General Question

Spargett's avatar

Will drinking mouthwash intoxicate you?

Asked by Spargett (5377points) September 26th, 2007

I was reading the back of my mouthwash and noticed one of the main ingredients was “Alcohol (43%)”, and I thought how the “Alcohol” content of most beers is 4%-7%, why wouldn’t this get me drunk?

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26 Answers

sjg102379's avatar

It does have enough alcohol to get you drunk—that’s why people in rehab and in alcohol-free shelters often aren’t allowed to have it on the premises. With all the other stuff that’s in it too, I cannot imagine it’s good for you.

GD_Kimble's avatar

plus the alcohol in mouthwash is more akin to rubbing alcohol so drinking it would sooner make you ill than drunk.

Spargett's avatar

Can you please explain to me the difference between the types of alcohol? Are they chemically different?

GD_Kimble's avatar

Drinking alcohol is ethanol, and rubbing alcohol is isopropyl..and my cursory chemistry knowledge ends about there… check out

joli's avatar

The alcohol in mouthwash is a controversy in Dentistry. Since the mid-80’s they’ve been debating over the issue of it having a negative effect to the tissues in your mouth. I use it on occasion, not daily. If you can’t floss, it will kill the germs momentarily, but it’s not a good remedy in the long run. Alcoholics are known to have a high risk of throat cancer.
Yes, if you drink enough of it you might get intoxicated and also feel horrid!

snej's avatar

Nothing you pour into your mouth would have isopropyl, aka “rubbing alcohol” in it—it’s too toxic (and tastes even nastier than it smells.) It must be regular ethanol.

I’m sure drinking enough mouthwash to get you drunk, would also make you sick from the other ingredients… but the same is true of cough syrup, and that doesn’t stop some people from chugging it :-)

artemisdivine's avatar

Can you get drunk off of mouthwash with alcohol?

The simple answer: yes. Drinking mouthwash with a high level of alcohol can cause side-effects consistent with being drunk. While many types of mouthwashes contain low amounts of alcohol, some may contain up to 27% ethanol. This is a very high amount when considering most beer and malt beverages contain between 3–5% alcohol.


Many mouthwashes contain alcohol—original formula Listerine is 26.9 percent alcohol, making it approximately 54 proof (other flavors contain less). Denatured makes it sound like they take out of alcohol whatever’s normally in it that gets you drunk, but in fact all they do is put other stuff in to make it undrinkable (except by the truly desperate) and in some cases poisonous. Why denature, you ask? Because the potable natural version is subject to federal excise tax, whereas the denatured kind isn’t.

Whatever gets you through the night. But let’s be practical. First, while mouthwash is perhaps less apt to corrode your internal organs than, say, brake fluid (or paint thinner, or shoe polish dripped through stale bread), carrot juice it ain’t

7 Unique Uses for Alcohol-Based Mouthwash

* Maybe Why I Would NOT Choose This Path… Just Sayin’ *

When swallowed in large quantities, mouthwash can cause seizures, brain damage, and death.

smartass98's avatar

YOU CAN BOIL MOUTHWASH. Catch the vapors and you will get Alcohol and water. Ethanol evaporates at 172 degrees fahrenheit and water boils at 212 degree fahrenheit.

asmonet's avatar

Yes, but it will also kill you.

wadia's avatar

If you are an alcoholic and need to drink mouthwash scope is the best. All of them are designed to kill germs, and when they hit you’re stomage that’s exactly what they will do, this will cause the re-opening of alcers, indigestion, diahrea, and anything else you can imagine, I’m writing this after drinking about a bottle and a half of scope, but i started with real sugar based alcholol to give my stomage a heads up. If you’re young it’ll give you terrible gas and diharea like you have never experienced, if you’re older and have been drinking all you’re life there is a fatality risk that cannot be ignored. Scope and listerene are the best and you can get (very) drunk off it, but it’s formulated to kill bacteria, and that’s just what it will do when it hits you’re stomage. it’s more expensive that plastic bottle boose and takes a much larger toll on you’re body
, read the label, “IF INJESTED CALL POISON CONTROL IMMEDIATLY” this is for the other ingredients in the mix.

