Herbal Mouth Wash Recipe

Herbal Mouth Wash Recipe Tutorial

Our family has now completely switched to a natural oral health routine. We eat to boost oral health and even make our own remineralizing toothpaste.

The one thing we hadn’t used since changing our oral health routine was mouthwash, as most commercial versions are filled with chemicals and artificial colors and flavors.

This homemade herbal mouth wash was the solution for us. It combines herbs that are naturally cleansing and healing to the teeth and gums in a convenient tincture for easy use.

This herbal mouth wash cleanses and freshens the mouth while naturally killing germs and alkalizing the mouth.

Cloves are traditionally used in oral health preparations for their natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Clove paste and clove oil even help sooth toothache or minor cavities until they can be healed or filled.

Peppermint adds the traditional mint flavor, but is also antibacterial and cooling to the mouth.

Plantain is antibacterial and antimicrobial and is traditionally used in healing preparations for its ability to speed wound healing.

Rosemary is an aromatic and cooling herb that is also antibacterial and soothing to sore gums. I got most of the ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs, including:

Herbal Mouth Wash Recipe


  • 8 ounces of rum or vodka (for tincture)
  • 1 tsp dried cloves or clove powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried Peppermint Leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dried Plantain Leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary Leaf
  • 15 drops of Cinnamon or Peppermint Essential Oil (or more to preference-optional)


  1. Place herbs in a pint size mason jar. Pour enough boiling water over herbs to just dampen all of them. (this helps release the properties of the herbs).
  2. Pour the rum or vodka into the jar with the herbs and hot water.
  3. Cover tightly and put in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. Each day, shake the jar to help the herbs infuse into the alcohol mixture.
  4. After 2-3 weeks, use cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer to strain the herbs out of the tincture. Discard the herbs and pour the tincture into small dropper bottles or other glass jar to store.
  5. Add the essential oils, return lid and shake well.

How to Use Herbal Mouth Wash

Keep glass bottle with herbal tincture on bathroom counter with a small cup or glass.

For each use, mix a mouthful of water with about 40 drops of the tincture and swish well for 30 seconds.

For extra cleansing, add 40 drops of the tincture to a half and half mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water instead of plain water and swish for 30 seconds.

Mouthwash Alternatives:

If you’d prefer to avoid the hassle of making mouthwash, oil pulling can be a simple one-ingredient alternative. The basic idea is that an oil, like unrefined coconut oil, is swished in the mouth for up to 20 minutes as a way to help remove plaque and support gum and tooth health. There is even some evidence that coconut oil may be effective against the streptococcus mutans bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Though oil pulling is somewhat controversial and experts debate its ability to whiten teeth or benefit other parts of the body, they all seem to agree that it is a safe and effective alternative to mouthwash.

Here is a full tutorial about how to try oil pulling.

Other DIY Products for A Healthy Mouth:

If you enjoyed this recipe and like making your own products, you might also enjoy these other natural oral health products:

Ever made your own herbal mouthwash? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Love the idea of home made mouthwash, but what alternative to alcohol could be used?

    • I would like a alternative to alcohol as well. Do you have any ideas?

    • You can make tinctures in apple cider vinegar as well.

    • Non alchol witch hazel

  2. Hi, in mine i use myrrh EO, echinacea root, and peppermint EO to boost receding gums.
    I had gums trouble after first pregnancy, and like you, i had all the blabla dentist talk.
    Since i passed to all natural teeth care, everything is almost back to normal.

    • Can receding gums be helped with natural remedies without grafting? My dentist pointed out that I have that problem (now after baby #2).

      • Yes… have you heard of OraWellness? Their founders reversed severe gum issues and if you email them they can offer some suggestions…

      • i had a issue as well with receding gum surrounding a crown. after doing research i learned that aloe vera juice is good for gum disease. ( organic lily of the dessert- inner fillet) i am a living witness it does work. after brushing my teeth with a natural toothpaste( tea tree- neem- wintergreen oils w/ baking soda) i swish and swallow with 1 to 2 oz twice daily. i have been using for approx 9 months. i would recommend researching essential oils as well for gum issues. hope this help. i know post is more than a year old , but maybe info will be beneficial to others.

