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3 Tips: How to Clean Your Retainer

March 15, 2024

You don’t go more than a day without cleaning your teeth… hopefully. So should you commit to the same hygiene routine for your retainer?

Absolutely! You’re wearing your retainer every day/night, so it only makes sense that you clean it every day. Oral hygiene issues that damage your smile (like plaque and bacteria buildup) can also damage your retainer.

Committing to proper retainer care will keep your smile and retainer in their best conditions. Here’s what to do:

How To Remove a Clear Retainer to Clean

When you remove a clear retainer, don’t pull it to one side or twist it with your tongue. Your retainer can be damaged, warped or misshapen by aggressive handling.

To remove your clear retainer before cleaning it, gently loosen the retainer by using a clean pointer finger to hook the edge of the retainer toward the back inner surface of your teeth. Gently pull the retainer downward (or upward on your bottom retainer) and loosen both sides to ease it off carefully.

How to clean plastic retainers

Tip 1: Soak your retainers in RetainerBrite

Soaking your retainer in a cleaning solution is an easy way to keep it clean. We recommend RetainerBrite (similar to denture cleaner) that is designed specifically for your retainer. Find it here on our convenient Amazon list!

  1. Drop a RetainerBrite cleaning tablet in lukewarm water..
  2. Rinse your retainers off before dropping them in.
  3. Let your retainers soak in the cleaning solution for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse your retainer again.


You can also use cleaning crystals to soak your retainers. These are listed on our Amazon list as well.

Ideally, you’ll soak your retainer two to three times a week.

Tip 2: Use an Ultrasonic Retainer Cleaner.

Another way to deep clean your retainer is with ultrasonic technology! The portable Ultrasonic retainer cleaner (linked in our Amazon list) uses frequency to clean the items inside of it.

You simply plug the machine in, place your retainers in it, and it emits 42,000Hz sound waves that clean all crevices of your retainers in just 5 minutes. Pretty cool, huh?!

Tip 3: Rinse/clean your retainers every time you take them out of your mouth.

Once plaque hardens on your retainers, it’s more challenging to clean. It’s easiest to remove plaque while it’s still soft, which is why it’s essential that you clean your retainer everyday.

How to clean your retainer daily
Every time you take your retainers out, rinse them off. This will help prevent saliva from hardening on them.

How to get rid of plaque on your retainer
The simplest method to remove plaque is using a soft toothbrush as well as mild, non-abrasive, antibacterial soap as a retainer cleaning agent.

  1. Start by rinsing off any debris with cold running water.
  2. Use a small amount of soap and a soft toothbrush (not your regular toothbrush) to gently scrub the inside and outside of your retainers.
  3. Rinse them with lukewarm water to remove the residue.


If the plaque has started to harden, you can soak your retainers in the RetainerBrite solution. After soaking them, use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away the plaque, then rinse your retainers under lukewarm water.

Can I put my retainer in the dishwasher?

Please do not put your retainer in the dishwasher! Hot water will damage your retainer. Only use lukewarm water or cold water with your retainer.

What happens if I damage my retainer?

If your retainer is warped, broken or misshapen, please do not try to force it into your mouth. This can damage your smile or reverse some of the hard work you put into your smile transformation.

You will receive one set of retainers at the end of your treatment. If you damage or misplace your retainer, you will be responsible for the cost of a replacement retainer.

We offer the Smile Protection Program to help our patients manage replacement retainers. With the Smile Protection Plan, you’ll receive up to 4 retainers per year for 5 years for $700. You’ll only pay a small co-pay of $50 per arch for a clear retainer!

If you have damaged or misplaced your retainer before, we highly recommend joining our Smile Protection Program.

Still have questions about cleaning your retainer?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We love to hear from you, and we would love to discuss Invisalign treatment with you.

We’re here to guide you through your treatment process. Check out our full Amazon list for our favorite items to support you along your journey.

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Palm Coast or Ormond Beach, come see us! Dr. Morejón, Dr. Andrews and our team would love to meet you.

Request a complimentary consultation for you or your child today.