How To Make A Natural Antibacterial Mouthwash

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Homemade Mouthwash

Our homemade mouthwash is natural, effective, and gentle, not harsh like the store-bought stuff. It’s easy to make and costs far less than commercial brands but works just as well.

Ever watched the clock hoping you could endure the burn of your mouthwash for a full minute? I have never been able to stand the harsh burn of commercial mouthwash. So after reading about the beneficial properties of peppermint essential oil, I did what any creative DIY’er would do, I set out to make my own.

Homemade Mouthwash: Natural and Antibacterial

Yield 4 ounces

We strive to create recipes that are easy to make, inexpensive, and effective. This homemade mouthwash is all that and even has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help keep bad breath at bay.



Baking soda will settle to the bottom of the jar when not in use, so be sure to shake your homemade mouthwash before each use.  Swish about 2-3 teaspoons of this homemade formula in your mouth for a minute or two. As with any mouthwash, try to avoid swallowing this while gargling.


Feel free to double this recipe for a larger batch. Making really big batches is not recommended because the oils will continue to blend over time and flavors can change.

Homemade Mouthwash Video

Better and Cheaper than Commercial Mouthwash

A few years ago we paid $3.50 for a liter (nearly 34 ounces) of generic Listerine, and that’s about the lowest price you’ll find. If we divide $3.50/34 we get approximately $0.10/ounce for the store-bought mouthwash. Our mouthwash recipe above yields 5 ounces with raw ingredients that cost approximately $0.03/ounce.

If you were to make a liter of this homemade natural mouthwash it would cost you approximately $1.00 which is $2.50 less than the store bought.

Homemade mouthwash delivers us a savings of approximately 250%.

Homemade Mouthwash 1

Xylitol Mouthwash and Other Optional Ingredients

Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health. It is recommended by many natural dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum, and mouthwash. It is not a necessary ingredient for this natural homemade mouthwash but it will improve the taste and even the effectiveness. About 1 teaspoon is recommended if using in this recipe.

Matt just ran out of toothpaste and is whipping up a new batch that will include a bit of Xylitol and possibly even some coconut oil for better texture. (Purchase quality coconut oil here.)

Warning: Xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs. It is best to keep any Xylitol products or items sweetened with Xylitol stored safely away from dogs.


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  1. It would be wonderful if you compiled all the beauty recipes into a book like you did the cleaners. I own the book! I like having all the recipes together for ease of finding when I need them. Thanks for all you do!

  2. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol as is malitol and should not be used by anyone allergic to alcohol or has an alcohol problem.

  3. What great timing! I had it on my list to find a mouthwash since my gums have been bleeding. I just tried your mouthwash and don’t like the saltiness of the baking soda. Has anyone ever tried a salt free baking soda? Also, can you use Spearmint EO in place of the Peppermint? I seem to be sensitive to Peppermint EO. Thanks.

    • For me, the absolute best way to deal with bleeding gums is:
      Baking Soda
      Dental Floss
      Listerine (Substitute Listerine with Dr. Tichnor’s)

      Floss each tooth, well (some discomfort and bleeding will occur but will decrease and finally disappear, the more you use this treatment)

      Stir 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of peroxide in an 8oz glass of warm water. (Mixing the baking soda with peroxide and warm water minimizes the salty taste of the baking soda).

      Swish liquid around wetting all teeth & gums & spit out (*do not swallow*)

      Brush teeth & gums with your favorite toothpaste. (Some great toothpaste for bleeding gums are: Colgate Daily Repair, Paradontax, ProNamel, Sensodyne). The Dollar Store also sells a knock-off brand that works very well if funds are too tight for buying brand name toothpastes.

      Follow by gargling and swishing with Listerine or *Dr. Tichnors mouthwash. (Dr. Tichnor’s is an extra strength mouthwash and should not be used straight; mix with a good bit of water until you find a strength that works for you).

      If your gums are bleeding, your breath is smelling. (To prove it, floss 2 or 3 teeth and smell the floss. If there is an odor on the floss, there’s odor on your breath).

      Flossing along with using the peroxide, pulls the bacteria from beneath the gum line. No amount of brushing will ever do that.

      You, your co-workers, family members, friends and (most of all) your significant other, will appreciate the results!!!

  4. Thank you for your tips, I’m enjoying your website! One thing I also add to my homemade mouthwash is Aloe Vera juice or gel (anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral), and witch hazel (anti-inflammatory, and reduces bleeding gums).

    • Cindy, how much witch hazel and aloe did you add to the 1/c water? Thanks for posting this info as I am having bleeding gum problems.

  5. Yes, to one repsonse, I also only us Young Living oils, pure and can be taken internally, that way if you swallow a little while brushing it is fine.
    Question: Why is Xylitol so bad that it can cause death in dogs?

