“What Kind of Weirdo Makes Their Own Toothpaste?” A Case for Making Your Own Things

Yes, that quote in the title came from a reader who apparently stumbled upon the site in the last week for the first time and felt the desire to write to me expressing his feelings that no one in their right mind would do some of the things I’ve suggested on here over the years, from making your own oatmeal packets to making your own laundry detergent.

On the other hand, I find a ton of value in attempting to make my own versions of basic supplies like laundry detergent and oatmeal packets and, well, toothpaste. Here are some reasons why.

Dollars and cents In almost every case, homemade from-scratch versions of products are substantially less expensive than those you buy in the store. My homemade laundry detergent is about 10% as expensive as Tide. Not 10% less expensive – 90% less expensive. Almost everything else I try as a homemade product variation is simply less expensive than what you find in the store.

Health Many store-purchased products are loaded with ingredients that are placed in there largely to increase the profit margin of the business. Often, some of the items are trade secrets, meaning you have no idea what exactly is in the product; even when you do know, sometimes you’d rather not.

If I make the product myself, I have much more control over every item that goes into the mix. I don’t add weird preservatives (which are there to increase shelf life, which increases profit margins while putting things that really shouldn’t be consumed into your diet) or other unnecessary ingredients to the things I make at home.

Skills By doing such things myself, I’m building my confidence for doing such things, plus improving my own skill set for future projects I might take on. Cooking my own meal over the stove and planting a tree leads to projects like building a fire pit in the back yard.

These factors together encourage me to try to make as many things as I can myself. I save money, I build skills, and I have more control over what’s in the item.

So What About That Toothpaste?
With a subject like that, this is probably the perfect time to mention what I’ve found with regards to actually making my own toothpaste.

Over the years, I’ve tried various mixes to some degree of success. The trick for me has always been to find an easily repeatable way to make and then dispense the toothpaste.

The best recipe I’ve found is mixing 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, a packet of stevia (a natural sweetener that also is good for your teeth), and either a dash of cinnamon or a drop or two of peppermint oil (for flavor). Mix these together until they form a paste. If you need a bit more liquid, add a tiny bit more peroxide. If you need more solid for a thicker paste, add a bit more baking soda.

This stuff tastes quite good and leaves my mouth feeling really clean when I’m done with it.

For dispensing it, just head to the travel toiletries section of your local department store and pick out a small empty travel squirt container. If you have one of these, you can actually make the toothpaste right in the container, stirring it with a small stick (I use a chopstick), then putting the cap on and using it as a squeeze tube. Works like a charm.

As soon as we’re done going through our backlog of toothpaste (purchased in bulk), I intend to use this as my only toothpaste.

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  1. Adam P says:

    Just one comment, my uncle is a dentist and I’ve always been taught that the only thing really useful for your teeth in store bought toothpaste is fluoride. Maybe I missed the memo and fluoride no longer prevents tooth decay, or is toxic in toohtpaste, but shouldn’t your toothpaste if homemade have it otherwise?

    I’m not really in the “make your own deodorant in your crockpot” camp of personal finance, but I have nothing against it for people who need to get out of toxic debt or people who dervive pleasure from going to that lengths of frugality.

    From my yuppie standpoint, the benefits would be that you know exactly what goes in it if you make it yourself from basic ingredients.

  2. kjc says:

    Trent,

    Would you have your kids use this homemade toothpaste?

  3. Jessie says:

    I’m all for making your own stuff, but I second the concern of Adam P. Fluoride is very important for preventing tooth decay, especially for children because the fluoride is incorporated into the structure of their developing teeth. Your water may or may not be fluoridated, however I seem to remember that you may filter your water. If that’s the case, you may want to find out if your filter removes the fluorine – especially if you intend to remove fluoridated toothpaste from your children’s dental hygiene routine. Good luck!

  4. shris says:

    I’m with Adam on the missing fluoride. My water is from a well, so I’m kinda betting we don’t get any significant fluoride from it. So the commercial toothpaste is unfortunately important for all of us–unless we choose to purchase a different commercial product (a fluoride rinse) to compensate.

    It may be that folks on city water don’t need to worry about fluoride, since many cities add it to their water in the interest of public health.

    But for me and mine, even if it tastes great and is cheaper, the homemade toothpaste is probably not going to be a complete substitute.

