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How to Clean Your Retainer with Baking SodaIn order to maintain the best possible oral hygiene and keep your retainers in good condition, you should clean them regularly.

Germs and bacteria are nasty little things that we want to avoid at all costs. They can cause a number of different health problems, but most importantly they can be really gross. Retainers are often worn in the mouth for many hours each day, which means they tend to accumulate germs over time. The good news is that it’s easy to clean your retainers in order to prevent these microbes from building up or causing any harm!

Types of Dental Retainers

Hawley Retainers: this type of retainer is composed of an acrylic base and a wire that holds the retainer in place. Hawley retainers are removable. Hawley retainers Also called wire retainers are removable retainers made of thin metal wire and plastic or wireframes. They are often used only during the evening, so you can remove them when eating or brushing your teeth.

Clear Plastic Retainers: this type of retainer is sometimes known as Essix or Vivera retainers. They are clear aligners that fit over the teeth in order to hold them in place. Clear plastic retainers are also removable. These are removable retainers that are molded to perfectly fit the new position of your teeth.  Disposable, thin, and hard plastic retainers are worn during the day. They are more expensive than wire or Hawley retainer because they can be re-used.

Fixed Retainers: this type of retainer is bonded to the back of your lower front teeth. It is sometimes known as a permanent retainer because you cannot remove it and it will remain in place for months or years.

Invisalign retainers: These clear aligner trays have replaceable “brackets” that move your teeth until you reach the desired result for their alignment. This is a great option if you want to do something about crooked teeth but don’t want metal braces.

Metal Retainers: usually used only at night before bedtime or when wearing other types of dental devices such as Invisalign which require removal of tooth’s natural enamel.

Essix Retainers: Made from bendable soft material, this type of retaining device relies on clips to attach to the back of your teeth.

When to clean a retainer

A retainer should be cleaned every day, or as needed.

If you’re a heavy smoker, drinker of coffee and/or tea, chew gum frequently or have braces on your teeth – then it is necessary to clean your retainers more often than once per week in order to keep them fresh and bacteria-free.

Retainers are usually made out of either clear plastic (a material that is highly porous), metal with tooth enamel removed from the surface for better bonding strength or soft rubber materials which can easily trap dirt and germs against their surfaces. All these materials offer an ideal environment for bacterial growth if not properly cared for. The buildup may cause bad breath odor that cannot be detected by the wearer and is only noticeable to other people.

How to clean clear retainers

Clear retainers are pretty easy to clean since they can easily be removed from the mouth. However, you must be sure to clean your retainer as soon as it leaves your mouth before it dries. Allowing your retainer to dry before cleaning means that the debris will harden in place. To clean a removable retainer, use lukewarm water and a toothbrush to gently brush your retainer. It is also recommended to brush your teeth after meals to keep your retainer clean.

To deep clean your retainer, you can use mild dish soap and a de to gently scrub your retainer. You should avoid using toothpaste to clean your retainer since toothpaste is abrasive and can scratch the surface of your retainer. In some cases, your orthodontist may also recommend soaking your retainer in denture or retainer cleaner mixed with one cup of lukewarm water. Also, be sure not to forget to clean your retainer case as well.

How to clean Hawley retainers

Be sure to clean your Hawley retainer nightly and soak it in denture cleaner. When done, place the retainer back into a case with water-moistened toothbrush bristles. The plastic material should not be left dry for more than 12 hours because this can result in discoloration or cracks that lead to bacteria growth.

In some cases, you may also want to purchase a second set of retainers so that one is always being soaked while the other is worn on your teeth during waking hours. Remember, any time you wear your Retainers away from home protect them by storing them in their protective hardshell container until they are ready to go back onto your mouth–this will prevent germs from accumulating overnight.

The bottom line is to always keep your Retainers clean by being diligent about brushing them. It takes very little effort on a routine basis, and the payoff in terms of oral hygiene (less plaque buildup) will be enormous–plus it’s a great way for you to stay committed to wearing your retainers as long as possible!

