DIY: Homemade Mouthwash

Recently, I finally went back to the dentist after a lazy year of no visits. I was due for my six-month check-up right as my morning sickness kicked in… as someone who has serious dental-visit-anxiety, the last thing I wanted to do during my first trimester was visit my dentist.

Well, as you can imagine, it wasn’t pretty. I’m pretty adamant about my dental hygiene (although I’m not the most consistent flosser), but despite that, I was born with cavity-prone teeth. I ended up having to go back for some fillings and let’s just say after that reminder, I decided to become even more serious about my tooth care routine.

I thought about the bottle of  electric-green-colored mouthwash under the sink and how good it would probably feel to start using, not to mention the healthy benefits of it for my teeth.

But then I thought about the ingredients in it and figured there had to be a better way. Maybe a natural version at my local natural food store?

And then it hit me, we’ve talked about homemade deodorant, and I’ve tried my hand at homemade toothpaste, how hard could be to make my own mouthwash?

Luckily I had a great reference book on hand from the library, Do It Gorgeously by Sophie Uliano. I had to return it before I could really make good use out of it but I was at least able to successfully use one recipe from it and that was the Mint Zinger Mouthwash.

Before I get to that, can I just point your attention to what’s in that green bottle under my bathroom sink? 

Photo by Inha Leex Hale

While its active ingredients are simply derivitives of natural oils, those “inactive ingredients” leave a little to be desired and include cancer-causing, mouth-flora-altering ingredientssuch as alcohol, sorbitol, polaxamer 407, flavoring, sodium saccharin, and and a couple of types of artificial food colorings.

A simple google search of any of those will bring up pages of concerning (and conflicting) information. And you know what? I’d just rather not take a chance with the artificially colored stuff.

It reminds me of that old commercial from when we were kids where the kid is looking for a drink in the fridge… what does he see? “Milk, purple stuff, Sunny D.” I’m starting to become more and more suspicious of the purple stuff. And the blue stuff. And the green stuff.

Homemade Mint Mouthwash

Mouthwash is great for our mouths. This homemade version is antibacterial so it will not only help keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of unwanted debris, but it also will help with breath freshness. Making this recipe from scratch will even save you money as many of these ingredients you probably already have on hand at home.

This recipe makes about fourteen ounces and can be stored for two weeks in a dark, cool cupboard. Use it in the morning and the evening. 

Mix the following together and pour into a repurposed bottle of some sort. 

1 cup aloe vera juice (fairly inexpensive at Trader Joe’s among other places)

1/2 cup distilled water (I just used filtered)

1 tbsp. witch hazel

2 tsp. baking soda

20 drops peppermint essential oil

The taste of this mouthwash definitely differs from the store-bought conventional type, but I got used to it after a few times. It leaves your mouth feeling fresh and minty, using nothing artificial to get you that feeling!

Have you tried any homemade mouthwash before? If you’re looking for even more ways to use peppermint essential oil and would like a chance to win some, head on over to our contributor Krissa’s blog, More Than Mundane before Sunday night, November 6th.

About Nicole

Nicole can be found blogging at her lifestyle blog, and is the editor of Simple Homemade. She loves to read, sew, make ice cream, take pictures, watch baseball and go for walks by the beach with her hubby and three little kiddos. She loves anything handmade and is affectionately known as a bit of a hippie among family and friends.


  1. I’ve never tried homemade mouthwash, but I’m willing to try it after reading the ingredients on the bottle of mouthwash we have under our sink.
    Rebecca´s latest post: Growing Fall Greens

  2. What kind of witch hazel do you use? Where do you get it? I’m looking online, but I’m finding that which says don’t eat it and that which is preserved in alcohol. I love this idea!
    Susanna´s latest post: September photo catch up!

    • I used a brand called Humphrey’s. I didn’t realize it had alcohol until I just checked the label! It does have less of a percentage than the store-bought mouthwash under my sink, though, so that made me feel better. ;)

  3. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that actually kills mouth bacteria that causes cavaties (and other bad ones too.) The Finnish started using it in WW2 and then discovered (as a happy surprise) that their rates for cavaties and ear infections in kids went way down. It’s also a very low glycemic sweetener for diabetics and such. Ingesting it however takes some getting used to. It tastes great (just like real sugar) but can upset tummies till folks are used to it. That’s mainly cause it’s killing off bad intestinal flora (like Candida Albicans).
    I’m gonna try your recipe with some Xylitol to make my own mouthwash!

    • Yes, I’ve heard of xylitol being good for teeth, too– that would be a good addition (and for sweetness, too!).

  4. I’ve never used mouthwash much, but this looks like a fun experiment. Maybe even a project for the kids to try with a variety of essential oils. Spearmint and Orange might be yummy!

    I think the distilled water should be 1/2 *cup* ?

    Thanks, Nicole!

