How I Whiten My Teeth For $1 or Less

Did you ever look at the price of whitening products at the store, and think that there has to be a cheaper way? With Whitening products like Crest Whitestrips costing $30 or more per set, whitening your teeth can easily take a back burner in these financially tough times.  And $30 is spare change when compared to the cost of whitening your teeth at the Dentist’s office.

Here’s what I use:

hydrogen peroxide

(image source)

This small little bottle costs $1 or less in most places. Hydrogen Peroxide?  “Why in the world do you put that stuff in your mouth,” you ask?  Well, before you automatically assume I am insane, check out what the main active ingredient of Crest Whitestrips is:

crest white strips

See my source on this, and more details on what exactly these things can cost you HERE.

That’s right.  Those whitening products that you pay $30 for are just glorified Hydrogen Peroxide. Yes, they have other ingredients in there (harmful ones, I might add), but Hydrogen Peroxide is the active ingredient that does the major whitening.  What’s in a bottle of plain Hydrogen Peroxide? 3% -3.5% Hydrogen Peroxide and filtered water. It’s the same, and actually less than most of the new whitening products.

Here’s how I whiten my teeth: I use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash twice a day for 7-10 days. I’m very careful not to swallow it, just like I wouldn’t want to swallow the gel that is in over the counter whitening products.  My teeth are significantly whiter just after a week, and guess what else!  This doesn’t hurt my teeth like the whitening products do.  Every time I have used whitening gel products before, I wasn’t able to use them past three days because they made my teeth hurt so bad.

So there you have it.  For $1 or less, I have a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide that will last me a very long time. Not only do I use it for whitening my teeth, but it’s great for disinfecting the scrapes and cuts we get around here.  Now that’s Natural and Thrifty!

Be sure to check out other posts in this series on how to whiten teeth with hydrogen peroxide.

Side note: Did you know that our own bodies make Hydrogen Peroxide for healing, and that it is currently being used by many to cure cancer and other ailments? Do a quick search on the internet and you will find a plethora of information on the subject.

About the Author:

I'm a former sweet-tooth turned health-nut. After a difficult loss of a first pregnancy and having a second child with a heart condition, I became obsessed with health and wellness. I revamped our entire family's lifestyle, dropped seven pant sizes, and created a website where I could share our story and help support people wanting to make small changes day by day in order to live well. I also support my family by the work that I do here through advertising content, affiliates, and partnership/consultant links within content. When you click and/or order, it puts food on our table. Thanks for all your support, and may you live well and thrive!


  1. Kim November 3, 2009 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Do you mix it with water before you use it, or do you use it straight?


    The Thrifty Mama here:
    Since a bottle only contains 3-3.5% hydrogen peroxide and the rest is purified water, I see no need to mix it with more water.

    • newtothis February 5, 2016 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      I pour a little on my toothbrush before I put the toothpaste. After brushing, I put a little in the cap with the mouthwash. Other times, I use baking soda with a little regular toothpaste.

  2. brooke delong November 3, 2009 at 9:13 am - Reply

    hee hee i do that too 🙂
    .-= brooke delong´s last blog ..not me! monday =-.

  3. audrey November 3, 2009 at 9:40 am - Reply

    We also use it as a more natural deodorant! Spray under your arms (would need to use a spray bottle filled with it!) after your shower! Pat dry! Not only will it help keep you feeling fresh =o) It will also ‘bleach’ your under arms (which is kinda nice for summer time!)

  4. TanyaM November 3, 2009 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I used to highlight my hair with this stuff, but had no idea about teeth whitening. awesome

  5. Anne November 3, 2009 at 9:53 am - Reply

    How long do you recommend swishing it around your mouth for?

  6. Jennifer November 3, 2009 at 9:58 am - Reply

    I asked on of my classmates about 10 years ago how she got her teeth so white and she said her dentist told her to use hydrogen Peroxide as a mouthwash for another reason (plaque maybe) and that the added bonus was that it whitened her teeth! VERY THRIFTY! It’s good to hear that others have had success with it too. I’ll have to try it!

  7. Mary November 3, 2009 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Cool! I will definitely try that! I also use hydrogen peroxide when me or the kids are getting sick. A couple drops in each ear a few times a day will usually stop a cold in it’s tracks! The kids don’t really like the fizzing in their ears, but it really helps! If you are already sick, putting drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears will help you get over it faster too.