        • Thanks JLC I found your comments very interesting and will certainly be trying out the aloe vera and tea tree toothpaste

        • Thank you your post certainly was beneficial to me. I have issues with my gums receding and it is great help.

  3. Can you just dilute the tincture with water and store it in a bottle ready to use instead of putting drops in a mouthful of water each time?

    • You can, but it will make a tea not a tincture so it won’t store more than a day…

      • I thought it was a little weird to use alcohol. I don’t think I would do that for little kids because they kind of swallow toothpaste and mouth wash a lot.

  4. If I dont have any of the leaves can I sub for clove, rosemary, and peppermint eo?

      • I couldn’t find all the dry ingredients either so would like to use EOs instead. I’m fairly new to using essential oils, how much of each would you recommend if it’s a substitute for the dry ingredients?

  5. I have used your remineralising toothpaste and it has worked wonders. I love LOVE love your site

  6. Hello there! Quick question: My husband and I are TTC #2 and I’ve ready that you should stay away from Peppermint and Rosemary Essential Oil (shame since they smell so wonderful together). I read that they were estrogen inhibitors or something like that. Will using them in this capacity be cause for concern if one is TTC or in the 1st Trimester? PS: Loving your site! Thank you so much for posting great Homemade Natural Recipes =D

    • In those concentrations and just in the mouth, I would feel comfortable using them while TTC or pregnant. Best of luck!

  7. I heard you can’t take mint with homeopathics….do you know if this applies to cinnamon as well? I would like to make this but may omit the peppermint. Love your blog!! So grateful for you!!

    • I have never heard that this applies to cinnamon as well as they are in different plant families..

  8. Hey, silly question 😉 what if I accidentally added the essential oil to the mixture to infuse…do I need to toss and start over? Thanks in advance and thanks again for all your recipes! 🙂

    • Nope… its ok, just keep it covered so they don’t evaporate…

      • Ok, thank you so much! 🙂

  9. hello i am from mexico.. can you tell me what exactly are cloves..?? i tried to look it up but can’t find what it is.. is it garlic???? thks…

    • It is a spice that is often used in pumpkin pie…

    • Cloves= clavos en espanol

  10. can you use almond oil in place of the alcohol? If so, would the oil be the same amount of the alcohol?

  11. Hi,
    I must say I love your site and recommend it to everyone and anyone that has an interest in health!
    I just have a question…. This mouth was has to be stored and shaken daily for 2-3 weeks….BEFORE using it or am I reading this wrong?
    And what would be the approximate expiry date on this mouth wash?

    thank you so much for your amazing work!

    • It will be more potent if steeped that long before using, though technically you could use it same day…

  12. just to say I made this and started using it recently … it is really great! The bleeding in my gums is almost completely gone and I am hoping it will go completely if keep using it. Thank you for this great recipe!!

  13. What is the shelf life?

    • I was wondering the same.

  14. Is it okay to use a quart-size mason jar or will the excess air do something to the mixture?

  15. I assume I could use fresh plantain, rosemary and mint from the garden, and just use more (1 tsp dried = 1 TBS fresh)? Thanks!

  16. Is this ok for sensitive teeth?

  17. This sounds quite tasty.

  18. How long that it last, I mean with the ingredients you gave, how many days does it last, if its meant to be used daily? Great recepy I will try it. Thank you.

  19. People asked before but I never saw an answer. How long will this last? I assume since it’s an alcohol tincture that it will last a few years (if you don’t use it all by then that is!) Also, I have very sensitive teeth and when I’ve used things like the Listerine Whitening and other uber powerful mouthwashes, my teeth HURT. Would this recipe be likely to make the sensitivity better or worse? Love your site!!