use in desperation / (.....youknow…..) only

wadia's avatar

Just tried to “freebase” mouthwash with a good temp guage (laboratory grade) 5th burner and glass saucepan. At about 120 lots of vapors started coming off, let it sit for awhile at about 160, brought it up to 175 and hit it out of a cutoff gallon jug of water a few times. Took in alot of non-alcohol. I strongly recommend against anyone else doing this without a still and some filters: instant dizzyness, blurred vision, even a bit of shortness of breath. Did pickup the drunk a bit but in that inhalants (you’re body is dying) kind of way, also, dejavoo of me typing this right before I died in a dream a few nights back.

Love to all,

asmonet's avatar

Why did you ever think that would be a good idea in any way, dude?

pokopsichosis123's avatar

shit i want to know this to but what im asking is two things…1st will it get me drunk…yes or no? and second… what harm will it do? put it in lamans terms for me

asmonet's avatar

It will get you drunk. You have a good chance of seizures, brain damage or dying.

lisann123's avatar

I don’t recommend it, but I have done it… and yes it gets you drunk… I guess I can justify it by saying its better than some of the drugs out there… but that’s just me justifying and denying I have issues!!!

jeffomatic's avatar

I recently made use of Scope in an emergency situation. I had a severe toothache on a weekend and couldn’t contact my dentist to get pain pills. I have no “connection” for illegal prescription or other drugs either, not being in that world. Knowing that whiskey would probably help, I first thought of that. Trouble is, I’‘m in Utah and the state liquor store is closed at night. I thought I could just get some beer and start chugging Utah 3.2% pee water, but then I looked at the Scope label. 21% alcohol! It’s nasty, but chasing it down with water is tolerable. I wouldn’t recommend habitual use, but my McGuiver trick got me through! Yes, it’s “food grade” grain alcohol in mouthwash. There is no “denaturing” except the menthol, thymol and other nasty stuff in there. Ever tried Schnapps? Basically same taste. As for getting you drunk, it’s EXACTLY the same as drinking 52 proof booze. The only variables are the same ones you deal with when you drink anything containing grain alcohol…. Your alcohol tolerance and how much you drink.

angelzxboo's avatar

I never had a problem with alchohol or anything till recently i ve just been depressed… Any how i seen a show on intervention awhile back and this girl was a alchoholic and was drinking mouth wash to get drunk… I was like hmmm… Any way i tryed it the 0ther day and just tonite when beer stopped saling in Ohio after 1AM…. i chugged down two galps of mouth wash it gets me drunk as hake but also blurred vision more than when your wasted on alchohol and shortness of breath. I know it was stupid… I read all these answers and it made me realize i can t do that to my body it will kill me…

jjjjjjj's avatar

I was garggling and i accidently chugged 3 bottles….

ayaka_sorii's avatar

How much of the mouthwash would it take to actually get you drunk?

Edudlufetips's avatar

i too had a problem with alcohol in the past. my last year or two of college were pretty depressing and i kind of just shut everyone out of my life and started drinking heavily.

many times i tried to stop but the withdrawal is really rough- a true alcoholic knows the feeling and will risk long term health just to get rid of those short term withdrawal feelings. this is the condition i was in when i resorted to drinking mouthwash a couple of times, and it’s precisely when i realized how serious my problem had become and decided to tackle it once and for all.

if you’re not a drunk like i was, DON’T by any means become one and have to drink that crap to avoid seizures, hallucinations, etc. if you are a drunk and have terrible anxiety when you are sober, it’s a strange thing to say but just get your hands on some real booze meant for drinking and don’t quit cold turkey before you can get medical help. that’s probably better than both trying to quite all at once and/or drinking mouthwash.

as for the mouthwash, it’s relatively notorious for it’s ability to intoxicate. alcoholics often take bottles to work and drink some amounts during the day because they are withdrawing until 5pm hits and they can get to the bar and no one really notices they are actually ingesting the stuff. believe it or not, there are ways to get drunk/high without needing to show id, this is why so many young kids drink cough syrup, mouthwash, or things like peppermint extracts (this is impossible to get down, btw)

as opposed to what some people are saying on here (don’t have to comment if you don’t really know the answers, btw), the alcohol in mouthwash is ethanol- the stuff in beer,liquor. but it has other harmful stuff in it like benzoic acid- anyone who’s taken a college chemistry course knows that it is poisonous if ingested.

