Distilling mouthwash

A mouthwash that consists of an alcohol/water mixture can be distilled quite easily. One should be careful to heat gently when doing so as the mixture has a tendency to foam and may ‘boil over’ if heated too rapidly. A clear colourless liquid can be obtained as the major distillation product, as outlined below.


Distillation apparatus – can you name the key components?


The boiling mouthwash mixture – foaming!


What is the boiling point of the liquid distillate?


Distillation of mouthwash – I hope this doesn’t make you nauseous!

Here is a link to the movie on You Tube


1. Describe what is happening in each of the key stages of the distillation process?

2. Name the distillate

3. Is the distillate pure? Or are there other minor volatile components in the mouthwash that are distilled over with the main product? How can you tell?

4. How might one separate all the volatile components in mouthwash more efficiently by modifying the distillation apparatus?


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