  8. Tiffany November 3, 2009 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I haven’t done this, though I did notice that Hydrogen peroxide is an ingredient in Crest Whitestrips and in some whitening toothpastes. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for sharing this tip!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Site Update: NaNoWriMo =-.

  9. JC November 3, 2009 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Wow, all really great tips! Especially the one about using it for colds! I never knew that!
    …oh yah, and lol @ the bleached under arms 🙂

  10. lori s November 3, 2009 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I have to say I was a bit turned off at 1st when I read it, but then I thought why not?? I am sure I have tasted a lot worse in my mouth with the medications these days. So how often do you actually whiten, monthly, quarterly?? Just curious! Thanks for the tip! You rock!

    • Crystal Collins November 3, 2009 at 11:00 am - Reply

      You guys are right about the colds. I was getting sick two days ago…and you know I have my trip coming up and REALLY don’t want to get sick, so I gargled with hydrogen peroxide and did a wash in my nose with it. Now I’m feeling fine. No cold. 🙂

  11. Catherine November 3, 2009 at 11:12 am - Reply

    This is so crazy it just might work! I am thinking it probably doesn’t taste very good? I might mix it with a little of the mouthwash that my dentist hands out…

    • Kathy October 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      I would reconsider using conventional mouthwash as it contains a lot of harmful ingredients and causes over 36 thousand cases of mouth cancer per year. A good salt rinse would be nice. After my last brushing I dip my brush in baking soda, clean the teeth well and without rinsing, add a half teaspoon of vinegar to my mouth. Then you get the big foaming action, which cleans the teeth wonderfully and leaves your mouth very fresh. Vinegar kills bacteria.

      • Tamara May 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

        One will ruin the enamel on their teeth using a daily vinegar mouth rinse. There are other safe and effective alternatives you can use to rinse your mouth. My personal favorite is coconut oil pulling.

        “Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.” Proverbs 10:26

  12. Maura November 3, 2009 at 11:31 am - Reply

    What a GREAT tip! I’m going to start this today. Thanks a lot THrifty Mama!!

  13. janet November 3, 2009 at 11:37 am - Reply

    it doesn’t really taste like anything- it does fizz when it comes in contact with any bacteria- you can use it to clean your nose or ears with a cotton swab- it’s anti bacterial- you should get a fresh bottle after about a month though- after you open it and expose it to air- it starts to break down and eventually just turns to plain water

  14. Charlene @ A Virtuous Woman November 3, 2009 at 11:53 am - Reply

    You can buy a mouthrinse called “Peroxyl” that’s made especially to rinse your mouth with if you have a mouth sore, abrasions from dental work or braces, etc. My dentist told me about it when I was having some problems with my gums. You can rinse up to 4 times a day with it–basically it’s mouthwash with peroxide in it. I’m sure you could make the same thing for much less money, it’s a good product but fairly expensive.
    .-= Charlene @ A Virtuous Woman´s last blog ..Homemaker’s Haven =-.

  15. lori s November 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    what about coldsores and ulcers, do any of you know if this would help with them? my mother and SIL suffer terribly from both and it seems like nothing over the counter or prescribed helps them when they have a breakout. Just thinking “thriftily” outside the box! 🙂

    • lori o November 28, 2010 at 10:11 am - Reply

      put vodka on the cold sore it kills the bacteria and speeds up the healing process

    • Kathy October 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Cold sores are caused from the herpes virus. Anti-bacterials will not work on virus things. I would recommend self heal extract or grapefruit seed extract on the cold sores.

    • Jessica December 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      L-Lysine helps with cold sore prevention, joints etc. Its sold in any drugstore. Follow directions on bottle.

