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.