Mastering Retainer Hygiene: The Art of Deep Cleaning Your Plastic Retainer
Oral Health Blog

Mastering Retainer Hygiene: The Art of Deep Cleaning Your Plastic Retainer


Maintaining a clean plastic retainer is crucial for both your oral hygiene and the durability of the device. Over time, retainers can accumulate plaque, bacteria, and odors. To keep your retainer fresh and your smile healthy, you'll want to deep clean it periodically. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps of achieving a thorough, deep clean for your plastic retainer.

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary supplies:

  • Mild dish soap or dedicated retainer cleaning tablets
  • A soft toothbrush or a dedicated retainer cleaning brush
  • Lukewarm water
  • A clean container or retainer case

2. Rinse Your Retainer

Start by rinsing your retainer under lukewarm tap water. This helps remove any loose debris or particles from the retainer's surface.

3. Create a Cleaning Solution

You have two options for creating a cleaning solution:

a. Mild Dish Soap

  • Fill your container or retainer case with lukewarm water.
  • Add a few drops of mild dish soap and mix to create a soapy solution.

b. Retainer Cleaning Tablets

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the appropriate number of tablets to use.
  • Dissolve the tablets in lukewarm water.

4. Soak Your Retainer

Place your retainer in the cleaning solution, ensuring it's fully submerged. Let it soak for about 15-30 minutes. Soaking helps to loosen any buildup and makes it easier to brush off.

5. Scrub Gently

After soaking, use a soft toothbrush or a dedicated retainer cleaning brush to gently scrub the retainer. Pay close attention to nooks, crannies, and any visible buildup. Be thorough but avoid vigorous scrubbing, as this can damage the retainer.

6. Rinse and Inspect

Rinse your retainer thoroughly under lukewarm tap water. Inspect it to ensure all visible residue has been removed.

7. Dry Your Retainer

Pat your retainer dry with a clean, lint-free cloth or allow it to air dry. Make sure to dry the container or retainer case as well to prevent bacterial growth.

8. Store Properly

Always store your clean retainer in its designated container or retainer case. This will protect it from dust, debris, and bacteria when you're not wearing it.

9. Preventive Tips

To keep your plastic retainer clean and odor-free between deep cleaning sessions, consider these preventive measures:

  • Rinse After Eating: Whenever you remove your retainer to eat, rinse it with water before placing it back in your mouth.

  • Brush Your Teeth: Regularly brushing your teeth and flossing can help prevent excess plaque and debris from accumulating on your retainer.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help maintain saliva flow, which naturally cleans your mouth and your retainer.

  • Avoid Heat: Keep your retainer away from hot water, direct sunlight, and heat sources, as excessive heat can distort the plastic.


Deep cleaning your plastic retainer doesn't have to be a daunting task. With a few readily available supplies and some simple steps, you can keep your retainer fresh and your smile confident. Remember to practice regular oral hygiene to prevent excessive buildup between deep cleaning sessions. By following these guidelines, you'll enjoy a clean and odor-free retainer that contributes to your overall oral health and well-being.

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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.