Homemade mouthwash

How to Make Mouthwash


Here’s my recipe for how to make your own effective mouthwash at home.  You’re going to read this and think “I could have thought of all that.”  Yes, you could have.  This is all pretty basic stuff.  But don’t let the simplicity turn you off.

A lot of people think that stains on teeth are predominantly caused by consuming dark liquids.  That is partially true.  Most people “know” dark drinks coffee or Coke stain your teeth. But really what harms teeth about these typically dark beverages is the high acid content.  The high acid content makes your enamel more porous and therefore, more prone to embedded staining (0).

Details like this are important because they change the mitigation.  Of course quitting acidic beverages is an option.  But who wants to give up coffee, Mexican coke or Orange juice? We can mitigate a lot of the acid simply by alkalizing the mouth before and after consumption. This should be done with a rinse prior to brushing as brushing afterwards may only exacerbate the enamel damage.

To be completely honest, I don’t and never have super white teeth because I’ve never really prioritized it over other aspects of my health.  They say mouth health is indicative of overall health.  This doesn’t mean you can take super good care of your mouth and become healthy because the causality likely goes both ways. As in, if you become healthier, your mouth will also become healthier.

My tongue appears as healthy as it ever has. No thrush despite lots of natural sugars. The recipe includes traditional ingredients for mouth health such as salt and baking soda. We’re also adding Xylitol, activated charcoal and Borax to the mix.  When I was drinking lots of milk before I started this, I had lots of white tongue thrush issues.

There is a risk that charcoal will adsorb some of the active ingredients in this custom mouthwash. If this is a concern of yours, I’d keep the charcoal out or just in a separate bottle for post-mouthwash use.  It’s good to use as a standalone rinse as you can rinse with it and then brush.


