If you want fresh breath, one of the things you might use to achieve this is mouthwash.
When you think of mouthwash, I suspect you visualize a large bottle of bright colored liquid (usually green/blue or pink) that has a very strong (often too strong) flavor to it when you use it.
You might also be thinking that you never have the mouthwash when you really need it and instead opt for some chewing gum or mints?
Well, what if I said you can do away with the large bottle of mouth rinse and instead have a small tablet that would do the same thing?!
Imagine taking mouthwash with you, everywhere you go.
Now you can, thanks to a newer type of mouthwash product.
Say hello to mouthwash tablets.
These offer an alternative option to regular mouthwash. They can be more convenient, and in some cases, although they are not truly ‘zero-waste mouthwash’, they produce less waste (in theory at least) than regular mouthwash offerings.
I will start by listing some of the best options available today, but you can jump to the buyer’s guide for a detailed explanation of what the tablets are, how they work and how they compare to the big bottles of liquid mouth rinse.
P.S: You may also be interested in our best toothpaste tablets article.
Our Top 4 Choices for Mouthwash Tablets
1. Listerine Ready! Tabs
These Ready! Tabs are a very convenient option for those that want a quick freshen up of their mouth and breath when on the go.
Made by Johnson and Johnson, the parent company of mouthwash brand Listerine, all you need to do is pop a single tablet in the mouth, chew it for 10 seconds, swish it around the mouth for 30 seconds and then swallow.
The tablets come in a mix of cardboard and plastic packaging. You can tear off the upper and lower part of the cardboard packaging, to make them smaller and more convenient to transport.
The result is a pack of tablets about a third taller and longer than a credit card.
Each tablet has to be popped out of the plastic/foil packaging like you would paracetamol or aspirin.
The design of the packaging is such that it has a fold out how to use part on the front, so you always have these instructions to hand, a neat touch.
The chewable tablets are designed to give a whole mouth clean and fresh feeling on the go. At the time of writing, they are available only in a flavor known as clean mint.
As soon as you pop a tablet out, you can smell the mint flavoring.
Each tablet is square with rounded corners. There is an L debossed on each side.
The tablet is all white on one side and a mottled blue and white on the other. There is a clear line around the edge of the tablet where the two colors meet. It seems like the blue and white part of the tablet makes up about 60% of the whole tablet.
When handled there is a very light dust residue that is left on the fingertips.
You do need to give the tablet a good few bites when you use it. It begins to break down, but without a few good chews, you will have a few larger pieces in the mouth still.
It does not go lumpy or powdery as you might think.
It offers a massive minty burst.
I like mint, but even for me, this was pretty strong.
The best thing I can compare it to is biting into a very strong mint, you are hit by a wave of mint. It was enough that when I breathed in, that flavor and freshness ran through the nose also.
That minty taste and sensation lasted for a good minute or so for me until it died down a little, into a more pleasant and desired freshness.
The tablets come in packs of 8 as standard.
However, depending on where you buy these, different retailers have larger bundles that include multiple packs of 8. So in these bundles, you get 16, 24, 58, 56 or 72 individual Ready! Tabs, but they are packaged within packs of 8.
Price and availability does vary.
The typical price appears to be around $4 for a pack of 8 and $12 for a bundle of 56.
As an approximate guide, a single tablet costs 50 cents when bought as a pack of 8 or 21 cents when bought in a pack of 56.
At the time of review, the tablets had an expiry date of September 2021, meaning they should last a good couple of years from the time of purchase.
What we like
- Convenience – chew, rinse, swallow
- Different pack sizes
- Pocket friendly
- Availability – Widely stocked
- Long shelf life
What we dislike
- Cost – A premium for convenience
- Taste – Can be overpowering for some
2. Lush Mouthwash Tabs
Suitable for vegans, these mouthwash tablets are made by world renowned cosmetics brand Lush who are all about natural, cruelty-free products.
Available in 3 different flavors, Brave, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and Creme De Menthe, you get a 1.5oz (45g) plastic bottle (made from recycled plastic) that contains approximately 80 tablets.
You have a screw top to the bottle to access the tablets.
Each tablet is a diamond shape and these more than others I have tested are most likely to leave a dusty trail on the hand/fingertips.