    ON the subject of laundry, I tried the homemade laundry soap with a couple of different formulations and came to the conclusion that we’re better off with the more expensive Tide on a functional basis. We have a lot of trouble with ‘body soil’ and potty training oopses. The bar soaps I tried (zote and octagon) really didn’t do a good job on either one, compared to Tide. Of course, other commercial brands were also not as good as Tide in that respect. I had been trying to come up with a less expensive solution that still provides superior performance. After some thrashing around, I decided that the homemade stuff I was making was equivalent to middle-of-the-road detergents. After reviewing consumer reports’ ratings of detergents, I bought a bottle of the best performer, and it is so much better than what I was getting from anything else I tried I believe I’ll be loyal to the top performer from here on out. I am willing to pay for that performance because it extends the life of my fabrics and requires less bleach and vinegar. Both of those attributes save me money–in other supplies and replacement costs. I don’t know how the calculation comes out, but I’ve decided I don’t care because the performance is the critical factor. Having ‘clean’ clothes smell like pee is unacceptable, and so is having grimy looking and smelly ‘clean’ sheets.

    Personally, I would recommend that folks try out the homemade stuff if they’re so inclined. They should determine based on their own criteria whether the homemade stuff is better. I still use vinegar to clean most of my bathrooms and floors, and I still make my own cleaning wipes. I may still make my own mosquito repellent this year to keep from using the sprays. I try to use the least-toxic option for any of my cleansers, but I will pay for performance in some cases.

    Each person’s criteria for success is probably different.

  5. Nate says:

    Toothpaste is one of those thing that coupons work extremely well for. With minimal effort, I find toothpaste for free or if I’m desperate, for less than 50 cents a tube, on a fairly regular basis.

  6. Gretchen says:

    The travel container is more expensive than several tubes of toothpaste. :0

    How long does this keep? I would assume with the reaction from the hydrogen peroxyide happening and helping to make the teeth feel clean, not very long.

  7. Johanna says:

    In so many posts like this, the question of “how well does it work?” is inadequately addressed, if not completely overlooked.

    You can mix together any old random ingredients, and call it toothpaste or laundry detergent or shampoo or antifreeze or pancake syrup, and say that you’re saving 90% of the cost of the store-bought stuff, but if your homemade stuff doesn’t work, you might as well use nothing at all and save yourself 100% of the cost.

  8. spaces says:

    I would encourage anyone who is considering using a toothpaste that has a significant amount of baking soda in it to discuss it with their dentist first. Baking soda is quite abrasive and no doubt will leave your teeth feeling super clean especially right after the switch. However, once you’ve scrubbed your gums off, they’re to a great extent gone forever.

  9. lurker carl says:

    Reinventing the wheel is not on my to-do list. Dingy clothes, rotten teeth and offensive odors are unacceptable because appearance really matters.

    Toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, shampoo and soap are all very effective commercial products that can be purchased very inexpensively with coupons. There is no wide spread shortage or skyrocketing price escalation for such items. After decades of development, they have come up formulas and packaging that are far superior in price and performance to what ordinary folks could mix up in the kitchen. Time is money as well, why spend years experimenting with home made hygiene?

  10. Jill says:

    I agree with the above. I lived in Japan for a while, and used toothpaste I found over there. After a few months, toothpaste from back home was one of the only things that I asked my parents to send me! It’s important to have stuff that works well. That day when I got to use North American toothpaste again – I think I brushed my teeth 4 times! It’s really not that expensive…a tube lasts a couple months. General math in my head means that’s about 1 cent, at the most, each time you brush your teeth? Not worth worrying about. And you’re not supposed to ingest it anyways, so control over products doesn’t worry me – I wouldn’t really want to swallow hydrogen peroxide and baking soda either.

  11. Well, I think this is a fabulous idea. Packaged products available on store shelves for months at a time is a very new prospect in modern culture, and the human race survived just fine using baking soda or less to clean their teeth for generations. Where I live the water is fluoridated and I’d rather have natural ingredients in the products I use than chemicals I can’t pronounce.

    I did want to ask how long this keeps for — and how do you know when it’s off?

  12. Tracy says:

    And what’s the actual price breakdown on this?

    Because looking at the ingredients and mentally thinking of prices (correct me if I’m wrong on any of them) – about 50 cents for the baking soda, 15 cents for the stevia packet (I’ve never seen it particularly cheap), 10 cents for the hydrogen peroxide … even if the peppermint or cinnamon oil isn’t factored in, I think that couponing would actually save more.

    It doesn’t address the additives issue, of course.

