How to Clean My Retainers

Today, we look at “How to clean my retainers.” When you complete orthodontic treatment, retainers ensure that your teeth stay in place. Otherwise, teeth may relapse, shifting back to their original position.

By wearing your retainer at all times, (except when eating, brushing, or playing sports), you will continue to enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.

Like Invisalign, retainers need regular cleaning. If not, then a coating of bacteria can build up on the surfaces. Besides being unsightly, it can also contribute to bad breath and tooth decay.

Also, like Invisalign, it’s possible to misplace a retainer when you take it out. Therefore, always place your retainer in its protective case where you’ll remember it. On this case, write your name and phone number. By doing the same thing every time, you will be much less likely to lose your retainer.

In the event of losing or breaking your retainer, please call Smiles in Framingham immediately. Unfortunately, teeth can begin to shift again if you don’t keep a retainer in place. A tooth’s mobility is why orthodontists can move teeth to their ideal positions.

Eventually, teeth will stay put, but it usually takes six months to a year after orthodontic treatment. Thus, it varies by person, and Dr. Himelhoch will discuss how long you’ll need a retainer with you. Please, call Dr. Himelhoch’s office if you are having any trouble with how your retainer fits in your mouth.

Now, let’s look at “how to clean my retainer.” Again, the process is much like Invisalign aligners and very easy.

For more, see our information about retainers here.

How to Clean My Retainers

We’ll look at three types of retainers that require slightly different cleaning: Removable, Clear, and Vivera retainers.

Removable Retainers

Using a soft toothbrush reserved for cleaning your retainer, brush your retainer in lukewarm water. Whenever you brush, please take out your retainer and brush it as well.

Keep in mind; toothpaste can scuff up the surface of retainers. Instead, clear liquid soap (with no alcohol) will clean without being abrasive.

Important: Never use hot water because it can warp retainers or Invisalign.

Next, each day soak your retainer for 5-10 minutes in denture cleaner or Fresh Guard. 

How to Clean My Retainers: Clear 

Cleaning your clear retainers is exactly like cleaning removable retainers. However, when you soak them each day, we recommend Fresh Guard for only 5 minutes at a time. By sticking to this plan, your retainer will last longer.

Again, remember never to use hot water to clean, or you may warp retainers or Invisalign.

How to Clean My Retainers:


When you brush your teeth, you may use a soft toothbrush and lukewarm or cold water to clean your retainer.

Like clear retainers, we recommend soaking your Vivera retainer in Fresh Guard for 5 minutes daily. In this case, you may use lukewarm or cold tap water. Please, don’t use hot water that may warp retainers or Invisalign.

Please, avoid using denture cleaner or mouthwash for retainers. Notably, these products will dull the surface and make them more visible. Similarly, toothpaste can tend to scuff the surfaces.

How to Clean My Retainers:


For some people, a bonded retainer that stays in the mouth is required. In such cases, please see Smile in Framingham’s videos here for how to clean using dental Super Floss and a floss threader.

See more in our video from Instagram below:

Retain Your Gorgeous Smile!

As you can see, the process for “how to clean my retainers” is easy. By keeping retainers clean, you will help maintain your oral health and avoid bad breath. Best of all, you’ll help retain your gorgeous, healthy smile for a lifetime.

Have questions? Call us anytime at 508-872-0555. 

Contact us here to schedule a visit.

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Dr. Himelhoch is trained and experienced in providing care for both pediatric and adult orthodontic problems to the residents of Framingham, MA. Also, we’re proud to serve Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and the surrounding areas.

To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch