For me when the word mouthwash is mentioned the first brand I think of is Listerine. Whether this should be the one I think of or not, it is.
Why? I think it has to do with effective advertising and the fact that Listerine appears to be one of the more commonly seen, purchased and used mouthwashes.
Believe it or not at the time of writing Listerine offer 16, yes 16 different types of mouthwash.
How they all differ is minimal, some variants are different flavours whilst others have no alcohol content.
One of the best sellers from the range is Listerine Stay White (view on Amazon) and this is what I shall be giving my opinion on in this review.
For a more detailed comparison of choices and to learn more about mouthwash, see our best mouthwash post.
Does it actually work?
Yes. My testing and the thoughts and opinions of others would clearly suggest so.
I certainly felt that I had a fresher breath and I felt that plaque and bacteria build up was less than if I had not used Listerine.
How much does it cost?
As you might expect the exact cost will vary depending on where and when you buy it. There is not a set price that all sellers stick to. That said there are recommended retail prices that some may follow but on the whole you can get cheaper than this if buying from major high street or online brands such as boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Amazon etc.
You can pick up Listerine Stay White mouthwash in 3 different bottle sizes, 250ml, 500ml and the large 1000ml (1 litre).
As I write this, the 250ml bottle is retailing for around £2.60, the 500ml £4.00 and the 1L £4.13.
Whilst it will of course depend on where you buy it, the 1000ml ‘big bottle’ tends to work out cheapest and most cost effectively unless you particularly need or want a smaller bottle.
Where can I buy it?
As one of the leading brands most major retailers both online and offline that stock dental and oral health products can be found ranging this. Tesco, Boots, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Amazon and Superdrug are just some of the big names we found to be offering it in different bottle sizes.
We have found that Amazon tends to have some of the best online prices and offers swift and cost effective delivery options too. The ‘big bottle’ is available here.
Boots.com£1.503 for 2 on selected travel toiletries - cheapest free
- Great value for money
- Reduces tartar
- Readily available
- Different bottle size options
- Measuring the 20ml is difficult
- Strong, perhaps overpowering taste
- ‘Stay White’ is perhaps a little misleading
- Shorter shelf life
Would I recommend it?
Yes I certainly would. This is one of the best value, most effective mouthwashes available on the market. The strength of the rinse may be too strong for some, so it may be worth trying a smaller bottle before committing to the bigger spend.
Unless you have got your toothbrushing habits nailed, bacteria will remain in the mouth in those hard to reach areas. Even if you have got the perfect brushing routine, there are clear advantages to trying to prevent bacteria buildup and increasing the amount of time our teeth and gums are protected.
Listerine has a formula that reduces tartar build up and works to remove bacteria. This can then work to help reduce staining of the teeth as the stains cannot build up.
Keeping the bacteria count down then can help with breath freshness which with the alcohol and zinc chloride in the rinse means fresher breath for up to 24 hours.
This all sounds great, so, what is it really like to use Listerine Stay White?
How I tested the mouthwash
Listerine Stay White is an everyday mouthwash. Meaning the testing period could be ongoing for this oral rinse. However I have chosen to use this for a period of 2 weeks.
Official guidance is to use up to twice a day and this is how I used it.
For 7 days:
- In the morning, soon after (but not immediately after) having cleaned my teeth
- At night, soon after (but not immediately after) having cleaned my teeth
For 7 days:
- Mid-morning, after a snack and a hot drink
- Mid-afternoon, after lunch
Whilst the latter goes against the guidelines I felt it allowed me to really test and understand the benefits and effectiveness.
Each time I used the recommended 20ml (4 x 5ml teaspoonfuls) dosage.
In conjunction with this I continued with my regular daily routine of cleaning my teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time along with flossing daily.
Your dentist or medical professional may recommend use at different time but unless suggested do try to keep to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Summary How I tested the mouthwash
- Test lasted for 2 weeks (7 days each routine)
- Used at 2 different times of the day
- Used 20ml each time
- Cleaned twice a day for 2 minutes each time
- Flossed once a day
- No changes in diet
Listerine Stay White is one of the most popular selling mouthwashes according to Amazon’s Best Sellers.
A big point I want to touch on firstly, is the name, because I feel it is easy to get mislead by the product. ‘Stay White’ is a strong title and I wish to clarify that no ingredients actively whiten teeth here.
The mouthwash if used can reduce bacteria and tartar buildup which can dull or stain the teeth if left to grow on the tooth and gum surfaces. By reducing the buildup of tarter keeps teeth white and thus they ‘Stay White’. This is backed up by studies (more information available here) that show after 16 weeks use a 21% recution in calculus (hardened plaque).
At the core of any mouthwash is the task of reducing tartar and bacteria build up because this is what is normally the cause of bad oral health and bad breath.
Some mouthwashes are designed to specifically target particular things but bacteria removal is at the heart.
Listerine makes bold claims of up to 24 hours of freshness, yet CB12 a patented formula and even The Fresh Breath Co do not claim such long periods of freshness as they are virtually unachievable in my opinion.
I do not have the science to back this up but from what I have experienced, seen, read and understood, I find little that supports these claims of such long freshness.
Listerine does contain alcohol (16.5%) and zinc chloride which are designed to target bad breath and there is no denying that they have an effect.
The labels on the bottle do not specify what percentage is made up of these. Suggestions are that Listerine is double that of other common mouthwash products and I have to say I feel I can taste this when I come to rinse my mouth. (Information was requested from Johnson & Johnson – but no response was received)
Guidance is rinsing for 30 seconds and spitting out once complete.
The experience is quite intense.
I have tasted quite a few mouthwashes over time and the taste to me despite the ‘arctic mint’ flavour which is present, Listerine was almost too strong for me. Manageable but very strong for what then, for me dulled quite quickly in lasting intensity after use.