  13. Dorothy says:

    LittleMissMoneybags wrote,
    the human race survived just fine using baking soda or less to clean their teeth for generations.
    - – - -

    Well, they may have survived, but their teeth didn’t. My dad was born in 1906. He was in excellent general health, raised on a farm in Nebraska, won a track scholarship to the University of Nebraska, had great general nutritional support, had well-educated parents who cared for his health to the extent of taking him to a doctor in Chicago to receive treatment for his severe teenage acne. In his early 40s Dad lost all his teeth to pyorrhea — what today we would call gum disease.

    I agree with the comments about the importance of flouride. And, as my dentist says, you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep. I also don’t get the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda thing; I’d think once they reacted, the mixture would be useless. Can you comment on that, Trent?

  14. Rebecca says:

    For us we want that fluoride in toothpaste. My Celiac disease has caused weak tooth enamel for me, and my kids have autism, so dental visits are very difficult. That fluoride keeps teeth healthy. We opt to buy more expensive brands that are preservative and SLS free but contain fluoride. Even so, I think my husb and I use 2 tubes a year and my 3 kids maybe 2 total. So its not a huge cost.

  15. Shannon says:

    Just because you can do something does not necessarily mean you should.

  16. stinkindog says:

    I tried using homemade toothpaste but I can go to BigLots or the local salvage store and get what I want at a very reasonable price. I only use Tom’s of Maine because it is one of the few that does not have saccharin or some other fake sweetener and that is important to me.
    I do use the laundry soap. I can control the ingredients and biodegradability of what I make, and I put less plastic out in the world. Again, important factors to me.
    Your mileage may vary.

  17. CB says:

    I read somewhere that using a minimal amount of toothpaste on a wet brush is better for teeth–about 1/4 what we normally use, just as using about 1/2 the amount of dishwater powder is better for the machine. I’ve been saving on both by using less.

  18. AnnJo says:

    It’s always good to have basic multi-use ingredients on hand (like baking soda, peroxide, etc.) and know how to swap them out for commercial products.

    I want to call Trent, though, on one nonsensical thought: That companies put some ingredients in their products “largely to increase their profit margin.” This implies there are some ingredients placed in a product for some other purpose and that there is something inherently wrong is seeking to increase a profit margin.

    ALL ingredients in any commercial product are placed there ONLY to increase profit margin (unless they are required by some regulation). By definition, commercial products are produced to make money.

    Since there are no free ingredients, no company is going to put in an unnecessary ingredient – it would be a waste of money. The reason the company thinks it is necessary may not directly add value to you as the consumer (such as ingredients that aid in packaging the product or extending its store shelf-life) but indirectly they probably all do, since they reduce the cost of bringing you the product, and therefore allow it to be sold at a lower price.

    EVERY ingredient in a product is there because the producer thinks that in some way it adds value to the consumer or lowers production or distribution cost or increases worker safety or complies with government regulations. The producer may be wrong, but that’s a different matter. Most consumers are only barely able to judge the first of those issues, not at all on the rest of them.

    Trent, this is the kind of reflexively anti-business statement that is counter-productive in a discussion of personal finance, where a good understanding of basic economics is extremely valuable. Besides, it implies a generalized hatred or contempt for the productive private sector that you happen to be a part of yourself, which makes no sense.

    While I’m at it, let me take a swipe at people who object to ingredients they “can’t pronounce” as being “unnatural.” If not being able to sound out a chemical’s name bothers you, ask a chemist, pharmacist or anyone with a science background, but just because you don’t know how to pronounce it doesn’t mean the ingredient is dangerous or unnatural. It may, to the contrary, be vital to your health. Or, more likely, it may be BOTH vital to health and dangerous, depending on dosage. (Such as dihydrogen monoxide (water), sodium chloride (salt), iron fumarate (iron).

  19. valleycat1 says:

    Once you expose hydrogen peroxide to air, the extra oxygen molecules release & it turns back into plain old water. My dentist says baking soda is too abrasive for regular use.

    And, #13 is correct. My grandparents lost all their teeth by their 50′s. My mom, by the time she was 50, had lost at least half. I still have all of mine, as do my siblings, & we’re in our 50′s & 60′s.

  20. Gretchen says:

    I’m also questioning the “stevia is good for your teeth” comment.

  21. Maureen says:

    I have 4 coupons for free toothpaste on my fridge right now – courtesy of my dentist. Plus they regularly give us samples of floss.

    Flouride use has saved many teeth. Ask your dentist what he/she recommends. Commercial flouridated toothpaste is a LOT cheaper than treatment for cavities and other dental problems. And who wants to need dentures?

