an honest review of this guest.

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There is one day between guests. She leaves the morning of the 29th and the next guest comes in the afternoon of the 30th.

I checked on Amazon and it looks as if they are mostly plugins.

She had only one review- but it was glowing "Excellent guests! Great communication! Followed ALL the rules! Clean and tidy! What more could a host ask for? As a special bonus, they left the place in TIP TOP SHAPE upon departure. Any host would be lucky if these guests request to stay at their place! "

She isn’t back yet. I will revisit the issue with her. If she really needs it to sleep, I will probably allow and block the open day in-between guests to air out and clean. Time to modify my listing and indicate a rule: please refrain from using any scented items in the room or something like that. Too tired to think of wording at the moment!

See, Terry, this is the kind of drama you don’t need. You want easygoing guests who follow your rules without question.

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They don’t need to be lit; I use a small electrical device that emits dry steam. Personally I don’t find the smell to linger and the smell is very pleasant as long as they’re pure essential oils. Anyone experienced with essential oils knows they need to be used with attention; one drop of lavender will help you sleep, 4 will give you energy and keep you awake. The scent is meant to be thereputic and essential oils don’t work if you’re heavy handed.

To be honest I think it’s great she thought to mention this in advance as it give you a chance to say no. You can very easily ask her what type of device she uses and how many drops does she personally use. Even if it’s 4, the smell is nothing like cigarette smoke and will dissipate quickly.

Me personally as a guest I would be suprised if a host said no. I have become exceptionally sensitive to smells particularly after swapping to a natural crystal deodorant; I find the canned anti perspirant and products like lynx get in the back of my throat and linger forever but I would still never stop a guest from using them.

Finally I use essential oils daily; you simply can’t smell them for long once the diffuser has finished. 80 something reviews and not a single complaint ever about unpleasant smells. One guest went so far as to ask me where I bought my diffuser before going out and later coming back with one of their own.


If it’s one of those Glade electric things that emit pure chemicals–NO. Don’t let her use it. Those give me an instant headache and the smell lingers forever. I’ve had women at work trying to sell “essential oils” that were pure crap! There was nothing natural about them.

If it’s one of those devices that uses truly 100% natural oils then it might not be too bad. I’ve seen those at Whole Foods and they seem OK. You should as this guest some questions.


Update - She came in late last night - assurances it was quality oil and will dissipate. Out early this morning…downstairs hallway has faint minty odor. Didn’t go downstairs until she had left * sigh*.

Nice conversation this am on other things - we actually connected on many levels. Yesterday she had been up since 4 and had driven many miles so explains the grumpy. I probably should have been less sensitive on the other things I thought may become issues and not have posted about them on a public forum…

This area is completely sold out - only 3 listing left and all at a much higher price point. I have one day between guests to air, wash and wipe down so I am just going to go with it. I will ask her to dial down the amount for the next 2 nights.

Thanks all for the comments - @Zandra glad to have your perspective as someone who uses them!

I am thankful for this forum and have learned a lot - the process continues as well! Now to craft wording for the rules…or not since it has only come up once with 25 guests? Do others have wording relating to odors?

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I’m unsure of this guest, despite all the reassurances by Zandra and others. She should have picked up on your discomfort with this and offered to not light it. (Or plug it, whatever) I don’t like that. You have minty now whether you like it or not…Nice or not… she disrespected you. Honestly, can a person just hold off on their oil machine for one short stay in someone else’s home…??? If she was nice I might leave her a meh review and say something in the feedback. You may want to add house rules about no oils, candles, etc…

One person’s mint is another person’s curry! :rofl:



I agree with your take on the guest because with our years of experience, we guard against letting guests get the upper hand in anything. They are on our turf and are supposed to be adhering to our rules. It’s not a debatable situation.

I guess I jumped the gun on assuming what the OP wanted because on second reading, I realized she didn’t say she was adverse to the use of the diffuser or how to deal with the guest, she only asked was whether she should be “concerned” about the diffuser. Phooey! A “yes” or “no” probably would have sufficed and in the end, she caved in and let her guest use the diffuser anyway.

We all have different hosting parameters.

I really can’t stand scents, especially the strong ones in laundry soaps but also colognes and perfumes.

Under “Other things…” in the description I say "I try to keep the house scent free, so it would be greatly appreciated if you did not use perfume or cologne.

Unfortunately, many people see themselves as an exception. Essential oil users are convinced that their scents are pleasant and don’t linger. I disagree with them on both counts.


Positively brilliant and should be the secret mantra of every host. Honestly, this is one major key to hosting success!


My experience with essential oils is that the small is impossible to get rid of. By definition it is oil and the diffused particles will stick to everything. God help you if she uses patchouli…


Guest left this morning.

I spent the day washing everything in sight, including decorative items and the walls. Curtains have been out in the sunshine all day, pillows and lamp shades also. Put a fan in the window on reverse to blow the air out of the room. Had the room checked by someone who hadn’t smelled it before - he said with a lot of sniffing he detected a faint odor but probably wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t asked.

I’ll keep windows open until late tonight and not make the room up until just before check in tomorrow.

Won’t allow again - ever! If a guest shows up with one…well, there is a low cost motel down the street.

As we used to say to my son when he was little “Oh no - not another learning experience!”


Watch the next guest rave about how great it smelled. LOL.


LOL. When someone lit a mosquito coil in my room, I spent a frantic day trying to air it out. I thought it smelled horrible but the incoming guests did not even notice!!! And left me the best review I ever had.



Oh nooo…I’m so sorry it was a “we told you so” experience.

Don’t quote me but in my experience, the male species don’t quite have the acute sniffers as we fems do, so…

What was the learning experience? Why did you need to wash the walls was there an overpowering smell in there? Would it have been a time saver to get someone who hadn’t smelled the room before to smell it before you undertook such a huge amount of work?

To be honest I’m missing the punch line…