Mouthwash and Retainers: Is Soaking the Way to Go?
Oral Health Blog

Mouthwash and Retainers: Is Soaking the Way to Go?


Maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial, especially when you're wearing a retainer after orthodontic treatment. Many people wonder if they can use mouthwash to clean their retainers effectively. In this article, we'll delve into whether it's safe and advisable to soak your retainer in mouthwash and explore alternative methods for keeping your retainer clean and fresh.

Can I Soak My Retainer in Mouthwash?

  1. The Short Answer

    Yes, you can soak your retainer in mouthwash occasionally, but it's essential to use it sparingly and follow specific guidelines.

  2. The Pros of Using Mouthwash

    • Bacterial Reduction: Mouthwash contains antiseptic properties that can help kill some of the bacteria on your retainer, contributing to better oral hygiene.
    • Freshness: It can leave your retainer smelling and tasting fresh, which is especially beneficial if you're concerned about retainer odor.
  3. The Cons and Considerations

    • Chemical Sensitivity: Some people may be sensitive to the chemicals found in mouthwash. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, discontinue using mouthwash for retainer soaking.
    • Not a Replacement: Mouthwash should not replace daily cleaning methods, such as brushing your retainer with a soft toothbrush and mild soap or using specialized retainer cleaning tablets.

Alternatives to Mouthwash for Retainer Cleaning

  1. Retainer Cleaning Tablets

    Specialized retainer cleaning tablets are designed explicitly for this purpose. They offer effective cleaning without the risk of chemical sensitivity. Simply dissolve a tablet in water and soak your retainer as directed.

  2. Water and Mild Soap

    A straightforward and safe method is to clean your retainer with lukewarm water and a mild soap. Gently brush the retainer with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque and bacteria. Rinse thoroughly before wearing it again.

  3. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

    You can create a mild cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide. Soak your retainer for a short duration (about 15 minutes) and rinse well. Ensure it's thoroughly dry before putting it back in your mouth.

  4. Vinegar and Water Solution

    A diluted vinegar and water solution can help remove stains and bacteria from your retainer. Mix one part white vinegar with three parts water, soak your retainer for no more than 20 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.

Best Practices for Retainer Care

  • Always consult your orthodontist or dentist before introducing any new cleaning methods for your retainer.
  • Avoid hot water, as it can distort the shape of your retainer.
  • Brush your retainer gently to prevent damage.
  • Never use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean your retainer, as they can damage the material and be harmful if ingested.


Using mouthwash to clean your retainer can be an occasional option for refreshing your appliance and reducing bacteria. However, it should not replace regular cleaning methods like using mild soap and water, retainer cleaning tablets, or other recommended solutions. Always prioritize the safety and comfort of your oral hygiene routine and consult your dental professional if you have any concerns about retainer care.

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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.