DIY Plug-ins

I love a nicely scented room, but buying plug-in after plug-in adds up. I never knew you could refill them yourself and that you can get 3-4 plug-ins for the cost of one by doing so! A little bottle of $2.50 potpourri oil will fill about 4 plug-ins. A bigger bottle is about $5 and will fill at least twice as many, if not a little more. And it only takes about 2 minutes to do. Another good reason to do this is that the store-bought plug-ins contain VOC’s whereas essential oils do not, so refilling these with essential oils means you are not releasing pretty-smelling toxic chemicals into your home.

What you will need:

  • Empty plug-in
  • Potpourri or essential oil
  • Pliers
  • Small funnel

What do do:

~ I actually have step-by-step pictures this time!

1. Hold onto your plug-in securely. You can use any plug-in as far as I am aware. I’ve refilled Bath & Body Works Wallflowers and Glade.

2. Using pliers, pull the wick from the plug-in. You may have to pull hard to get it out, but it will come out.

3. Insert the funnel into the plug-in and add your oil. Only fill it 2/3 – 3/4 full so as to leave room for the wick. Think about how full they are when you buy them–that’s your goal (or a little more because, honestly, they aren’t that full brand new!).

4. Reinsert the wick and plug it in!

Tips & Variations:

  • If there is any remaining oil in the plug-in before you add more, you can either dump it out or reuse it. Since my refill oil was close to the same scent as what was originally in there, I just left it in and added mine to it.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix oils if you have single scents. Say for example you have a cinnamon scented oil and an apple scented oil. Put a little of each in to make a combined scent.

11 comments on “DIY Plug-ins

  1. ashley says:

    Hi – I’ve been trying to do this myself, but I have trouble pulling the wick out. The wick has a nail, and I was looking at one of your pictures and it looks like it does too. Is there a way you’re able to slide it out without tearing the wick? That’s what I’m worried will happen.


    • Daina says:

      When I pull mine out, the nail comes out with it and doesn’t tear the wick or cause any problems. At least that’s been my experience so far. It is a bit hard to pull out, though. I just wiggle it gently back and forth while pulling firmly. I don’t yank it out, but I do have to use some strength. If you can get that plastic holder to come loose, you can try gripping that with the pliers instead of the actual wick if it makes you more comfortable. The first time I did it, I thought it would never come out because I was having to pull so hard on it, but then the whole plastic part loosened and it was much easier after that. I hope this helps!

      • Roberta says:

        I’ve used needle nose players and work it between the plastic piece and the glass. Wiggle it and pry a little ata time.

    • Lisa says:

      I used a butter knife to remove the wick and it works great! Just push it against the bulb around and around and it comes out with no damage to the wick.

  2. I did the same and my wick shredded. I found taking a small screwdriver ( like used with sewing machine) and prying under that plastic lip will help loosen things up.
    I stumbled upon your blog trying to find away to reuse all the glass bulbs I have collected before I thought to refill them.
    They are too pretty and such a waste to throw out. Was thinking of covers for Xmas lights for a deck or tiny vases. Anyone have any ideas?

    • Daina says:

      Ah, that’s good to know, thanks! I haven’t had it happen to me (yet), and since I’ve done mine a couple of times it probably won’t, so I’d have never known any different. The screwdriver is an excellent tip!

      I think the empty bulbs would be cute bud vases, they’d just need some sort of holder. You could even put paint inside and swirl it around to coat (like with jars) and maybe put those in a vase on their own. If you paint the insides and want to use them as bud vases, make sure the paint isn’t water-based. They’d work as covers for mini lights, but I’m not sure how difficult it would be to attach them or if the heat from the lights would do anything to the bulb over time. It’d make a pretty glow, though. I’ll have to think on ideas for them as decorative elements and get back to you!

  3. ashley says:

    Thank you so much! Just did it, and am now waiting to see if I successfully did it!

    • Daina says:

      You’re welcome! I have found that different scents last different amounts of time. The lavender one I use in bedrooms lasts until the oil is gone. The cinnamon one in the kitchen, however, has no scent left but is only half empty. :-\

  4. sam says:

    hi there,

    Surely the wick still have scent in it, that would adulterate the new scent added….Any suggestions as to materials you could use to make your own new wicks?

    I’d appreciate any ideas or thoughts on this 🙂

    • Daina says:

      I haven’t had any problems with this (all of my scents have come right through–but then, I use similar scents to the original in the plug-in…), but I can see where this could become an issue. I’ve never tried it, but maybe you could use some rope wick like that used in hurricane lamps to replace the old wicks? I hope that at least gets you going in the right direction. If you give it a shot, let us know how it works out!

  5. MirelyT says:

    This is a great idea, I’ve been doing it for about a year now. I do use a butter knife to separate the wick and plastic ring from the bottle. I had a ripped or deteriorated top wick, so to inserted again to the “plug” part I wrapped the wick with a piece of paper (I used an old store receipt) wrapped it tight and inserted through. Once it snapped in place just pulled on the paper.

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