The Secret To Making Your Own Antiseptic Mouth Rinse

This is a guest post by Kim B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest – where you could win $100 cash. (This contest ends on June 5 2011 so get busy)

When TSHTF, if it’s bad enough, there may be no way to purchase much in the way of mouth washes, pastes and so on. If you don’t know how they’re made or how to mathematically figure it out then you’re going to be left without a means of trying to help yourself. Going through a period of TSHTF, life will already be “trying as it is” but adding in a problem with your mouth will make life a living hell. If you’re independent and intelligent a nice infection can turn you into a grouchy, defenseless, whimpering baby because, with the pain, your mind will be overtaken and you may be unable to think well. You don’t want to be vulnerable when TSHTF so it’s time to take your mouth health and how you’ll handle it into some serious consideration.

It wouldn’t be great if you’re eating scratchy, crunchy foods that make contact with your gums, wearing dentures that rub your skin the wrong way or picking your teeth with a pointy object that punctures your skin and you get a sore spot because if any germs get in then you’re going to be in for the typical “infection roller coaster ride” with all of the perks of pain, salty taste, inflammation, possible loss of appetite, etcetera. With no way to nip it in the bud you know you’d be suffering endlessly but your situation may not come close to that because might decide to make your own antiseptic mouth rinse and chase those little unseen pests called “bacteria” off, or at least die trying.

Take it from someone who’s had experience with this sort of thing. Yes, me. Cavities, a small amount of plaque buildup around a few teeth, inflammation, pain, the list continues on to what, at the time, seemed to be almost endless. Three trips to the tooth doc and I was all fixed up and on the road to recovery, so I thought. For over a year my gums, teeth and everything were fine, but wouldn’t you know it? All it took was to floss the wrong way and breech the skin ever so slightly, didn’t even feel it happen, and back to an inflamed state with infection to soon follow. The little thing that decided to take up residency in one part of my gums decided after a few weeks that it would find a new locale for partying because it was becoming a little overcrowded at the upper level of the Infection Café. So, it packed it’s bags and went to the basement of the spacious Jaw Room and a few weeks later some of it’s friends headed on over to the 1st and 2nd stories of the Wisdomless Hotel all the way across Don’t Hate My Needle Town. It’s been much quieter these days but I don’t trust them because you know how friends are. One minute they can hate each other, the next it’s like they never split up and they’re back at it.

I know that it’s good that I have gone through another bout with my gums because I’ve found some things that are working to heal them, namely an antiseptic mouth rinse. I didn’t know that it was going to work but I bought it anyway and it’s helped immensely. The swelling goes down a little more each day, the exposed nerves which won’t tolerate a salt rinse no matter how mild a solution it may be aren’t feeling the pain that they’d been going through, I can chew food again and life is looking up once more.

When I looked at the back of the bottle for instructions for using it I also examined the ingredients, active and inactive, and next to them I found that the makers used measurements that tincture-makers use which happens to be “ml”. At first it didn’t occur to me that the company had used “ml” but when it hit me, I was overjoyed. At times, I make tinctures and I always use a short glass, like a shot, with “ml” (milliliter), “oz” (ounce) and other markings upon it’s side which makes it convenient to measure alcohol, water and other liquids.

Upon examination of the information on the rear of the container, I saw that the mixture contained water, sweeteners, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and coloring. Nothing out of the ordinary. The contents were good tasting, pretty looking, nice smelling, not harmful unless swallowed at the dose used for rinsing the mouth because hydrogen peroxide is not edible. In the warnings section, I read that the product should not be used for more than a week and, if symptoms do not clear or get worse by then, see a doctor. Thoughts rolled through my mind…stop using it on the eighth day…don’t swallow too much of it…I can put it in my mouth and it can go all over in there… This was confusing to me because anything that goes under the tongue is absorbed very rapidly, much more so than the process of “on top of the tongue”, and is the preferred method of medicinal administration of aspirin in hospitals during a cardiac emergency. The same is true with many homeopathic medicines although some vials do not state to dissolve them in that way. I know that even the most poisonous of substances can heal in the correct amounts so I have not worried that the small amount of hydrogen peroxide that I am administering to myself, being absorbed into my system via under my tongue, will be any different. I also can’t help but remind myself that radiation is much more deadly but in the same token it is being used to help people live.