    I also found the homemade detergent disappointing. Over time our clothes looked dingy. We happily went back to using Tide. We frequently find coupons for it and it is often on sale too.

  22. Nancy says:

    Just got a new dishwasher. The technician that installed it mentioned that hot water was more important than a large amount of dishwasher detergent. Run your sink’s water to get the hot water to the line and then turn on your dishwasher.

    I have a friend who is a dentist who jokingly says he lives in a house that “Mountain Dew built!”

  23. JH says:

    I bought 8 tubes of Colgate 3 years ago at Costco for $30. My wife and I brush twice a day and are now on the last tube. I’ll have to try this to save on this expense.

  24. LJ says:

    I am a dentist and a fan of this blog. I rarely comment. But here is some advice. If you are only looking to keep your teeth clean, then all you need is a wet toothbrush. Take some extra time cleaning all surfaces of your mouth, and floss every day. That’s it! Now for more details…At least once a year, go to the dentist so they can remove plaque and tartar below your gumline so you don’t get gum disease. Be careful about additional abrasives because they can do damage. If you want an abrasive agent, then just dip the end of your wet toothbrush bristles in a little baking soda and have at it. Commercial toothpastes include fluoride which will remineralize teeth and significantly reduce tooth decay. But the ultimate reason people get cavities is how much processed carbohydrates are in their diet. No one got cavities until we started refining sugar. Commercial toothpastes also contain antimicrobial agents such as Triclosan that will reduce the incidence of gum disease. I am all for a frugal and natural approach, but everyone’s situation is different and should be approached with both caution and due diligence on the facts.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    The fluoride issue concerns me too. I’m not sure the constant bleaching action of hydrogen peroxide (assuming it doesn’t get deactivated) and the abrasiveness of the baking soda is good for teeth. I would talk to a dentist first.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    @LJ — Thanks for the advice! Our dentist used to warn us to watch what we drink. He said a steady diet of sodas, sweetened teas and coffees, etc. were like bathing your teeth in sugar all day. (Needless to say we usually drink water!)

  27. valleycat1 says:

    If it’s really for health reasons, wouldn’t you donate or trash that stockpile of manufactured toothpaste (& other items) to make the switch now instead of way down the road? Those ‘weird preservatives’ are the reason why you were able to stockpile in the first place.

  28. Interested Reader says:

    Toothpaste is one of those things you can get really cheap. I paid 25 cents for the tube I’m using currently (it was on sale for $1 and I had a $.75 cents off coupon).

  29. Riki says:

    I can definitely see how these homemade product recipes could be useful to some people, especially those who need to significantly cut back on spending. That said, I’m not into it.

    I have significant concerns about brushing my teeth with very abrasive baking soda on a daily basis, not to mention the lack of fluoride (with kids in particular). In fact, I hate commercial toothpaste with baking soda in it because it irritates my gums and makes me wonder about the long-term impacts of brushing with baking soda.

    I will happily and gladly buy toothpaste and laundry detergent, grabbing sales when I find them but not worrying about the cost otherwise. I live in a two-person household and I probably buy both no more than twice per year. I think using less product is a far more effective way to reduce costs. For commercial products, I tend to use about half of the recommended amount. Still effective, but it certainly extends the life of a tube of toothpaste or bottle of laundry detergent.

    I’m really not into the anti-consumer vibe that Trent tends to exhibit.

  30. almost there says:

    Like a previous commenter said, hydrogen peroxide degrades when exposed to air. The bubble won’t be there in the homeade batch very long. My father used to brush with baking soda and salt, very abrasive but that is what depression era folks did. My dad used to go broke saving money like buying 10 pounds of bananas on sale that were ripe and not being able to eat them fast enough. Sometimes frugalness is penny wise and pound foolish. Can’t wait for the post on making your own TP from planks with a hand adze. :)

  31. almost there says:

    As far as flouride goes, and watch the video “The Fluoride Deception”.

  32. almost there says:

    that’s… google and watch…

  33. Kathleen says:

    High five to AnnJo (#18)!!!

  34. Lord says:

    There’s a lot of good discussion in this blog post about toothpaste. However – there seems to be a lot of things missing on what you mentioned about the personal value in attempting to make your own household items. I have a friend who, like you attempted to make his own dish washing liquid. Like you – it started out as an exploration. However – as it progressed – he realized he was not only able to create good quality dish washing liquid. It’s also less expensive. He started to give it to his friends who loved it and asked to buy it from him. Now – he has a regular business of selling dish washing liquid. So – who in their right mind will make their own toothpaste? Or dishwashing liquid? I think you have to be a little crazy, or gutsy, or both to decide to do that. The thing is – a lot of the immensely successful people are a little crazy, or gusty, or both.