      • Tammy Knifong May 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm - Reply

        Oil of Oregano was the best thing I found after I got a extremely painful mouth sore on the corner of my mouth after a surgery (caused from tube in throat). Well I was in so much pain, I had trouble eating and brushing teeth. I had to use popsicle stick to hold out that cheek so I could brush my teeth on that side. Anyways, I had more pain from this mouth sore than I did from my surgery. I tried core sore treatments and antibiotic creams, but nothing helped. After several days, the infection was worse than ever and I read somewhere about the Oil of Oregano, and I already had some in gel capsules to take orally. So I just cut the tip off the small gel cap and put the oil on the mouth sore. I was amazed. It burned with a warming sensation, but was a good pain that I just felt it healing immediately and it really did. I put the oil on there a couple more times, but the infection I think was immediately cured. I don’t get mouth sores on a regular basis, so I don’t know if it would work for all types, but it worked in this circumstance when nothing else even helped so I’m a firm believer in it.

  16. Crystal Collins November 3, 2009 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    It doesn’t really have a taste 🙂 I don’t notice one.

  17. gbmom2407/anna November 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    We use it for canker sores. (our two year old had one the other day and it even helped her). We just dip a cotton swab and rub it on, but gargling it would whiten your teeth and come into contact with all your mouth sores also! We have never used it for colds but I will surely give it a try, nothing to lose!! We use it (halfed by warm water) with a syringe (no needle attatched of course, just used to shoot it in, you could use that bulb that they use for noses too same concept) to rinse our sons ears (ped told us to) because he was full of wax, it worked. The only “discomfort” was a little bubbling.
    Awesome post Thrifty MAMA!!
    .-= gbmom2407/anna´s last blog ..C A K E! =-.

  18. teresa November 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    lori s,
    for cold sores and ulcers used a 50/50 mix of melox and liquid benadryl and swish for about 30-60 sec. The benadryl will make your mouth feel asleep for a minute but if you do it a couple times a day the ulcers will be gone in 2 days or less. I did this after getting my wisdom teeth our, I had HUGE sores on the roof of my mouth from tissue trauma. It works better than any prescription mouthwash the doctor can give you!

  19. Christina November 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Awesome! As I sipped my coffee this morning, I was thinking how I’d like to whiten my teeth without paying $20-30. (I have done it twice before, one time being for my own wedding. I always experience sensitivity as a result.) I’ll have to try this! Perfect timing!
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown =-.

  20. Martha November 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Great tip. I will start today. Thanks

  21. Maria November 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    You can also make swimmers ear stuff with a mix of half hydrogen peroxide and half rubbing alcohol.

  22. Tracy November 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    What a great tip! I’m going to have to check this out. For those folks who have never cleaned your ears with peroxide…oh man! It feels great! My mom used to do it when we were kids and we would always fight over who got to go first. One little cap full in each ear (laying down) and keep it there until it stops bubbling. It’s awesome!

  23. Diana November 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the HUGE money saving tip! I have super sensitive teeth and will definitely give this a try. THANK YOU!!

  24. Achara November 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    THANK YOU!!! I love your blog. More great tips please…

  25. Crystal Collins November 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I see a couple people asked how long I rinse my mouth with it, and how often I do a whitening regiment. I really don’t know what to recommend, since I am not a dentist, but I can tell you that I personally started doing this two weeks ago and usually rinse my mouth out for about five minutes twice a day. I’ll probably continue doing it on a regular basis until I’m satisfied with my nicely whitened teeth.

  26. Erin November 3, 2009 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    My plastic surgeon had me rinse my nose with hydrogen peroxide (using a neti pot of course!) It did wonders for my sinuses…..and helped remove my blood clots!

    • chickadee December 20, 2010 at 3:10 am - Reply

      I received a neti pot from a Facebook promo with some Saline packs – how do you use it with the peroxide?

  27. Leslie November 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I brush my teeth with a paste of peroxide and baking soda. Cleans and whitens teeth.

  28. Kathy November 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Lori, for coldsores – as soon as your mother & SIL feel the tingle tell them to hold an ice cube on it for 20 min. do it a few times the 1st day. It halts the virus in it’s tracks and either stops the eruption or makes it much less worse then it would have been. And if the ulcers your talking about are canker sores, the white ones inside the mouth, use listerine on them. It helps them to go away faster. HTH

  29. Kathy November 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Great post Crystal! I’m gonna try this!

  30. Holly November 3, 2009 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    That is so funny! My grandfather is a retired dentist so I was taught at an early age to take care of my teeth. I’m not the best at flossing everyday but I always brush and swish twice or more a day. My Mom is excellent at taking care of her teeth and brushes her teeth with high quality toothpaste (like we buy at CVS) and dips it in Hydrogen Peroxide. Our dentist says it helps whiten, disinfect and helps get rid of plaque. I highly recommend using it either way.

