How to Clean Retainers

How to clean retainers.

Many of us wear a retainer each day and taking good care of them is essential to our oral health and hygiene. Here we will show you how to properly clean retainers with a variety of cleaning products and also information on what to avoid.

Topics Covered

  • How often do I need to clean my retainer?
  • How to properly clean your retainer with..
    • Vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Castile soap
    • UV light
    • Ultrasonic cleaner
    • Retainer Brite
  • How to keep retainers clean
  • Things to avoid

How often do I need to clean my retainer?

It’s recommended to do a daily light clean with a more thorough clean once a week.

How to clean your retainer

As mentioned, a quick daily light clean and a thorough weekly clean is recommended to keep your retainer free from harmful bacteria as well as plaque and tartar buildup.

To do a light clean, simply remove your retainer each morning when you brush your teeth. Afterward, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-whitening toothpaste to gently brush your retainer. Rinse it off in lukewarm water.

When it comes to the more through weekly clean, you will have several cleaning solutions to choose from which we will discuss in more detail below.

How to clean retainers with vinegar

White vinegar is an excellent natural disinfectant. To use it simply mix two equal parts of water and white vinegar into a container and let your retainer soak in it for around 15 to 20 minutes.

Do not put it straight back into your mouth – unless you love the taste of strong vinegar. Instead, properly rinse it off with lukewarm water and let it soak in distilled water for a couple of minutes.

How to clean retainers with baking soda

Baking soda, just like white vinegar, is great for disinfecting. However, baking soda is better and more preferred compared to vinegar because of its excellent ability to deodorize and neutralize bad odors that are commonly associated with retainers.

To use baking soda, just add a teaspoon of it to a container of distilled water. Mix it well and let your retainer soak in it for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.

How to clean retainers with hydrogen peroxide

Got some hydrogen peroxide laying around? Great! Use it for something else like removing mold. The problem with using hydrogen peroxide is that it can be corrosive and it kills all bacteria – even the good bacteria that are vital for a healthy oral microbiome.

How to clean retainers with castile soap

Castille soap, with its olive oil and coconut oil ingredients, does a great job at not only cleaning but also keeping your retainer moisturized.

Squirt some into a water-filled container and let your retainer soak in it for 5 minutes before gently brushing it with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse it off with clean cold water.

How to clean retainers with UV-light

UVC lights are great at killing every type of bacteria and virus known to man. It has a multitude of uses, ranging from killing contaminants inside of air conditioners before they enter our homes to cleaning surgical equipment.

So, can a UVC light get the job done? It sure can, but that doesn’t mean that you should use this method, especially if your retainer has acrylic in it. Why? Because long term use damages the acrylic and it also causes oxidative stress.

How to clean retainers with an ultrasonic cleaner

Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning a wide variety of items – including retainers. As a matter of fact, a decent denture ultrasonic cleaner is the best and most thorough way of cleaning your retainer.

It works by creating an ultrasonic frequency which creates millions of microscopic bubbles that has a vacuum effect. This thoroughly cleans and disinfects even the hardest to reach places.

If you’re interested in this method, you will be pleased to know that these devices, as revolutionary as they are, do not cost an arm and a leg. Actually, they are very affordable and we have reviewed one such product here.

The iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Retainer Cleaner

The iSonic F3900 is small and compact enough to be placed and used anywhere. It’s also powerful enough to clean your dentures/retainers in as little as 5 minutes.

In most cases, it cleans better than if you took your retainer to a dentist to have it professionally cleaned.

Your purchase includes a plastic tray, a cleaning crystal sample, and iSonic AlignerClean.

The product has dimensions of 7.1 x 5 x 5 inches and weighs 2 pounds.

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How to clean retainers with Retainer Brite

Retainer Brite is a specially formulated product created specifically for cleaning retainers. It works great as it destroys all plaque and tartar build-up while killing up to 99% of all odor-causing bacteria.

How to use Retainer Brite

Place your retainer inside of a container filled with warm water. Important to note: the water used should be warm and not hot.

Drop one tablet into the warm water and let it fizzle. Allow it to soak for around 15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing your retainer and hands in cold water.

The product comes with 96 tablets – a 3 month supply.

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How to keep retainers clean

Unfortunately, there’s no way of ensuring that your retainer remains clean because whatever spends a lot of time in your mouth is bound to get affected by odor-causing bacteria and plaque.

However, by following our advice and doing a daily light clean and weekly deep clean, your retainer will stay looking like new and be 100% odor-free.

Keep in mind, you should also regularly clean your retainer case.

Things to avoid

Now that you know how to properly clean your retainer, we will show you what to avoid at all costs.

Hot water: Always wash with lukewarm/warm water and rinse with cold water. Never use hot water because it causes distortion.

Mouthwash: A lot of people recommend using mouthwash. Yes, mouthwash will do a fairly decent job of cleaning but long term use will cause damage because of the alcohol content and can also cause discoloration.

Alcohol: Alcohol is to be avoided too for the same reason that you should not use mouthwash.

Hard brushes: Always use a soft-bristled brush when brushing your retainer. A hard brush will cause scratch marks.

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