How to Clean Retainers?

Teeth retainers are custom-made devices your dentist provides to wear over your mouth and help keep your teeth in their new, corrected position after braces. As a matter of fact, the retainer sits on your teeth for a long time (8-10 hours) when you’re sleeping. So it’s understandable that if they are not cleaned properly, it can lead to the accumulation of plaque on your retainers afterward. This plaque build-up on retainers will shift to your teeth and lead to tooth decay and cavities. In this blog, I am going to show you the ways you can use to clean your retainers in no time.

6 Proven Ways To Clean Retainers:


How do clean retainers using vinegar?

Vinegar help removes a white layer of plaque and tartar from your retainer. The white layer is a build-up of calcium deposits from your saliva that stick to your retainer if you’re not cleaning it regularly. 

  1. At first, rinse your retainer with warm or cold water to remove loose dirt and place them in a cup big enough to keep them whole.
  2. Afterward, pour enough vinegar into the cup to entirely dip the retainers. Make sure to sit retainers in vinegar for less than 2 to 5 minutes. Otherwise, the vinegar could degrade the plastic.
  3. Take them out from the cup and gently scrub all nooks and crannies using a soft bristle toothbrush specially designed for cleaning delicate items.
  4. Finally, rinse with cold water to finish this method.

How do clean retainers use baking soda?

Baking soda is a very effective natural cleaner and can also be used for the purpose of retainer cleaning. Additionally, being basic (high pH) in nature provides a tough time for the bacteria that thrive in acidic environments.

  1. At first, mix a thick paste of distilled water and baking soda in equal fractions.
  2. Apply this paste onto retainers using a soft bristle toothbrush specially designed for cleaning retainers.
  3. At this point, scrub the paste onto the retainer surface, nooks, and crannies to loosen all the plaque build-up.
  4. Lastly, rinse the retainer with cold or warm water to remove the residues of the paste. That’s all for this cleaning method.

How do clean retainers use hydrogen peroxide?

First, rinse your retainers with water (not hot) and soak your retainer in a 50/50 solution of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Don’t forget to rinse well with warm water before putting the retainer into your mouth.

This solution helps remove the yellowness in your retainer and kills bacteria. However, removing the plaque build-up on your retainers does not work. To remove plaque, you must first use vinegar or powdered baking soda paste mentioned above.

How do you clean retainers with a store-bought denture cleaner?

Denture cleaners significantly consist of potent cleaning agents. So please don’t use them most often. Otherwise, you may make your retainers yellow or cause deformation of the retainer shape, as they are primarily used to clean dentures. Denture cleaners mostly come in cream, powder, or tablet form, and you drop one of these cleaners into the water to activate its cleaning power. If it’s in liquid form, use it as it is to clean the retainers. Denture cleaner results in clean-looking retainers, minimal odor, and no more bacteria.

Let’s learn how to use cleaner.

  1. At first, rinse off the retainers with water to remove any visible build-up and place them in the shallow cup.
  2. Fill the cup with denture cleaner to cover the retainers completely.
  3. Let them soak in the denture cleaner liquid as instructed by the packaging. Mostly 15 minutes of soaking is enough.
  4. Remove the retainer and rinse with water.
  5. At this point, soak them in non-alcoholic mouthwash for another 30 minutes. Make sure to use only non-alcoholic mouthwash to avoid plastic degradation.
  6. Rinse them with water, and your retainer is now clean and ready to be used again!

How do clean retainers use Castile liquid soap?

Castile soap is effectively used for cleansing the body and hair, but it can also be used as an all-purpose cleanser for household cleaning or cleaning your retainer. Generally, Castile soaps are vital and must be diluted before use. However, olive- and coconut-based are much more gentle than other types of soap. 

  1. Add a small amount of warm water to clean a retainer with castile soap.
  2. Then dip the retainer into the mixture and scrub it with a toothbrush.
  3. If necessary, soak your retainer for 2-3 minutes before being scrubbed again.
  4. Try to designate a toothbrush specifically for using castile soap.
  5. Rinse the excess castile soap solution off and enjoy your fresh, clean retainer.

How do clean retainers use antibacterial dish detergent?

To clean retainers with antibacterial dish detergent, follow these simple steps.

  1. Make a mild solution of antibacterial dish detergent and warm water. Mix it well until suds form.
  2. Now submerge your retainer in that solution for 10 minutes.
  3. Then, using a soft toothbrush, scrub away the grime and plaque build-up from the surface and corners of your retainer.
  4. Rinse off with warm water to remove all detergent residues.
  5. Now place your retainer in a small bowl, fill it with isopropyl alcohol and completely cover it to avoid evaporation. Soak for 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with warm or cold water.

Note: To remove the alcohol residues from your retainers, it’s recommended to soak retainers in warm water for 20 minutes afterward.

How to sanitize the retainers?

Use a stainless steel container to soak your retainer in a mixture of lukewarm water, white vinegar, and baking soda. This mixture not only works together to remove plaque but also kills bacteria.

Afterward, let your retainer soak for 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse thoroughly with warm water. At that point, your retainer comes out clean and sanitized.

Don’ts for Cleaning your Retainer

Don’t clean your retainer with disinfectant wipes.

No doubt, disinfectant wipes kill bacteria, but the types of bacteria on the retainers are much different than that of counters and other surfaces. As a result, the chemicals in these wipes can harm your teeth and leave an unwanted flavor on your retainers.

Don’t use multipurpose cleaners or bleach on your retainers.

These products are toxic to ingest and harm the retainer’s metal or plastic.

Don’t rinse or soak with hot water.

Another critical point is that hot water can deform your retainer, and a deformed retainer can change the positioning of your teeth, allowing your teeth to shift back toward their old spots. 

Don’t put your retainer in a dishwasher.

If you put your retainer in the dishwasher to clean them, then the hot water may warp and shrink your retainers.

Don’t use alcohol-based mouthwash for cleaning.

Alcohol in mouthwash can cause retainer plastics to break down or crack. So, use only non-alcoholic mouthwash to freshen your retainers.

Don’t use dark-colored mouthwash as a retainer cleaner.

Otherwise, darker color in your favorite mouthwash can stain your retainer’s plastic.

Don’t brush your retainer with regular toothpaste.

Regular hard bristle toothpaste can be too abrasive on your retainer and cause scratching or dulling of the retainer’s plastic.

Do not use denture cleaning tablets regularly.

Denture cleaners are not designed to clean the retainers. They are strong and will eventually make your retainer yellow.

Do not use toothpaste microbeads to clean the retainer 

Tiny microbeads in your toothpaste can scratch your plastic retainer.

Don’t store it without a case.

Leaving your retainer out can make it dry and by time more prone to breakage and plaque.

Don’t wrap your retainer in a napkin or tissue to save them from drying

Otherwise, the napkin or tissue fibers will stick to it, and you may be mistaken for trash & thrown your retainers away!

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