Dentaly.org is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

 

7 Best Methods for How to Clean Aligners (and What To Avoid)

Contributors:  

how to clean aligners
How to clean clear aligners

You may have just purchased new invisible aligners from Invisalign, byte, Smile Direct Club, or another cheaper Invisalign alternative, and now you're excited to put your new smile into action.

It's important to know how to clean your invisible aligners properly to avoid bad breath and other hygiene problems.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • How to clean aligners at home
  • What is an ultrasonic denture cleaner?
  • How to clean smile direct aligners
  • How to use an ultrasonic retainer cleaner

We hope that this article on how to clean your aligners at home will help you keep up a good dental hygiene routine while you are wearing your aligners.

How to clean aligners at home

Your invisible aligners may be cleaned in several different ways. The majority call for soaking your invisible aligners for a predetermined period in a water-based solution. Here are some of the best methods for cleaning aligners at home:

aligner cleaner uv sanitizer
Use a UV sanitizer!

#1 – Ultrasonic cleaner

The simplest method to clean your aligners is to use the cariPRO ultrasonic cleaner. Simply put your aligners in, fill the reservoir with warm water, and turn the device on. 99% of the germs that cause odors are eliminated after two 5-minute sessions.

The cariPRO is not only an ultrasonic cleaner, but it has a built-in UV sanitizer, so it's a double dose of cleaning and sterilization. Plus, once your aligner treatment is over, you can use it to keep your retainers squeaky clean as well.

#2 – Cleaning tablets

aligner cleaning tablets
Retainer cleaning tablets work too

Our top pick for cleaning tablets is also made by cariPRO. They can be used to clean any of your dental devices, including aligners and retainers. These tablets effectively eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and fungus and are specially formulated to target stains.

They are easy to use as well — all you have to do is dissolve a tablet in warm water, soak your aligner for five minutes, and then rinse it off and dry it.

You can also get cleaning tablets on Amazon, including brands like Efferdent or Retainer Brite — just follow the packaging instructions.

Best cleaning tables for invisible aligners

cariPRO Retainer Cleaner

  • Kills 99.99% of bacteria and fungus

  • Formulated to eliminate stains

  • For use with all dental appliances

Efferdent Denture Cleanser Tablets

  • Kills 99.99% of odor-causing bacteria in 3 minutes

  • Use daily to clean retainers, full-plate dentures, partials, and other dental appliances

Retainer Brite Tablets for Cleaner Retainers and Dental Appliances

  • Easy to use and fast acting

  • Eliminate cloudy film and plaque buildup by soaking your dental appliances daily

#3 – Hydrogen peroxide

Another way to clean aligners at home is to soak them in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant and cleaner for aligners.

Combine equal parts warm water and hydrogen peroxide, and mix well. After adding the invisible aligners, let them soak in the solution for 30 minutes. Make sure to rinse them under warm water before putting them back in.

#4 – Soap and water

clean teeth aligners
It's important to know how to clean invisible aligners

Another simple way how to clean aligners is to use soap and water. Squeeze a small amount of mild liquid soap into a cup of warm—but not hot—water, then stir to create suds. After soaking in the soapy water for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse your aligners well.

#5 – Baking soda and water

Aligners may be soaked for 60 minutes in a solution of one tablespoon baking soda to one-half cup of water. Thereafter, remove your aligners, rinse them, and put them back on your teeth.

#6 – Non-whitening toothpaste

Your aligners can easily be cleaned with some toothpaste and a toothbrush. Brush your aligners carefully using a soft toothbrush, warm water, and mild toothpaste (one made for young children or those with sensitive teeth might work well).

You should be sure you choose a milder, non-whitening toothpaste formulation. Abrasive components in whitening toothpaste have the potential to scrape your aligners, which will make it easier for bacteria and other germs to hang around.

#7 – Vinegar and water

Three parts warm water and one part white vinegar should be mixed in a cup. However, be careful that the water isn't too hot! Your aligners could be destroyed if they are submerged in hot water. After soaking your aligners in the solution for 20 minutes, rinse them in cold or warm water.