Unlike Listerine Ready Tabs, you place a single tablet in the mouth and take a little sip of water. The tablet begins to fizz, but you can chew it slightly to help break it down. You then rinse it around the mouth and then spit it out.
You do not swallow this solution.
I have used only the Creme De Menthe, which give a peppermint freshness.
Once popped into the mouth, with a few chews, the tablet breaks down. A sip of water certainly helps it turn into an oral rinse.
Of all the mouthwash tablets and powders I have tried, this has what I describe as the more gritty taste. The tablet had broken down, but there was just a rougher texture to the solution than others.
The solution was more mouthwash like and less foamy than the Listerine Ready Tabs.
A really refreshing burst of freshness was produced. Verging on intense, it quickly became more subtle and appeared to last for a reasonable amount of time.
There is just the one pack size that will normally cost around $9.95.
With 80 tablets in the bottle, this is generally going to last around 2.5 months on average and cost just 12 cents per tablet.
The tablets appear to have a shelf life of about 14 months.
On each bottle is a sticker showing the date made and the use by date. Mine were made in February 2019 and are to be used by April 2020.
What we like
- Good pack size
- Refreshing taste
- Suitable for vegans
- Recyclable packaging
What we dislike
- Not the most widely stocked
- More gritty texture
3. Georganics Mouthwash Tablets
Made in England, these tablets can be purchased in either Spearmint of Wild Thyme flavors.
The tablets take on a green or pink colored respectively.
Supplied in a glass jar, you can purchase 180 or 720 tablets at a time.
You screw off the silver plastic lid to access the tablets inside.
The tablets have a 12 month shelf life once opened.
The idea with Georganics tablets is that you place an individual tablet into approximately 20ml of water so that the tablet breaks down and dissolves.
You then place this mixture into the mouth, gargle it for 30 seconds and then spit it out.
I have used the Spearmint tablets and as you open the jar, you are not hit with quite the same intense minty hit as you are with some other products, but it is still a fairly strong fresh smell, although there is a more natural smell to them.
The tablets are smaller than the Listerine Ready Tabs or Lush Mouthwash tablets and leave little of a powder trail when handled.
Once in the water, they take a little while to dissolve and I encouraged the tablets to dissolve by using a spoon to crush them and stir into the water.
The resulting liquid is quite an intense green color, more akin to regular mouthwash.
Sadly, I was not a fan of the smell by the time the solution was ready to go, it was not all that appealing to the nose.
The taste was also a little more unusual, not as intense or sweet as others. It is harder to describe, but much earthier and I think the worst tasting, in my personal opinion, of all the products I have tried. The taste is certainly going to be a bit hit or miss for some.
In terms of lasting freshness, it was disappointing in comparison to the others also, it was much more subtle overall.
Compared to the very convenient options where you can simply place the tablet in the mouth, chew, rinse and swallow this is the least convenient, but typically works out to be one of the most cost-effective options.
20ml of water you need to dissolve the tablet in is approximately the same amount of liquid you would use if you were using a pre-mixed liquid mouthwash like Listerine.
180 tablets, will generally last about 6 months, if you use just 1 tablet a day.
Priced at $11.54, a single tablet works out at 6 cents.
Opt for the 720 tablets (ideal for couples or families) and the cost drops to just 3 cents per tablet.
What we like
- Good pack size
- Natural ingredients
- Reusable packaging
What we dislike
- The least convenient mouthwash tablets to use
- Taste will not be for all
- Lasting freshness was not as good
- Not the most widely stocked
4. One Drop Only Mouthwash Concentrate
Form: Liquid concentrate
How to use: Mix, rinse and spit
Buying options: Amazon
German made One Drop Only is a liquid concentrate mouthwash.
Packaged in a cardboard box, inside you find a glass bottle.
There are 10, 25 and 50ml options. I have the larger 50ml.
On first glance, it looks like a bottle of aftershave or eau de toilette. The slightly loud label and red cap makes it clear the packaging is not quite as refined as you might get from a cosmetics company.
The idea is that you place a drop of the concentrate into 15ml of water.
The concentrate mixes with the water to create a less intense and more useful solution that you then rinse around the mouth and spit out, like a regular mouthwash.
