How to Clean Retainers According to Orthodontists - How to Clean Retainers According to Orthodontists -

How to Clean Retainers According to Orthodontists

It is highly important to know how to clean retainers if you want to reduce the risks of infection, so often associated with this orthodontic treatment. According to orthodontists, users must clean their retainers every day. For an excellent hygiene management, there are various ways to clean your retainer including home methods and specialized products.

In this article, we will present a list of practical solutions to clean your retainer, tips, suggestions and situations to avoid. Read on to find how to clean a retainer.

How to Clean Retainers: 3 Approaches

There are various methods you can use to clean your retainers. Depending on the degree of cleaning required, you can either choose some at-home solutions or ask for help from a specialist.

1. At-Home Solutions

  • Gently brush your retainers around two times a week to avoid tartar buildup because soaking cannot replace brushing.
  • Use a 100% natural toothpaste, to avoid exposing your dental device to chemicals.
  • Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide and a warm tap of water to soak your retainers for minimum 30 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide is highly effective against many bacteria.
  • Cotton swabs are great tools to clean the deepest parts of your plastic retainer, so don’t hesitate to use one.
  • Always keep your retainers moist. Therefore, leave them in distilled water combined with baking soda and castile soap.

Tip: Baking soda is highly effective against dangerous bacteria and it boosts the mouth pH adding an extra layer of protection.

Tip: Castile soap is made with coconut oil and olive oil. Besides dealing with the bad smell, this soap is a great asset in the hygiene management of your retainer.

2. Additional Solutions for Special Retainers

People who use plastic retainers or metal acrylic retainers with solder joints should clean them using the following retainer cleansers:

  • DentaSoak is a non-persulfate retainer cleanser which prevents your dental device from corroding over time.
  • Retainer Brite is another alternative as it is the most widely used retainer cleanser. Plus, users can go for the SonicBrite as well.

In the video below, you can see how to clean retainers, and where you can order the retainer cleansers.

3. Visit your Orthodontist

In some cases, calcium deposits become incorporated into the material of the retainer and you might end up with a discolored dental device. Therefore, if you notice that your dental device has calcium deposits on it and you can’t get rid of it using a denture cleaner, then you should bring your retainers to your orthodontist.

Orthodontists have a tool that safely disinfects and removes the buildup without using chemicals. In addition, they use a powerful tartar removing solution to clean the retainer.

How to Clean a Retainer – What to Avoid When Cleaning Retainers

There are some things you should not do when cleaning retainers, in order to avoid damage to the retainer and your teeth.

  • Scrubbing the retainers with toothpaste is a bad idea because the acrylic surface will get rough and there will be a wider area for bacteria to thrive.
  • Don’t over-soak acrylic and metal retainers, as well as the ones with soldered joints because the metal will corrode.
  • Don’t use vinegar. If you clean your retainer with vinegar, it will not only get an awful smell but also a higher porosity which will corrode the retainer over time.
  • Don’t expose your retainers to excessive heat. In other words, you shouldn’t boil or put them in the dishwasher.
  • Don’t soak retainers in mouthwashes containing alcohol because they will damage your dental device over time.
  • Don’t use caustic chemicals, such as bleach, to clean retainers.
  • Don’t use Coca-Cola or Pepsi to your retainers. Soaking your retainer in soda will only encourage bacteria to multiply and will also damage the material.

Substances Which can Damage Your Retainers


Avoid exposing your retainer to chemicals as much as possible. Retainers are usually made of porous material which can absorb every substance you use to clean or soak them. In other words, they can also absorb dangerous chemicals that can harm your gums and teeth.


Effervescent tablets might be toxic because they contain an ingredient called persulfate. This ingredient is an allergen used in many dental cleaning tablets including Efferdent and Polident. Worse, it has been recently discovered that they can lead to allergic reactions and other serve symptoms.

It is worth mentioning that back in 2008, FDA has issued a warning regarding the use of the dental cleaning products which contain persulfate. Since then, people are advised to go for healthier and safer alternatives.


To sum up, in case you were having trouble finding out how to clean retainers until now, we have presented you some practical and medical solutions to clean your retainer. Also, you have learned how you shouldn’t clean your dental device because it is equally important to avoid damaging it. Do you have other tips on how to clean a retainer? Share your thoughts below!

1 Comment

  • My mom had a retainer she would use and had to use a special container with a special solution every evening. I don’t know the exact routine since I was an elementary school aged child at that time, but I remember her doing the same routine every nice. I know keeping those things clean is definitely a task!

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