Mouthwash May Inactivate Human Coronaviruses, Help Reduce Spread of COVID-19

Mouthwash Oral Rinse

Penn State College of Medicine researchers say certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses. They say clinical trials needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of virus COVID-19 positive patients spread when talking, sneezing, or coughing.

Certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, according to a Penn State College of Medicine research study. The results indicate that some of these products might be useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection and may help to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Craig Meyers, distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology and obstetrics and gynecology, led a group of physicians and scientists who tested several oral and nasopharyngeal rinses in a laboratory setting for their ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, which are similar in structure to SARS-CoV-2. The products evaluated include a 1% solution of baby shampoo, a neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers, and mouthwashes.

The researchers found that several of the nasal and oral rinses had a strong ability to neutralize human coronavirus, which suggests that these products may have the potential to reduce the amount of virus spread by people who are COVID-19-positive.

“While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed,” Meyers said. “The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.”

Meyers and colleagues used a test to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes. Nasal and oral cavities are major points of entry and transmission for human coronaviruses. They treated solutions containing a strain of human coronavirus, which served as a readily available and genetically similar alternative for SARS-CoV-2, with the baby shampoo solutions, various peroxide antiseptic rinses and various brands of mouthwash. They allowed the solutions to interact with the virus for 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes, before diluting the solutions to prevent further virus inactivation. According to Meyers, the outer envelopes of the human coronavirus tested and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically similar so the research team hypothesizes that a similar amount of SARS-CoV-2 may be inactivated upon exposure to the solution.

To measure how much virus was inactivated, the researchers placed the diluted solutions in contact with cultured human cells. They counted how many cells remained alive after a few days of exposure to the viral solution and used that number to calculate the amount of human coronavirus that was inactivated as a result of exposure to the mouthwash or oral rinse that was tested. The results were published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

The 1% baby shampoo solution, which is often used by head and neck doctors to rinse the sinuses, inactivated greater than 99.9% of human coronavirus after a two-minute contact time. Several of the mouthwash and gargle products also were effective at inactivating the infectious virus. Many inactivated greater than 99.9% of virus after only 30 seconds of contact time and some inactivated 99.99% of the virus after 30 seconds.   

According to Meyers, the results with mouthwashes are promising and add to the findings of a study showing that certain types of oral rinses could inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in similar experimental conditions. In addition to evaluating the solutions at longer contact times, they studied over-the-counter products and nasal rinses that were not evaluated in the other study. Meyers said the next step to expand upon these results is to design and conduct clinical trials that evaluate whether products like mouthwashes can effectively reduce viral load in COVID-19-positive patients.

“People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with,” said Meyers, a researcher at Penn State Cancer Institute. “Certain professions including dentists and other health care workers are at a constant risk of exposure. Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of virus COVID-positive patients or those with high-risk occupations may spread while talking, coughing or sneezing. Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50%, it would have a major impact.”

Future studies may include a continued investigation of products that inactive human coronaviruses and what specific ingredients in the solutions tested inactivate the virus.

Reference: “Lowering the transmission and spread of human coronavirus” by Craig Meyers, PhD; Richard Robison, PhD; Janice Milici, BS; Samina Alam, PhD; David Quillen, MD; David Goldenberg, MD, FACS and Rena Kass, MD, 17 September 2020, Journal of Medical Virology.
DOI: 10.1002/jmv.26514

Janice Milici, Samina Alam, David Quillen, David Goldenberg and Rena Kass of Penn State College of Medicine and Richard Robison of Brigham Young University also contributed to this research.

The research was supported by funds from Penn State Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences. The researchers declare no conflict of interest.

29 Comments on "Mouthwash May Inactivate Human Coronaviruses, Help Reduce Spread of COVID-19"

  1. So, let’s ask Trump if we should drink it or put it up our butts.

  2. This is interesting, but the downside is it asks people to do something themselves to prevent from spreading the virus. People that won’t wear a face mask aren’t going to bother with buying and rinsing with mouthwash either.

  3. So certain ones are effective but you won’t tell us which ones?

    • If you read the actual medical study there is more detailed information, including the types of mouthwashes used in the research. Important to note this is preliminary findings.

