How to Clean Retainers The Right Way?

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Your orthodontist finally gave you the happy news that your aligners are ready to be removed. Relieved? We must salute your patience and the efforts that you have put into straightening your teeth. This must be a very exciting moment for you as all of your efforts have paid off and you got your dream smile.

However, your orthodontist must inform you that this is not the last stage for your aligned teeth. You will need to wear retainers for some time in order to align your teeth permanently. We understand at this stage many people experience mixed feelings of joy and stress that might cause the stress.

But we can assure you that clear retainers are your best friends. They are simple to wear, invisible, and easy to maintain.

Many people's first question would be how to clean retainers, no matter whether they are fixed or removable they must be maintained for the best dental health.

This blog will help you understand the ways and methods of clean retainers in detail. Let us dive into it together and get all the answers to your queries.

How Do Retainers Work for Teeth Alignment?

Retainers are used to retain teeth straightening once the braces/aligner treatment is complete. These devices carefully shift teeth and adjust the jaw correctly.

These dental appliances can be fixed or removable, such as wire braces or clear aligners. Similarly, retainers may be permanent or removable.

Retainers can be worn on the roof of the mouth or over the teeth. They assist in preventing teeth from slipping back once the braces/aligners treatment is done. However, it is very important to select a retainer that best suits your requirements.


How to Clean Retainers?

Retainers assist in retaining and straightening the teeth. Therefore, it is very important for your oral health to keep them clean. Many people experience tooth and gum issues due to bacteria infections, plaque, and other germs.

Poor hygiene of their retainers can also cause some serious health issues. If you're not sure how to clean retainers daily, no worries here are some tips to help.

How To Clean Retainers At Home?

If you are not sure how to clean retainers with plaque or bacteria, no problem! It is not difficult to maintain your retainers’ hygiene at home. You can clean them effortlessly by following a few simple steps and using household materials.

How To Clean Retainers With Baking Soda?

Baking soda is an easy-to-find and economical solution for cleaning your retainers. The process is very simple first rinse your retainer with water.


Create a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda and a half cup of lukewarm water. Mix them well. Remember never to use hot water to clean your retainers.

Soak the retainer in this solution for 20–30 minutes. Rinse and brush the retainer after soaking.

How To Clean Retainers With Vinegar?

Vinegar is one of the effective ways to clean retainers as they are easily available at home. The process is simple.

Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a bowl of lukewarm water. Remember to mix it well. Soak the retainer in the mixture at least for 15-20 minutes.

Then scrape the retainer clean by using a soft brush. Rinse the retainer completely before using it.

How To Clean Retainers With Hydrogen Peroxide?

In case you are worried about how to clean retainers after a long time. Cleaning retainers with hydrogen peroxide is one of the most used methods at home to clean your retainers once in a while.

Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide in lukewarm water. Soak your retainer in liquid for at least 30 minutes. Rinse the retainers thoroughly once done.

How To Clean Retainers With Mouthwash?

It is often reported that alcohol in the mouthwash can cause bad breath and dryness so orthodontists often recommend not to wash your retainers with it. You can, however, use non-alcoholic mouthwash to avoid such issues.

Before cleaning your retainers with the mouthwash you need to first dilute it. Add half a teaspoon of non-alcohol mouthwash to a glass or bowl filled with lukewarm water.

Soak your retainers in the solution for not more than 15–20 minutes. After soaking, thoroughly clean the retainers with warm water.

How To Clean Retainers With Tablets?

Here's how to clean retainers using tablets that are designed to wash them:

  • Pour enough water into a glass or bowl to thoroughly submerge your retainer.
  • Add one cleaning tablet to the water and let it completely dissolve.
  • Place your retainer into the mixture.
  • Let it soak for the indicated amount of time, usually fifteen minutes. Check the pill container for the precise duration.
  • After soaking, remove the retainer and rinse it well with warm water to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  • If needed, gently clean the retainer with a soft toothbrush to remove any remaining grime.
  • Check the instructions on the bottle to determine how often to use the tablets; some are for daily use, others for weekly use.
  • Many cleaning tablets are effective and convenient for cleaning retainers. Most dentists recommend using any safe retainer cleaner to keep your retainer clean and free of microbes.

How To Clean Retainers With Tea Tree Oil?

You must be surprised to know that tea tree oil can help you clean your retainers. The procedure is so simple;

  • Prepare a solution by adding a drop of tea tree oil per ounce of water in a jar.
  • Place the toothbrush in the solution and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • After soaking, thoroughly rinse the toothbrush with water.
  • Allow the toothbrush to air-dry completely before using it again.