  35. Des says:

    If your toothpaste is going to be unfluoridated, you would be better off just brushing with water. LH beat me to it, but studies have shown that your teeth will actually get cleaner with just a brush than with toothpaste. What really makes the difference in cleanliness is how long you brush for. Toothpaste is good because it provides fluoride.

    Not that you read the comments anymore, but Trent this recipe is a waste of money at best.

  36. Kerry D. says:

    I don’t mind buying laundry detergent and toothpaste, but really appreciate the take home message here–to question the need for additional ingredients, even to question the need for the product in the first place, and make personal decisions that work for you…

    Nearly everyone takes it for granted that we need to use deodorant, BUT try getting clean in the morning, and then see! I rarely use deodorant and unless I’m under considerable stress, don’t acquire stink even when I’m working out! Also, most people assume we need to lather our entire bodies with soap when we bathe, but really that’s not necessary either. And dare I mention less than daily bathing–perhaps a quick tidy to personal areas? Or wearing some clothing items more than once (i.e. jeans) … it’s possible to use much less of the products we buy. (Dishwasher soap, laundry soap, toothpaste… can get excellent results using much less than is recommended.)

  37. Josh says:

    I made my own toothpaste last night. Some baking soda sea salt and a dash of peroxide and Cinnamon

    My mouth never felt so clean before my teath and mouth felt clean and freah I just had to rinse a few times but at least I knew what was in my tooth paste I am not one of those people that thinks every company cares about my heath or well being

    Heres a link about fluoride I think you will find it interesting

    http://www.fluoridealert.org/50-reasons.htm

  38. Kevin says:

    The first thought to pop into my head was “What Kind of Weirdo Makes Their Own Toothpaste?” would be a great title for your next book :-)

  39. Evita says:

    I don’t get it….. toothpaste is so inexpensive and pleasant to use…. why bother at all with making it ? over a year, the cost savings are truly minimal!
    Kiddies have to be forced to brush teeth even with the bubblegum flavoured toothpaste…. why make the task more difficult with homemade toothpaste?

  40. Laura says:

    I don’t think everyone realizes the toxicity of fluoride in your body through the years…I have an Aunt who has used baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clean her teeth for years, and her dentist told her she had the healthiest gums and teeth he had ever seen. If you are worried about tooth decay…the daily requirement of calcium should take care of that.

  41. Rebecca C says:

    Heh, I spent about a week using baking soda to brush my teeth once, because I was sick as a dog (and ran out of toothpaste). A CVS trip was not on my list of priorities then.

    Other than that, I’ll stick to buying my toothpaste. Hubby and I both have pretty sensitive teeth, so we get the sensodyne (or similar) toothpaste. It really does help, and we notice if we buy non-sensitive stuff. Interesting idea though.

  42. Naomi says:

    I know it has been said before, but seriously; baking soda is not safe for daily use on your teeth! Tooth enamel is really quite soft and the baking soda will remove it. Even after a few months my dentist noticed the change and asked me to stop using toothpaste with baking soda in the formula. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if it had been 100% baking soda… Also, if you have sensitive teeth hydrogen peroxide will make it worse.

  43. Chris Jones says:

    Trent, I am in complete agreement with you. I recently made my own toothpaste and my teeth have never felt better. I have been using it for over 2 months now; not long enough to make a supreme case for it being good for the long run, but long enough to know that I enjoy it way better than commercial toothpastes. As far as other products I am waiting to run out of the eco-friendly commercial stuff I have before attempting to make my own. I enjoy making my own items. I prefer them to the commercial version for the reasons you mentioned. My wife and I are enjoying the extra independence of making most things ourselves.

  44. Lex says:

    Fluoride is actually not the best idea, if you must use it NEVER swallow the toothpaste at all. It’s can impair fertility.

  45. Lilly says:

    I haven’t tried making toothpaste (and probably won’t – I usually brush with water or a small amount of toothpaste so a tube lasts forever)

    I LOVE making my own laundry detergent though, and I wanted to mention that when I made it with Ivory soap, my husband’s work clothes did not get very clean. BUT I made some with Fels Naptha soap and it is SOOO much better. It doesn’t smell as good as the Ivory but works 10x better. I even use it on the baby’s cloth diapers.

