How to Gargle

Two Parts:Learning How to GargleChoosing a Gargling Liquid

Gargling is an important addition to your oral health. It clears out unhealthy bacteria and promotes good oral health. Gargling may sound unappetizing or weird, but when done in the comfort of your bathroom, it's discreet and perfectly normal. To find out more, read on!

Part 1
Learning How to Gargle

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    Find a clean glass. This is now your "gargling cup." While you don't have to use a special cup to put your gargling liquid in, it's often safer than drinking directly out of a bottle of mouthwash, for example, because you avoid transmitting bacteria.
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    Fill your gargling cup with your gargling liquid of choice. A little bit is fine — better to start out with less than with too much.
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    Put a small amount of the gargling liquid in your mouth and swish it around in your mouth. The goal is to try to get the front and sides of the mouth, areas that gargling won't get, during this first sweep.
    • Move your cheeks in and out, and your tongue back and forth, to swish the gargling liquid back and forth in your mouth.
    • Some people enjoy warming the gargling liquid up a bit before gargling. While it probably won't be pleasant if you're using mouthwash, warm water and a little bit of salt feels nice in the back of the mouth.
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    Tilt your head back, and without swallowing the liquid, try to open your mouth and make the "ahhh" sound. Keep the small flap in the back of your throat, the epiglottis, closed so that none of the liquid gets accidentally swallowed.
    • This may take a bit of time to get used to, but when done correctly, the vibrations in the back of your mouth will cause the gargling liquid to move about, almost as if the liquid were boiling.
    • Gargling will coat the back of the mouth with whatever liquid you choose, eliminating some bacteria and soothing a sore throat.
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    Spit the gargling liquid out into the sink. Continue with your oral health routine by brushing your teeth or flossing.

Part 2
Choosing a Gargling Liquid

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    Try gargling with a simple salt water (saline) solution. Mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Gargle the saline solution three times a day to help prevent respiratory tract infections.
    • One study found that people who gargled a simple salt solution three times a day had a 40% decrease in upper respiratory tract infections.[1]
    • Not only does the saltwater gargle appear to ease cold symptoms, but it also keeps you healthier during cold and flu season.[2]
    • Other studies point to evidence that saline solutions help fight against sore throat and congestion.[3]
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    Try gargling a commercial or homemade mouthwash. Mouthwash helps simultaneously freshen your breath, clean your mouth, and fight against infection. They are used by millions of people, morning and night, as part of their oral health routine.
    • Mouthwashes with alcohol tend to be more potent but carry the risk of several adverse side effects, including mouth ulcers, corroded fillings, and even the elevated threat of cancer.[4] Use them sparingly.
    • You can also make your own mouthwash if you'd like. In fact, it's quite easy. Here are some quick and refreshing recipes:
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    Gargle with a simple baking soda and water combination. Potassium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is a renowned cleaner used for tons of home applications. Who knew it made such a great mouthwash? Actually, one teaspoon of baking soda and 8 ounces of water does a great job at rebalancing your oral pH.[5] Add a bit of essential oil like peppermint oil for antimicrobial properties and you've got a great gargling liquid!
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    Try adding lemon and honey to hot water for a soothing gargle. The benefit of this gargling liquid is that it's actually something that you can drink after gargling, unlike the other solutions. Try adding a tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice to 6 ounces of water. Gargle, then swallow, especially if you have a sore throat and want to eliminate some mucous.


  • Pick a flavored mouthwash that you like; it helps.
  • Make sure you do not gargle too much water as you might choke.
  • Gargling water or mouthwash does not fight cavities on its own and should be done with brushing your teeth.


  • Choking may occur.

Article Info

Categories: Health Hygiene