Within 1 hour of use the taste was quite muted and that is without eating or drinking anything.
Whilst muted in comparison to the intense flavour burst when rinsing, there was an underlying freshness that did continue for me on average 2-3 hours. I do believe my breath remained fresher than without but I failed to really feel or taste it after this time.
It must be noted that a 20ml measure is double that of CB12 and Colgate Peroxyl and another 25% over Fresh Breath. Why is there the need to use so much? I cannot find a truly justifiable answer other than more equals more strength and possible greater impact.
Listerine Stay White is a rather vivid blue colour which is a colour quite commonly seen in mouthwashes.
The colour may or may not be attractive, but what does not work all that well is the large ridged cap that is black in colour and the blue liquid.
The large cap securely fits to the bottle and cannot be accidentally opened, it has a child proof lid. It has plenty of ridges on the outside to grip to and whether you have good or bad grip, you should not have much of an issue with this
A 20ml measure is the recommend amount to use morning and night. Measuring this in the cap is virtually impossible. The blue liquid does not stand out against the black cap and there are no obvious measure marks. Somewhat of an oversight I feel.
The best advice is to use a 5ml teaspoon, 4 teaspoons in fact, to measure your dosage. This seems a lot of effort.
So in reality you are going to pour what is ‘about right’.
Even if you use too much and get through a bottle quicker (which is perhaps what they want) than you should, one of the big positives to using Listerine is the cost.
Based on 20ml used twice a day means a 1000ml bottle will last 25 days or some 50 uses.
That is around £0.16 per day or 8p per use for a dosage which is cheaper than many other named brands but could be even more cost effective if only 10ml was used.
You could use 10ml rather than 20 and get 100 uses and a 4p per use cost, but that goes against the direction and possibly limits the effectiveness.
Summary of Daily Usage
- Aqua blue in colour
- Strong taste to the mouthwash that is potentially overpowering
- Flavour dulls quite quickly
- Lasted (noticeably) for 2-3 hours
- 1 x 20ml dosage rinsed in the mouth for a 30 seconds and then spat out
- The lid is large and grippy but no easy to use measure
- 1000ml bottle offers approximately 50 uses
- 1 use can cost 8p
Despite the strength of the mouthwash being a little intense for my liking it is apparent that when used there are benefits in the form of fresher breath and studies confirm that long term use of a zinc chloride based mouthwash like Listerine Stay White can have positive improvements in your oral health.
Conclusion, is Listerine Stay White any good?
I am no scientist to really prove once and for all whether Listerine Stay White is any good. However the proof often comes through sales and customer feedback.
As a bestseller, with generally positive reviews Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Listerine are doing something right.
Like many others I have tried and tested Listerine and whilst it is hard for me to quantify any actual improvements I am under no false impression that I certainly felt more confident in the freshness of my breath and reduced buildup of plaque on my tooth surfaces and along the gumline.
I have come to deal with the intensity of the mouthwash itself when being rinsed around the mouth for the longer term gain. I do feel it is a little strong and this I do believe is as a result of the amount of alcohol (16.5%) within the rinse and the increase dosage advised in comparison to many other products.
By far one of the more cost effective options that is suitable for everyday use.
Electric Teeth Rating
****Disclaimer – The information provided in this review is correct at the time of writing and is subject to change. The conclusions and opinions drawn are personal ones based on one person’s usage of the product. By this very nature the conclusions drawn may differ to that of somebody else and maybe your own. Individuals tastes, preferences and opinions can vary greatly. Any conclusions, recommendations or comments made are done so taking into account as much detail and information as possible to provide an honest and reasoned judgement.****
- Where can I buy Listerine Stay White?
- Take a look online or on the physical shelves of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons and they are selling it. Amazon are a good option to purchase online and typically have some of the best prices around. You can buy it from them here.
- What are the ingredients in Stay White?
- Aqua, Alcohol, Sorbitol, Poloxamer 407, Benzoic Acid, Zinc Chloride, Eucalyptol, Methyl Salicylate, Thymol, Sodium Benzoate, Menthol, Sucralose, Aroma, Sodium Saccharin, CI 42090
- Does it contain fluoride?
- Does it contain alcohol?
- Yes, it contains alcohol, the exact percentage is 16.5%.
- What does it taste like?
- It has an ‘arctic mint’ flavour.
- How often should I rinse?
- It is advised to rinse twice (2 times) a day shortly after having brushed your teeth in the morning and evening for best effect.
- Does it actually work?
- Yes, my mouth and breath felt cleaner and fresher and I was given the confidence to smile more and speak confidently in front of others without fear of my breath smelling.
- Does it hurt?
- I found there to be a strong and intense taste during the rinsing process, but no actual pain during use.
- How long does it last?
- A 1000ml bottle will last 50 uses of 20ml dosages or up to 25 days. If the dosage was 10ml like some other mouthwashes, the bottle would last twice as long.
- Can it prevent “morning breath”?
- Listerine Stay White has not been designed to eliminate this but if used last thing at night you may find some benefit to the freshness of your breath come morning.
- From what age can Listerine Stay White be first used?
- No child under the age of 12 should use this mouthwash.
- Can you water down the mouthwash?
- Technically you could but interestingly on the bottle it is specifically advised not to.
- How should you use the mouthwash?
- The advised directions for use are to rinse around the teeth and gums for 30 seconds, spit out and do not swallow.
- Does Listerine Stay White stain the teeth?
- No it does not.
- What is the shelf life of Listerine Stay White?
- There is no specific expiration date marked on the bottle but once opened should be used within 12 months.
- Who produces Listerine Stay White?
- Johnson & Johnson Limited based in Maidenhead, UK, SL6 3UG are the manufacturers of this mouthwash.