Making toothpaste was one of my first zero waste DIYs. As it turns out, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to keep your teeth clean – you can even use plain old baking soda and get by. Before my fiancé and I started going zero waste, we used Kiss My Face toothpaste sold in a squeezable plastic tube. I like the brand because they use natural, cruelty-free ingredients that won’t clog my pores (important for an acne-prone gal). But sadly, they only sell plastic toothpaste tubes that go straight to landfill after use.

Most DIY toothpaste recipes fall into two categories: tooth powder or a coconut-oil based paste. Coconut oil is out for me, because as I said, I’m acne-prone and coconut oil is comodogenic, meaning it tends to block pores. I have some friends who can slather coconut oil all over their body with no breakouts. It just doesn’t work for my skin.

The first tooth powder recipe I tried called for baking soda and bentonite clay (both bought in bulk at Rainbow Foods in SF) and stevia extract and peppermint oil (packaged in recyclable glass bottles). It was a real disaster. The taste was ok, but the texture was super clumpy and unappetizing. My fiancé was appalled.

For batch #2, I decided to go the paste route. Instead of using coconut oil, I used aloe vera gel which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits (more on that below). The result was excellent: great taste, great consistency, clean teeth, fiancé approved.

A little bit more on the active ingredients in my paste:  

Aloe Vera: Aloe vera kills the bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis and is anti-inflammatory. It’s also nonabrasive, which is ideal for those with sensitive teeth (like me!).

Baking Soda: Baking soda is alkaline and neutralizes acids in our mouth and helps prevent tooth decay. It is mildly abrasive (less so than many abrasive ingredients found in store bought paste) and helps prevent stains.

Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay absorbs and removes toxins from your mouth, and leaves behind minerals that are nourishing for your teeth.

And with that, here’s my recipe:

ZERO WASTE, COCONUT-OIL FREE TOOTHPASTE

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp baking soda

2 tbsp aloe vera gel

1 tbsp bentonite clay

1 tsp water

1 tsp peppermint oil

10 drops stevia extract

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix dry ingredients together: baking soda and bentonite clay

2. Mix wet ingredients together: Aloe, water, peppermint oil and stevia

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk with a fork

4. Store in a sealable glass jar 

* Important: do not store in metal container, it deactivates the bentonite clay

Comments

Jennifer

Jennifer said:

Are you using gel from a fresh aloe leaf? Also, what type of bentonite clay did you use? Thanks!

Amy

Amy said:

Hey! I’m also curious- where do I you get the aloe gel? I’m in Oakland as well so probably shop at the same stors!

nicole

nicole said:

Hi. Can u post answers to the questions from others at bottom of your article on DIY toothpaste? I also wanted to know if your www.wildminimalist.com/blogs/news/diy-zero-waste-toothpaste-without-coconut-oil is ok for dogs.

Lily

Lily said:

Great questions. I got the aloe gel at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it in a glass bottle, so I will eventually have to recycle the plastic bottle it came in. You could absolutely make your own gel with a mashed up aloe leaf—there’s a tutorial on Wellness Mama. As for the bentonite, you can buy it in bulk from Rainbow Grocery or Berkeley Bowl. I recommend bringing your own jar. Is the toothpaste safe for dogs—I don’t see why not, but you might want to check with your vet to confirm.

Ann

Ann said:

I was wondering if the aloe vera gel is an actual gel or liquid like.I see many aloe vera gels on the label that are actually juices.

Lynette Marroquin

Lynette Marroquin said:

Do you keep this refrigerated? I’m curious to know about any bacteria overgrowth issues especially using water?

glenn myers

glenn myers said:

I posted on another site that coconut oil will clog your drain pipes, and does it ever!, and so that has become a No Thank You for me. Fine for rinsing and spitting into a waste basket, though.

And the bentonite clay seemed to attract too much moisture and hence mould in another batch—very unsettling—, but I am looking forward to trying your formula.
Thankd s for the tip about aloe.!

Savannah

Savannah said:

I read that you’re not supposed to touch metal to bentonite clay because it will deactivate it. Is that true? Do you use a wooden spoon?

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Ann, I used an aloe vera gel by Lily of the Desert. -Lily

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Lynette, My husband and I go through a jar pretty quickly, and didn’t noticed any bacteria. But you could try refrigerating. – Lily

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Savannah, I believe that is true! I store our toothpaste in a glass jar and we use a small wood spoon to apply to our toothbrush. Or use the dip method and put your toothbrush directly into your jar! – Lily

Candy

Candy said:

Just curious, how is putting coconut oil in your mouth causing you to break out? I get not using it on your face or other acne prone areas of skin, but if your mouth is breaking out I’m very concerned for you and I think you should get to a naturopath immediately.

