stained shirt and mouthwash

Does Mouthwash Stain Clothes?

While mouthwash is undeniably beneficial for your breath and overall dental health, have you ever wondered if it could potentially cause stains on your beloved clothes?

No one wants to face an unexpected wardrobe mishap just moments before an important meeting or a special occasion.

This article should empower you with the insights necessary to keep your clothes stain-free, all while enjoying the benefits of a refreshing mouthwash routine.


Can Mouthwash Stain Clothes?

Mouthwash can stain clothes depending on the specific ingredients found in the product. Not all mouthwashes are likely to cause stains, but certain types may pose a higher risk.

Staining culprits in mouthwash

man pouring mouthwash on bottle cap

The main culprits behind mouthwash stains are often the pigments and dyes used to give the product its distinctive colour.

These pigments, though intended to enhance the visual appeal of the mouthwash, can inadvertently transfer onto fabrics upon contact.

Dark-coloured mouthwashes, such as those with a vibrant blue or green hue, tend to pose a higher risk of staining due to the intensity of their colourants.

Additionally, mouthwashes containing alcohol as a primary ingredient may also increase the likelihood of staining.

Alcohol can act as a solvent, causing dyes and pigments to disperse more and stick to fabrics.


Fabric vulnerability

mouthwash, silk and polyester

Certain fabrics are more prone to staining than others.

Delicate materials, such as silk or satin, can be particularly vulnerable to mouthwash stains due to their porous nature.

Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or nylon, may also be at risk, as the dyes used in mouthwash can easily bind to these materials.

It’s worth noting that some fabrics, like cotton or denim, are generally less susceptible to staining, but this does not rule out the possibility entirely.

Some caution should be taken when using mouthwash near any type of clothing.


Types of Stains Caused by Mouthwash

Mouthwash stains can manifest in various forms, depending on the specific ingredients and fabric involved.

It’s essential to identify and understand these different stain types to effectively address them. Here are some common types of stains that can result from mouthwash:

Pigment stains

man checking shirt stain

Pigment stains occur when the colourants present in mouthwash transfer onto fabrics.

These stains often appear as vibrant patches of colour and can be particularly noticeable on lighter fabrics. Examples include blue or green stains caused by mouthwashes with vivid colourants.


Alcohol stains

Mouthwashes containing alcohol as an ingredient can potentially leave alcohol-based stains on clothes.

Alcohol can remove colour from the fabric, leading to unsightly patches.

These stains may appear as discoloured patches, lighter in colour than the original fabric, and can be more challenging to remove.


Residue stains

Some mouthwashes leave behind a residue on fabrics, especially when they contain oils or other sticky substances.

These residue stains can result in a greasy or sticky appearance on the fabric, making them more challenging to eliminate.


Fabric-specific stains

Different fabrics may exhibit varying reactions to mouthwash stains.

Delicate fabrics like silk or satin may experience colour bleeding or discolouration, requiring specialised treatment.

Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or nylon, can also be susceptible to stains due to their ability to absorb dyes.


Set-in stains

If mouthwash stains are not promptly addressed or properly treated, they can become set-in stains, making them even more difficult to remove.

Therefore, it is essential to take immediate action when a stain occurs to prevent it from becoming permanent.

Understanding the types of stains that can be caused by mouthwash enables us to better identify and address them effectively.


How to Remove Mouthwash Stains from Clothes

When faced with a mouthwash stain on your clothing, prompt action is crucial to prevent it from setting in.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to effectively remove mouthwash stains:

Step 1: Act quickly

As soon as you notice the stain, gently blot the affected area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can cause it to spread.

Rinse the fabric inside out under cold, running water.


Step 2: Pre-treat the stain

putting detergent on clothes stains

Before washing the garment, pre-treat the stain using an appropriate stain remover. Apply a small amount directly to the stained area and gently rub it in using a soft-bristled brush or your fingertips.

Allow the stain remover to penetrate the fabric for the recommended duration.


Step 3: Launder as recommended

Wash the garment on the hottest wash temperature that the care label on the clothing item allows.

Choose the appropriate water temperature and laundry detergent suitable for the fabric type.

It is advisable to wash the stained item separately to prevent any potential transfer of the stain to other garments.


Step 4: Check for stain removal

Once the garment has been laundered, carefully inspect the stained area.