The seven day limit for using the rinse arrived and I was left with the dilemma of what I could do to continue using a rinse which was working because all that I may need is a little more time. I sat with the bottle for about half an hour before realizing that I could safely take this matter into my own hands and make my own mouth wash. I wouldn’t do that with a broken bone or brain injury but, in this situation and under my circumstances, there was no other alternative.

If I was going to make my own mouth treatment, I was going to have to figure out what main ingredients I would have to use and how much. Looking at all of the ingredients, there was water, (drinking) alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sweetener and flavoring. The alcohol, which I suspect to be the base for sterilizing and killing off infection, is likely Vodka which was listed at 4.1% or .041 which, after doing some math, is equal to 19.68 ml. The hydrogen peroxide was listed at 1.5% or .015 and is equal to 7.20 ml. The entire bottle contains the standard 16 fl. oz. (fluid ounces) or 480 ml. After converting percentages to decimals I came out with the correct measurements for each ingredient. To find the milliliters for each ingredient, I did a few quick multiplications and received the answer I was looking for.

This is what it looked like when I was calculating for exact measurements no differently than I would when making an actual tincture. Alcohol: 480 x .041 = 19.68 (ml); hydrogen peroxide: 480 x .015 = 7.20; 19.68 + 7.20 = 26.88 ml. To find the amount of water and other ingredients I had to subtract the total of the alcohol and peroxide from the amount contained in the bottle: 480.00 – 26.88 = 453.12 ml.

An important feature to tinctures is that the amount of alcohol may range from 20% and on up with the lowest percentage helping the person or company manufacturing it to make it very inexpensively. It is possible to use solely distilled water as your carrier but because it contains nothing that will keep the herb and liquid pure and sanitary, it may spoil or be worthless in the future. Without alcohol or a true preservative to keep it, there is no guarantee.

Having the exact figures, I was able to measure out everything and put it all together before adding sweeteners and coloring. To concoct my antiseptic mouth rinse, I measured out 480 ml of distilled water and removed as close to 26.88 ml of it as I could, to allow room for the peroxide and alcohol, of which I chose to stay on the low side because I would later add small amounts back to it to tame it down, if needed. I poured the water into a steam-sanitized dark glass bottle, measured and added the peroxide and then the remainder of the alcohol. I shook the mixture a few times, opened it and began adding liquid sweetener in small amounts until it reached a taste that I could tolerate. I really appreciate the flavor and ability of peppermint, I generally use it in oil form, to give a bold smoothness to the nasals and cool and soothe the skin especially when irritation is present. One drop at a time, until it reached about the right flavor for my taste buds, I had the level of minty freshness that I wanted. When I was finished with the rinse, I tried it out and it was as good as what I had bought from the store. I’m not stuck with using only Peppermint and have been interested in adding Wintergreen and mixing up other flavors as well but for now I’m staying with my current recipe. The bottle is now in storage, ready to use at any time. Whenever money is tight, it is fun to go shopping at home. Please don’t blame me if what you make doesn’t turn out right because there is always room to make adjustments. If you have too much water in it, add more alcohol. Or, if there’s too much alcohol then add more water. If you make it too sweet then you’ll have to add and taste one ingredient at a time until you get it just right. Experimentation is the key when messing up or, if everything has gone wrong, starting over might be the next step.

If there were no doctors, knowing how to ferment corns, grains, pumpkins, apples and other foods and decreasing the substance down to the proper degree will never leave a survivor without their antiseptic medicine. Alcohol is one of the best medicinal items to have on hand because it is good for wounds, sedation, relaxation, sanitation, infections, etc.

If I were an alcoholic I would still make the mixture but allow the vapors to dry off before using it or I might just harvest the herbs that are needed, prepare them like a tea and rinse for a minute or two as I would with the alcohol-based wash.

