Keep Cut Flowers Fresh For Longer With An Unexpected Bathroom Item

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh For Longer With An Unexpected Bathroom Item

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh For Longer With An Unexpected Bathroom Item

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There’s nothing better than arranging a new bouquet of flowers in a vase and setting it on your kitchen table. The fresh blooms bring a cheerfulness to the room and fill it with a delicate fragrance enjoyed each time you pass by. But there’s nothing more disappointing than watching them fade after just a day or two. What can be done to keep your bouquet vibrant for as long as possible? The answer may surprise you because it’s an item that may already be in your bathroom medicine cabinet. In other words, adding a cup of mouthwash to a vase of freshly cut flowers will help them stay bright and colorful on your tabletop so that you can enjoy them for a long time.

The reason that mouthwash will help your flowers is because of its antibacterial properties. When cut flowers are placed in water, bacteria immediately begin their decomposition work, per Piedmont Master Gardeners. The bacteria on the plant will start to spread into the water once the flowers are set in the vase. As the level of bacteria increases, the stems become choked and are unable to receive nourishment for the plant. This process is also what causes the water to grow cloudy, and a moldy smell overtakes the aroma of the blossoms. A cupful of mouthwash will prevent the bacteria from growing as rapidly, maintaining a cleaner source of water for your bouquet.

Keeping the water fresh for your flowers

Pouring mouthwash into a cup


Even expired mouthwash can be used in your arrangement. Once it’s passed its expiration date, mouthwash is no longer as useful in providing dental benefits. But it’s still an excellent source of help for your flower arrangement. It’s also a great way to make good use of this product so it doesn’t need to be wasted. Take note that some varieties of mouthwash include alcohol as an ingredient, which may be too harsh for your flowers. That said, choosing an alcohol-free mouthwash is a better way to fulfill the purpose of slowing the bacteria growth in your vase without excess chemicals. 

You can also extend the life of your flowers by cutting the stems in a strategic way that will ensure the most water absorption. This can be done by holding the stems under water as you cut them at an angle. Cutting them underwater will help prevent air bubbles from developing in the stems, and cutting them at an angle will expose more of the stem to the water in the vase. When you follow these steps, your flowers will be able to get the drink that they need. By adding the secret ingredient of a cupful of mouthwash, you can be sure that the water they drink will be as fresh as possible, and your flowers will be as well.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.