  5. That’s an interesting recipe! I wouldn’t have thought of using aloe vera or witch hazel. I have made my own after my husband purchased an all natural one made out of Hydrogen Peroxide. Dentists/ orthodontists will tell you to use diluted hydrogen peroxide to fight infections, and help clean around braces. It’s been sometime, and I don’t remember everything I put in, but that was my base, diluted with distilled water. I know I added peppermint oil, and maybe stevia because I didn’t want to go buy xylitol.
    There was a lady I knew who had cancer in her mouth and one of the first questions her doctor asked her was do you drink, and do you use mouthwash (alcohol base). Interesting!

  6. I am definitely making this! I have everything except the aloe vera juice…so I’ll pick some up next time I’m at TJ’s. Can’t wait to try this! That book sounds interesting too…I’ll have to check it out.
    Krissa´s latest post: Ten Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil {Giveaway}

  7. I had been looking for a recipe for mouthwash, this is the first one I have seen using witch hazel and aloe juice (which I happened to actually have). I had been saving the perfect bottle for making my own brew and when I saw this I threw it together in a matter of minutes and am super pleased with it! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi, I live in Indonesia and never hear about witch hazel, but hopefully I can find it on big grocery stores. My question, what is witch hazel look like? Is it powder or liquid form? I browse on google and find bottled ‘distilled witch hazel-for skin tonic nd cleansig lotion’. If that witch hazel you use, is it safe to chew?
    I get confuse with fresh witch hazel, bcos in Indonesia, we’re using a lot of fresh ingridients for many herbal formula

  9. This is great. If I can hunt down these items over here in Asia (where we live), I will give it a try! I read somewhere that chewing on a whole clove can freshen breath…not sure if it does anything for the teeth, though.
    Rachel @ The Travel Pen´s latest post: My Foray into Chinese Medicine

  10. Oh that’s a great easy recipe, we been using an herbal toothpaste and mouthwash that we love from Vita-Myr. It has the Xylitol that Sonia mentioned (that’s interesting about the killing of bad intestinal flora Sonia I’ll have to look into that)

    It also has clove oil (so yes Rachel clove is great!) clove is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory which helps in curing periodontal disease. It also has Myrhh as in “Frankincense and Myrrh” which helps fight plaque. Also zinc is a key ingredient that has a bunch of clean mouthy (and immune boosting) benefits. :)

    I don’t know how easy it is to get a hold of those ingredients to make your own but you probably could.
    Chris´s latest post: Vita-Myr: A Natural Gum Disease Treatment and Bad Breath Banisher

  11. I just wanted to tell everyone something that my dentist told me about morning sickness, or any other illnesses that can cause vomiting.

    My dentist told me that when you vomit, the acid softens your enamel, and if you brush your teeth right after vomiting, you will brush away your enamel. She told me that you can rinse with tepid water, but wait AT LEAST two hours before brushing your teeth. The two hours allows the enamel to harden, so when you brush, you won’t be brushing soft enamel off your teeth.

    Once enamel is removed from teeth, you can never get it back. So, it’s important to take care of your enamel.

    Vomiting is not the only thing that can soften your enamel. Anything with acid in it can cause softened enamel. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, and tomatoes are only to name a few of the foods that have acid in them. I would encourage people to look online for acidic foods, and when eaten, wait two hours before brushing teeth.

    I hope this is helpful to anyone reading this. :)

  12. I want to try this. Where would I get the peppermint essential oil from? Do they sell it at certain stores or is it something I have to buy online? Thanks!

  13. This is a fabulous recipe! I turned to DIY mouthwash and toothpaste because the natural ones (ie. JASON/TOMS to name two) are quite expensive when compared to conventional ones. I use a cap full of mouthwash to 1 cup water in a waterpik. After brushing AND flossing you would not believe the food particles that still come out in addition to using the waterpik!

    My suggestion: INVEST IN A WATERPIK (use it with the mouthwash); your teeth/gums will thank you for it! Perhaps it will also mean less cavities when going into the dentist next time :)

    Happy mouths, teeth, and gums!

  14. Terry S. says:

    Can I sub hydrogin peroxide for the aloe vera juice?

  15. Which one of this ingredients kill the bacteria?

  16. I don’t think xylitol is ‘good’ for teeth persay. I’m suspicious of the claim. I think it’s more the act of removing one more ingestion point of sugar that is good.

  17. Here’s my recipe for homemade herbal mouthwash: My family swears by it!

  18. everyone must use mouthwash because they kills all those germs and bacteria which later becomes reason of cavity and gingivity.thanks for sharing.

  19. It has been two years since you posted this, are you still using this recipe and how have your dental check ups been?

  20. would it do any harm not to use baking soda? Meaning would it still work.

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  1. [...] had looked into homemade mouthwash previously, but was intimidated by the specialty ingredients (aloe vera juice anyone), but then I found a recipe that only included things I already had around the [...]

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