How to Clean Invisalign Retainers

  • It’s crucial to keep your aligners clean. Otherwise, instead of helping you keep your smile in great shape, they’ll damage your teeth. For the best results, follow the proper care instructions and tips we share about Invisalign retainers. 
  • In this post, you’ll read why you should rinse and brush aligners whenever you put them back in your mouth and store them properly when not in use. You’ll find out also why lukewarm water is better than hot water for the cleaning treatment for them. 
  • In recent posts on the blog, we focussed more on the well-being of your house (check House Rituals blog). Now, we want to concentrate on your self-care. Ensure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss every night to keep food debris away from your mouth and retainer. Keep reading to find out the best practices to keep Invisalign clear aligners clean.

What is an Invisalign retainer?

Invisalign is an established brand that produces Invisalign aligners—a plastic alternative to traditional metal braces. 

We often also refer to Invisalign aligners as “retainers” or “trays.”  

They are like traditional retainers but are designed to apply pressure to specific teeth to shift them little by little.

How does Invisalign treatment look like?

You should wear Invisalign trays for 20 hours every day, removing them only for eating and cleaning. 

Never forget the proper hygiene: mouthwash, brushing, dental care.

Now, you need to clean not only your plaque and remove bacteria from your teeth but also what you wear on them, i.e., your retainer. 

Dispose of your retainers every couple of weeks. 

Invisalign cleaning

Since you spend with Invisalign all days and nights, it’s crucial to clean your aligners.

What exactly should the cleaning process look like?

Let’s tackle it in the paragraphs below.

Everyday maintenance

You should rinse your aligners every day with water. You can even clean them twice for better effects. 

You’ll be comfy to clean Invisalign at the same time you brush your teeth. 

Rinse your aligners under lukewarm water to minimize bacteria buildup every time you go out.

Important: Using hot water for cleaning your retainer can warp the plastic and damage the material.

For the best cleaning practice, purchase a special soft bristled toothbrush destined to gently brush your Invisalign retainer.

Clean your aligner with a toothpaste and toothbrush—choose a gentle formula and brush.

Be gentle. Use clear liquid soap to remove any debris or food particles. 

Always remember to rinse Invisalign trays thoroughly after brushing, unless you want to get a soap taste when it goes back in your mouth.

Tip: You can clean your aligners with a denture cleaner tablet.

Another option is to soak your retainers in distilled water or a mixture of distilled water and baking soda.

Always use mouthwash after you brush and floss your teeth to remove the plaque. Remember to do it before you put your aligners back in.

After washing, rinse your aligners under running lukewarm water to wash off the cleaning solution. 

Next, wash the glass or cleaning container.

Retainer Cleaning Crystals

Cleaning Crystals is a dedicated Invisalign retainer cleaning solution.

Dissolve one packet of this product into the warm water and stir or shake for several seconds.

Drop both top and bottom retainers into the mixture—make sure they are fully submerged—and let them soak for 15-30 minutes.

You can use the Crystals Invisalign cleaning system solution to soak your aligners as often as twice a day.

The Cleaning Crystals incorporate sodium-based ingredients—as a result, their smell may resemble chlorine.

After cleaning, rinse and dry aligners thoroughly before wearing them back.

Alternatively, to avoid a slightly high price-tag coming from the patented formula of Cleaning Crystals, you can use: 

1. Denture cleaner

Soak your aligners in this solution for about 15-30 minutes. 

Then, brush your trays with a soft bristled toothbrush to remove any excess residue. 

Rinse thoroughly. 

2. Hydrogen peroxide

It’s better to avoid harsh ingredients when you clean your Invisalign aligners. Used at low concentrations, hydrogen peroxide is ideal for removing stains from your Invisalign. 

Combine equal parts of the 3% hydrogen peroxide with warm water. Make sure your aligners are soaking in for a little over thirty minutes. Then brush them and rinse.

A bottle of hydrogen peroxide costs less than a dollar—it’s a cost-effective way to clean your aligners.

3. White distilled vinegar 

Consider vinegar as a solution to disinfect your Invisalign trays. 

Mix one part white vinegar to three parts water and soak the Invisalign trays for 15 minutes.

Remove from the solution, brush and bathe under clean water.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Invisalign retainers aren't painful per sé but can leave your teeth feeling a little sore. It may be less evident than in traditional orthodontic treatment, yet, you’ll notice some uncomfortable pressure when you first wear Invisalign braces.
It's rather an Invisalign retainer that can turn yellow due to not brushing your teeth every time before putting aligners in your mouth and drinking coffee, tea, juice, wine, or colored sodas while having them on.
There are a couple of downsides, like that Invisalign is pretty expensive—a total cost is about $3,000–$7,000. In addition, treatment is time-consuming, and one needs to be disciplined to keep up with all the use and maintenance indications. On the other hand, Invisalign retainers are less noticeable than traditional braces while being just as effective.
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