You are not meant to swallow this mouthwash.
The convenience here is the smaller pack, compared to a normal oral rinse. You add the water yourself rather than buying the rinse pre-mixed.
To use it, you unscrew the red cap and tip the concentrate into a 15ml glass of water you have ready.
You unscrew the red lid and are hit with the concentrated smell of peppermint.
Initially, I thought it would be hard to control the flow of concentrate out, I thought I would pour too much. However, the design is such that only 1 or 2 drops do come out, without a bit of shaking of the bottle.
This concentrate should last you at least 1-2 months. Although likely less if you were to use it the suggested 3 times a day.
When mixed with water this really gives the taste and experience much like a regular mouthwash.
There is a definite intensity to the flavor and cleansing sensation although the liquid is clear like water, no intense colors.
Alcohol does form part of the mix and you can taste this. Seeing as many don’t like the harshness of alcohol in mouthwash some people will want to avoid this.
The freshness did last.
With one of the largest ingredient lists of such products, this concentrate is more akin to traditional mouthwash than tablets or powder really.
At around $16 for this 50ml bottle, I think this is fairly competitively priced and is similar to regular mouthwash prices.
Once opened, it should be used within 12 months.
What we like
- Strong concentration
- Glass bottle
- Bottle design allows only a couple of drops at a time
- Lasting freshness
What we dislike
- Alcohol will not be for everyone
- Longer list of ingredients
- Not the most convenient option
Let me explain all there is to know about the mouthwash, now in the form of a tablet.
By reading, you can learn how they compare to traditional mouthwash liquid (which we have covered thoroughly in our best mouthwash article) and why you might want to make the switch.
What are mouthwash tablets?
Mouthwash tablets are a solid alternative to regular mouthwash that is usually supplied as a liquid.
The tablets are normally a compressed powder, that becomes a liquid upon being placed into the mouth or mixed with water.
Typically small round tablets, they are shaped similar to tablets you might get if buying aspirin or paracetamol.
There are also mouthwash products that come as a powder or a liquid concentrate.
Tablet, powder or concentrate, they achieve the same results as a regular mouthwash but are supplied in what many would consider a more convenient form factor.
Other names for mouthwash tablets?
Mouthwash tablets are the most popular and commonly used name for this type of product. However, there are some other names they are known by:
- Mouthwash tabs
- Mouthwash powder
- Mouthwash concentrate
- Go Tabs
- Ready Tabs
- Chewable mouthwash
- Zero waste mouthwash
- Eco mouthwash
- Solid mouthwash
Whilst the majority are in a tablet form, some do come as a powder or a concentrate.
What do mouthwash powders and tablets replace?
The tablets, powder and concentrates are designed to be an alternative to these bottles of mouthwash that most of us are familiar with.
Bottles of mouthwash are primarily water, which adds to the overall size and weight of the product.
Doing away with the water, the tablets are a smaller, lighter and a more environmentally friendly approach.
How are mouthwash tablets better for the environment?
These tablets, powders and concentrates leave a smaller carbon/environmental footprint.
This is achieved in a couple of ways.
The first way is through generally requiring less raw materials to create the packaging.
Because they do not contain liquid (water) the volume of the product is less and the packaging requirements are not as great.
The second and perhaps the largest impact is the implications of shipping these smaller and lighter products.
Whilst this is not a scientific answer, some basic calculations show just how significant a difference there is between tablets and liquid mouthwash.
Take a 1 litre bottle of Listerine mouthwash. This weighs approx 35oz/2.1lbs (1kg (1000g)) and will last approximately 20 days, if you follow their usage guidelines.
Compare this to a bottle of mouthwash tabs from Lush cosmetics that weighs in at 1.5oz (45g), and in fact, give 40 days of use, not 20.
Each bottle of mouthwash tablets is a staggering 33.5oz/2 lbs lighter.
When you consider the additional size and weight of the Listerine bottle and the millions that are sold each year, you do not need to be a genius to work out that using a liquid mouthwash takes up a lot more space in lorries and it requires a lot more fuel/natural resources to transport all of these.
It also takes up more space on the shop shelves, in your shopping bags, etc.
That 35oz bottle of Listerine mouthwash is the equivalent weight of 22 packs of mouthwash tablets.
