Mouth retainers used after braces and for other purposes can develop odors and stains. This is a guide about cleaning a retainer.
After getting my braces off, they give you those awful plastic retainers that you're suppose to wear to keep your teeth straight. I've been good about wearing them. Years later, I'm still wearing the same ones, which now kind of stink and are discolored a bit (don't really care) and have stuff on them which feels like cement.
I'm wondering what the best way to clean them is? The orthodontist told me before to use just mouthwash, but that doesn't do anything, other than make them smell like mouthwash until you wake up the next morning. I've also heard denture cleaner, the little tablets you throw into water. But, I haven't tried that yet. Does anyone have any good ideas as to what to clean them with? I know I'm not going to get the cement-like substance off of them totally, but just anything to some-what clean them would be helpful. Thanks!
By Ashley C.
I think you need to be careful of heat, because could warp the retainer. So don't try very hot water. So I would try the denture tablets. It seems like those are designed for dealing with that type of build up.
Try 50% vinegar and 50% water, my dentist recommended this for a denture soak, works really well.
Stain Away by Regent labs. 10 times better than any denture tablet. First time i would soak overnight. Usual time is 5 to 10 minutes soak. when done, pour solution into toilet and let soak for a sparkling place to potty.
My daughter soaks hers over night in peroxide. It takes the smell away and makes them cleaner looking as well.
I lost my retainers and later found them to be in the trash can. It was wrapped around in a napkin. What should I use to wash it? Would regular soap be OK?
The best solution would be to take it to the dentist's office. They have a solution that they can soak it in, used daily for everything they can't autoclave with heat, and in eight hours it gets things STERILE. They have very good test data done by the EPA to prove that known pathogens are killed completely by the glutaraldehyde solutions when used properly. It does easily rinse completely off. If you really want it sterile, this is the only sure way.
My son's puffer suffered the same accident. We were told to wash it with hot soap and water (which gets rid of most of the germs), then rub a good amount of hand sanitizer all over it (making sure to get in the cracks). Let the sanitizer dry thoroughly and then rinse in warm water. Hand sanitizer is basically gelled alcohol, which kills just about all viruses and bacteria.
I would just use a toothbrush and dish detergent and clean it really well. Do NOT use warm water, it will warp the plastic on your retainer!
I have recently had my braces removed. I have 2 retainers I have to wear every night. The only retainer cleaner I have ever used is from Aquafresh. They are denture tablets, you soak them in a tablet and hot water. The thing is I can rarely find this product. Does anyone know of another way to clean your retainers? Soap and water is a no-no.
Thanks for any help.
Dana from Newkensington, PA
I would put it in a cup with water and a little Listerine added. It is safe for your mouth and very refreshing to put in in the morning. :) I also use this formula to clean the cups we put our toothbrushes in! Any mouthwash will work, but Listerine is stronger. (06/18/2006)
I don't know if vinegar or alcohol might work. I think mouthwash, denture tablets and baking soda would though. I have been having my teeth straightened with Invisiline so know I will be needing to wear retainers at night. My Dentist gave me a little battery operated machine that cleans either retainers, partials or even my Invisiline. (06/20/2006)
Try soaking in Hydrogen Peroxide. It leaves no taste, just rinse completely after soaking. (06/20/2006)
My daughter uses Efferdent (denture tablets) as her orthodontist recommended. (06/20/2006)
I always just brushed mine with a toothbrush/toothpaste. Once in a while I'd soak over night in water and baking soda. (06/20/2006)
Every time you brush your teeth, brush your retainers also. When I worked in a dental office, the kids would come in, take out their retainers, and brush their teeth and retainers before we saw them for the day. Toothpaste is safe for them. Sometimes that just isn't enough, so I agree with other posts that denture cleaners and Listerine is safe. (06/20/2006)
Sounds gross, but if you have calcium deposits (the white hard junk) on them you can take a safety pin and CAREFULLY scrape it away. A last resort, but it's the only thing that worked for me. (06/22/2006)
I use any mouthwash whilst doing my saltwater mouthwashes (I had an operation on my upper palette) and I brush it with my toothbrush and sometimes use toothpaste on it. (08/01/2007)
I use half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water overnight. Works great! (08/08/2007)
Don't use Polident or Efferdent. My goodness, my grandmother used that! And by the results, I think RetainerBrite is just the same formula as the others but packaged and marketed differently! I've used them all and SONIC BRITE is the BEST there is! My retainer looks brand new and it's 7 years old! (08/22/2007)
By Rory from Conn