There are several herbs that you can buy that are already prepared which are astringent and ideal for helping your mouth such as Witch Hazel which should not be swallowed, Lavender oil can be added to a rinse or a few drops added to a sugar cube and absorbed under the tongue, most Willow barks and White Oak bark, I’ll let you look up that one. If you don’t want to or can’t use peroxide for any reason then the herbs can be used in it’s place as all three have healing qualities. Just remember that when using fragrant or aromatic substances, you should test your wash after each addition to keep your senses from being overpowered or the mixture from tasting too strong, causing it to be, sort of, on the side of a turnoff.

I never expect immediate or instant results because herbs and other “natural” medicines take time but I am always sure of one thing and that is that my problem will be resolved if I’ll just stick with it. Through experience I know that, equal to the medicines of the pharmacies sold throughout the world of today, herbs have always been around and they work at about the same rate of speed. The conventional doctor that you would see nowadays will say that there are only so many of one type of drug offered but with “natural” medicine, when one does not work or seems not to, there is always another that can be used. If that doesn’t seem possible, recently water went into my ear when I was washing my hair and my ear became very infected. It had drainage, was so swollen that it was puffy, I couldn’t hear well and I was suffering a fever. I didn’t have anything for it because money’s been tight, the herbs and tinctures have been a little low for a while, and there was nowhere else to turn. After the short examination, the doctor said I had something like Swimmer’s Ear and he explained that what had caused the infection was similar to, but not, a yeast infection. I was sent with a prescription to be filled, thankful for Wal Mart and their $4 plan, but when I went over the included information papers several hours later I learned that I couldn’t use it if my ear had a perforation. I was feeling disappointed and hopeless. I needed an antibiotic so I grabbed my tube of triple antibiotic ointment and lightly slathered it on, around and just inside my ear. I had success with the ointment because the infection cleared by the next morning and the healing was finalized within a few short days. When I found out that I could not use the medicine, I returned to the pharmacy that same day and told them of my trouble. They notified the physician but there was nothing more that he could do for me because that was the only medicine available. It was disheartening because that was all that scie!
nce coul
d come up with to treat the problem that I had. When the late hours of the day had come, I was wishing for some “natural” medicine because my options wouldn’t have been limited to just one.

Whether an addict or not, I’d still have alcohol, grow herbs and make my own medicines because WTSHTF they will be extremely valuable to myself and others.

I know where my medicine is going to come from and I hope you do, too. What are your plans – please share with us in the comments below…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Man, really great that you could figure that out. I wish I was that great at figureing out stuff. But I would consider it a miracle if I found a commercial product that worked. Fantastic article.
    Teeth and Mouth problems are awful. So if you can find a remedy and then figure out how to make it yourself , that is super dooper, especially if it is a SHTF situation.
    Me I would have brushed my teeth, rinsed with Hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with water, and drank the booze.

    • Denise in Northern Ireland says:

      Ellen I read your reply to my husband, and he couldnt stop laughing . When he did stop he says he thinks your way would be better lol.

  2. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    I am not a dentist and no one will let me play one on TV . . .

    Learned this recipe for DIY anti-septic at the old Countryside forum many moons ago. Needs only two ingredients – hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

    Dunk your toothbrush (or pour) the H.P. on your toothbrush, than sprinkle the baking soda on top of it. Then scrub your teeth on both sides top and bottom very well, TAKING CARE NOT TO SWALLOW ANY OF THE MIXTURE! Spit it all out, and then rinse out with water.

    The 1st time you do this, your gums will sting a little bit, but in time, will decrease after several times. You do not need to do this every time you brush, twice a week is more than enough.

  3. Charlie says:

    Ellen, M.D.’s approach to the problem is admirable but I’m with you.
    Brush, rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide, then water and drink the boos.

    Baking soda in a paste with water makes a good toothpaste replacement in an emergency.

  4. fwrotte says:

    For god’s sake do a little research before you publish stuff like this. Hydrogen peroxide is NOT “not edible” in moderate amounts. In fact your body naturally produces it to kill viruses and bacteria. The warning is for the ALCOHOL. Both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide will kill bacteria but hydrogen peroxide is considered safer because it does not have the side affects of alcohol, including alcohol’s killing of healthy tissue. Hydrogen peroxide, by itself, has been used as mouthwash for decades. It foams and leaves a funny taste in your mouth so companies reduce the hydrogen peroxide, put in sweeteners, and add alcohol.