    It is fine to use Hydrogen Peroxide for cuts and scrapes but don’t use it on a regular basis be careful using Hydrogen Peroxide on your face because it oxidizes on your skin. I’m a huge fan of Paula B. Cosmetic cop and she has some great advice about Hydrogen Peroxide.
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Bottom Dollar Food 11/4/09-11/10/09 =-.

  31. crest whitestrip premium November 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Awesome tip. Is it hard to keep hydrogen peroxide in your mouth for that long every day? I’m going to have to try it.

  32. […] How to Whiten Your Teeth for $1 or less from a Thrifty Mama […]

  33. Nadia @ ABC Frugality November 9, 2009 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Awesome tip, Thrifty Mama! I’m going to have to try this one myself and then blog about it! I’ll linkback to you for the awesome idea, of course. Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= Nadia @ ABC Frugality´s last blog ..Freebie: Surf Laundry Detergent =-.

  34. Katterine's cost November 12, 2009 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Excellent thrifty tip! You can disinfect your mouth and whiten your teeth with one simple mouthwash!?! Wonderful.
    .-= Katterine’s cost´s last blog ..Need Dentures Relined, No Health Insurance From Work, Lost Denti-Cal =-.

  35. Lindsay November 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Great tips!

    Just be careful with the ears, ladies. In med school, they teach you to strongly advise against putting any liquid in your ears unless it is prescribed…a different temp (both warm/hot or col), if it gets through your first line of defense and further into the ear canal, etc. can all cause vertigo. You can vomit, pass out, throw off your balance permanently. So, just be careful with that one! 🙂

  36. Ginny February 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    I definitely agree with Lindsay. We thought my daughter had swimmers ear and put stuff in there when she actually had ruptured her eardrum. It was incredibly painful.


  37. Leslie Limon February 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    My mom used to brush her teeth with hydrogen peroxide.

    In Mexico, the dentists recommend you brush your teeth with baking soda to whiten your teeth. 😀
    .-= Leslie Limon´s last blog ..Celebrate Good Times…My First Blogiversary! =-.

  38. Dare to Share: The Thrifty Mama March 1, 2010 at 7:08 am - Reply

    […] loved sharing with my readers how I whiten my teeth for $1 or less.  Too many people end up spending an arm and a leg on teeth whitening products, when it’s […]

  39. Nicole Biggs April 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I paid $80 for whitening strips at the dentist and couldn’t finish them all because they made my mouth hurt. The hygienist told me if I was sensitive, I could buy some other strips that would help. She said that I should rinse with a Listerine Whitening mouthwash because it had peroxide in it. Makes sense to cut out the middleman and go right to the source! I do have to say that the Listerine worked well, but the taste just gets to you.

  40. Nicole Biggs April 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    I also want to say that the dentist recommends any teeth whitening/bleaching after a cleaning so that you get your entire tooth.

  41. benz1968 April 12, 2010 at 1:26 am - Reply

    Just wanted to mention that although hard for some to do it’s best if you drink teas, coffee and certain staining juices (like grape or cranberry juice) through a straw to prolong your whitening results. Allow the drink to hit the back of your mouth and swallow. Don’t swish the drink in your mouth or allow it to touch your teeth. My sister works at a dentist office and that’s what they tell patients after whitening.

  42. Jennifer February 26, 2011 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I’m a dental professional. It’s true that the active ingredient in the OTC whitening products is hydrogen peroxide. However, it is known to cause sensitivity. You’ll see a lot of comments about specific products saying that it causes temperature sensitivity. Also, it doesn’t really work that well. The stuff you get from the dentist is carbomide peroxide, which works very well, but also has an anti-sensitivity agent in it to prevent feeling “zingers” in your teeth. If you want something cheap and OTC that will whiten, try brushing with baking soda. That is one of the ingredients in whitening toothpaste because it is abrasive and will remove surface stains. It actually works better than hydrogen peroxide without causing sensitivity. For anything deeper than surface stains, you’ll need to see a dentist anyway.

  43. Sarah March 16, 2011 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Ha! I was so proud of myself for getting Crest White Strips at the amazing price of $15… and then I looked at the package and saw that it was just glorified hydrogen peroxide. Unbelievable.