  46. Leisa says:

    It amazes me when someone views you as an idiot for wanting to make something yourself instead of buying it ready made when we never used to have ready made in the first place!!

  47. Maya says:

    Unlike most of the commenters here, apparently, I think I might have to look into doing this. Thanks for the recipe. I prefer a fluoride-free toothpaste anyway. It’s in contact with the teeth for a couple minutes at a time in a foam, so how much good can fluoride in toothpaste due compared to my fluoridated water? In my opinion fluoride in toothpaste is a highly overrated marketing tool. But now that Tom’s of Maine has apparently lost their mission, based on peppermint toothpaste that contains no peppermint oil, I need to find a replacement I can trust and that isn’t disgusting.

  48. Peggy says:

    We live overseas and prefer to DIY as much as we can. But for toothpaste, we use a type of Butler GUM with Bionium that we get in Japan. It works very well as we have had gum (no pun intended) issues in the past. Using this toothpaste, very small interdental brushes and flossing, our teeth and gums are in great shape. We’ve been doing this for years with good results and no adverse effects. Every few months we use a bit of baking soda on a damp swab if there are any rood related discolorations on our teeth.

    After retirement and a move back to the US, we may look into DIY laundry detergent.

  49. Heather says:

    When I first started trying to get our finances under control and reading the Simple Dollar, my reaction to the homemade laundry detergent was, “That’s wacky! I am NOT going there”. Well, I have been making homemade laundry detergent for a year now and I like it and have found it works relatively well. @ Lilly, I am going to try the Fells Naptha soap. I have been using the Ivory.

    The bottom line is, reading The Simple Dollar has encouraged me to think critically about the stuff my family uses and consumes. We tried the homemade laundry detergent and it worked great for us. I have tried the homemade dish detergent and it didn’t work for me so I dropped it. Some ideas have worked, others haven’t. Some ideas are impractical for us because of our lifestyle and lack of talent.

    Taking a harder look at everything that I trade my time or money for has meant we could make cuts on the things that don’t really matter to conserve our resources for things that do. Sometimes we can DIY, sometimes it isn’t the right choice for my family. The point is to carefully evaluate the situation and test your assumptions. Several years ago, I assumed I needed to grab an expensive bottle of detergent.

    I try to be open to new ways of doing things and understand that Trent’s road map for financial independence isn’t going to look exactly like my road map. It is a slow work in progress.

  50. Des says:

    I’ve been Googling natural teeth whitening and things like that and I think I’ll be trying a mixture based on olive oil myself. For the most part though, some of the things you’ve said have occurred to me before, which is why I have a whole huge list of natural recipes for things like deodorants, face masks and the like.

    This also reminds me of a discussion I was having with my grandmother the other day about making my own margarine with a battery and some water, vegetable oil, and some sterilised nickel coins. You should have seen the look she gave me.

  51. Nate says:

    New York Times worthy this is not. Bad article and bad advice, for all the reasons above.

  52. I like making my own things (food too :P like ketchup and other sauces), because I know what goes into them.

    I also know that I buy the best ingredients, the added bonus is that it’s cheaper.

  53. JackieBooks says:

    I don’t know how I would feel about brushing with baking soda..that can be very abrasive. I also don’t know about adding a sugar substitute to stevia directly onto your teeth–questionable.

    I’m all for the “using less than you need” but hygeine is one of those things that you can’t get lazy with–Kerry D…sometimes when you can’t smell yourself..others can smell you (everyone needs to bathe daily and use deoderant).

  54. Darlene says:

    What I don’t understand is why so many readers have to make negative comments about something they disagree with.If you don’t want to make your own toothpaste,then fine…just go on to another post or go about your way.Why do you feel the need to attack the man who wrote about something that has helped him and his family reach their goals?Are you one of those,”my way or the highway” type of people who feel that your opinion is the “right” one and everyone should “do” as you say?
    This site is about getting out of debt,saving money,and changing your life.It will be different for each and every person how they go about this.What works for you,may not for me…but I would never attack someone just because I find my opinions different.When I read something that I don’t feel will work for me,I go on to something else.
    I have hard water where I live and have tried to make homemade laundry detergent.It doesn’t work for me in my situation.I don’t rant at the authors that post about it.I just use one from a company I trust and works for me.I like the feeling of “accomplishment” I get when I make something myself.And I do try to make all I can from “scratch”.If the “homemade” doesn’t work,then I just find the product from a company I feel safe with.And,yes,it will be from a natural company,not mainstream.That is what “I” want.But I would never try to push my beliefs on others.
    Everyone has the right to make their own decisions.But we don’t need to attack others for their beliefs and choices!