I swish my mouth with a mouthwash of 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and half water - as I had one retainer fall to pieces when I used denture tablets (1/4) to clean it! (08/22/2007)
My doc gave me samples of retainerfresh and it works awesome. I ordered through their website (www.retainerfresh.com) and it arrived very quickly. It is a powder, not a tablet so it dissolves super fast! Doc told me not to use denture tablets too! (10/05/2007)
Never use toothpaste or mouthwash on your retainer. The plastic or acrylic that the retainer is made of will become weak and break down. Joy or similar dish detergent is good, but not enough to really freshen the retainer. Use Retainer Brite or Retainer Fresh, or Sonic Brite. There may be other brands out there, but these are the ones I know are good. They're designed for retainers and don't damage the retainer material. (12/06/2007)
Listerine may make them smell nice, but after a while you're still going to have that white stuff all over them if you don't use anything else to clean them. That's what happened to mine after about 6 months. No problems at all with the white stuff since I started using sonic brite. It took it right off and now they stay really clean. Just thought I'd chime in on the subject. (01/17/2008)
I got a one week trial of Retainer Fresh for only $4.95 shipping and handling. I have tried all the others like the Retainer Brite and Sonic Brite, which all take like 15 to 20 minutes to work. Retainer Fresh dissolves right away and cleans in just 5 minutes. Plus they let you try a little bit for 5 bucks and the others want you to buy a bunch of it right away. Retainer Fresh comes in individual packets and you can take a handful with you if you travel or whatever. Very convenient packaging and easy to try. By the way, it cleaned my retainer better than all the others too. (02/29/2008)
By Raul Duke
I have acrylic retainers so I can't speak for any other kinds but, Listerine or any mouthwash with alcohol is NOT safe for these type of retainers. Think about it! If alcohol can do things such as peel skin from inside your mouth, eat away at plaque and dissolve a lot of other substances, then it can obviously destroy "plastic." Now unless you want to be a sucker and pay a lot more for a heavily marketed cleaning solution, or use Listerine to wear away your retainers.
I recommend the white vinegar/water cleaning solution just once a week. This is a cheap method, it will NOT deteriorate your retainers, it keeps them looking great and at least you don't have to worry about thoroughly rinsing your retainer because it is not chemical or poisonous! (03/12/2008)
I've been told that Listerine and mouthwash will harm your retainer so I wouldn't use that if I were you. To be honest, denture cleaning tablets seem to work the best. They are cheap and clean your retainer in 5 minutes. Just be sure to scrub your retainer just to make sure it's extra clean! (05/25/2008)
By Awesome person.
I put one part white vinegar to 3 cups of water, let it sit for 20 min and it will come off. Try to scrape the calcium with a dental tool. (06/12/2008)
I was told to use a small amount of dish soap and a toothbrush at my orthodontist. The logic is that the dish soap is fine for you and your retainer, because you do use it to wash dishes which you then eat off of. (06/22/2008)
Efferdent and a dentures dish, in addition to brushing it with toothpaste and brush, is the hands-down best way to clean the retainer. Peroxide doesn't hurt either, but it makes the retainer taste funny, so I'm told. (10/07/2008)
By Mother of four orthodontic patients
I've been using Retainer Brite - I think it's best if you use something specifically for cleaning retainers (it's easier, you avoid the hassle of making up your own solutions and you know that it is not going to damage your retainers in any way). Does anyone know if it is safe to leave the retainers soaking in Retainer Brite overnight or for a couple of days? (12/05/2008)
I have soaked my retainer in hydrogen peroxide and I noticed that the metal wire dissolved a bit and left a silver mark on the outside of my teeth that can't seem to come off. I'm not sure if I just happened to leave it in too long, but because of this I would not recommend this. (02/26/2009)
It's hard to decide which retainer cleaner to use, but I found a website that has 3 of them (Retainer Brite, Sonic Brite, and DentaSoak), so I can buy a little of each and then decide which I like the best. You can get them at http://www.dentakit.com. They have free shipping, so that's a good deal. Dentakit also has other stuff like aligner chewies, so you can get all sorts of supplies in one place. (02/28/2009)
Be careful with some of the products you use on your retainer, because not everything that is safe to put in your mouth is safe on metal and plastic. Do not use toothpaste or baking soda: these are abrasive. Toothpaste is meant to clean and polish teeth. If you use toothpaste or baking soda on retainers, it will wear the plastic away, and create little scratches and holes that you won't be able to see, allowing little homes for bacteria. Imagine having that in your mouth! My favorite cleaner is retainer brite. It doesn't leave a bad taste on them like some denture cleaners do. If all else fails, mouthwash should be just fine, it will kill any bacteria or germs on your retainers. (01/24/2010)