How To Clean Retainers With Cleaning Crystals?

Cleaning crystals are safe for your retainers. They are made from the materials that remove bacteria and plaque. Just follow these easy steps to get the best results;

  • Place retainers into a cleaning container.
  • Fill the container with enough warm water to fully immerse the retainers.
  • Add one packet of cleaning crystals to the water.
  • Gently shake or agitate the container for 20 seconds to dissolve and distribute the crystals.
  • Allow the retainers to stand in the solution for 15 minutes or longer if desired.
  • After soaking, remove the retainers and rinse them thoroughly with water before use.

How To Clean Retainers With Denture Cleaner?

In case you are concerned about cleaning retainers with dentures they are safe for occasional use. However, you must avoid using such material to avoid plastic discoloration. The cleaning process is as simple as;

  • Rinse the retainer thoroughly.
  • Allow the retainer to soak in denture cleaner for about 20 minutes.
  • After soaking, gently scrub the retainer with a soft toothbrush.
  • If the retainer tastes like denture cleaner afterward, continue rinsing until the taste is gone.

How To Clean Retainers After Strep or That Taste Bad?

In case you are worried about how to clean retainers after strep or how to clean retainers that taste bad the answers lie in cleaning the retainers with baking soda and vinegar. Some people use hydrogen peroxide and even crystals to clean retainers from strep bacteria and bad odor.

Ultrasonic Cleaner For Retainers

If you have additional money, spend it on an ultrasonic cleaning. Put your night guards or retainers into the ultrasonic cleaner. As directed by the manufacturer, fill the cleaner with water. Activate the high-frequency waves by turning on the ultrasonic cleaner.

The waves reach minuscule particles by penetrating all surfaces, including edges and fissures. Give the cleaner the appropriate amount of time to run, usually a few minutes.

Remove the night guards or retainers and give them a thorough water rinse after washing. Savor the thoroughly cleansed outcomes that hand cleaning techniques frequently fail to provide.

How To Clean Metal Retainers?

To make the retainer smell clean, add a few sprays of castile soap to the water before soaking it. Castile soap, which is free of dangerous ingredients like persulfate, cleans and moisturizes well-using coconut and olive oils. Castile soap with antimicrobial essential oils should be used with caution; make sure the retainer is well-rinsed before using it again.

Using a floss threader, insert the floss between the lower front teeth and move it up and down to clean below the wire of a permanent retainer. Repeat the process for each tooth that is fixed to the permanent retainer by sliding the floss sideways between the teeth.


Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and immerse the retainer in distilled water to remove mild plaque accumulation. Soak the retainer in a combination of baking soda if there is more plaque accumulation.

How To Clean Plastic Retainers

  • Clean retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least once a day.
  • Optionally, use mild, unscented, liquid dish soap for extra cleaning power.
  • Gently brush the retainer to remove plaque, bacteria, and food bits.
  • Rinse the retainer with lukewarm water.
  • Consider using a separate toothbrush dedicated to retainer cleaning.
  • Rinse retainers with cool or lukewarm water to avoid warping.
  • Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the retainer.
  • Try a paste of water and baking soda for gentle yet effective cleaning.
  • Use premade retainer cleaners if preferred.
  • Drink plenty of water to wash away food debris and sugars.
  • Keep the retainer case clean with mild dish soap or by dishwasher cleaning.
  • Avoid using disinfectant wipes, as they may harm the retainer and leave an unpleasant taste.
  • Do not soak or rinse with hot water to prevent warping.
  • Avoid using mouthwash, as it can stain the retainer.
  • Do not brush the retainer with toothpaste, as it may scratch or dull the plastic.
  • Always store the retainer in its case to prevent drying out, breakage, and plaque buildup.

In case you still have any questions you can contact us directly @ (877) 840 1561 or visit our website for more information.

If you have any suggestions or something exciting to share about your experience with retainers comment box is your writing pad. Go ahead!


1. How often to clean retainers?

For optimal hygiene, wearers should deep clean retainers weekly in addition to daily maintenance. This ensures thorough sanitation and longevity.

2. How to clean stained retainers?

To clean stained retainers, soak them in a mixture of distilled water with baking soda or castile soap. Weekly soaking in white vinegar also helps. Avoid bleach or boiling water.

3. What solution to use in ultrasonic cleaner for teeth retainers?

For ultrasonic cleaning of retainers, use solutions like water, denture cleaning tablets, mild dish soap, baking soda, or specialized retainer cleaning solutions. Follow manufacturer instructions for best results.

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