How Do You Keep Clear Plastic Retainers Clean?
Oral Health Blog

How Do You Keep Clear Plastic Retainers Clean?

Clear plastic retainers are essential for maintaining teeth alignment after orthodontic treatment. Keeping them clean is crucial for both hygiene and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the best practices for cleaning and maintaining clear plastic retainers to ensure they remain in optimal condition.

Understanding the Importance of Clean Retainers

Why Clean Retainers Matter

  1. Hygiene: Retainers sit in your mouth for several hours a day, collecting bacteria, plaque, and food particles. Keeping them clean prevents bad breath and oral infections.
  2. Appearance: Regular cleaning helps retainers remain clear and discreet, avoiding discoloration and cloudiness.
  3. Longevity: Proper maintenance extends the lifespan of your retainers, saving you money on replacements.

Daily Cleaning Routine

Immediate Rinse

  1. Rinse After Removal: Every time you remove your retainer, rinse it under lukewarm water to wash away saliva and debris. This prevents buildup and keeps your retainer fresh.

Gentle Brushing

  1. Use a Soft Toothbrush: Gently brush your retainer with a soft toothbrush daily. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and create scratches where bacteria can thrive.
  2. Mild Soap: Use a mild, non-scented dish soap or a dedicated retainer cleaner for brushing. This helps remove bacteria and buildup without damaging the retainer.


  1. Regular Soaking: Soak your retainer in a cleaning solution once a week. Use a persulfate-free cleaner to avoid allergic reactions and ensure thorough cleaning.
  2. Natural Alternatives: You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water or white vinegar and water as natural cleaning solutions. Soak for 15-30 minutes to help remove stains and odors.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Food and Drink Stains

  1. Remove Before Eating: Always remove your retainer before eating or drinking anything other than water. Food particles and colored drinks can stain and damage your retainer.
  2. Rinse After Meals: Rinse your mouth and retainer with water after meals to remove any remaining food particles and prevent plaque buildup.

Proper Storage

  1. Dry Storage: When not in use, store your retainer in a dry, clean case. Avoid leaving it in humid environments, such as bathrooms, where bacteria can thrive.
  2. Avoid Heat: Keep your retainer away from direct sunlight, hot water, and heat sources. Heat can warp the plastic, affecting the fit and effectiveness of the retainer.

Regular Inspections

  1. Check for Damage: Inspect your retainer regularly for cracks, warping, or other signs of wear. A damaged retainer can harbor bacteria and may not fit properly.
  2. Replace When Necessary: If you notice significant damage or persistent discoloration that cannot be cleaned, consult your orthodontist for a replacement.

Professional Cleaning and Maintenance

Orthodontist Visits

  1. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular visits with your orthodontist to have your retainer professionally cleaned and checked for proper fit and function.
  2. Professional Advice: Your orthodontist can provide specific advice on how to care for your retainer based on your individual needs and lifestyle.


Keeping your clear plastic retainer clean is essential for maintaining oral hygiene, appearance, and the longevity of the retainer. By following a daily cleaning routine, avoiding common pitfalls, and seeking professional advice when needed, you can ensure your retainer remains in optimal condition. Regular cleaning and proper care will help you get the most out of your retainer and maintain your beautiful smile for years to come.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE. 



The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.