  55. Elderly librarian says:

    wow, I enjoy all the commenters who shed additional light on all aspects of Trent’s posting! I don’t think Trent is “anti-business” per se, but he is frugal with a capital F. That’s the basis of his entire blog, so that’s what I expect from him.

  56. Lisa says:

    OMG thanks for that toothpaste recipe! I’m what is known as a supertaster – have more taste buds than normal – and most toothpaste is so minty it burns the inside of my mouth to the point of pain. This sounds great!

  57. BD says:

    My parents made me brush with that same homemade toothpaste when I was a kid. I had cavities every single year, and by the time I was a teen, almost every tooth had been filled. My parents also did NOT allow me to ever eat sugar except on holidays, and I brushed every day, at least twice a day.

    Once I became an adult, I started using real toothpaste, and the cavities “mysteriously” stopped.

    Seriously, I recommend against using homemade toothpaste for most people. Some people have really great enamel on their teeth and they can use stuff that has no fluoride, but a lot of us need the fluoride, or else all our teeth rot out.

    Saving a few pennies on toothpaste isn’t worth the hundreds of dollars in dental bills one might rack up, such as I did.

  58. Interested Reader says:

    @Maya – Tom’s was bought out by some large multinational corporation (can’t remember which one) which is probably why the changes. It’s also why you can find Tom’s of Maine in so many places you previously couldn’t.

    Same thing for Burt’s Bees.

  59. Juliana says:

    Trent
    If I continue to listen to you, I will get my mind right. I have already scaled down my work hours. I am planning on really making a go of my home bassed self suficiency based on many of your algorythms. Ilike your laundy detergent. Iwill try your toothpaste. Iread that stevia is really good for your gums
    Juliana

  60. Nikki says:

    I seriously doubt that the point of this article is to tell everyone that they should make their own toothpaste and laundry detergent. That would be pointless and silly.

    THe point (IMO) of this article is to point out that you can make a lot of things that you buy, at substantially reduced cost, and get the same (and sometimes better) results that you do from the store-bought item.

    If you don’t find that the case for toothpaste and laundry detergent, FINE. Maybe you will find that making your own carpet freshener is better, or window cleaner, or furniture polish, or any of the MANY household products that you can make.

    There’s a lot more in Trent’s articles than how-to’s or you-musts, you also have to figure out how can this work for ME?

  61. jboy says:

    While I’m all for making your own items. I just want to suggest you be cautious with peroxide.

    Peroxide in toothpaste is illegal in Canada and Europe, I’m not sure what other countries as well. In those countries, toothpaste is regulated like a food because they recognize that a certain amount is actually swallowed during the brushing process. In the USA. toothpaste is not regulated by the FDA as it is not considered ingested, thus there are no rules concerning the peroxide content.

  62. Erica Douglas says:

    I think it can be hard to switch from store-bought toothpaste to this homemade kind. We’re expecting our first child pretty soon and we plan to only use this homemade paste for our child(ren) so that they never have to switch. I love that we’ll know what’s going in the child’s mouth, that it’s only healthful natural ingredients. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  63. Larabara says:

    I just wanted to chime in on the issue of flouride, especially in water. Putting it in water was a big controversy when I was growing up, and a lot of cities didn’t include it in their water because of the lack of long-term effects on the children. We used flouride toothpaste, however. Now that my siblings and I are grown, we have had dental problem all of our lives (and still do), in spite of valiant attempts at proper oral hygiene. We ate a lot of candy when we were kids, BUT I know three people who have never had a cavity in their lives, and they grew up where the water was flouridated. And they have the biggest sweet teeth I have seen! As far as fertility goes, one of them has two children, but the others don’t have any (yet). Still, I think it would have made a big difference in my dental history if I drank fluoridated water when I was growing up.

  64. Larabara says:

    I meant to say “lack of knowledge on the long-term effects on children.” Sorry.

  65. valleycat1 says:

    #24 – “No one got cavities until we started refining sugar.” Not true. Check out the results of those who have studied australopithicus, the Sumerians, and great apes, among others. I don’t disagree that the increased incidence and rapidity of cavity development are related to refined sugar, but there are other sources of sugars/carbs in the diet that plaque can interact with to cause a cavity.