  20. I’ve just used watered down tea tree oil.

  21. Hi. First of all I wanted to say I absolutely love your site. I am a new reader and I can´t stop reading it. I love every recipe. And I learn A LOT. Before paleo I was crazy cosmetics purchaser. I think I know every label in the market. I am serious. I loved going to Sephora. Now I have very simple routine and I can´t be happier (my budget is very happy too) but truth be told from time to time I miss the fancy little bottles and the smell of some cosmetics although most of them make me sick now.

    Thanks to you I learn to prepare my own cosmetics and all of them are absolute hit. Even my family and friends adore it. They are like: “ohhh please I want to try a new mask already”. It really makes me happy and I really get creative. Once you have basic knowledge the possibilities are infinite.

    Soooooo, I wanted to prepare this mouth wash but I live in Spain and I am not able to find plantain leaf. Unfortunatly the shipping costs are very high if I order it abroad. Please can you reccomend me another herb???



    • Hi Selime
      I have the same problem I cannot find plantain leaf here in Thailand. But I have done some research in to the other herbs beneficial for oral health and after reading this article ( http://voices.yahoo.com/the-amazing-health-benefits-herbal-sage-5888172.html ) I decided to use sage (salvia officinalis) instead of plantain. I have often issues with inflamed gums around my crowns and small ulcers on the palate and I am sure that sage will be a great help!

      Love your site Katie, it has been single most useful site for my transition to healthy / green lifestyle, Thank you so much for all your research!

  22. Is it okay to use fresh mint leaves if I can’t find dried peppermint?

  23. Hi Wellness Mama, I love your site and have adopted quite a lot of your ideas….. my acne cleared up almost overnight by making the diet changes. Thanks so much!! I recommend your website to anyone who will listen!

    I have a question about Hydrogen Peroxide. I went onto Amazon (UK) to buy some, but I found various types with differing food grade percentages (usually 3% or 35%). I want to use HP as part of my oral routine but also for cleaning purposes and the different % have varying price tags. Can anyone advise what % I need to use for oral health please? I may decide to buy two lots, with a lower % for cleaning depending on what recommendations I receive. Thanks!

  24. My tincture is ready! Now what is the water, peroxide ratio if I were to mix it with the tincture and store everything in a dark glass bottle? Thank!

    • What Wellness Mama has given directions for is how to make an alcohol based herbal tincture, which should keep at least for a year in a cool place/room temperature, out of direct sunlight. The alcohol has preservative properties that keep the mix from going bad. If you add additional water or other liquids to it, that would probably change the lifespan of the end product, and perhaps also make it so you had to store it in the refrigerator, vice at normal room temperature.

  25. Can I use witch hazel instead of Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide?

    • Well, witch hazel is an astringent, but it’s not antibacterial. It’s also not designed for ingestion.

  26. I use a lot of your recipes and love them. I like the tooth powder than the toothpaste and my kids do too. I have been toying with the idea of making my own mouthwash, so naturally came here to look for a recipe. I actually have bee thinking of making a mouthwash without alcohol but with a carrier oil, such as sunflower or sesame oil with a little (very few drops) of tea tree or oil of oregeno with peppermint. I know it wouldnt be a “mouthwash” but I think it would do the trick to freshen the mouth in a safe and non alcoholic way. What do you think?

  27. Thank you very much for this great idea.

    Can you suggest any non alcoholic alternative to the rum and vodka?

    Will appreciate your answer on this.

    • Apple cider Vinegar works too apparently

  28. can we replace the alcohool by apple cider vinaigre?


  29. I know this has been asked, but I never saw the answer. Can you add water to the alcohol tincture as a whole instead of each time you swish? If so, what ratios would you recommend? Thanks so much for the help!