What to avoid when cleaning your aligners

We've already covered the best methods for cleaning aligners at home for good dental hygiene, but here are a few things you should stay away from, as these could damage your aligners.

  • Don’t use abrasive toothpaste: Although it might seem natural, toothpaste's abrasive qualities make it a big no-no for cleaning your aligners along with your teeth. If you’re trying this method, use a very mild toothpaste.
  • Don’t use colored mouthwash to clean aligners: Your mouth may benefit greatly from mouthwash. However, it can damage your aligners.
  • Never put aligners in the dishwasher: Dishwashers use very hot water, which will destroy or discolor your aligners.
  • Avoid other harsh chemicals: Avoid using strong chemicals like alcohol, bleach, and other substances that might permanently deform or discolor your aligners. Always choose gentler options, like those that are provided in this article.

Tips on how to keep your teeth aligners clean

#1 – Before wearing your aligners, brush and floss your teeth.

how to keep aligners clean
To keep your teeth aligners clean, always remove them before eating or drinking

An active strategy for maintaining the cleanliness of your aligners is to brush and floss your teeth before wearing your trays. This is a certain technique to reduce the amount of plaque, germs, and food debris that get caught in the space between your teeth, gums, and aligners.

#2 – Always take off your aligners before you eat or drink

In addition to being very unpleasant, eating or drinking while wearing aligners might harm them. For instance, food might become stuck between the trays and your teeth, scratching the plastic surfaces.

Certain meals and beverages, such as colored foods and dark liquids like coffee, red wine, fizzy sugary drinks, and even whiskey, may also stain plastic. Although you can use a straw to avoid this, it is actually best to simply remove them altogether.

How often should you clean your aligners?

Every night, you should clean your aligners regularly at the same time that you wash and floss your teeth. This aids in clearing away any accumulated food particles, trash, and germs that you unavoidably accumulate during the day.

If you accidentally drank anything opaque while wearing your Invisalign, if you put them on too soon after eating, or if they look noticeably filthy in any other way, you may clean them.

In addition to using more thorough cleaning techniques such as using an ultrasonic denture cleaner, you should rinse your aligners every time you take them off.

effective cleaning with an ultrasonic retainer cleaner
For easy and effective cleaning, you can utilize an ultrasonic aligner cleaner

Conclusion

People typically use Invisalign or aligners from other brands to straighten their teeth, but for the aligners to work correctly, they must be cleaned frequently.

Your aligners may remain as transparent and unnoticeable as possible if you take some care of them. Since they are made to be thrown away, they often can't handle harsh cleaning methods like boiling water, abrasive brushes, and toothpaste.

Speak with your dentist if you're having trouble keeping your aligners clean. You can keep your mouth and aligners clean using the various simple methods mentioned in this article or other methods suggested by your dentist.

For a convenient and easy everyday cleaning experience, we recommend purchasing the cariPRO ultrasonic retainer cleaner.

FAQ

How do you clean Invisalign aligners?

It’s recommended to clean Invisalign aligners using soap and water or cleaning tablets. However, there are also more convenient options like the use of an ultrasonic denture cleaner.

How does an ultrasonic denture cleaner work?

The 40,000 kHz ultrasonic cleaning power of the ultrasonic dentures cleaner eliminates germs. It also has an integrated UV-C sanitizing light to improve cleaning performance.

How do you clean Smile Direct aligners?

Smile Direct aligners should be cleaned with soap and water or cleaning tablets. There are other, more practical solutions, such as using an ultrasonic aligner cleaner.

How do you clean Byte aligners?

Byte aligners can be cleaned with cleaning tablets, soap and water, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or baking soda. However, using an ultrasonic aligner cleaner is highly recommended and very effective.

How do you use the ultrasonic retainer cleaner?

The ultrasonic retainer cleaner uses 40,000 kHz ultrasonic cleaning power to destroy bacteria. In addition, it features a built-in UV-C sanitizing light, to increase cleaning ability.

7 Best Methods for How to Clean Aligners (and What To Avoid)
5 (100%) 1 vote[s]

Contributors:
Simon specializes in writing content on healthcare and dentistry.
Sources