  4. Michael Gouker | October 21, 2020 at 10:06 am | Reply

    pjcamp, if you read the paper itself, you will see a table on page 5 & 6, as well as an explanation of the different efficacies.

    here is a Link:

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/jmv.26514

  5. And queue the hoarding of mouthwash now…

  6. “Many inactivated greater than 99.9% of virus after only 30 seconds of contact time and some inactivated 99.99% of the virus after 30 seconds.”

    While there is a difference between 99.9% and greater than 99.9%, the difference to most people is nil making this statement meaningless, especially since we must assume ‘greater than 99.9% is still less than 100%, or the author of this post would have likely so stated.

  7. Oh yes! Please everyone poison yourself with more fluoride! It will stop this terrible scary virus that total came out of no where and was definitely not a government maneuver! Please please please soak yourselfs in fluoride! Drink tap water, brush your teeth 7 times a day! Bathe in mouth wash. It totally won’t crystallize the chemicals needed for creative thinking and imagination! And it 100% won’t prevent you from questioning authority or thinking for yourself. Mouth wash is obviously what all the greatest minds in the world failed to try as a cure for COVID. How foolish of them to over look it. And thank you so much for writing this informative article! It’s so much better than all the B.S. propaganda that’s draining our country of its’ morals and values. I’m glad you took the time to inform people and not oppress free thought in our children!

    • If thinking for myself means thinking like you… No thanks. Paranoia strikes deep. And, besides, I don’t like my hair on fire.

    • To anyone reading Logan’s post and wondering if he knows what he’s talking about: I agree with him on one point – you should think for yourself. You should think about whether to take seriously someone who brings up fluoride even though, according to the study, they tested ZERO products containing fluoride. And re: fluoride, you should think about whether to take medical advice from some pseudo-science conspiracy theorists or to listen to the vast majority of doctors, dentists, and scientists (i.e. people who ACTUALLY know what they’re talking about) who have reviewed the numerous studies on fluoride and determined it is not only safe but beneficial. You should think about whether to listen to someone saying nonsense like “crystallize the chemicals needed for imagination.”

  8. No No Logan Bush | October 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    Flouride is FINE. Fluoride is the element Flourine, with an oxidation of -1. Its ionic. But in dental producs there is Sodium Fluoride and Stannous Flouride, not pure Fluorine. Elements in compounds are different than in their purely atomic form. For example Na, Sodium, is deadly. It reacts violently with water, generating immense heat. Cl, Chlorine, is a respiratory irritant and is also toxic. NaCl is table salt, and is essential to life. Thanks for playing. Take off the tin foil hat now.

  9. Yeehaw time to start chugging my mouthwash!

  10. So, beware of people with Halitosis.

  11. How long does the neutralizing effect of these products last? Like if someone with covid uses mouthwash after their morning coffee, are they back to full contagion by the time they finish their morning poop?

  12. Raymond Mangano | October 22, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    Well Think u can do something more on this news
    I also think if people took a nasal decongestant
    The nasal cavity would drain preventing droplets from nose
    Also cough medicine would lower coughing
    Again less spread

  13. Explains why black people die more from covid, they have the worst breath

  14. I have a prescription mouthwash, my dentist prescribed, it’s to help prevent plaque. Hopefully it works on Covid too.

  15. Statically proven that 47% of humans don’t wash their hands even before Covid-19. Do you think it had changed, maybe a little. No, its back to same routine, not washing hands, not wear masks and you think they’re going to use mouth wash. A number of people don’t even brush their teeth. The problem with this is your children will touch ever surface they come in contact with. Maybe they may build some kind of immunity to germs. Mean time you be nursing you child as they get sick.

  16. Try chicken soup up your nose too!

  17. I have been gargling with original Listerine with alcohol since January. I can feel it killing germs. It was once used to fight STDS! Look it up.

  18. https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article246619263.html

    Here’s a counterargument to this very limited study that makes a lot of sense.

  19. So then we don’t need a vaccine with who knows what in it.

  20. So now the hoarding of mouthwash will begin.

  21. Odell Gillette | October 23, 2020 at 6:28 am | Reply

    I ordered the ev1 and payed for all I receive is the ev3 that I don’t like or the ev1n the ev3 is the same ?

  22. Explains why black people die more from covid, they have the worst breath

    Really k k klan?? Really?

    Your momma must be black or had some black penis down her throat!!!! 😂

  23. That dude Rasy | October 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Reply

    LOL… BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND RINSE YOUR MOUTH (cap)

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