22 packs of mouthwash tablets could last you 880 days or 2.4 years.
That’s pretty incredible right.
Well, now let’s assume you stuck to Listerine for the same 880 days. You would need 44 bottles of Listerine. That is, 96lbs in weight, 94lbs heavier than the tablets.
There are 327 million Americans and according to Mintel 62% use it as part of their daily routine.
If the data is accurate, 202.7 million Americans are using mouthwash daily.
Now, let’s assume that all 202.7 million switch to mouthwash tablets.
If we took the earlier stats of 2.1lbs of mouthwash tablets being equivalent to 96lbs of Listerine, that is potentially a 94lbs saving per person (over 880 days).
Multiply the 94lbs saving by 202.7 million and you have a total weight saving of 19,053,800,000lbs.
The average semi truck and trailer carry 80,000 pounds. Not having to move 19,053,800,000 pounds of mouthwash around the country could mean over 238,000 fewer journeys, which will mean less CO2 being emitted. That is a sizeable potential impact to be had.
The maths might not be perfect, but you get the idea.
Benefits of mouthwash tablets
The positives of mouthwash tablets are:
- Convenience – The small tablets are easier to carry and move around rather than the larger bottles of mouthwash. You can use as and when you please with a little more ease. Some can even be swallowed.
- Eco-friendly/packaging – When offered in a tablet, powder or concentrate form less packaging is required, because the item is smaller as the largest volume item, water, is removed from the equation. It also means less weight to transport.
- Zero waste options – Whilst there are few brands that are offering completely zero waste options for mouthwash the tablets allows this to be achieved or at least closer to it than the regular mouthwash products.
- cost-effective – They are actually more cost-effective than many bottles of mouthwash.
Negatives of mouthwash tablets
The drawbacks to mouthwash tablets are:
- Availability – Although improving, there are fewer companies and brands offering mouthwash tablets and these are not widely stocked. You often have to shop online or visit a particular outlet to find them.
- Variety – There isn’t the variety of flavors in the tablet form as there is the liquid.
- Specialist options – There isn’t currently the specialist options you have available with liquid mouthwashes. No mouthwash tablets available today (as far as I know) include fluoride and limited options that are designed to specifically target conditions such as gum disease or dry mouth.
Are they better than regular oral rinse?
The answer to this question is ultimately personal opinion.
For the average individual, the tablet or powder mouthwash does the same job as the liquid option.
The tablets provide a refreshing and fresh breath sensation we desire.
In many cases, it is more convenient, because you can take the mouthwash powder or tablet with you on the go.
However, as some tablets require water, this might not be quite as simple to use in comparison to the bottles of oral rinse that contain it in a liquid form already.
From my own use, I am not able to say that a bottle of mouthwash was any better in offering that freshness than a tablet.
That said, some options were a bit more natural tasting with not quite as pleasant taste during and after use. It may be a case of finding the ones best suited to yourself.
For those who have been advised to use a specialist oral rinse, then these tablets, at present are not better or a viable alternative.
Where I think all will agree they are better is the environmental impact that comes as a result of using them.
When do you use them?
You should not use any mouthwash, tablets or liquid straight after you have brushed your teeth.
Rinsing having just brushed your teeth can undo all the good done by the brushing.
Rinsing with mouthwash should really be done at times when you do not have a toothbrush to hand and you want the refreshed feeling.
A common time people might make use of mouthwash is after lunch or after snacking mid morning or afternoon.
This then is why tablets are a great option, if you are away from home and want to refresh on the go.
How do you use them?
How you use mouthwash powders or tablets does vary slightly.
From what I can tell there are 3 main approaches, listed below. However, always consult and follow the instructions/directions provided by the manufacturer, before using.
- Chew, rinse and swallow (The most convenient)
This type of tablet allows you to place it in your mouth, chew it so it mixes with the saliva, rinse it around your mouth and then swallow it.
- Chew, rinse and spit (The most common)
These products allow you to place the powder or tablet into the mouth, chew and mix with saliva or a small amount of tap water, rinse it around the mouth and then spit it out.
Mix, rinse and spit (The least convenient)
This type of powder or tablet is designed to be placed in a small amount of water, given time to dissolve (or be mixed). It is then placed into the mouth, rinsed around the mouth and spat out.
