Herbal Homemade Mouthwash

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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. Next on the list to try was a homemade mouthwash recipe.

This natural mouthwash combines herbs that are naturally cleansing and healing to teeth and gums. Because it’s in a convenient tincture, it’s easy to use and won’t spoil quickly. I get fresh breath while it naturally kills germs and alkalizes the mouth.

Why Use Herbal Homemade Mouthwash?

Commercial mouthwash is often filled with sweeteners, harmful chemicals, and artificial colors and flavors. Some of the natural options aren’t my first choice either. Many of these contain glycerine, which can coat the teeth. That’s one of the reasons why I came up with my own toothpastes for oral hygiene that are glycerin free.

For a DIY mouthwash, I knew I needed something that would tackle bad breath, dry mouth, and gum disease without the potential side effects.

Conventional vs Homemade Mouthwash

Prescription mouthwashes contain the chemical chlorhexidine to help fight gingivitis. But their success with periodontal disease is limited. And there’s also the risk of tooth staining, mouth irritation, and rare life-threatening reactions.

Good oral hygiene doesn’t have to mean opting for irritating mouthwash!

Even some the run of the mill mouthwash on the local grocery and drug store shelves have SLS, which can cause or irritate canker sores. Making your own mouthwash helps fight bad bacteria and improve dental health in a much gentler way.

Herbs and Spices For a Healthy Mouth

  • Cloves – are used in oral care for their natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Clove oil even helps soothe 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. We use it in our Wellnesse Charcoal Toothpaste.
  • Plantain – is antibacterial and antimicrobial and is used in preparations for its ability to speed wound healing. It’s also a mild demulcent and anti-inflammatory to help soothe sore tissues.
  • Rosemary – an aromatic and cooling herb that is also antibacterial and soothing to sore gums.
  • Cinnamon Essential Oil – This helps to give the mouthwash a nice warming flavor while it fights microbes in the mouth. Cinnamon bark is more irritating than cinnamon leaf so the leaf is the preferred option here. Cinnamon is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil – You can use this with or instead of the cinnamon essential oil for a refreshing flavor. It’s also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral. Spearmint is similar, but not quite as pungent if you prefer to use that.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil – This has a unique taste in mouthwash so I like combining it with mint when I use it. Tea tree oil is helpful against a wide array of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If you don’t like the taste though it’s totally optional.

No Time to DIY?

Short on time and want some premade healthy mouthcare options? This Balanced Mouth Blend uses a blend of essential oils for a healthier mouth. Simply add a few drops to water and then swish. Here are some more options to try too:

homemade mouthwash
4.59 from 12 votes

Herbal Homemade Mouthwash

Make a natural homemade mouthwash at home using antimicrobial, soothing herbs and essential oils.
Prep Time10 minutes
Extraction time14 days
Yield: 1 cup
Author: Katie Wells



  • Place the herbs in a pint size mason jar. 
  • Pour the rum or vodka into the jar with the herbs.
  • Cover tightly and place in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks, shaking about once a day to help the herbs infuse.
  • After 2-3 weeks, use a 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 another glass jar to store.
  • Add the essential oils, return lid and shake well.


  • To use: Combine 40 drops of mouth wash with 2-3 tablespoons of water and swish in mouth for 30 seconds. 
  • Storage: Away from sunlight and heat and we recommend storing in an amber or cobalt tinted glass bottle to avoid degradation from light. 

How to Use Homemade Mouthwash

  • Keep a glass bottle with herbal tincture on the 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 oil, like unrefined coconut oil, is swished in the mouth for up to 20 minutes. This can help remove plaque and support gum and tooth health. There’s even some evidence coconut oil may be effective against the streptococcus mutans bacteria that cause tooth decay.

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

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:

This article was medically reviewed by Jessica Meyers, MPAP, PA-C, RH(AHG), who specializes in herbal protocols and functional medicine. You can also find Jessica on Instagram. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Ever made your own homemade mouthwash? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


98 responses to “Herbal Homemade Mouthwash”

  1. Ruth Carman-Esser Avatar
    Ruth Carman-Esser

    4 stars
    Can we substitute fresh plantain and rosemary for dried? It’s spring and plantain is one of the first unplanned treasures my garden gives me. (Some people call them weeds. I say a weed is merely a useful plant in the wrong spot.)

