I thought about putting a question mark after the title, because I’m not sure if the word “concentrate” is the best term to use here.
Really, this post should be titled: “How to dilute peppermint oil.”
Now, I realize that the previous statement may have seemed been a bit odd, so please allow me to explain.
There are a myriad of mouthwash recipes available on the Internet. Some use vodka, some use hydrogen peroxide, some use baking soda, many have xylitol in them and practically all of them are loaded with essential oils.
I have tried several of these recipes and came to the following conclusions:
- Water based recipes that are stored at room temperature are generally a bad idea (especially if you are putting them in your mouth!). See: this article by Crunchy Betty for a thorough discussion of that topic. Yes, essential oils help to preserve homemade concoctions, but 10 – 15 drops of peppermint oil in a cup of water ain’t enough to make me feel safe using it after a week.
- I don’t like storing mouthwash in the fridge. Mouthwash is more of an afterthought for me. If I can’t see it, I won’t use it.
- Recipes with hydrogen peroxide feel a whole lot safer to me, but they are too expensive to make on a regular basis (this is due to where I live – in the states I think it’s cheaper).
- I hate making small batches once a week – (yes, this is actually a conclusion I had to come to). I will forget, and procrastinate and next thing you know I’m buying it from the store again. I do not like to do this because: cancer scares and questions about efficacy.
- A drop or two of peppermint oil in water seems to work just as well as anything else.
So, for a while that’s what I did. I would keep my peppermint oil in my bathroom, swish a drop or two around with water (as needed), and just call it good. No preservation needed. But, there is a problem with that plan: peppermint oil is too strong to be used undiluted in the mouth.
Now, I thought for the longest time that I was diluting it. I thought that mixing a drop or two of the oil in a mouthful of water was enough. I mean, that’s a lot of water right? Nope. It doesn’t count. See, oil and water don’t mix. What you get is small glass of water with particles of pure peppermint oil floating around in it. This does nothing to protect the tissue in your mouth and throat.
And so, I switched. And it worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself! Peppermint oil is great for dental health – you’ll find it (or its derivatives) in toothpastes and mouthwashes…etc.
And now, on with the recipe, shall we?
DIY Mouthwash Concentrate
You’ll need (beyond your standard kitchen equipment):
- A clean (sterilized, preferably) container for your oil mixture. I use a bottle with a dropper for convenience – you could also use an old essential oil bottle.
- Carrier oil (fractionated coconut, olive or sunflower)
- Peppermint essential oil
- Measuring as you go, fill your container of choice 3/4 of the way full with carrier oil. You should know exactly how much oil is in your bottle when you are finished.
- For every tablespoon of oil that you used, add 15 drops of peppermint oil. To give you an easy reference point, 1/4 cup of carrier oil will need 60 drops of peppermint oil. This makes a 5% dilution.
- To use, add about a half a teaspoon of the oil to a couple tablespoons of water. With my bottle, that’s about two full droppers.
- Swish, spit, and enjoy!