-Brush with toothpaste or mouthwash nightly before bedtime

-Wipe down with alcohol-based pads after eating greasy foods that may leave an oily film behind

-Rinse off any visible dirt particles gently under cool water if they stick onto surfaces of the retainer

-Use peroxide regularly for whitening purposes: one teaspoon diluted into two cups of warm water

How to clean plastic retainers

-Use a toothbrush with baking soda and water for scrubbing purposes

-Wipe down with diluted bleach solution (½ cup of chlorine laundry detergent in one gallon) to kill bacteria and germs, especially after illness or from being around sick people

-Rinse off all the cleaning products afterward before storing your retainer back into its case. Rinse it at least twice a week if you can’t brush it every day.

Don’t forget: Retainers are more susceptible to decay due to humidity, so store them separately from other oral care items like flossing picks that will absorb moisture when placed next to each other on the same container! Even using a ziplock baggy might not be enough to keep them dry.

-Use a clean toothbrush or cotton swab with water and gentle soap to gently scrub the retainer

-Soak your retainers overnight in warm water and baking soda, rinse off afterwards for even more germ protection

-Clean clear (plastic) retainers can be cleaned by brushing with a whitening toothpaste. Rinse after each time you use it. Regular toothbrushes are not recommended because they have bristles that may leave scratches on plastic materials! To protect against scratching, try using Soft Brushing Foam from Dental Lace™ or an interdental brush like Retriever®

How to clean Invisalign retainers

-To clean an invisalign retainer: soak it in a solution of hot water and mouthwash, brush with toothpaste or whitening paste, rinse off the residue.

-Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently brush. Rinse and pat dry before you put it back in your mouth.

How to clean Essix retainers

To clean Essix retainers: use hot water, mild dish soap or denture cleaner (avoid chlorine bleach), rinse thoroughly after cleaning, allow to air dry for 24 hours before using again.

How to clean metal retainers

-To clean metal retainers: soak in a solution of hot water and mouthwash, brush with toothpaste or whitening paste, rinse off the residue.

-Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently brush. Rinse and pat dry before you put it back in your mouth.

How to clean fixed retainers:

Since fixed retainers are bonded to your teeth, you will need to care for them by flossing daily. To floss around your retainer, you will need to use a floss threader to thread the floss between your two teeth, holding one end in your fingers and the other end with the threader. After the floss is under your retainer wire, then you can floss as usual. Then, simply slide the floss over to the next tooth and pull down so it is between the next two teeth. Repeat this process until all the teeth underneath the retainer have been flossed.

Retainer Cleaning Tips

  • Put a small amount of dish soap in warm water and soak the retainers for thirty minutes. Rinse with cool water making sure to dry them before wearing them again.
  • Use an old toothbrush or nail brush to scrub the retainer wire thoroughly, rinsing off any germs that are left on it afterwards with a clean towel.
  • Boil your metal or acrylic retainer in hot water for ten minutes then rinse under cold running tap water until they are completely cooled down before wearing them again.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands after using petroleum jelly, chapstick, lip balm as these substances will have bacteria attached to them from your mouth.
  • Use warm water to wipe your retainers every day and soak them for thirty minutes once a week with dish soap or bleach mixed in the soaking bowl.
  • You can use toothpaste to clean your retainers by rubbing it on any stains, then rinsing under cool water afterwards. You should also keep the retainer dry at all times as wet items are more likely to collect bacteria on their surface.”
  • There is no need to scrub hard when cleaning acrylic or metal retainers- just rinse thoroughly until they’re free of debris and germs and leave them out in open air for 24 hrs before wearing again.

Avoid denture cleansers.

Avoid denture cleansers. Denture cleaners will strip away any coating that may have been applied to protect your teeth from staining while using braces. So if there’s anything left on the retainer after you’ve rinsed it off at least three times, you’ll want to use a toothbrush with water and dish soap instead.”

Avoid mouthwash.

Avoid mouthwash. Mouthwashes are designed to kill bacteria in the mouth and not on your retainer, so it could actually be counterproductive.

*Tip*: Investing in a UV cleaner is recommended if you want to purchase one for home use- they’re widely available through dentist offices or even pharmacies like Walgreens!

Don’t use heat on your retainer.

Retainers are made of plastic, metal, or a combination of the two. Heat can cause these materials to warp and melt. This not only renders them unusable but also causes unpleasant odors that take time and effort to remove from the item you’re trying to clean.