  44. Jessica @ The Shoestring Budget May 2, 2011 at 10:55 am - Reply

    I was just wondering…can I rinse my mouth out with water after swishing with hydrogen peroxide? If it has a bad taste, I might have a hard time leaving it in there without being able to rinse the taste out. Any recommendations?

    • Crystal May 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Jessica! You can definitely do that. In fact I do sometimes.Thanks for linking up to me!

  45. […] but wasn’t willing to pay the outrageous amounts for the whitening kits. I stumbled across this article by The Thrifty Mama and decided to try Hydrogen Peroxide! I haven’t used it yet but I’m […]

  46. Heather @ What's the Deal? May 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Cool! I totally want to try this. Thanks to Jessica at The Shoestring Budget for linking to this post.

  47. Traci May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I know the post is old but I have to comment. I have been using this method for almost 2 years now. It is the best yet least expensive way to fight bad breathe & plaque while whitening your teeth. It is also good if you have sinus drainage that accomulates in the back of your mouth or throat while sleeping. If you gargle it for about 30 secs, It brings all of it out. I know it sounds gross but it helps to keep down congestion from common colds, flu & pneumonia.

  48. […] Whiten your teeth for under $1 – The key? Hydrogen peroxide–the active ingredient in most commercial whitening strips. […]

  49. Cara December 16, 2011 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Great idea!

  50. Lori January 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Used to have sensitive teeth and had to use sensodine. Not any more!!!
    Have been using strait baking soda on our whole families teeth for 2 years now. I just keep a jar next to the sink and I dip my wet toothbrush in it. Brush like normal. I use a Salt water rinse or hydrogen peroxide if you want whitening. We all have super white teeth, no cavities! Also no sugar!! I never ever ever have that nasty pasty plaque on my teeth. I have even gone 2 days without brushing my teeth! I know sick, but I only did that once to see. Toothpaste is a huge scam just like 90% of the personal care products out there.
    also I went through 20+ different deodorants that finally worked for me. I use the crystal which is literally a large chunk of SALT! that is it!! No more itchy armpits and no more smell and no more sweating! You can’t patent salt, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda so there is no money to be made on it.

  51. MothyrGrimm April 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    I’ll definitely be doing this, and just FYI if you do swallow it, don’t worry it isn’t harmful. Although be close to a bathroom because it makes you throw up. Seriously. We use this if our dog eats anything he shouldn’t, just a couple tablespoons and it’ll show itself in a minute or two… Very handy when our pitbull pup decided to eat a bag of quick-create.

  52. Shannon May 24, 2012 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Love this idea. Just wondering, if mouthwash is a regular part of my morning/evening routine, should I use the Hydrogen Peroxide before or after brushing my teeth? Currently I use it before, but I just want to be safe.

  53. […] can check out how The Thrifty Mama uses Hydrogen Peroxide as Teeth Whitener. You may want to check with your dentist before trying it to be sure it’s safe for your […]

  54. Amber September 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Wow. I used to do this but I stopped for some stupid reason. I’ll have to try it again! Thanks for the info!!

  55. yvonne April 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    do you rinse your mouth after this treatment?

  56. AndreaM August 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Would taking a cotton swab dipped in the hydrogen peroxide and swiping it over your teeth work too? If I did it that way do I need to rinse and spit with water after, it doesn’t seem like I would be swallowing that much

  57. Sarah August 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Just goes to show how over-priced and over-hyped a lot of these products really are! A little bit of knowledge goes a long way and you can get basically the same result at a fraction of the price.

  58. fateh October 6, 2013 at 5:25 am - Reply

    thank you very much for the great information.

  59. susan February 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Hydrogen peroxide is also excellent at removing blood stains… just saturate the area where the stain is, and let it sit for a while and then rinse with COLD water. Try to get the stain saturated with the H2O2 when the stain is still very fresh, and you can see the peroxide do its work right in front of your eyes!

  60. Elisabeth July 13, 2014 at 6:29 am - Reply

    I’m wondering… Is it really ‘natural’…??

  61. Brenda Lee January 25, 2017 at 2:37 am - Reply

    Even though this post is old I enjoyed it very much! Thank you all for sharing.

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