  1. Find an empty glass bottle or buy any commercial mouthwash you want.  The main positive side of using a real mouthwash bottle is for when normal people come over to visit.  They’ll just see a normal-looking bottle of mouthwash, not a filthy glass bottle of homemade magic.  As long as they don’t try to use it, you are safe with the commercial mouthwash bottle.   If you want to truly own your DIY-ness, then buy just a durable glass bottle with a good seal.  If you bought mouthwash, you can just use it up or dump it out so you can replace it with this amazing recipe.
  2. Fill with about 8 to 12 ounces of distilled or spring water.
  3. Baking soda powder – It doesn’t have to be this brand.  I just prefer this brand because I also use it for internal use.  Although there are some people on the internet claiming that concerns about baking soda containing aluminum are unfounded, natural mined baking soda, known as nahcholite, seems likely to contain metals such as aluminum as it would attract metals in the soil.  But those people are correct in that unlike baking powder, baking soda does not have aluminum added to it.  Baking soda is a well-known alkalizing agent that has been used in dentistry for years.  The surface loss of eroded enamel rinsed with a sodium bicarbonate solution was significantly lower than the surface loss of eroded enamel rinsed with deionized water (3).  The collective results from the five controlled clinical studies consistently demonstrate that Arm & Hammer baking soda dentifrices enhanced plaque removal effectiveness of tooth brushing to a significantly greater extent than the non-baking soda dentifrice products. (4).  Add one tablespoon to the water.
  4. Xylitol powder – It doesn’t have to be from birch.  Corn source is probably fine.  Even though Xylitol hasnt been proven effective for outer enamel remineralization, it has been proven to help increase deep and middle tooth remineralization (1).  Even in chewing gum studies, Xylitol containing gum increased the area of remineralization and the percent of remineralization in those with subsurface enamel lesions (2).  Add one tablespoons to the water.
  5. Salt – Sure, you can use expensive Celtic sea salt for maybe marginally better results, but there is no need to do so when you’re just spitting this out at the end.  Salt water has been used for years in family recipes to keep teeth strong and healthy after a meal.  I’ve heard of people’s grandmas using it for their teeth. Salt water, just like baking soda water, is alkaline so it neutralizes any acid on the teeth.  According to this site, salt water rinse was used as early as 2700 BC.  Salt is both alkaline and antibacterial.  In highly saturated solutions, it will kill the germs responsible for bad breath and gingivitis (8).  Recommend adding one tablespoon to the water.
  6. Iodine – powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent. Cheap and safe to use. Avoid swallowing this mixture or letting it sit too long in your mouth as you may absorb more iodine than you may desire. I have no such iodophobia, but lots of people do and that’s fine.  There are some commercial brands using iodine as mouthwash.  “Povidone-iodine kills in vitro all major periodontopathic bacteria within 15 to 30 seconds and exhibits a wide virucidal spectrum, covering both enveloped (eg, herpesviruses) and non-enveloped viruses. Several studies have shown a measurable improvement in periodontal status after treatment with full-strength povidone-iodine.[4] A study from Sweden[5] showed that patients who received a whole-mouth application of povidone-iodine at the time of initial therapy exhibited less periodontitis for up to 13 years after treatment.” (7).  A teaspoon of Lugol’s 5% contains about 100 drops of solution.  100 drops is about 625 mg of iodine.  Since there are 236 grams of water in 8 ounces, this gives about a .26% solution or 2641 part per million.  This should be sufficient for these purposes.  To get what the study above used, about four teaspoons of Lugol’s are needed to make a 10,000 PPM solution if you so desire.
  7. Borax – This is going to be the most controversial ingredient.  Most Ray Peat followers think boron is highly estrogenic and therefore should be avoided.  But I’ve read a few conflicting studies where some show a reduction in estrogen.  Either way, it won’t be in your mouth long enough to drastically change your overall endocrine profile. Borax (sodium borate)  is a potent cleanser and antifungal. Boron inhibits the growth of fungi at fairly low PPM concentrations  “Fifty and 4000 mg B/liter, respectively, significantly (5% level) reduced the growth of the latter 2 (fungus) species (5). If you don’t want to put this in your mouth, don’t add it. Boron is only slightly antimicrobial but very antifungal.   In another study, boric acid (which is formed by metabolism of sodium borate), was more effective (92%) at killing vaginal candidiasis than the prescription drug Nystatin (64%) (6).  Add one teaspoon to the water.  This is approximately 8.52 grams of Borax which contains approximately .962 (11.3% by weight) grams of boron. When dissolved in 8 ounces, this gives 4045 mg / L which is more than the dose used in the above study to suppress fungal growth.
  8. Activated charcoal – activated charcoal helps remove stains through it’s charge and adsorbent capacity.  It’s a pain in the ass when it’s used as a powder because it is extremely messy. But it’s very easy to use when dissolved in liquids. There are all kinds of blogs how to use this without making a mess like in the shower or whatever.  But just pre-dissolve it in a bottle and it’s done.  That said, use caution when adding it to the bottle. Use a funnel.  As I mentioned previously, this is okay to put in a separate bottle from the ingredients above as a secondary rinse that can be coupled with brushing.  The brush will be able to safely proceed as all the substances above have killed off bacteria and fungi and neutralized acid.  The charcoal is now set up for success in removing stains.  If you google “whiten teeth activated charcoal,” you’ll see plenty of sites detailing success in doing so

Shake ingredients until thorougjly blended.  Shake prior to each use. Now you’ve got a cheap, outstanding mouth wash. Use as much as you desire and especially after acidic foods.  These ingredients will mainly prevent further embedded discoloration of your teeth, and prevent surface staining.  They likely won’t completely whiten your teeth.  Something with oxygen (hydrogen peroxide) is likely required to penetrate the enamel and neutralize embedded stains.  But remember that since these products are penetrating your teeth, remember it may also cause damage to the surface enamel.


0) http://www.smileguide.com/oral-health/teeth-discoloration/

1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14700079

2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19323021

3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20662912

4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19278079

5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1086339/

6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7282789

7) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749509_2

8) http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/saltwater-as-mouthwash.htm