Sellick on Mouthwash and COVID-19 Spread

Published October 21, 2020

Can mouthwash kill COVID-19? While many mouthwash brands brag that they kill a large portion of germs, “what they’re really made for is to kill the bacteria that give you bad breath,” says John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. If you use mouthwash consistently, you're “hitting bacteria on the surface and knocking them down a bit,” he explains. Even if research does eventually show that certain forms of mouthwash can kill COVID-19, Sellick says it would be hard to say how useful that might be. “There might be some scenario where you might get SARS-CoV-2 in your mouth and then use mouthwash, which might kill it,” he explains. “But I would be surprised if it had any effect. You would have to have a continuous infusion of the mouthwash, even if it did kill SARS-CoV-2.”