The ‘Riverdale’ cast now uses mouthwash before makeout scenes – does that help?


Many TV shows and movies have resumed production since we were first quarantined six months ago. Some have listed ways of how that’s happening during the COVID-19 outbreak: daily testing, face shields, no contact, limited sets, cast/crew bubbles, etc. Riverdale is one of the shows back in production. Riverdale is a dark teen drama based on the Archies comic strip that involves a lot of contact between the actors, be it fist fighting, killing people or making out. Archie himself, KJ Apa, posted a video with costar Camila Mendes (Veronica) showing the precautions for their more intimate scenes, which include gargling with mouthwash right before they film them. *Record scratch* What?!

Sterile, but still steamy!

On Wednesday, Riverdale costars KJ Apa and Camila Mendes — whose characters are love interests on the popular CW teen drama — revealed how the pair were staying safe while filming their make-out sessions amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Apa, 23, shared a video on Instagram showing the costars rinsing with mouthwash before shooting a kissing scene. “our new normal is washing our mouths before every take of a make-out scene…” he captioned the video.

In the footage, Mendes, 26, and Apa are given a cup of mouthwash by a set handler in a protective suit and gloves. The pair are then required to rinse for a whole minute, often sharing glances with one another while waiting for time to be up as a crew member off-screen counts down the seconds for them.

The actors are then given a plastic bag to spit the mouthwash into before beginning the scene.

[From People]

So. Many. Questions. You can watch the video here. I’m not posting it because the Ziplock bag spit disposal grossed me out – that poor crew member assigned to that task. Like most of those replying, I cannot believe mouthwash wasn’t a staple of pre-makeout protocol before this! Maybe they just didn’t gargle for as long.

But the much more important thing here is – this isn’t any kind of precaution. COVID doesn’t just live in the mouth and mouthwash is not suitable protection against catching it. Since the show films in Vancouver, the whole cast and crew are not allowed to leave until Christmas, so they are forming a bubble, which has proven effective if managed correctly. I’m sure there are daily, if not more, testing and temperature checks. I’m sure mouthwash is not the lynchpin in their COVID plan. I don’t think KJ was even promoting this as responsible measures, more to showcase the awkwardness right before they were meant to get down and dirty in a love scene. But I worry that this information is misleading, like some of #45 scattershot recommendations of hydroxychloroquine and Oleandrin. Mouthwash itself won’t kill you, like #45’s solutions, but if the person you want to mack on has the virus, it won’t do a damn thing to protect you and I worry some hot and bothered teens will think it does. Don’t do this, people! Get a vibrator (and wash it repeatedly) if you need to let off a little steam.

Thanks to Buzzfeed for the story.




Photo credit: WENN/Avalon

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17 Responses to “The ‘Riverdale’ cast now uses mouthwash before makeout scenes – does that help?”

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  1. tempest prognosticator says:

    200,000 deaths and all we had to do was gargle mouthwash? I think not.

  2. Lua says:

    *face palm*

  3. AMM says:

    I saw a video on Twitter where they very clearly replaced a soap opera actress with a mannequin during the kiss scene and it was hilarious. All shows should do that.

    • lucy2 says:

      I saw that too! I have to say, the actor doing the scene with the mannequin did a pretty good job!

      I can’t believe anyone on that set thinks mouthwash is effective against a virus that is in your respiration! Good Lord. Though at least they’ll all have decent breath?

  4. Noely says:

    Scientists at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, did a study on mouthwash and COVID-19 and found out that mouthwash does indeed eliminate the virus in your throat for a short time. It does not mean that mouthwash can cure COVID-19 patients or that no other precautions are necessary, but it might make situations like dentist appointments, where someone HAS TO come in direct contact with your mouth/throat, a little safer.

    I work for a branch of another university that is close to Ruhr University, which is how I learned about this study. It’s definitely a legit study, but I don’t think they were thinking about make-out scenes when they did this research. If you want to read about this yourself, you may Google “mouthwash covid-19 rub” (RUB = Ruhr University Bochum) and an English article on the university’s homepage should show up.

    • Katherine says:

      But dentists wear gloves, masks, glasses and a face shield, do you really think a mouthwash is necessary? An infected client would still be breathing out the virus… It being on the mucus surface of the mouth or not, wouldn’t make an impact, just logically (because the dentist would not have direct unprotected contact with it, plus they’d need to then transfer the virus onto their own mucus afterwards, not just touch the infected person’s mucus tissue).

      • emmy says:

        Well, actors aren’t dentists. They can’t wear all of that during scenes so what Noely points out makes sense in this scenario where you don’t have those options. This is a matter of every bit of potential protection counts.

      • DaniLakes says:

        So I am a dentist. Studies have shown that patients rinsing with peroxide solution does in fact limit any viral load for a short period of time, so we are able to do the work we need to do. We do wear all the PPE you mentioned, but it’s still important to reduce any potential viral load due to the aerosols created.

    • HeyJude says:

      My father’s an endodontist and still seeing patients given his specialty usually making it very necessary. Beyond PPE, and various things like only having 1 person in the waiting room, 1 in the chair maximum at a time, special sterilizing the offices, etc. They have every patient who comes in in masks (obviously), wash their hands before they get in the chair, and, indeed, rinse with Listerine original as a extra attempt to guard against mouth transmission.

      It’s just a little extra precaution to help cut down on transmission. (I believe it was part of the ADA’s recommendations on measures to operate during COVID-19.)

  5. Bibi says:

    Just fyi they’ve gargling with mouthwash or salt/water all over asia that whole time. I mean it cant be bad. Listerine will kill bacteria so why not give give i a shot before it gets to your throat then your lungs… nothing to lose.

    • AMM says:

      When we had a quarantine wing set up in the psych hospital I work at, gargling mouthwash was on the list of things we had to do after visiting the wing. Strip and toss PPE, scrub hands and any exposed skin, gargle mouthwash, and don’t touch face or hair until you were able to shower. I think mouthwash is a good idea for immediately after being in a potentially exposed are, but I don’t think it would do much if you already have it in the lungs and are making out with someone. Though the non infected person may benefit from immediately using mouth was afterwards.

  6. Case says:

    I saw this and wondered the same lol. I guess it can’t hurt.

  7. Feedmechips says:

    I had my semiannual dental cleaning two months ago and had to use mouthwash before being seated in the dental chair.

  8. Jas says:

    When I went to the dentist, they had me use a prescription mouthwash before they started the exam to kill bacteria in my mouth. I think it is just an added precaution and it doesn’t hurt anything

  9. Jenn says:

    We use a hydrogen peroxide and water mix before dental appointments. One quarter cup of peroxide to 4 cups water. Patients gargle and swish for a full minute before being seated. According to our dental governing board peroxide has been found to kill coronavirus in the mouth for short times. Every little bit helps.

  10. Lissdogmom02 says:

    The virus is airborne. I just read a study where 20 people in a Starbucks all got covid but the employees wearing masks did not. In Washington before the mask information was released, a church choir did social distancing & antibacterial treatments that were suggested at the time. One asymptotic patient got all 50 other members of the choir sick.
    Masks are our friends, I hope they’re taking other precautions.

  11. RoyalBlue says:

    I have been to both my dentist and orthodontist since June and each time I have to gargle with a hydrogen peroxide solution for a minute. I think there is research out there to show that mouth washing is a healthy preventative procedure, but we decry this when the messenger is not a professional.