Avoid leaving food particles in contact with your retainer for long periods as well- this will make it much easier for bacteria to grow on the surface!

*Tip*: One way to avoid getting food stuck between teeth is by using toothpaste while brushing after meals instead of flossing. Floss does tend to be more effective at picking up bits left behind by dental work (like fillings and crowns), but toothpaste is better at reducing the amount of food left on teeth.

Retainers can be cleaned in a variety of ways- from boiling them, to using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol solutions, to soaking them in dish soap for ten minutes.

Do not use anything abrasive; this will cause your retainer to quickly wear away prematurely! Gentle scrubbing with an old toothbrush should do just fine. Your retainers are precious items that need special care during routine cleanings so you don’t have to go through the trouble later on down the line by replacing them because they’re broken too much due to improper cleaning techniques!

Don’t soak your retainer in a chemical cleaning solution for more than 15-20 minutes.

Do not use anything abrasive; this will cause your retainer to quickly wear away prematurely! Gentle scrubbing with an old toothbrush should do just fine. Your retainers are precious items that need special care during routine cleanings so you don’t have to go through the trouble later on down the line by replacing them because they’re broken too much due to improper cleaning techniques!

Don’t soak your retainer in a chemical cleaning solution for more than 15-20 minutes.

Start by soaking it in warm water and mouthwash before rinsing thoroughly with cold water (this helps remove stubborn germs). Use baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol solutions if desired (the latter two may be harsh for everyday use, so use with caution).

A toothbrush should do the trick. Rinse thoroughly and put it in a container of water to soak overnight (that way you don’t have to worry about germs!) Cover your retainer case with plastic wrap before putting it back on because this will keep out unwanted bacteria as well. It’s also important that you store them properly when they’re not being worn! When storing retainers, make sure their cleanliness is always ensured by keeping them in an airtight container or bag every time!

Don’t brush your retainer.

Never brush your retainer. Brushing can wear away the coating that protects teeth from staining. Brushing will also remove any plaque or bacteria which may not have been removed while cleaning.You should rinse them thoroughly after every meal, make sure they’re always dry for 24 hours before wearing again, and clean once a week with dish soap or bleach mixed in the soaking bowl.

Keep your case clean.

Cases should always be clean, as well. Start by rinsing it with water and then cleaning with dish soap or bleach mixed in the soaking bowl for a few minutes before air drying.

The case should never come into contact with your toothbrush; however, you can rinse both of them after every meal to remove any food particles that may have stuck on.

How to Clean Your Retainer with Baking Soda

How to Clean Your Retainer with Baking SodaIf you’re looking for a quick and effective way to clean your retainers, baking soda might be the answer. Simply pour some baking soda into an old toothbrush container or another dish soap container (make sure it’s not something that will react with the alkaline in the baking soda), shake around until combined, then brush on top of your retainer. After brushing off any buildup from inside, you can rinse out your mouth and proceed as usual!

“The best thing about this is that it doesn’t hurt my teeth like other methods.” — Anonymous User

If you have braces but don’t want to use alcohol-based products because they are too harsh on their brackets, try using water mixed with a drop of dish soap.

If your retainer has been in for more than 12 months, boiling is the best option! Boil water and then pour it over the entire surface and let it soak for 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water. This should kill any bacteria that may have built up on your retainer.

“I always boil my retainers every day or two.” — Anonymous User

Alternatively, you can use hydrogen peroxide to cleanse them like you would using mouthwash after brushing teeth. Again, make sure not to leave this solution on longer than necessary as skin irritation could result from prolonged exposure to this chemical. Put some hydrogen peroxide onto an old toothbrush without bristles or into one of those little cups that you can soak retainers in to create a cleaning solution. Scrub the surface of your retainer with this for 30 seconds or so, and then rinse off with water as usual.

* Don’t worry if boiling water is not an option where you live; it’s still possible to cleanse them without using harsh chemicals! If necessary, use baking soda and/or warm salty water instead (don’t forget about salt’s ability to remove bacteria!)

How to Clean Retainers the Safe and Natural Way

A retainer is a special device individually constructed with the function of holding the teeth in place after surgery or realignment. Retainers are constantly in contact with the teeth so they should receive as much care as your teeth.

Would you like to know how to clean retainers? This article will be focusing primarily on the various methods you can use to clean your retainers. These methods do not involve harsh chemicals but make use of easily accessible domestic ingredients.

The emphasis will be on natural ingredients to avoid the possibility of toxicity which harsh chemicals come with. The retainer is a very porous substance and has the ability to absorb whatever it is soaked in. Hence, it is best to avoid soaking your retainer in harsh chemicals that could prove unsafe to your health.


The methods we will be detailing in this article require only ingredients that you can easily find within your home. No harsh chemicals will be listed, so you do not have to worry about chemical exposure. This article will be useful if you are looking for safe and natural methods of cleaning your retainers. The ingredients required to clean your retainers are:

  • Baking Soda
  • Clean Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Clean metal bowl or container

Importance of Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a very effective ingredient in cleansing your retainers. It is even more powerful than the chemicals that are prescribed alongside your retainers at the doctor’s office. It’s benefits include:

  • It increases the basicity of your mouth (pH level), which makes your mouth a hostile environment for bacteria to grow in.
  • When making use of baking soda, you can rest assured that it will combat any stench or mouth odour that may threaten to develop.
  • It does not put you at risk of chemical exposure, or cause any side effects.

How to Clean Retainers

Prepare the Mixture

In a clean metal bowl (try to avoid plastics as much as you can), pour in enough water to fully submerge your retainers. Add some baking soda to the water; you don’t need so much baking soda in the water. You can go ahead and use your finger to mix the contents a little until the baking soda has been dissolved in the water.

Submerge The Retainer

​After preparing the mixture, place it into the mixture, and cover the container/bowl with a lid. Allow your retainer sit in the mixture for as long as necessary. You can leave it there overnight, or for the duration of time you will not be wearing it.

Clean The Retainer

After submerging the retainer for a while, you should use a toothbrush to clean the retainer. This is to the dirt build-up and tartar that your retainer could have accumulated from contact with your teeth for an extended amount of time.

Rinse The Retainer

When you are done cleaning your retainer with a toothbrush, you should rinse it thoroughly in warm running water to get rid of the loosened dirt and tartar. Once this has been done properly, replace the retainer back into mixture until you are ready to wear it again. Don’t worry, your toothbrush will not scratch your retainer, or ruin it in anyway.

PRO TIP: The retainer is made from a very porous material, meaning it is capable of absorbing the content of whatever mixture it is soaked in. Hence, if you are going to introduce the retainer into your mouth, you should soak it in substances that will not cause any harm to your health. However, if you get to decide what material is used to make your retainer, you should go for the less porous option.

How To Care For Your Retainers

While knowing how to clean your retainers is important for caring for your retainers, it is not the only thing you should know to take care for your retainers. Other things to keep in mind when caring for your retainers include:

Clean Retainers now

1. Keep your retainers moist

The retainers are made up of porous materials that absorb moisture. However exposure and other factors could cause the retainers to dry up. It is important to keep your retainers soaked in liquid (preferably the Baking Soda and water mixture) whenever it is not in use. If a dry retainer is placed into the mouth, it has a chance of drying it up and cause an unpleasant smell.

2. Always keep them soaked

This is just an echo of the earlier point. Your retainers should always be soaked in distilled water with some Baking Soda, or some Castile soap (for cleansing and fragrance). Your retainers should only have two possible points of placement: Your mouth and its container soaking in distilled water.

3. Take them to your dentist

You will have to take your retainers to your dentist at intervals for periodic disinfection. This is necessary for clearing up the build-up that is likely to occur on your retainers, which your toothbrush may not be able to get rid of. Your dentist will have a proper equipment to perform this task.

How to Scent up Your Retainers

The cleansers provided with the retainers usually contain fragrance which boosts the appealing scent of the retainers. However if you are going the natural way, it means you do not have access to this fragrance.

You don’t need to bother as all you need to do for crisp fresh smelling retainers is to add a squirt or two of castile soap into your retainer’s submerging liquid. This will help clean your retainer further, and help it smell a lot better.

