Background: The oropharynx plays a major role in the development and spread of antimicrobial resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae among men who have sex with men. Trials are currently assessing the efficacy of bactericidal mouthwashes as possible therapeutic or preventive options against these pharyngeal gonococcal infections. Controlled clinical trials require the use of a placebo mouthwash without anti-gonococcal activity. So far, no such mouthwash has been described. We describe the development of a mouthwash for this purpose. Methods: The in vitro anti-gonococcal activity of Corsodyl®, Listerine Cool Mint®, Biotene®, phosphate buffered saline and six in-house placebo mouthwashes was evaluated. Three gonococcal isolates from patients with pharyngeal infection were exposed to the mouthwashes for a duration ranging from 30 seconds to 60 minutes. Isolates were then plated onto blood agar (5% horse blood) and incubated for 24 hours (5-7% CO 2, 35 ± 2°C). Growth of N. gonorrhoeae was scored on a five-point scale (0 to 4). All experiments were conducted in duplicate. Results: Corsodyl® and Listerine Cool Mint® were bactericidal to all isolates. For the other mouthwashes, the median growth score after 60 minutes of exposure was 4 (interquartile range 4-4) for phosphate buffered saline; 1 (interquartile range 1-3) for Biotene®; and ranged between 0 and 2 for the in-house composed mouthwashes. An in-house composed mouthwash (Placebo 6) performed best, with a growth score of 2 (interquartile range 2-3). Conclusions: All of the evaluated potential placebo mouthwashes were bacteriostatic after gonococcal exposure of 30 to 60 minutes. In-house composed Placebo 6 showed less inhibition on gonococcal growth than Biotene® and the other in-house placebos and demonstrates, in our opinion, a good trade-off between anti-gonococcal properties and taste.