The Best Whitening Mouthwashes for Fading Stains and Brightening Your Smile

Reviewers promise these babies will even eliminate discoloring from coffee, tea, and red wine.

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Photo: AndreyPopov/Getty

Like many teeth whitening products, there are whitening mouthwashes that work and those that are, in fact, all hype. When it comes to the best whitening mouthwashes there's only one ingredient that really gets the job done, according to experts: peroxide.

"The bottom line is that nothing without peroxide is really going to oxidize the stains off," says Victoria Veytsman, D.D.S., cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills. "Peroxide works like a Tide Pen, the ones you put on stains that start to bubble, that's called an oxidation process and it's a requirement for stains being oxidized off the teeth," she explains. If a whitening mouthwash doesn't have hydrogen peroxide, it simply won't deliver that stain-lifting oxidation. (

Also, keep in mind that not everyone will achieve the same results with any given whitening mouthwash. Variables including age, condition of the teeth, their resistance to whitening, and which brand you use, all have an impact on whether or not a whitening mouthwash will work for you, shares Kevin Sands, D.D.S., cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills.

When choosing a whitening mouthwash, it's important to keep in mind any sensitivities you may have that can be exacerbated by continued use of abrasive mouthwashes. (Yes, teeth-whitening — by virtue of how it works to scour stains off teeth through oxidation — is abrasive.) Sands points out that in-office whitening, while expensive, will always be less abrasive than long-term use of at-home products like whitening mouthwash or strips. (

Marianna Weiner, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist at Envy Smile Dental Spa in Brooklyn, NY, notes that people should also avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, since it can actually do more harm than good. Why exactly is that? "Alcohol is a drying agent, increasing the dryness of your gums and mouth, and further increasing your risk of cavities, as there's no protective layer of saliva." Not to mention, drying of your mouth can also lead to other annoying issues, such as bad breath.

While you won't get overnight results from whitening mouthwashes, if you're looking to keep stains at bay and to maintain your pearly whites between dental appointments on a budget, these rinses are considered a good option by some experts. Ahead, the top-rated whitening mouthwashes, which will get the job done, according to customer reviews. (

Best Budget-Friendly Mouthwash: Solimo Whitening Anticavity Mouthwash

whitening mouthwash solimo

Praised by one reviewer as an "economical mouth swisher" that "cleans and whitens all in one," this in-house Amazon brand mouthwash is less than $5, and reviews say it gets the job done for a fraction of the cost of other mouthwashes. Customers report observing whitening results after consistent use for a few weeks and no alcohol burn. Many also report that the flavor, while refreshing, isn't too overpowering, and leaves their mouths feeling clean, but not over-blasted by peppermint.

Buy It: Solimo Whitening Anticavity Mouthwash, $4,

Best Overall Whitening Mouthwash: Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash, 2% Hydrogen Peroxide

whitening mouthwash colgate optic white

Even with over 1,000 reviews, this mouthwash has managed to maintain an impressive 4.7 rating — and customers say it truly delivers. Users, along with a handful of dental hygienists who left glowing reviews, highly recommend this mouthwash based on its ability to lift coffee, red wine, and soda stains with regular use. The results are probably due to the 2 percent hydrogen peroxide content, which hits the sweet spot of dentist-recommended amounts. "Any higher than that, and you are at the risk of damaging your gums and potentially even turning them white," explains Weiner.

Buy It: Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash, 2% Hydrogen Peroxide, $24 for 3,

Best Fast-Acting Whitening Mouthwash: Listerine Healthy White Vibrant Multi-Action Fluoride Mouthwash

whitening mouthwash listerine healthy white

The foaming action and lack of burning sensation make this whitening mouthwash a standout according to customer reviews. While it's true that whitening mouthwashes won't get you the same results as other teeth-whitening procedures, especially those done in a dentists's office, this mouthwash achieves quicker results than most. Many customers reported seeing a change within one to two weeks (and one user even said the photographer at her engagement party complimented on her bright smile). Users also reported even faster results when used in conjunction with a whitening toothpaste. (

Buy It: Listerine Healthy White Vibrant Multi-Action Fluoride Mouthwash, $8,

Best Organic Whitening Mouthwash: Essential Oxygen Certified BR Organic Brushing Rinse

whitening mouthwash essential oxygen

Featuring dentist-recommended hydrogen peroxide as a primary active ingredient combined with essential oils, this organic mouthwash has over 1,100 five-star ratings. Customers report gradual whitening of their teeth as well as healthier gums after a few weeks of use. Many users who struggled with bleeding gums and teeth sensitivity also reported that this mouthwash helped improve their overall mouth health. And, with 1.5 percent active hydrogen peroxide, this whitening mouthwash delivers whitening right in the range of effectiveness, according to experts.

