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Homemade Mouthwash

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I’m not sure about you, but I had a love/hate relationship with mouthwash. I liked the clean feeling, but I didn’t really like the intense burning – or the weird aftertaste. I could handle the orange Listerine…except I couldn’t handle buying it. If you’ve not figured it out, I’m pretty cheap. (Note: It is OKAY to call yourself cheap. It is not OKAY to call anyone in your husband’s family cheap. Amen.)

So, in the spirit of Stacy Makes Cents, and being on my journey to more sustainable living, I decided to give it a go and make my own mouth wash. Yes, I could just swish daily with Vodka – but see above…I’m cheap. Vodka is not. It is reserved for homemade vanilla. Amen.

I scoured the internet, and didn’t really find a recipe that I liked. So, I combined a few and did a taste test to concoct my own…I do a lot of concoctions. Sometimes they don’t work out so well – this time I hit the jackpot.

I had everything I needed already at home: water, baking soda, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and stevia. I noticed that some people liked to add a bit of vodka (about 1 teaspoon) to their mixture…but all my vodka is being vanillia-ized right now – plus, it’s not really needed.

Note: if your water is NOT filtered (we have a Berkey) then you’ll need to boil your water and let it cool to room temperature. Why? To get rid of all the ickies that might be in there. I’m not even going to tell you what the town puts in the water…this is not a horror film blog.

I used peppermint oil for the nice flavor. You could also use cinnamon, spearmint, or orange – whatever you’re looking for.

The tea tree oil is added for the antiseptic properties – to kill the germs in your mouth. Tea tree oil wages war against the ickies in your mouth. Don’t leave it out unless you’re using vodka.

Put the water, baking soda, oils, and stevia in your jar. Put on the lid and give it a good shake to combine everything.

I’m no scientist, but baking soda is awesome stuff…it’s in there to neutralize the ickies in your mouth. There are a lot of ickies in this post. Sorry about that. But really, the baking soda neutralizes the problems that give you bad breath. And yes, it’s okay to make this as a gift for any bad-breathy friends you may have…just tell them you’re experimenting. 😉

The stevia is just for the sweet flavor. If you don’t have it or don’t want it, leave it out.

It should look a little milky, like this. You might need to shake with each use if your baking soda settles.

Yes, I do have a Texas shot glass. I like Texas. I used it to get my first swish. If your whole family is using this stuff, you might want to make individual jars (in hindsight, I should have used a smaller pint jar…oops) for each person, to cut down on cross-contamination and back-wash. Back-wash gives me the heebie jeebies.

We LOVE this stuff! Really – we like it better than store-bought stuff. It leaves no after taste except a nice, clean mouth. The baking soda saltiness is a little strange at first, but I’ve grown accustomed to it and actually like it now. Bye, bye bad breath!

Oh…and just in case you were wondering the cost savings is HUGE. It costs mere pennies to make this batch if you already have the stuff. If you don’t, tea tree oil is great for having around anyway – so invest in some.

*This post is linked at Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, at Think Pink Sunday on Flamingo Toes, at Works For Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures, and at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Cool beans! It may be awhile when and if we buy a water filter. Our fridge has one for the water dispenser. Next on my kitchen list is a Bosch mixer. Come to mama!

    • When my stand mixer dies, I’m totally getting a Bosch. I can’t justify saving for one right now when mine works perfect. :-) I’ll live through you.

  2. I never even thought to make my own mouthwash. I don’t really use it, but I will have to remember this!

  3. I wonder if I could get Mike to use this. He swishes, I floss.

  4. I agree about the Tea Tree Oil, Stacy. I keep it on hand all the time. It’s good for cuts, anywhere on the body, including your mouth.
    Interesting recipe, I’ll give it a try when my own recipe for mouthwash runs out. Like you, I should have used a smaller
    Keep up the good work, Girl… reading you.


  5. I will try this! My children (young adults) spend money on mouth wash!

  6. Homemade is always so much better, isn’t it?! I use a combination of spearmint essential oil and water. It’s easy, cheap & also makes a great breath freshening spray (I put it in a little squirt bottle).

  7. I.hate.Listerine. Really. I do. I will need to remember this…I already have all of the ingredients!

  8. Brandi Lynch says:

    Hi Stacy,

    I love reading your posts! Congratulations on the new baby! I noticed that you use a lot of essential oils. Where do you buy them? I live in Bristol, VA.

  9. My dentist told me to use peroxide. I just purchase the big bottles and pour some into a glass and use it like you would mouthwash. It’s not as harsh as Listerine and it has worked well for me.

    • Becka, that is a very good option. It’s great for whitening the teeth….but I couldn’t stand the foaming and taste. It made me sick. But most things make me sick right now. lol

  10. I use diluted peroxide too. Adding some essential oils would be nice.

  11. Fascinating! We don’t use commercial mouthwash because I don’t like all the ingredients. I might just give this a try.

  12. Brilliant! The storebought stuff is expensive. I bet I’d learn to like the baking soda taste/feel too. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  14. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been wanting to make my own.

    For those of you that want to avoid fluoride (we do), don’t boil the water. Boiling water concentrates the fluoride. Another option, if you don’t have a filter, is buying a jug of reverse osmosis water from the market.

    Definitely mixing some of this up over the weekend. Thanks again!

  15. This is the very best mouthwash I have ever used. Thanks so much for the formula. I love when a “make it yourself” takes the place of “store bought”. It works and is natural. I added homemade vanilla extract because that’s all the vodka I had. Saving $$$$$ is always a turn on. Thanks!

  16. Thank you thank you for the mouthwash recipe! I love it :-)

  17. Would you happen to have a homemade general purpose cleaning solution without vinegar? Vinegar gives me headaches..
    thanks :-)

  18. I just tried it and it works great! Now I just have to convince my husband to use it. I admit, I LOVE the burn of Listerine (yes, I know… it’s weird). I think it’s the burn that convinces my subconscious that my mouth is really clean. Maybe my subconscious is convinced that the germs are getting scorched away? LOL! I can learn to live without the burn, because I’m cheap. However, convincing my husband for the sole purpose of money (or health) isn’t enough. He is ADDICTED to Listerine. And not any other mouthwash. He doesn’t let me buy Scope, or the “no-name.” It HAS to be Listerine. So this will be a giant leap for him.

    So… I will pray to the Lord. 😉 God can make miracles, you know!

    • LOL Oh, this comment totally made my day! :-) Keep me posted.

      • He tried it. And hated it.

        If only we would change our ridiculous distillation laws in Canada! Then I could make cheap alcohol for mouthwash! You need a licence to distill alcohol, even for personal use. And the licence is REALLY hard to get, and costs thousands of dollars a year. :(

        I could buy vodka… and you could think YOUR vodka is expensive! It’s anywhere from $20-30 for 25 oz (750 mL). Even 24 beers cost about $45.

        So… the convincing continues!!! :)

  19. Just made this and I love it!

  20. maremare312 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I love it and was pleased to have all the ingredients on hand (I’m a soapmaker and buy essential oils by the pound!).

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