The cost of personal care items just keeps rising. The amount of money I used to spend on products every month was baffling, especially things like mouthwash and toothpaste. I just couldn't justify another $8 or $9 bottle of chemical-loaded mouth rinse, so I did some research and found some great natural alternatives to Listerine.
I asked my dentist what over-the-counter products I could use to prevent gingivitis and he told me to rinse twice a day with hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide isn't minty and is light sensitive, so it has to be stored in dark bottles. I didn't have any nice amber containers on hand, but I did have a cute, cork-topped clear bottle that would serve my budget/pretty purposes very well. So, instead of peroxide, I ended up putting together a minty-fresh, germ-killing mouthwash of my own. The initial purchases of peppermint oil and tea tree oil are your only real upfront costs, but those two small bottles of extract will last forever and your overall cost will be just a few cents per bottle of mouthwash. Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are also very versatile and can be used in tons of other homemade products, so I promise they're worth the purchase.
You can always try a smaller batch first to see what you like, adding more or less of the oils to taste. You could also add a sweetener to counteract the mild salty flavor of the baking soda if you really can't stand it. Vegetable glycerin is a great natural sweetener and an excellent addition to the mouthwash if you prefer a sweeter taste. I also like making small batches because there aren't any preservatives in this mixture, so the smaller your batch, the less likely it will go bad in the time you'll be able to use it. Sterilizing your vessel will also extend the life of your mouthwash if you want to make a larger batch.
Homemade Natural Mouthwash
Total Time: 5 min.
1 cup filtered or distilled water
1 tsp baking soda
8 drops peppermint oil
4 drops tea tree oil
(optional) vegetable glycerin to taste
Sterilize the container you want to put your mouthwash in by placing the glass vessel in boiling water for a couple of minutes and letting it dry on a clean towel. Place funnel in top of bottle and add baking soda, oils then the water. Replace bottle cap and shake well. It'll be a little cloudy at first but will clear up in a couple of minutes when the baking soda fully dissolves. If you want a sweeter mouthwash to mask the saltiness of the baking soda, add a few drops of vegetable glycerin, shake to mix and taste, adding a few more drops as necessary until you reach your desired sweetness, then swish away!
That's all you have to do. Crazy, right? This formula works really well, better than conventional, mouth-scalding rinses. Also, full disclosure, my little bottle is actually re-purposed Patron bottle with easily removable labels. It works perfectly and the original contents were enjoyed with friends!