    • I think the main idea was when the SHTF they can make it themselves. And by putting the ml’s on the bottle the amounts were easy to figure out. I thought it quite ingenious.
      Yes, alcohol kills good tissue. Hydrogen peroxide is not good for continual use, only on those puss loaded wounds. Our doctor told us that when my late husband was taking care of his feet and the many toe’s he was losing, as it also irratates live tissue in a lot of cases.
      I think the taste of the Hydrogen Peroxide that you were looking for is the taste of sucking on paper.
      The alcohol well I think a lot of people would leave that to their own interpretation. I personally don’t drink, can’t stand the stuff, but I ain’t in a drastic situation yet. And if it meant killing a little live tissue to get rid of bacteria the booze wins.

  5. mountain lady says:

    Thank you for a very informative article. I am really lacking in the knowledge of natural remedies, but I am starting to learn. Thanks again.

  6. blindshooter says:

    Good article, my dentist told me to mix HP and Listerine 50/50 for a rinse. Been using it for years about three times a week. Got all my teeth and minimal gum receding according to the Doc. That sounds a lot like Kim’s mixture with out doing all the math….

    I have a bunch of the store brand mouthwash that’s close to Listerine stored but I know HP won’t keep very long so I have less of that. Even when its weak I think it still works for the gum problems. Wonder how long it will be of some use?

  7. vinegar is also a good mouthwash. it kills germs and helps heal gums. Straight vinegar doesn’t taste that bad but can be cut down. Also works well on yeast infections. Add salt to it and make a brine to sooth any sores.

    vinegar is distilled alcohol. Works good on salad too!

  8. I think brushing is the most important step in oral care, and not the “stuff” on your brush or in your rinse. If you don’t have anything but a tooth brush and water, still brush.

  9. Great artical, people take for granted the health of their mouth. I do also use the peroxide and baking soda method mentioned and it works well.

  10. Great article , thank you for sharing .

  11. Luddite Jean says:

    A thought-provoking article. It’s something I’d considered but not actually got around to doing anything about. I think in the back of my mind, I was going to use salt water or straight vodka (whisky, brandy..)

    When the SHTF, your liquid sweetener will be impossible to get – however, a good substitute would be silver birch sap, because it contains the natural sweetener Xylitol, which is actually good for your teeth, as it helps the enamel stay strong – some studies have even suggested that it helps rebuild thinning enamel.

    I’m amazed that the antibiotic cream helped with a yeast infection. A better substitute would have been Canestan or other anti-candida (thrush) cream. The drops would have been fine unless your perforation was recent – eardrum perforations usually heal (with scar tissue, unfortunately) – I know, I had one.

  12. I know that mouth health is something that a lot of people(Me included) have a tendency to forget about in a SHTF scenario. This is great food for thought and something I had never considered until now. I am going to have to look into alternative oral hygiene methods and see what will work for me. Thanks M.D. for something else to think about.

  13. Doug Pearson says:

    The Listerine & Hydrogen Peroxide at 50/50 sounds very good to me.

    HP will store for longer than “general knowledge” says it will. If you leave the bottles sealed and store it in its original opaque brown bottle and keep it away from “summer in the garage” heat, it will last for years and years. I work in a college’s chemical stockroom and we’ve found some quite old HP that I thought would be plain flat water at this point. Surprise! It was pretty close to “new” strength after 8 years.

  14. Mud Puppy says:

    For mouth pain (or just about and surface skin pain) Echinacea (pale purple cornflower) works well. It has antiseptic, antibiotic and numbing properties. The strongest part of the plant is the root which I use to make tincture but even the leaves if dried and powdered can be used either directly or by use of strong tea.

    For toothache some will swish the tincture some will chew the root if they have it. I have one young man who kept coming for the tincture and did not go to a dentist at all, I mean is been years, now it no longer works for him. Point is eventually something has to be done if the tooth is truly bad.

