Fowler Orthodontics

How To Clean Your Retainer

So, you’ve got your new retainer, and it’s doing a fantastic job keeping your smile in check. But wait, have you thought about how to keep that retainer clean? Just like brushing your teeth, cleaning your retainer is crucial for maintaining good oral health and ensuring your retainer stays in tip-top shape. 

At Fowler Orthodontics, we’re all about helping you keep that perfect smile, so we’re here to guide you through the best ways to clean your retainer. 

Trust us, it’s easier than you think and doesn’t have to be a chore. Let’s dive into the how-tos and make sure your retainer stays as sparkling clean as your teeth!

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Retainer

Cleaning your retainer might seem like just another task on your to-do list, but it’s actually super important for several reasons. 

Here’s why you shouldn’t skip it:

  • Oral Health: A clean retainer helps keep your mouth healthy. Just like your teeth, your retainer can accumulate plaque, bacteria, and food particles. If not cleaned regularly, these can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Nobody wants that!
  • Longevity of the Retainer: Regular cleaning can extend the life of your retainer. Retainers aren’t cheap, and taking good care of them means you won’t need a replacement as often. Proper maintenance helps prevent damage and keeps it working effectively.
  • Comfort: A clean retainer is more comfortable to wear. Imagine wearing something that’s grimy and has buildup – not pleasant, right? Keeping it clean ensures that it feels fresh and comfortable every time you put it in.
  • Appearance: Let’s be honest, a discolored, dirty retainer isn’t a good look. Regular cleaning helps keep your retainer clear and free from stains, so it looks as good as new.
  • Avoiding Illness: A dirty retainer can harbor bacteria and germs that could potentially make you sick. Regular cleaning helps minimize this risk, ensuring that what’s keeping your teeth in place isn’t also making you unwell.

We believe that understanding the reasons behind cleaning your retainer can motivate you to keep it a regular part of your routine. After all, maintaining a clean retainer is a small effort that yields big rewards for your oral health and overall well-being.

How To Clean Your Retainers Daily

Keeping your retainer clean doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. With a simple daily routine, you can ensure it stays fresh and free from buildup. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your retainers every day:

Step One: Remove and Rinse: Start by removing your retainer from your mouth and giving it a quick rinse under lukewarm water. This helps remove any saliva and loose particles.

Step Two: Brush Gently: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently brush your retainer. It’s best to avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and cause scratches. Instead, use a mild dish soap or a retainer cleaner recommended by your orthodontist. Brush all surfaces thoroughly to remove any plaque or debris.

Step Three: Rinse Again: After brushing, rinse your retainer thoroughly under lukewarm water to wash away any soap or cleaner residue. Make sure it’s completely clean before putting it back in your mouth.

Step Four Clean Your Case: Don’t forget about your retainer case! Bacteria can build up there too. Clean your case daily with soap and water, then dry it thoroughly before placing your retainer back inside.

Remember to Use Hot Water: Always use lukewarm or cool water when cleaning your retainer. Hot water can warp the material, causing it to fit improperly.

Remember to Inspect Regularly: Take a moment each day to inspect your retainer for any damage or buildup. If you notice anything unusual, contact Fowler Orthodontics for advice.

By incorporating these steps into your daily routine, you can ensure that your retainer stays clean, comfortable, and effective. Remember, a little daily care goes a long way in maintaining your retainer and your beautiful smile!

Deep Cleaning Methods

Even with a solid daily cleaning routine, it’s important to give your retainer a deep clean every now and then. 

Deep cleaning helps remove any stubborn buildup and keeps your retainer in pristine condition. 

Here are some effective deep cleaning methods:

Retainer Soaking Solutions

Use a retainer cleaning solution specifically designed for orthodontic appliances. This is usually the best way to clean retainers. Follow the instructions on the package, typically soaking the retainer for 15-20 minutes. 

These solutions help eliminate bacteria, plaque, and odors.

For a natural option, mix equal parts of white vinegar and lukewarm water. Soak your retainer in this solution for about 20-30 minutes. After soaking, brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse thoroughly with water.

Baking Soda Soak

Baking soda is great for removing odors and stains. Dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of lukewarm water. Soak your retainer for 15-30 minutes. After soaking, brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse thoroughly with water.

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution:

Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water. Soak your retainer in this solution for about 30 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide helps kill bacteria and whiten your retainer.

Rinse your retainer thoroughly with water after soaking to ensure all hydrogen peroxide is removed.

By incorporating these deep cleaning methods into your routine, you can ensure that your retainer stays clean, odor-free, and effective in maintaining your beautiful smile. 

Fowler Orthodontics’ Tips for Retainer Care

Here are some expert tips from our team to ensure your retainer stays clean, effective, and comfortable:

Establish a Routine: Clean your retainer daily and incorporate a deep cleaning routine at least once a week. Consistency helps prevent buildup and keeps your retainer in optimal condition.

Use the Right Tools: Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your retainer. It’s gentle on the material and effective at removing debris.

Stay Away from Heat: Hot water can warp your retainer, making it less effective. Stick to lukewarm or cool water for both daily and deep cleaning.

Store Properly: When not wearing your retainer, store it in its case to protect it from bacteria and physical damage. Clean your case regularly to keep it sanitary.

By following these tips, you can ensure your retainer remains effective and your smile stays perfect. Remember, taking a few extra minutes each day to care for your retainer can make a big difference in your oral health. 


Keeping your retainer clean is essential for maintaining your oral health and ensuring that your orthodontic treatment continues to be effective. Now that you know how to clean your retainers, it’s time to start incorporating a daily cleaning routine so you can prevent plaque buildup, bacteria growth, and unpleasant odors. 

At Fowler Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best care and guidance throughout your orthodontic journey. Our tips for retainer care are designed to help you keep your retainer – and your smile – in the best possible condition. 

A little effort each day goes a long way in maintaining your retainer and ensuring your smile stays beautiful.

If you have any questions or need further advice on how to clean your retainer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Keep smiling, and keep your retainer sparkling clean!