if you’re really wondering about getting drunk with stuff meant to kill bacteria in your mouth, i strongly recommend that you either just forget about it or find the means to get actual drinking alcohol if you really have to have a fix.

aidista001's avatar

I drank two bottles of scope and ended up having a seizure and in the hospital. Was in intensive care for two days and total stay of four. I developed antral gastritis with internal bleeding. It works in a pinch, like a shot or two. Don’t forget about cooking vanilla, make sure to check the label. It’s thirty five per cent alcohol, drinkable alcohol.

RedRoom1's avatar

I am a med student, and Im drunk on mouthwash right now, I do it all the time. This Listerine has 21% booze (42 proof) I have pleanty of money to buy booze but the menthol in mouthwash covers up the smell, its a lil trick to keep from getting fired that I picked up in rehab once… It can give you diarrhea though (but at least it smells minty) my educated guess is that it is killing the enzymes in my digestive tract and that is why I am passing water threw… so if you have ANY other options, I dont recomend drinking it, but it does do the trick.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Sunday liquor sales are prohibited in Gallup, NM. As a result, a chain store there has decided to halt sales of hairspray and mouthwash on Sundays because some customers dillute them with water to make drinks called “ocean water.” Similarly, other stores now keep hairspray, mouthwash and vanilla extract behind the counter.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
mrdean's avatar

mouthwash like listerine is alcohol-based. the alcohol they use is de-natured ethanol, which means it’s grain alcohol that has been made ‘non-drinkable’ by the addition of chemicals. this is done because the government taxes all drinkable alcohol products (beer, whine liquor). in an odd measure, listerine’s active ingredient camphor oil sformula was granted its’ own special ‘denatured’ status by the u.s. government. however, other de-natrued alcohol products may be formulas that contain some nasty things-like kerosene, and you don’t want to consume that! i read a case where a person drank 3 liters of listerine and died of organ failure. either from alcohol poisening or from the camphors in the rinse, which can be toxic in large volume (btw, caffine too can be fatal in very high doses!). it’s safe to assume listerine can be consumed in moderate amounts with no ill effects-other than intoxication. so yes, it can make you legally drunk; it’s almost 60 proof (30 alcohol by volume.) some people are saying it has ‘wood alcohol’, aka methanol. that is NOT correct. in another item i read, a woman was charged with drunk driving. her abc was 3x the legal limit; she admitted to drinking 3 glasses of listerine before driving and cops found an open bottle of it in her car.

zflynn's avatar

Yes it will get you drunk. I can also attest to the fact if you drink a bottle or more you’ll likely vomit. I used to supplement my alcohol consumption with a cap-full or two (amazingly shot glass sized they all are, hmmm…) as a nightcap. Just “for fun” one night I drank a whole bottle to see if it could get me loaded for cheap. Mouthwash is a buck a bottle at my discount store for the Listerine knockoff and a quarter to a third of a fifth of vodka is a couple of bucks or more, so I figured, why not? I haven’t vomited in years on vodka. I drink brands that are three or four times distilled and “clean” as far as alcohol goes. I rarely surpass a third of a fifth a night and am in terrific shape so I have minimal effects from my vodka consumption. After drinking a bottle of mouthwash I felt much more intoxicated than I do on the equivalent alcohol consumption from vodka and was very quickly nauseous. Within ten minutes I was power booting vomit in the toilet. It was quicker than the worst food poisoning I received in India. Clearly, there are lots of horrific fillers and whatnot that are NOT conducive to consumption. I can’t even rinse with mouthwash now and feel comfortable using it. Ironically, the vodka is still not a problem physically (hangover-wise), even if I get a little carried away and do a half a fifth or more in an evening, which is infrequent. Stick to a better grade of alcohol for consumption and you’ll be vastly happier….and healthier.

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