    Years ago I had severely burned my hand and was stuck in the position of standing by a bowl of ice and water. I was putting my hand in for 5 -10 seconds for relief but then couldn’t take the cold any more so I’d pull it out. After 10-15 seconds the pain would push me to submerge it again. No one else was around and I was not thinking well at all. I don’t know how long I was doing it but at least 30min. I finally called a friend who asked if I had any Echinacea at all. I had some in capsules so he told me to empty them into a bowl, took me awhile with only one hand free. Then the hard part, I had to pull my burned hand out of the water and sprinkle the dry Echinacea all over it and wait for the water already on my hand to soak in. It felt like forever but probably took 3-5 min. Suddenly I could think and the pain wasn’t so bad at all. I was able to lightly bandage the hand. I used chickweed salve with some echinacea mixed in and a light cotton dressing. It worked really well. Eventually I was told I would be scarred for life and probably would use most of the use of that hand. About a month later I was using the hand fine and although I don’t remember how long the surface wounds took to heal, its now years later and there is no sign for the wounds.

    Guess I should note I was not where I could get to a doctor or hospital at the time because I would have gone, just had to make do.

  15. you may want to check out MMS also called the Miracle Mineral Supplement brought to us by Jim Humble. you can use this product against any type infection and is really really a cheap alternative to antibiotics. either google MMS or go to – for the specifics on this. I have used it to get rid of colds and flu,but it has also proved its worth against the likes of Malaria, aids, cancer, and many other ailments.
    every prepper should avail themselves of this. it would definitely have helped with infected gums or mouth. be well be safe

  16. TexasScout says:

    You stated that you read on the bottle that the hydrogen peroxide pecentage was 1.5%. HP from the store most commonly comes as a 3% solution. So, did the bottle have 1.5% of a 3% HP content or was there a 1.5% BY VOlUME solution of 100% hydrogen peroxide in the bottle.

    My dentist told me years ago, when you have gum problems pour baking soda in the cup of your hand and pour hydrogen peroxide in it to wet it. Brush with it rinse, repeat. I have used hydrogen peroxide straight out of the bottle as a mouthwash for years.


    • SrvivlSally says:

      That would be 1.5% by volume of the strength that HP comes in. Of course, if that is too strong then less can be used.

  17. Paintedmoose says:

    Good idea for a mouthwash. I just brush with a wet toothbrush twice daily and floss about 3 times per week. After flossing, I swirl and rinse with peroxide. I spit out as much as possible and leave the rest, not taking anything in my mouth for 5-10minutes afterward. Ever since I stopped using toothpaste, even fluoride free ones, my mouth has been healthier.
    For ear infections/inflammation, I swear by garlic and olive oil. I crush a couple of garlic cloves in with a mortar and pestle and put in some extra virgin olive oil. I then put this thru some cheesecloth which I tie off and let soak in the olive oil. After a couple of hours or overnight, I gently squeeze the cheesecloth with the garlic into the olive oil. I pour the garlic/olive oil mixture into a dark dropper bottle. You can put the drops directly into your ear or onto cotton a put that in your ear. This solution also works on wounds and on toenail fungus along with oregano leaf oil.

    • Luddite Jean says:

      An old country remedy for ear infections was to peel a clove of garlic, shape to fit the ear, wrap in muslin, then insert into the ear and leave for 3 days. It stinks to high heaven, but works for me. You must wrap the raw garlic in muslin, or it will burn the delicate skin in your ear.

  18. TexasScout says:

    Thanks, I know what YOU used. I was wondering what strength was used in the product you tried to duplicate. Was it 3% or 100% by volume. There is a huge difference. 1.5% of a 3% solution in a volume of 450ml is next to nothing.

  19. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Kim B, thank you for the interesting story. I would never have gone to all the trouble you did to make a mouthwash. I would have guessed about the amounts and learned from trial and error – providing it didn’t kill me in the mean time. LOL I have learned a few things from your story, thanks again.

  20. I have found that sea salt does a great job of washing teeth. Makes them go all white and salt is a very good disinfectant. They use it in hospitals. Another option would be sage tea as a mouth rinse but I have to say that your method sounds like it might work if you have the ingredients handy but if not sage is quite resillient if the shtf.

  21. Not so sure mouthwash is nearly as important as toothbrushes and floss. Be sure you have enough of them and you’ll be fine. Get in the habit of keeping the toothbrushes and floss your dentist gives you each time you visit and you’ll have what you need.

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