    • Great question Linda. Xylitol is safe for people and doesn’t affect glucose levels in humans, but it causes a dangerous surge of insulin when ingested by dogs. This insulin surge can be deadly. It’s just a difference in the way our bodies process it.

  6. I find this mouthwash quite nice. Thank you. May I ask if you rinse your mouth with plain water after rinsing with the mouthwash? Would this just be a matter of personal preference or would there be advantage or disadvantage either way? Appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks.

    • You can do this depending on the consistency of your homemade toothpaste. If you’re only using coconut oil/baking soda, it won’t be pasty enough to squeeze out of a container. If you’re mixing something like pure aloe vera into the paste, it will work well in a squeeze bottle.

  7. I like the mouthwash recipe you gave. Thanks. I have put it in the bathroom in a sippy cup with a cover for convenience. Of course it’s just me using it, so hygiene concerns for a family would be different.

  8. I have heard some confusion on whether baking soda contains aluminum or not? Bob’s Red Mill sells an aluminum free baking soda, but Arm n Hammer baking soda just lists sodium bicarbonate on the ingredients and says nothing about aluminum. (Not to be confused with baking powder which can contain aluminum and can be bought aluminum free) I read that the aluminum enters in the processing and production of the baking soda and that Bob’s Red Mill uses a different process. If so, would aluminum free baking soda be better reserved for hair washing, tooth powders, deodorants, and other personal care products and the other brands okay for just cleaning? Do you have any information on this? Cost of the two brands is a definite factor, if you use a lot of it. Thanks.

  9. thanks for the great article! I’m just curious… why baking soda? I don’t love the taste, so I’m wondering if I can get by without it, or if it’s a pretty crucial ingredient.

  10. Thank you both for your quick responses. The tea tee oil link in the recipe above points to Herbal Authority tea tree oil, so I am guessing when choosing a tea tree oil I should look for “therapeutic-grade” according to Tiffany’s response. Seems like most uses for tea tree oil is for skin issues and bug bites. I am new to this and I just don’t want use the wrong oil. Thank – you

  11. I am looking for a good recipe for mouthwash, I have one question about tea tree oil, the oil that I am finding in stores is stating on the label “for external use only”. Is it safe for the mouth as long as you don’t swallow? It is hard to swish in the mouth without swallowing some little amounts especially when gargling.

    • Hi Jeff. You are right about the oils that say ‘for external use only’. I am using only Young Living oils, as they are safe for internal use, directly on the skin, in capsules, etc. You need to be very careful when using something that is not therapeutic-grade, because they can have adverse side effects. Let me know if you want to learn more. There are free videos on my website that explain the difference. Take care!

  12. So glad to have found this. I’ve been wanting to make a more natural, less chemical mouthwash at home. Can’t wait to try this!

  13. I just tried it, and it was great! was surprised that i had both oils in the house, but i did. a friend recently gave me some great orange blossom organic honey so i added a tiny bit of that (took a while to stir into my mix). my garlicky salad aftertaste from lunch is long gone.

  14. Hey Betsy,
    Great to see you are steering people away from nasty alcohol laden mouth washes. keep it up.

  15. I was looking around for more ideas after great success with the diy laundry soap. This looks promising, but I have a warning about Xylitol.

    Dog caretakers beware, Xylitolis highly toxic to our canine friends. Even a small dose can cause renal failure and death. If you do chose to use Xylitol, be sure to keep it, and anything you use it in away from dogs.

    • Thanks for reminding Brian. There is a warning about the danger Xylitol poses to dogs in my original Xylitol article, but I will add one here as well.

  16. I thank you for your suggesstion, I shall try vinegar instead. My teeth are just sensitive to cold right now(Not severely but when I cannot bite out a piece of a popiscle, due to its coldness). I’m look forward to the benefits of this mouthwash. Naturalism Rules! ^_^

  17. wow !! Amazing article on mouthwash ., thanks for sharing homemade mouthwash recipe here

    • We found Xylitol at our local health food store. However, I know you can also buy it online if you don’t have a good health food store nearby.

  18. Thank you Betsy for your response, but I still do have a lingering question, as the toothpaste does have baking soda in them. I was wondering if the toothpaste is safe to use everyday without irritating the gums? As I have stopped for a day after brushing with baking soda every night and my painful/irritated gums became almost normal again. I do have a pretty minor form of receding gums but was bleeding and hurting a lot when eating/flossing/brushing a couple days ago, until I recently took a short break from brushing with baking soda.
    My current recipe is using 2 tsp of baking soda, 2 tsp of table salt and 2 tsp of 3% solution hydrogen peroxide, with some added water to make that paste texture. It seems my gums are kind of sensitive, due to receding gums, as I did have braces+retainers for quite long(I think 4~5 years). But i’m not sure if it could also be because of hydrogen peroxide, although I doubt it :/

    Well thanks for reading and awaiting a reply 🙂

      • Oh alright, although I’m expecting the dentist to recommend me to a fluoride-based toothpaste, from which I do not wish to use. I’ll probably try buying/trying tooth soap and see how that works out, with the baking soda brushing 1~2 times a week and the occasional rinsing/gargling with this mouth wash.