Buy It: Essential Oxygen Certified BR Organic Brushing Rinse, $11,

Best Alcohol-Free Whitening Mouthwash: Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash, Alcohol-Free

whitening mouthwash crest pro health

Alcohol is responsible for the burning sensation caused by some mouthwashes, and for folks who just can't handle it, there are alcohol-free mouthwashes like this one. Customers report whiter teeth over time without any burning or irritation. Coffee drinkers also report gradual reduction of surface stains and, since coffee is a major stain culprit, that's high praise. A large number of of customers also reported having tried harsher, more expensive mouthwashes that didn't provide the same results and highly recommend this mouthwash to others.

Buy It: Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash, Alcohol-Free, $7,

Best Vegan Whitening Mouthwash: Moon Fluoride-Free Activated Charcoal Whitening Mouth Rinse

whitening mouthwash moon

This mouthwash from Kendall Jenner's Moon Oral Care line is 100 percent vegan and not tested on animals. It's also free of fluoride and alcohol, instead using hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth and essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to freshen breath. While reviewers aren't crazy about the design of the bottle, they do applaud the whitening benefits of this mouthwash as well as the fact that it holds its own alongside big brands and even whitening strips.

Buy It: Moon Fluoride-Free Activated Charcoal Whitening Mouth Rinse, $9,

Best Luxury Whitening Mouthwash: Supersmile Whitening Pre-Rinse

whitening mouthwash supersmile

Created by Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., a dental legend known as the "Father of Aesthetic Dentistry," this pre-rinse is about as luxe as mouthwash can get. Boasting an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, this mouthwash is designed to be used before brushing. Multiple reviewers mention getting compliments from their dentists after using this product and report seeing a noticeable lessening in tea, coffee, and wine stains within about a week. This mouthwash also received high marks from users who experience sensitivity with other mouthwashes, but found this pre-rinse to be gentle enough for their sensitive teeth.

Buy It: Supersmile Whitening Pre-Rinse, $14,

Best Anticavity Whitening Mouthwash: Listerine Total Care Stain Remover Anti-Cavity Mouthwash

whitening mouthwash literine total care

While whitening is a goal for many people, overall mouth health shouldn't be forgotten or dismissed in favor of a brighter smile. "Smiles are so important," says Weiner, so "cutting corners for a quick result is not what your mouth deserves." That's why this mouthwash made the list. In addition to providing whitening results, it also combats cavities and other mouth health issues. Customers who suffer from chronic canker sores and cavities all found this mouthwash to help effectively combat their concerns, and whitening results were seen by most within a few days.

Buy It: Listerine Total Care Stain Remover Anti-Cavity Mouthwash, $7,

Best Whitening Mouthwash with Fluoride: ACT Anticavity Whitening Rinse

whitening mouthwash act

Like all the mouthwashes on this list, this ACT mouthwash delivers whitening results. Over 1,300 reviews give it a 4.5-star rating for foaming nicely and whitening without causing sensitivity over time. Many loyal users who had difficulty with sensitivity after using other name brand whitening mouthwashes can vouch for exactly that.

Buy It: ACT Anticavity Whitening Rinse, $6,

Best Whitening Mouthwash for Coffee Drinkers: Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Multi-Care Whitening

whitening mouthwash crest glamourous white

This mouthwash is so effective, it convinced even skeptical reviewers who hadn't used whitening products before. Customers, including those who drink red wine and coffee daily, attested to this mouthwash's whitening results. Why do the opinions of coffee drinkers matter when it comes to teeth whitening? Because, according to experts, coffee is a primary staining agent when it comes to most people's teeth — so if it works for folks with coffee stains darkening their pearly whites, chances are it's quite effective.

Buy It: Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Multi-Care Whitening, $20 for 3,

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