Vinegar Solution: Can Vinegar Clean Your Retainers?
Oral Health Blog

Vinegar Solution: Can Vinegar Clean Your Retainers?


Retainers are an essential part of orthodontic aftercare, ensuring your newly aligned teeth maintain their perfect position. Keeping your retainer clean is vital for maintaining oral hygiene and ensuring your investment in orthodontic treatment pays off. While there are various methods to clean retainers, the use of purple retainer cleaner is the most suitable among all. In this article, we'll explore whether vinegar can effectively clean retainers and offer guidance on its safe usage.

Can Vinegar Clean Retainers?

Yes, vinegar can be an effective and affordable solution for cleaning your retainers. Here's how and why it works:

1. The Power of Acetic Acid

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is known for its antibacterial properties. This acid can help break down and dissolve mineral deposits, plaque, and bacteria that accumulate on your retainer over time.

2. Non-Abrasive Cleaning

Unlike some commercial cleaning agents, vinegar is non-abrasive. It won't scratch or damage the surface of your retainer. This makes it a safe option for cleaning various types of retainers, including those made of plastic or metal.

3. Deodorizing Effect

Vinegar can also neutralize odors on your retainer. If your retainer has an unpleasant smell, a vinegar soak can help eliminate it, leaving your retainer smelling fresher.

How to Clean Your Retainer with Vinegar:

Follow these steps to clean your retainer effectively and safely with vinegar:

1. Prepare the Vinegar Solution:

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and lukewarm water in a container. Ensure there is enough solution to fully submerge your retainer.

2. Soak Your Retainer:

  • Place your retainer in the vinegar solution and let it soak for 15-30 minutes. This will allow the acetic acid to work on the buildup and bacteria.

3. Scrub Gently:

  • After soaking, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently scrub your retainer. Pay special attention to any areas with visible residue.

4. Rinse Thoroughly:

  • Rinse the retainer thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove any vinegar taste.

5. Air Dry:

  • Allow your retainer to air dry before storing it in its case. Ensure it is completely dry to prevent bacterial growth.

Vinegar Cleaning Tips:

  • Use White Vinegar: White vinegar is the most suitable choice for cleaning retainers due to its mild flavor and color.

  • Regular Cleaning: To prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria, it's best to clean your retainer with vinegar once or twice a week.

  • Avoid Extended Soaking: Do not soak your retainer in vinegar for prolonged periods, as it may damage the materials over time.

  • Rinse Thoroughly: Ensure your retainer is rinsed well to remove any residual vinegar taste.

  • Seek Professional Advice: If you have any doubts or specific concerns about your retainer, consult your orthodontist for guidance.


Vinegar, with its acetic acid properties, can be an effective, non-abrasive, and affordable solution for cleaning your retainers. Regular cleaning with a vinegar solution can help maintain your oral hygiene and keep your retainer in good condition. However, it's essential to use vinegar correctly, following the steps mentioned above and ensuring your retainer is adequately rinsed. With proper care, your retainer can continue to help you maintain that winning smile.

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.