Sophia

Sophia said:

How long does this toothpaste last before going bad?

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Candy, It’s not the mouth that breaks out, it’s your chin. Ever noticed how toothpaste can sometimes dribble out of your mouth with you’re brushing and onto your chin? Cue breakout. Lily

yourartteacher@gmail.com

yourartteacher@gmail.com said:

I seem to be allergic to the bentonite clay- is there an appropriate substitute? (other allergies- coconut, cocoa, grape, almond, pistachio)

marina

marina said:

what does this taste like because the last waste free toothpaste I tried made me want to throw-up and I think that had clay in it too.

Hannah m

Hannah m said:

Thank you.

Jodi

Jodi said:

This recipe sounds perfect! I have made homemade toothpaste with coconut oil and even though I know coconut oil is great for your teeth, I hate it. I don’t want it going down the drain (pipes in an older house clog easily enough already!), and I don’t like spitting it out in the trash. Esp since I have a puppy who still likes to get into the trash. Yuck.
One question though, how long does it keep?
Thanks!
I looked into using glycerin, but maybe not the best, so then I started wondering about aloe gel.

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Comments

Jennifer

Jennifer said:

Are you using gel from a fresh aloe leaf? Also, what type of bentonite clay did you use? Thanks!

Amy

Amy said:

Hey! I’m also curious- where do I you get the aloe gel? I’m in Oakland as well so probably shop at the same stors!

nicole

nicole said:

Hi. Can u post answers to the questions from others at bottom of your article on DIY toothpaste? I also wanted to know if your www.wildminimalist.com/blogs/news/diy-zero-waste-toothpaste-without-coconut-oil is ok for dogs.

Lily

Lily said:

Great questions. I got the aloe gel at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it in a glass bottle, so I will eventually have to recycle the plastic bottle it came in. You could absolutely make your own gel with a mashed up aloe leaf—there’s a tutorial on Wellness Mama. As for the bentonite, you can buy it in bulk from Rainbow Grocery or Berkeley Bowl. I recommend bringing your own jar. Is the toothpaste safe for dogs—I don’t see why not, but you might want to check with your vet to confirm.

Ann

Ann said:

I was wondering if the aloe vera gel is an actual gel or liquid like.I see many aloe vera gels on the label that are actually juices.

Lynette Marroquin

Lynette Marroquin said:

Do you keep this refrigerated? I’m curious to know about any bacteria overgrowth issues especially using water?

glenn myers

glenn myers said:

I posted on another site that coconut oil will clog your drain pipes, and does it ever!, and so that has become a No Thank You for me. Fine for rinsing and spitting into a waste basket, though.

And the bentonite clay seemed to attract too much moisture and hence mould in another batch—very unsettling—, but I am looking forward to trying your formula.
Thankd s for the tip about aloe.!

Savannah

Savannah said:

I read that you’re not supposed to touch metal to bentonite clay because it will deactivate it. Is that true? Do you use a wooden spoon?

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Ann, I used an aloe vera gel by Lily of the Desert. -Lily

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Lynette, My husband and I go through a jar pretty quickly, and didn’t noticed any bacteria. But you could try refrigerating. – Lily

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Savannah, I believe that is true! I store our toothpaste in a glass jar and we use a small wood spoon to apply to our toothbrush. Or use the dip method and put your toothbrush directly into your jar! – Lily

Candy

Candy said:

Just curious, how is putting coconut oil in your mouth causing you to break out? I get not using it on your face or other acne prone areas of skin, but if your mouth is breaking out I’m very concerned for you and I think you should get to a naturopath immediately.

Sophia

Sophia said:

How long does this toothpaste last before going bad?

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron said:

Hi Candy, It’s not the mouth that breaks out, it’s your chin. Ever noticed how toothpaste can sometimes dribble out of your mouth with you’re brushing and onto your chin? Cue breakout. Lily

yourartteacher@gmail.com

yourartteacher@gmail.com said:

I seem to be allergic to the bentonite clay- is there an appropriate substitute? (other allergies- coconut, cocoa, grape, almond, pistachio)

marina

marina said:

what does this taste like because the last waste free toothpaste I tried made me want to throw-up and I think that had clay in it too.

Hannah m

Hannah m said:

Thank you.

Jodi

Jodi said:

This recipe sounds perfect! I have made homemade toothpaste with coconut oil and even though I know coconut oil is great for your teeth, I hate it. I don’t want it going down the drain (pipes in an older house clog easily enough already!), and I don’t like spitting it out in the trash. Esp since I have a puppy who still likes to get into the trash. Yuck.
One question though, how long does it keep?
Thanks!
I looked into using glycerin, but maybe not the best, so then I started wondering about aloe gel.

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