If the stain persists, avoid drying the garment as heat can set the stain further. Instead, repeat the pre-treatment and laundering steps until the stain is completely eliminated.


drying laundry on clothes line

Step 5: Air dry and evaluate

After successful stain removal, allow the garment to air dry naturally. Once dry, inspect the area once more to ensure that no traces of the stain remain before wearing or storing the item.


We Recommend These Cleaning Agents

The choice of cleaning agent depends on the fabric type and the specific stain.

We’ve included some effective cleaning agents for removing mouthwash stains, so take your pick depending on which one best suits your needs.

Oxygen-based bleach

shirt with stain and oxygen bleach

Oxygen-based bleach, can be effective in removing mouthwash stains from white or colourfast fabrics.

Always test the bleach on a hidden area of the garment first to check for any potential colour fading or fabric damage.


Enzyme-based stain removers

Enzyme-based stain removers, readily available in the market, are designed to break down organic stains. These can be effective for treating mouthwash stains on a variety of fabric types.

Vinegar solution

clothes stain, white vinegar and blue cloth

For delicate fabrics like silk or wool, a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar can help eliminate mouthwash stains.

Gently blot the stain with the vinegar solution, then rinse and launder the garment as recommended.

By following these stain removal techniques and utilising suitable cleaning agents, you can effectively combat mouthwash stains and restore your garments to their pristine condition.


How to Prevent Mouthwash Stains

mouthwash and magnifier

Minimising the risk of mouthwash stains on your clothing is possible with some simple preventive measures.

By implementing these tips, you can maintain the integrity of your garments and enjoy the benefits of mouthwash without worrying about unsightly stains.

Be mindful of application

Take caution while using mouthwash near clothing to avoid accidental spills or splashes. Lean over a sink or basin, ensuring that the liquid remains confined to your mouth.


Dilute and swish

Dilute mouthwash with water as recommended by the manufacturer. This can help reduce the concentration of colourants and other staining agents.

Practice a controlled swishing technique, ensuring the mouthwash stays within your mouth and does not come into contact with your lips or clothing.

boy wiping mouth in the bathroom

Rinse and pat dry

After rinsing, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to remove any residual mouthwash.

Gently pat your face and mouth with a towel to remove excess moisture, reducing the risk of accidental contact with your clothing.


Consider clothing protection

If you are concerned about potential stains, consider using a bib or towel to cover your clothes during mouthwash use.

Wearing a robe or an old shirt dedicated for oral hygiene routines can also provide an extra layer of protection.


Choose stain-resistant mouthwashes

Check the labels of mouthwash products for “stain-resistant” or “stain-free” claims, as some formulations are specifically designed to minimise the risk of stains.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of mouthwash stains on your clothing.


Alternatives to Mouth Wash

If you’re concerned about the potential for mouthwash stains on your clothes, there are alternative solutions you can consider to maintain oral hygiene while minimising the risk of staining.

Water rinse

woman rinsing mouth with water

One simple alternative is to replace mouthwash with a thorough rinse using water.

After brushing your teeth, swish water around your mouth for approximately 30 seconds to help remove any remaining debris and freshen your breath.


Natural mouth fresheners

mouth freshener

Explore natural alternatives for mouth freshness, such as chewing on fresh herbs like parsley or mint leaves, or using natural mouth sprays or mints that are free from artificial colourants.


Homemade mouthwash

homemade mouthwash

You can create your own mouthwash using natural ingredients like water, bicarbonate of soda, and a few drops of essential oils known for their antibacterial properties, such as peppermint oil.

This allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any potential staining agents.


Oil pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes, then spitting it out.

This technique helps remove bacteria and freshen your breath without the need for traditional mouthwash.


Consult your dentist

dentist consultation

If you have specific oral health concerns or require a more personalised recommendation, consult your dentist.

They can provide guidance on alternative oral care practices tailored to your needs while considering any potential fabric staining risks.

By exploring these alternative solutions, you can maintain good oral hygiene without worrying about potential mouthwash stains on your clothing.




Maintaining a fresh and clean mouth is essential for both oral hygiene and personal confidence.

While mouthwash has numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential for staining on clothing.

Knowing the causes of mouthwash stains, using preventative measures, and knowing effective stain removal techniques, you can confidently enjoy the benefits of mouthwash while keeping your clothes pristine.