How to Clean Retainers? Best Helpful Tips and Tricks

How to Clean Retainers

What is a retainer ? How to clean retainers ? and also what are the types of retainers. These are the questions that might come into your mind when you are using retainers. Here I did my best to explain every aspect related to retainers. So keep reading for amazing information.

What are Retainers?

Retainers are appliances that help to keep the teeth straight after the removal of braces. The amount of time a patient must wear a retainer depends on whether it is permanent or reversible. The dentist is the one to make these choices.

How to Clean Retainers?

Maintaining a clean retainer is highly necessary for your oral health. Plaque and bacteria can grow on your retainer, as they can on your teeth. And that’s not something you want to put on your teeth and gums every day.

Here are few suggestions on how to maintain your retainer in the best possible shape.

From water

Wash your retainer with clean water. It is the best and the easiest way to clean your retainer. Although water alone will not disinfect a retainer. Yet drinking plenty of water during the day will help to avoid bacteria overgrowth. Whenever you remove your retainer soak it in water. Do not keep in in dry place

By Soft Brush

You can also clean your retainers using a soft brush every time when you brush your teeth. Brushing one’s teeth should also include brushing one’s retainer. A soft-bristled toothbrush toothpaste is recommended.

How to Clean Retainers With Baking Soda?

Baking soda is widely used in baking but it also works as a disinfectant that can control bacteria. Baking soda destroys bacteria without using harsh chemicals. To clean the retainer, soak it in baking soda for about 10 minutes once a week. It also removes the yellowish layer formed on it.

How to Clean Retainers With Vinegar?

White vinegar is a mild disinfectant that can be used to get rid of odors and stains. It keeps things away from fungus and bacteria. Soak the retainer in water and vinegar mixture. Repeat it once a week to remove the crusty layer formed on the retainer.

Keep it away from heat

Do not soak your retainer in hot water and near any heating area like microwave, stove, or dashboard of a car.

Use No Chemical

Never wash it with mouthwash. It contains different chemicals, which will damage the retainer, so do not use it. When washing your retainers on a regular basis, stop using any harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals dissolve the material in your retainer, rendering it weak, and void-filled over time. This can allow plaque and bacteria to grow in small spaces, making them more difficult to remove.

Clean your case

A retainer case is more than a place to keep your retainer protected from being crushed or thrown out. Before putting your retainer in a case make sure to clean it. Clean your case once a day from clean warm water. A retainer case also helps to shield your retainer from dirt, dust, and debris from the outside of your mouth. Holding your retainer in its proper case is an essential part of keeping it clean in general. So keep your retainer case clean.

Retainer Cleaner (Professional)

Some companies or factories have even made retainer cleaners. There are a variety of professional items designed for retainers. These destroy bacteria, keep the retainer clean, and avoid plaque from developing. People who are quite busy in today’s era and do not have much time can use manufactured retainer cleaners to clean their retainers. In this way, they can get rid of difficulties caused by making a retainer cleaner mixture.

These Should Not Be Used to Clean Retainers

  • Don’t use a Clorox wipe to brush your teeth because the chemicals in the wipe will damage your teeth.
  • If possible, avoid soaking in hot water. The heat can cause the retainer to warp from its original shape, causing your teeth to shift.
  • Dishwasher not recommended.
  • Never use a mouthwash to clean teeth
  • It should not be put on a bedside table, in a tissue, or in a napkin.

How Often We Need to Clean Our Retainers?

The simple response is “at least regular.” Yet, the amount of cleaning, and even the degree of vigilance expected for any given session, must be decided by how often they are worn each day.

Types of Retainers

There are three main types of retainers:

Hawley Wire Retainers

It is a removable object shaped to suit your mouth and is made of a mixture of plastic and metal. As you can see, the wires are positioned against the six front teeth. They have loops near the canines to aid slight changes as the teeth settle in. But, due to the plastic and wire parts, the Hawley Retainer may be distorted or modified by heat or impact damage. So, it should be used with caution.


  • Long-term reliability
  • It is possible to tighten or patch it.
  • It can be personalized with many colors, logos, and other elements.

Negative Aspects

  • Guard from grinding by not covering the biting surface of the teeth.
  • Enable for some tooth movement.
  • Are more costly to repair.

Clear Plastic Retainers

These are adjustable retainers that are custom-molded to suit your teeth in their new place. Molded retainers are another name for them. (Thermoplastic or vacuum-formed retainers are the technical words for them.) .It’s not as heavy as a Hawley retainer and could be more convenient.


  • Maintain the location of the teeth in which they were relocated.
  • Protects teeth from wear caused by grinding.
  • Almost imperceptible
  • Replaceable retainers are less costly than other alternatives.

Negative Aspects

  • At the other retainers, you don’t last as long.
  • Since they’re so little, they’re easy to misplace.

Permanent Retainers (Bonded)

A strong or braided wire is curved to match the form of your newly straightened teeth in permanent retainers. To prevent the front teeth from moving, the wire is cemented (bonded) to the inside of your teeth. They are also known as a set, lingual wire, or bonded retainers, and they’re used on lower teeth.


  • If properly cared for, it will last for several years.
  • They can’t be lost because they’re forever glued in.

Negative Aspects

  • Cleaning, brushing, and flossing are even more complicated.
  • It’s important not to eat something that’s too hard.

How to Use Retainers?

It can be aggravating to have to wear a retainer after your braces are removed, but it is a required extra measure. Also after completing a complete orthodontic operation, the teeth can begin to change until we remove the braces. Wearing a retainer allows the teeth to stay in their new places for a longer period of time. It results in better performance.

Some patients only need one retainer on the bottom or top, whereas others will need both. Initially, you will wear the retainer during the day, but you will most likely only need to wear it at night to sleep. Keep in mind that every care plan is unique.

Do You Still Need Retainers After Braces?

Yes, to put it simply. Following the doctor’s orders, you must wear a retainer after your braces have been removed. The tissue and periodontal ligaments that protect your teeth need time to regenerate. They readjust after your braces have done their job of pushing them into their new positions.

It’s important to wear your retainer right after your braces fall off to hold your teeth in the proper position as this transition takes place. Following that, apply the instructions on your retainer. It will keep your teeth from going back to their original positions.

What is The Importance of Cleaning Retainers?

Just like your teeth, you must clean your retainer to keep it free of plaque and bacteria. Invisalign users are already accustomed to cleaning their aligners on a regular basis. But, if you have worn conventional metal braces before, it can take some getting used to.

Healthy teeth begin with a clean appliance. Bacteria accumulate in your mouth during the day, which can trigger bad breath, gingivitis, and cavities. To keep your retainers, teeth, and gums free of plaque, it’s necessary to remove this buildup every day.

Whether you wear a retainer during therapy or after your braces or Invisalign are removed at Total Orthodontics, a retainer will help you preserve your smile overtime… It’s possible that the retainers or aligners will discolor and become unattractive. Cleaning your retainers is yet another step in keeping good oral hygiene habits that you already do every day when you brush and floss.


It’s important to know how to clean your retainers properly. Your retainer is inserted into your mouth and makes direct contact with your teeth. Retainers, if not properly cared for, can promote the formation of tartar, plaque, and bacteria.

It’s also important to keep your retainer clean if you want to keep your new smile straight and safe. It’s just as necessary to brush your teeth as it is to clean your retainer. Taking care of and cleaning your retainer may have a detrimental impact on your teeth and health.

Cleaning your retainers would also ensure that your teeth are kept clean. But, you should stop using heat or chemicals to keep your retainer in good shape. Since the metal components in the Hawley form can corrode if the soaking period is too long. You should keep it to a least.

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