        Well, thank you for taking the time to read through my long posts, I really appreciate it 🙂

        • Hi Steven,
          When I started out using this formula, it was recommended to use aloe vera juice at first and then introduce the hydrogen peroxide (OMIT Salt) until your gums are not so sensitive. I think this would be more soothing to your gums and balance the pH of the baking soda. Perhaps adding Xylitol would be good as well (as it is “sweet and prevents cavities – I will be adding that recommendation into my formula 🙂

          We gargle with 1 part water/ 1 part hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse that will also deal with bacteria and whiten teeth.

          My husband and I have used this to make our gums healthier, and our dentist noticed the difference…He did not even have to clean my teeth, and that is a first !

          Hope this helps, God bless !

    • steven_ I was reading your note about yuor gums hurting.. I have experienced this and have heard before.. we believed one of the possibilities is the Hdrogen Peroxide… instead of that, maybe try Vinegar, and /or coconut oil.

      • Steven, vinegar (anything too acidic) is harmful to tooth enamel. I have sensitive and receding gums due to dry mouth. The gentlest toothpaste that works for me is plain coconut oil. You can also add a very small amount of powdered calcium and magnesium. Melt the oil, stir in the powders (less than 1/8 tsp) and I sometimes add a dash of peppermint extract for a bit of flavor. Baking soda, salt and peroxide are harsh for your gums and teeth. As suggested, check with your dentist. There are non-fluoride organic toothpaste that you can purchase as well.

        • I would not be using the solid coconut oil as this can plug up your plumbing but use fractionated coconut oil unless your’re not spitting it in the sink after rinsing

        • I will make some this weekend. Love this website, so many healthy and inexpensive solutions!

          Cindy, I have dry mouth from medications. My dentist said I needed frequent zylitol, and the best solution for sleeping is OraCoat Xylimelts. Vegan, gluten-free, it’s a disc that sticks to your gum and lasts me 3-5 hours. Can be halved with a pill cutter. No gummy residue that requires brushing afterward like other similar products. Basically like an Altoid that stays on your gum, comes in mint (strong) or mint-free. Safe for elderly or CPap patiets. Cheapest online. Works great at night.

  19. Hi! I am so enjoying yall’s site and having so much fun making all kinds of homemade stuff and learning how much money we WASTE on paying others to make this stuff for us!
    How much Xylitol would you recommend adding to 1 mouthwash recipe? Looking forward to trying this!

  20. Oh and I forgot to ask if it would be ok to just use this mouth wash, rather than tooth brush and tooth paste, even if homemade. I been using the baking soda+salt+water everyday for a week and found out that my gums are hurting a lot. So, I’m wondering if I use this mouth wash a few times a day and brush with baking soda and salt, will my teeth be alright or will it get worse?

    If i must use tooth brush and paste, what are home ingredients that you recommend and for it to not harm the teeth/enamel if used everyday?

    Sorry for long post, but i’m really confused 🙁

  21. Hi there Betsy, I have created this mouth wash that you had shared and found that it was pretty good.But i was wondering if it was safe to perhaps like 1~2 more drops of peppermint oil to the mixture and have no negative effect to the teeth or gum? I do get the strong smell of peppermint but not quite the flavor afterwards.


    • Yes, 1-2 more drops of peppermint would be safe to add, but I would not add any more than this. As with any mouthwash, be sure not to swallow during use. Happy gargling! 🙂

  22. Betsy,

    After making the mouthwash, what per use amount to you recommend?

    All the best to you and Matt!

  23. You should add Xylitol to your homemade mouthwash. It is sweet and it prevents cavities as much as fluoride and is completely safe.

  24. Not weird at all! You are resourceful, creative, frugal, and wonderful for wanting to do these things for your family! Keep it up! 🙂

  25. I really like the thing I have seen on your site I found it totally by accident. It makes me feel like i’m not weird I grind my own hamburger and bake most of my famillys bread I think that I will love the acomplishment of not having to buy these products anymore thanks again and God bless you and your work!

  26. I just thought of something…While visiting, my granddaughter asked if I had brown sugar. I said no, I just use Turbinado for everything but then said “well you know, brown sugar is just sugar with molasses in it”.. so, I got out the sugar and molasses and mixed some up. I am planning on buying two containers of sugar next time and will make one into brown sugar. I used about a half cup of turbinado to 1 to 2 tablespoons of molasses. You can make it as dark or light as you like. I thought I would share this with you. 🙂

    • I have done this for a long time. No need to buy brown sugar, and the flavor is the same (and no pounding to break a part hard, old brown sugar).

  27. I’m a frugal vegan whose about to leave for college and will have to purchase my own household needs. (Laundry detergent, for example.) I’m so glad I found your site!