What Ruins Your Retainers


When using of retainers, there are certain substances you should not consume, or let your retainers come in contact with. Some of substances include:

  • Bleach
  • Alcohol
  • Boiling water or heat: This can cause the retainers to become deformed.
  • Harsh chemicals
  • Cleansers and tablets


Retainers are made of delicate substances, but they are quite easy to care for. You just have to understand what your retainer needs to give you the best teeth possible. We hope this list was useful for those looking for natural ways of maintaining optimum dental hygiene. It is eco-friendly and the ingredients stated are unlikely to cause any harm or damage to your body. Was this article useful in helping you clean your retainers?

How to Clean Your Retainer with Castile Soap

How to Clean Your Retainer with Castile SoapAdd a few drops of castile soap to warm water and soak the retainer for 30 minutes. They can then dip the retainer into the mixture and scrub it with a toothbrush. The retainer should be left to soak for 2-3 minutes before being scrubbed again, as necessary.

How to Clean Your Retainer with Vinegar

How to Clean Your Retainer with VinegarAlternatively, you could boil vinegar. Yes–vinegar! Vinegar has antibacterial properties which will help keep your retainer squeaky-clean. Just fill up a pot or saucepan halfway with vinegar before setting it on medium heat until bubbles start coming out from the liquid. It is important to note that it’s best not to use any metal utensils when heating the vinegar as this could cause damage to your retainer and other materials in your mouth.

How to Clean Your Retainer with a UV Sanitiser

My answer to this question is, “You shouldn’t.” While many dentists recommend UV sanitisers and actually have one in their office, UV light causes cell oxidation and can damage acrylic. Stay away from this method.

How to Clean Your Retainer with Hydrogen Peroxide

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: You should never use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner for your retainer!

Although it is often recommended, hydrogen peroxide should never be used in the mouth. It causes free radical reactions, and those free radical reactions are what age us.

If that’s not enough, hydrogen peroxide is also toxic and kills all types of bacteria in the mouth—many of which we need for the proper functioning of the oral microbiome. Additionally, there have been recent links made between the use of hydrogen peroxide and oral cancers.

Avoid These Methods to Clean Retainers

Do not use alcohol or mouthwash. Alcohol is a drying agent, which means it will cause your retainers to crack and break more often. Likewise, there are no cleaning properties of mouthwash that make them useful for keeping your retainer clean–mouthwashes typically contain antiseptics like alcohol

I hope you found this article helpful! If so, please share with other orthodontists in the industry.

The bottom line

Most people don’t know that there are different ways to clean a retainer and the method you choose depends on what type of retainer you have. Here are some tips to make your retainer cleaning routine easier. -What type of material is your retainer made from? Different materials require different methods for cleaning, and there are a few steps you can take no matter what the material. To start with, avoid heat in any form-yes even microwaves! Cleaning chemicals will also typically damage most types of retainers so it’s best to skip them entirely too. Finally, timing matters when it comes to soaking or boiling your mouthpiece as well. For example, if you have a plastic case that has softened over time due to exposure to hot drinks like tea or coffee then soaking may be necessary before scrubbing off grime using an old toothbrush and dish soap.

DIY Retainer Cleaning Solutions: Effective & Affordable Options

Are you tired of spending a fortune every few months to get your retainers professionally cleaned? Or maybe you’re looking for a way to clean your retainers more frequently without having to rely on store-bought solutions? DIY retainer cleaning solutions may just be the answer you’re looking for.

One effective and affordable option for retainer cleaning is a mixture of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Simply mix the two together in a cup and soak your retainers for a few minutes, then rinse them thoroughly with water. Hydrogen peroxide is effective in killing bacteria and removing stains, making it a great choice for retaining cleaning. Just be careful not to leave your retainers in the solution for too long, as hydrogen peroxide may discolor or damage some types of retainers.

Another option for DIY retainer cleaning is a simple saltwater solution. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, then soak your retainers in the solution for a few minutes. Saltwater is a natural antiseptic that can help remove bacteria and odors from your retainers. Plus, this method is gentle enough for most types of retainers and won’t damage them.

Both of these DIY retainer cleaning solutions are not only effective, but also affordable and easy to make. They can be used regularly to maintain clean and odor-free retainers without breaking the bank. So why not give them a try and see for yourself the difference they can make in your retainer cleaning routine?