How to Clean Invisalign Retainers Effectively: Tips and Techniques

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT

Aligner trays, often referred to as Invisalign retainers, are a popular choice for straightening teeth. They're nearly invisible, comfortable to wear, and require minimal maintenance compared to traditional braces. However, proper cleaning is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing issues like bad breath and discoloration of the aligners.

Continue reading to learn about the tips and techniques of how to clean Invisalign retainers effectively, exploring various methods, recommended products, and helpful tips from dental professionals.

Importance of Cleaning Invisalign Retainers

Invisalign and retainers work by fitting snugly over your teeth. While this is great for straightening your smile, it also prevents saliva from naturally washing away food particles and bacteria. This can lead to cavities and staining on your teeth.

To prevent these issues, it's crucial to clean both your teeth and your aligners regularly. Brush your teeth after meals and snacks, and rinse your aligners before putting them back in. If you consume something sour or sugary, rinse your mouth out as well.

Beyond oral health, unclean aligners can become unpleasant. Food particles, plaque, and dried saliva can build up, causing bad odor and a cloudy appearance. This might not be a big deal with retainers worn at night, but it can be quite noticeable with Invisalign.

By learning how to properly clean your aligners and following a consistent routine, you can ensure they stay clear and fresh and don't compromise your treatment or your smile's confidence boost.

How Often Should You Clean Your Invisalign?

Brush your Invisalign retainers gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water twice daily, morning and night. Rinse them thoroughly after eating or drinking before putting them back in. Deep cleaning is occasionally needed, but not every day. Since you change aligners every 1-2 weeks, a deep clean once a week is usually sufficient.

How to Clean Invisalign Retainers - Step-by-Step Procedure

  • Rinse with Lukewarm Water: After removing your Invisalign retainers from your mouth, rinse them thoroughly with lukewarm water. This helps remove saliva and any food particles trapped in the aligners.
  • Use a Soft Toothbrush: Gently brush your Invisalign retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild, non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using hot water or harsh cleaners, as they can damage the aligners.
  • Soak in Denture Cleaner or Retainer Cleaning Crystals: Consider soaking your Invisalign retainers in a denture cleaner or specialized retainer cleaning crystals to deep clean your Invisalign retainers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper usage and duration.
  • Brush Aligner Grooves and Edges: Pay special attention to brushing the grooves and edges of your Invisalign retainers, as these areas are prone to plaque buildup. Use a retainer brush or cotton swab to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Avoid Colored or Scented Soaps: When cleaning your Invisalign retainers, avoid using colored or scented soaps, as they may leave residue or cause discoloration. Stick to mild, unscented soap or specialized retainer cleaning solutions.
  • Rinse Thoroughly Before Use: Before inserting your Invisalign retainers back into your mouth, rinse them thoroughly with water to remove any cleaning solution residue.

Additional Tips for Maintaining Clean Invisalign Retainers

  • Never use hot water: Hot water can warp your retainers.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Stay away from mouthwash, toothpaste (especially whitening toothpaste), and abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the retainer material.
  • Clean your hands before handling: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before putting in or removing your retainers. This helps prevent the transfer of bacteria.
  • Store them properly: Always keep your retainers in their designated case when not in use. Never wrap them in a tissue or napkin, as this can trap moisture and promote bacterial growth.
  • Replace your case regularly: Over time, retainer cases can harbor bacteria. Replace your case every few months or if it becomes damaged.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups: Maintaining regular dental appointments allows your dentist to monitor your progress and ensure your retainers are functioning properly.

Learn More About Invisalign with Legacy Dental Today!

This blog has hopefully answered your questions about how to clean Invisalign retainers. But that's not all! Legacy Dental offers complimentary Invisalign consultations. During your consultation, we'll walk you through the entire Invisalign process and answer any questions you may have.

Not sure if Invisalign is the right choice for you?

Contact us today or visit Legacy Dental and explore your options for achieving a perfect smile!


If you're looking for an affordable option to clean your aligners, consider hydrogen peroxide—it's inexpensive, often costing less than a dollar. Another alternative is vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water to create a solution, then soak your Invisalign aligner in it for approximately 20 minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide is a potent disinfectant capable of eliminating germs and bacteria responsible for unpleasant odors. To utilize its benefits, immerse your aligners in a small cup of hydrogen peroxide for approximately 10 minutes. Afterward, ensure to thoroughly rinse them with cold water before putting them on.

Alternative options for cleaning Invisalign retainers include diluted antibacterial soap in lukewarm water, specialized Invisalign cleaning crystals, a solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted in cold water, warm water with baking soda, or mouthwash. We recommend researching these options and carefully following the instructions provided by the companies that manufacture them.

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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