All tablets and powders use a different variety of ingredients.
This will not apply in all cases, but as a general rule, the number of ingredients tend to be fewer in the tablet and powder options, compared to the pre-mixed liquids.
A large number of manufacturers use more natural ingredients whilst some still do use and rely upon man made ingredients and safe chemicals.
For the sake of example, the ingredients list for Lush Creme De Menthe Mouthwash tabs are as follows:
- Dicalcium Phosphate Anhydrous
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Citric Acid*
- Malic Acid
- Menthol Crystals*
- Peppermint Oil*
- Peppermint Powder*
- Titanium Dioxide*
- Synthetic Fluorphlogopite
- Tin Oxide
- color 19140:1
- color 42090:2
- color 77491
Those marked with an asterisk (*) are natural ingredients, whilst the others are safe synthetics.
The ingredients of Listerine Ready! Tabs are:
- Acesulfame K
- Bulking Agent
- Calcium Carbonate
- Flavorings, Carrier
- Cellulose Gum
- Hydroxypropyl Cellulose
- Brilliant Blue FCF
Cost – Are they worth it?
Yes, they are.
Unlike many products that command a premium for being a bit more environmentally conscious, this is not the case here.
Using the Listerine and Lush products as an example again, a 1 litre bottle of mouthwash is around $6.50, whilst the tub of tablets costs about $9.95.
However, the bottle lasts 20 days, whereas the tablets last 40. 2 of the bottles will total $13, but you only need 1 tub of tablets, which are $1 cheaper.
Georganics mouthwash tablets cost approximately $11.54 and last 90 days, if you use it in an equivalent manner to Listerine. Over 90 days, you would need to buy 4 bottles of Listerine at over $26. That is a $14 saving by going with the tablets.
Yes, individual products and prices vary and in some instances, you need a small amount of tap water to use the mouthwash tablets, but all things considered, they are generally the more cost-effective option.
Where to buy mouthwash powder and tablets?
Depending on your location will depend on where you can buy these products from.
Most of us can buy the products online and have them shipped to us.
In some instances, it is possible to visit local retail stores and buy them off the shop shelf. We hope these opportunities increase.
We have included a variety of online buying options in the product-specific sections above.
There are a number of frequently asked questions about mouthwash tablets and powder. Here are the most common complete with answers.
What do they taste like?
It depends on the particular product you chose to buy, but most stick with the mint flavoring which is common amongst mouthwash and dental health products.
Are they messy?
No. Whilst some tablets are a touch dustier and leave a very slight powder residue, the majority are well compressed and leave no mess behind.
If crushed, they do leave a powder trail, that can easily be cleaned and likely do a little less damage than liquids if spilled.
Do they taste chalky or go lumpy when bitten?
The vast majority do not. I cannot comment on all brands of mouthwash tablets, but most quickly transform from a powder to a liquid, without the sticky, chalky and clumpy texture that can exist in some cases.
Can you swallow them?
It depends. The vast majority are not designed to be swallowed. However, particular products such as Listerine Ready Tabs are designed to be swallowed like you might a mint or sweet.
Always check the packaging and instructions before doing so, it will usually make clear if safe to swallow.
Are they suitable for vegans?
Yes, they can be and the vast majority are.
It is however always worth double checking the ingredients or with the manufacturer.
How do I store my mouthwash tablets?
You always want to keep the tablets or powder out of contact with water as this causes the reaction and turns the product into mouthwash.
Some tablets come in packaging where they are sealed and that seal is broken each time you use a tablet, like a pack of paracetamol or aspirin.
Powders often come in small sachets (much like sugar sachets you may get at a coffee shop) that are designed to be thrown away once opened and the powder used.
The majority come in small plastic or glass jars with a lid to keep them fresh and out of contact with water.
If traveling or you want to take tablets with you, then popping into a small bag/container can be a convenient way to take them with you wherever you go.
Have you used mouthwash in the form of a powder, tablet or concentrate?
Which do you use and why?
Are there certain things you like or dislike about using them?
Let me and other users know your opinions know, your input is valuable.
And of course, should you have any questions that I have not answered, just ask.