Commercial mouthwash usually comes in plastic containers but there are better options in more eco friendly packaging. So, give these zero waste mouthwash options a try.
Zero waste mouthwash comes in recyclable packaging like glass and metal and contains natural ingredients like mint oils. Mouthwash can also be made at home using alcohol, spices and herbs.
Why use zero waste mouthwash?
Mouthwash comes in plastic bottles with plastic caps and plastic seals. That’s a lot of plastic that’ll end up in the landfill within a month or two.
Say no to the plastic!
There are mouthwash options that come in eco friendly packaging. Glass is infinitely recyclable – meaning it can be recycled over and over again. The same is true for aluminum.
Besides packaging, commercial mouthwash has some problematic ingredients too. For instance, Listerine Freshburst contains:
- eucalyptol (the main compound in eucalyptus oil, but also found in rosemary and sage)
- menthol (the main compound in all mint plants and oils)
- methyl salicylate
- thymol (the main compound in thyme and its oil)
The inactive ingredients include:
- sorbitol (a sugar alcohol)
- poloxamer 407 (a foaming agent)
- benzoic acid (preservative)
- sodium saccharin (artificial sweetener)
- D&C Yellow No. 10
- FD&C Green No. 3
So, this particular mouthwash uses natural antimicrobial compounds as its active ingredients plus alcohol to keep your mouth feeling clean and minty fresh.
But do you need to be exposed to flavoring, poloxamer 407, and colorings? I don’t think so.
There are zero waste mouthwash options that can do the same job. Here are just a few.
Best zero waste mouthwash brands
This gentle mouthwash is dentist-formulated.
It contains extracts of blue-green algae and seaweed which provide minerals like calcium and magnesium.
CoQ-10, echinacea, organic essential oils and extracts are also in the mouthwash. The oils and extracts include rosemary, chamomile, cypress, thyme and menthol.
So, it has a few ingredients in common with Listerine.
But, the mouthwash is alcohol-free, fluoride-free, fragrance-free and sulfate-free.
As for packaging, it comes in a locally-sourced glass whiskey flask with an aluminum lid. Recycle both materials to minimize your waste.
Here’s another dentist formulated mouth rinse.
This one is made with aloe vera, licorice root, holy basil, and calendula which are well known to contain anti-inflammatory compounds.
The mouthwash also has peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, tea tree oil and white oak bark. These are powerful antimicrobial agents.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener for this alcohol-free, zero waste mouthwash.
The packaging is a glass bottle which can be recycled or repurposed. The lid, however, is made of plastic.
This is another dentist-formulated, alcohol-free, fluoride-free zero waste mouthwash.
It contains water, xylitol, calcium acetate, nano silver and mint flavor. That’s it.
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that may help to reduce cavities and nano silver neutralizes acids to maintain good pH balance in your mouth.
If you’re not a fan of mint mouthwash, try Elementa’s cinnamon clove one. It’s good!
The bottle and lid are stainless steel and it’s reusable. The company also offers mouthwash refills in a pouch – but the pouches are made of plastic.
This one is not a traditional mouthwash per se. It isn’t water based, it’s oil based.
If you are into oil pulling, you’ll definitely want to try this one.
Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic custom of swishing oil in the mouth to coat the tongue, teeth and cheeks. Coconut oil and sesame oil are usually used since they are proven to be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
This mouthwash is made with ethically-sourced coconut oil, spearmint oil, tocopherol, and limonene. Both oils plus limonene are the active ingredients and will do wonders to maintain your oral hygiene.
As for packaging, the product comes in a recyclable aluminum bottle and lid and a compostable box.
Still can’t give up your Listerine? Try Marvis’ mouthwash – but be sure to dilute it.
A few drops of the concentrate mixed with water will leave your mouth and teeth feeling clean and incredible afterwards. And, you’ll still get that minty fresh taste and feeling to last for hours.
This mouthwash has similar ingredients to Listerine.
It has water, glycerin, poloxamer 407, sodium lauryl sulfate, flavor, propolis extract, sodium saccharin, xylitol, sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol, citric acid and limonene.
They aren’t exactly great ingredients.
But the packaging is better. It comes in glass with a plastic lid.
Homemade Zero Waste Mouthwash
There are lots of online recipes for making your own DIY zero waste mouthwash. Almost all of them use essential oils.
Personally, I use and enjoy essential oils, but I won’t be gargling with them.
Essential oils are powerful. They are not meant to be ingested. They can burn your skin if you use them undiluted. If they become oxidized, they can cause hives and rashes.
Not everyone is sensitive though. You may be one of the lucky ones that can gargle with the oils. But, another member of your family (especially kids) could be sensitive or allergic to them.
So, I suggest using tea instead of the oils.
Remember the section with common mouthwash ingredients?
The active ingredients in that Listerine included eucalyptol, menthol, and thymol. I have plants in my garden with those compounds: mint (contains menthol) and thyme (has thymol). Brewing the plants together will give you a minty, earthy tea.
Mix 1 part alcohol (like vodka) to 4 parts of this tea and gargle. Think of it like a mojito mouthwash without the lime juice! Ha! If it is too strong, dilute it!
Cinnamon, clove, and rosemary are other antimicrobial herbs and spices. You can brew them too and use them to make your own mouthwash.
If you want an alcohol free zero waste mouthwash, mix baking soda into your brewed concoction.
Check out Bottega Zero Waste’s Youtube video for her DIY recipe. She uses clove, turmeric and baking soda.
Another option is to salt water gargle. It’s simple and proven as an effective way to kill oral microbes.
More Ways to Maintain Your Oral Hygiene
Using a zero waste mouthwash isn’t the only way to maintain your overall oral hygiene.
Flossing is very effective for removing food stuck between your teeth. Without flossing, oral bacteria feed on the sugars in the food to form acid and plaque. Both can damage your tooth enamel and cause other oral problems.
Tongue scraping is a must. I’m a big fan of it. It truly is an important step in my oral hygiene routine. Scrape your tongue to remove all the build up and microbes on there.
Trust me! Your mouth will feel fresher and cleaner for longer.
Eat less sugar. Oral bacteria love sugar and act on it to produce plaque. So, reducing your oral intake of sugar will immediately improve your oral hygiene.
Ok, it’s your turn. What is your favorite zero waste mouthwash? I’d love to hear about what you do.