  66. LJ says:

    Valleycat1 #52 – You are correct. I apologize. That was a broad stroke statement to illustrate the influence of diet on tooth decay versus just toothpaste. The amount and incidence of tooth decay dramatically increased after the refinement of sugar. But, there are of course, glucose in fruits and other carbohydrates. Some carbohydrates such as bananas and mangoes, have a high glycemic index and therefore can contribute to tooth decay as well. Although the fiber found in these fruits does help bind some of the sugar. Milk is similar. When children go to sleep with milk on their teeth, they are very prone to childhood cavities.

  67. asrai says:

    @AnnJo #18. Have you heard that some companies are using sugar-flavour made “blueberries” in place of real dried ones?
    http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-fake-blueberries-20110120,0,7536769.story

    There is a whole lot of controversy surrounding the use of floridated toothpaste and water.

    Most of the organic companies like Toms of Main and burt’s bees sold out to corporations trying to get into the earth market.

  68. Janis says:

    I enjoy DIY recipes like this, but probably won’t be making my own toothpaste because the brand I buy is both highly recommended by Consumer Reports and one of the least expensive brands out there. The only thing I feel a little conflicted about, in terms of buying, is sending the packaging to the landfill. But a tube really does last us for months and I make enough other household and personal care products (laundry detergent, deodorant, etc.) to not feel so very bad about “indulging” in off-the-shelf toothpaste.

    Now, if Trent could just give us a really good recipe for shampoo and conditioner that worked. Vinegar or baking soda (and various combinations of both with or without other stuff) just don’t make my hair look or feel clean.

  69. Kate says:

    agree with Janis: I tried the “no poo” route with baking soda and/or vinegar and finally gave up. I don’t like using commercial shampoos but didn’t like the other more.
    I guess I am a weirdo though because I make my own deodorant and have for about six months. I can’t wait until summer to really put it to the test.
    Making toothpaste? Not for me. I just use less than they recommend (as I do with laundry detergent) and buy it on sale. But what works for one might not work for the other.

  70. Brady says:

    I think this is great, I try my best to avoid toxic substances like floride. (Ever been near a flouride spill? It looks like ET with all the hazmat suits around.)

    I totally agree it’s the refined foods and sugars in our diet that needs to be addressed, not adding more toxins just to try to even the keel.

    I make mine with coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, baking soda and stevia with some cloves (for the gums) and peppermint oils for freshness. I would recommend always people do their own research, and not assume or blindly believe. There is much industry would have us think is good for us, merely because it’s good for them.

  71. aj says:

    @Janis & Kate: To Shampoo I use a natural bar soap-swiping it over my wet hair, and then use baking soda, or even better Borax…lather it up on my head. The Borax when wet makes a lot of foaming action, I actually like it best. Then I rinse off, and use the 50/50 Vinegar Water rinse. My hair is really long, and it is so shiny and manageable when I do this. It is strong too. I have struggled all my life with being allergic or sensitive to commercial beauty products. I have tried natural shampoos & conditioners but I love this method the very most.

    @ others: Regarding flouride, just google flouride dangers to see a lot of information that theorizes the flouride in our water & toothpaste is what is causing so many thyroid problems (along with the chlorine/chloride) “This common additive to your water supply, and ingredient in the toothpaste you and your children use may be contributing to the increased rates of hypothyroidism — and other health concerns — in the U.S. . . without improving dental health”

    So to be able to whip up a batch with ingredients I know I can trust is cool…but I somewhat agree that it is probably just as effective to use water. Honestly I only use toothpaste half the time. Even growing up I didn’t use toothpaste much because it made me really gag & sick to my stomach. I am over 40 now and haven’t had any cavities, except for in my wisdom teeth before I got them removed.

    I come from a long line of DIY’ers and it is about frugality, but also impowerment & the quest for knowledge…and taking control of things, and keeping things simple…my whole life is a serious of science experiments! I would give anything to go back to high school Chemistry class so I could pay more attention this time around. We all thought our teacher was a little crazy but now I can relate with getting so excited about the periodic table, lol!

    It has always been those who “think out of the box” that end up being the great innovators. There is nothing wrong with that!

  72. Julie says:

    In most Iowa communities, the water is fluoridated. I’ve heard/read that too much fluoride is as bad as too little. Too much leaves white spots on your teeth. As long as you brush with (and drink) tap water, you probably don’t have any issues with too little fluoride.

  73. sara gold says:

    wow this actually sounds really easy. I have been starting to use natural toothpastes but theyre really expensive, I already make my own deodorant so its time to move to the paste!! thanks this is awesome :)

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