Plastic-Free(ish)

DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste (Without Coconut Oil)

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

28 comments

Dr. Sunny

Hi Gang! I just caught this today.. I’m a little late to the discussion party but would like to share. I’m a Naturopath and work very hard to inform people about the best self-care. Lily, I love this recipe. Other alternatives can be diatomaceous earth or zeolite powder. The Z will turn the mixture gray but no different than using charcoal powder. And I use a very specific Aloe gel. One that is made using an aseptic process. I can’t wait to try this recipe with it. Here is my link to the gel I take every day and will make the recipe from. This is not an advertisement. It’s not my product. It’s just the best out there. *Order as a customer. That’s all.
http://001002604310.fbo.foreverliving.com/ It will also take the place of using water (as mentioned by someone else). I would definitely keep the mixture in the fridge whichever one you all choose to make. And take it out 15 min before use if you have gum sensitivity. It should keep for 30 days in a properly sealed container. How exciting! Looking forward to checking in with the minimalist site. :)

Suzita

Great recipe! Except for the water… whenever you use water, you need a preservative! And even more so when you use a clay of any sort AND water, as it will mold in no time!!!
And another thing… when you publish a post like this, you should either have NO COMMENTS, or answer your peeps that are asking questions! (it’s very rude)

Joshua Howard

This natural home-made product is definitely better than the one full of chemical. But I have a question. How long can I store it?

suzanne lawrence

I made my own toothpaste with coconut oil. BAD IDEA!!! The coconut oil clogged my bathroom. sink and it took my partner ages to declogg it. What a fat plug!! Sinks as I actually knew before, do not like fat poured down them.
Suzanne

ANA

For how long are the measures on this recipe? Doesn’t the aloe vera decompose after some days? Thanks!!!

Anna

Would it taste bitter without the stevia?

Anna

Would water work instead of aloe vera gel?

Dakota

Can pure aloe from the leaf be put in here without spoiling??

stanley

Aloe you can cut from a leaf, ive been doing it for years, the toxin (called aloin) in aloe is in the yellow liquied near the green skin.

so cut the edges where the spikes are, then slice the skin off, and take the pure clear gel.
soak in water for a few minutes then rinse and youre done.

you can add it to smoothies or put it in this toothpaste.

but if you buy aloe in a jar, it will probably have preservative, so thats perhaps better.

actinera.com

This discussion needs to be continued. Looks like a good one. How to use it? I even didn’t this kind of toothpaste yet. Is this homemade product? The main problem is most of the people don’t choose the right toothpaste for themselves and a result lost the valuable teeth. I have had the same issue and suffering a lot for my teeth. When I started using charcoal toothpaste powder all of my problems are gone and feeling better than better. This a brand new product with a money back guarantee.

Jodi

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.

Hannah m

Thank you.

marina

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.

yourartteacher@gmail.com

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

Lily Cameron

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

Sophia

How long does this toothpaste last before going bad?

Candy

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.

Lily Cameron

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

Lily Cameron

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

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

Savannah

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?

glenn myers

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.!

Lynette Marroquin

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

Ann

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.

Lily

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.

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