  2. CAW Avatar

    About mold growth on rim or jar mouthwash was stored in…
    Does this mean the product is contaminated or did mold grow on rim because water
    got on the top rim of the jar?
    Also should additional preservative or more vodka be added with a proof higher
    than 90% be added to prevent mold growth?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      80 proof alcohol is 40% alcohol and is generally what’s widely used in tinctures, it’s also what Katie uses. The highest alcohol I’ve been able to find is Everclear which 190 proof (95%) but I’ve never needed to use it with dried herbs. It’s hard to say why mold grew on the tincture, but it can happen if water or other contaminants get in it. It also should be stored in a cool, dark place.

  3. Shine Lee Avatar

    I been doing this for 7 years with essential oils and my Dr said it might be too abrasive for your teeth (I swish for 5-10 mins). I have tooth abrasion and getting it treated. Have you noticed this by chance. Thanks

  4. Mari Avatar

    Hi. Can kids use this recipe as well as part of their daily routine? Thanks

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      It should be fine as long as they’re able to spit and not swallow it. Essential oils like lemon and sweet orange would be a gentler option for kids.

  5. CAW Avatar

    Wellness Mama,
    Re; Mouthwash recipe
    Instead of combining it with water for individual uses could it be premixed with water and stored
    in a larger bottle to use?
    Also seeing it has dried rosemary leaf and vodka in the ingredients, would this eliminate the need for a preservative?

    1. CAW Avatar

      I haven’t used the recipe yet, but once I do I’ll be happy to reply to your request.
      Awaiting your response to my questions.

    2. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      The vodka and rosemary are not enough to preserve it in water for more than 1-2 weeks in the fridge. It should not be pre-mixed with water and left out at room temperature or it will grow microbes fairly quickly.

      1. CAW Avatar

        I never added water to the recipe, only followed directions and ingredients in recipe.
        It wasn’t made ahead of time, product was created with 3 droppers of formula to 3 TBSP water.
        So should a colored dropper bottle resolve the mold problem?

        1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

          So did you make it according to the recipe instructions and mixed a single serving size with water immediately before using it? A colored dropper bottle helps reduce oxidation, but it won’t help prevent mold growth.

  6. Misty Avatar

    Hi. I have no idea what to look for when it comes to rum or vodka…is there a certain kind to use and is this something that can be purchased online so I don’t have to go to a store to purchase?

  7. Deb Avatar

    Hi, great recipe! I’m past my 2-3 weeks now and wondering if I can dilute the entire solution (rather than 40 drops ‘at a time’) with the water and pop it into a larger bottle? Just to make it quicker to use each day! Thanks!

  8. Deb Avatar

    Hi, regarding the VODKS, is this 8oz by volume or weight? I’m in Australia and by volume it’s around 236ml, just under 1 cup. But by weight it seems I’d need a fair bit more. Can you confirm?

  9. Ruth Avatar

    Is this safe to take while pregnant? My breath has been quite bad and would like something to help my husband not be disgusted by my breath.

  10. Sarah Avatar

    Thank you for all of your useful information on non-toxic living!
    Do you know if this mouthwash recipe is safe during pregnancy? I ask because…
    I have been using essential oxygen brushing rinse as a mouthwash and love it,
    But their website says it is not recommended for pregnant women because they use cloves, which they say are not safe during pregnancy.
    Thank you in advance! 🙂

  11. Gwynn Avatar

    I am trying out making my own mouthwash. I am following your recipe technique but I have added raspberry leaf to the mix because I have read that the tannin in raspberry leaf is good for gum health. I am looking forward to trying this. Thank you so much for posting this. Gwynn

  12. karen placke Avatar
    karen placke

    The tincture turned very dark after sitting a few days (I think because of the plantain-it smells a bit like tobacco) will this stain teeth or does the peroxide mix counteract

  13. Char Avatar

    Hi, what wonderful recipes thank you!
    I just might mention here that I read oil pulling with coconut oil might cause crowns to come unglued.
    Perhaps you could check that out as I have not found proof either way.
    My tooth ‘paste’ as been coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint oil [not for taste but hopefully antibacterial[?]’
    I think I need to step it up with cinnamon and cloves for sure.
    Then again–another thought. Most cinnamon contains something awful. Is it lead? I believe the real cinnamon to use is ”Ceylon”. The people’s pharmacy talked about the dangers of the regular sold in stores.
    I bought large container of Saigon from Costco only to learn it is not right.
    The PPharmacy notes that if used in coffee grounds the bad ingredient is left behind in the filter.
    Just thought these things might be of interest to you.
    Love your articles! Keep up the great work you do!

  14. Dee Avatar

    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.

  15. MaryBeth Avatar

    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.

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