    • Hello, I was reading that some people wrote that they want alternative to alchohol in ingredients list and was wandering why? is this because alchohol is bad. I mean its only for mouthwash so your not going to swallow it, its just to gargle/rinse. I would have thought alchohol was a good cleanser, or is it bad full stop,? cause some people use it to relieve of pain in teeth or any other ailment in body probably acts as a relaxer, but I just thought that it would be a good cleanser along with other ingredients due to possibly its heatness properties would burn bad bacteria and act as a cleaner, make mouth feel fresh, but of course not to drink, just gargel/rinse.

      • I think some people have children who may accidently swallow.

  30. Hi! Is it possible to use hydrogen peroxide in the tincture as opposed to rum or vodka? I’m only 19, so I can’t purchase alcohol that would be used for drinking, and I already have hydrogen peroxide in my house. Thanks!

    • Emma-many people have suggested using apple cider vinegar in place of the alcohol. If you do a little internet research for alternative tincture bases (or something similar to that) you should find more info!

  31. hello. im a graduating student and i will be doing a feasibilty study about guava leaf mouthwash. i will use the same procedure as yours but the ingredients that i will use are
    • 6-10 young tender guava leaves
    • 8 ounces of rum or vodka
    • 15 drops of Cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons dried Peppermint Leaf
    • Filtered/distilled/mineral water

    im having difficulties in researching whether the ingredients will go along with each other. do you think the ingredients will make a good mouthwash or do i need to add/omit something? im also wondering about the exact measurements of the ingredients that i will need to use. thank you in advance.

  32. Hi

    Has this mouthwash helped you with receding gums? Or is it the tooth paste that you make? I have read apple cider vinegar is not good for one’s teeth – how about alcohol?

    • Alcohol isn’t acidic like ACV, so I would guess that would be the difference and alcohol is used in all dentist approved mouthwash, so I’ve never had aproblemw ith it.

      • Katie I read a couple of years ago that incidences of mouth cancer were rocketing and it was being put down to the alcohol in mouthwashes!!! Can you comment on that please or offer any advice?
        Many thanks
        Kindest Regards
        Trudy x

  33. Hi there. First, I’d like to mention how much I love your site, next, I’d like to ask if I could use something other than alcohol? You see, I have the misfortune to be deathly allergic to alcohol, so for obvious reasons, I can’t use that for a tincture base. Is there anything else you could recommend instead? Thanks a lot! You’re awesome for sharing all this.

    • Possibly salt water? It would definitely not taste as good but a salt water rinse is great for the mouth and you could add herbs to it?

  34. Hi,

    Could you possibly assist, i am having a challenge with recurring mouth ulcers. What can you recommend? they attack on the tongue or inside the cheeks, i cant eat right now. Please help

  35. Mercy, My daughter’s chronic mouth ulcers went away when she gave up wheat. It is a common side effect for people who have a gluten intolerance. She used to mix equal parts benedryl and pepto bismal and swish in mouth, it was very effective.

  36. Hi I love all your recipes and have been using several of them thank you so much 🙂 I was wondering if there was a way to make this a bit more kid friendly? My daughter totally hates mint so trying to find another way..Thank you!

  37. Can this be used while nursing?

  38. Hi there,
    Was just wondering if I could make this mouthwash with essential oil instead of making the tincture first.
    Thanks for your wonderful informative blog 🙂

  39. Do your kids use this mouthwash? Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship recently blogged about bug spray and said peppermint EO isn’t safe under the age of 6. Is it ok in this concentration?

  40. When I make a tincture I use fresh herbs and pour 100% vodka over them then let them sit for 6 weeks. Shake the jar daily for the first 2 weeks. Then strain out the plant material. The alcohol will dissipate when added to the water.

  41. Thanks for the post! 2 suggestions, I added powdered calcium, (for remineralization as in your great toothpaste) and I noticed that commercial mouthwashes are really only 1 to 5 parts alcohol to water. Also only used EO and not the leaves of the plants, I am a bit worried about pathgens, so i figured the EOs were safer. I used clove, peppermint, cinammon leaf oil, and a few others I had in the house.