top of page

Retainer Cleaner Care: Tips You Need To Know

Updated: Nov 14

A retainer is an essential dental tool that helps keep teeth in their desired position after braces. But like all things we use regularly, it requires proper care to function effectively including the right retainer cleaner. Without proper maintenance, your retainer might not serve its purpose or could even cause oral health problems.

With a few simple steps, you can ensure your retainer cleaner is effective, and that your retainer remains functional and free from bacteria. This article discusses nine crucial tips to ensure your retainer lasts longer and does its job well.

Table Of Contents

1. Daily Cleaning: Essential For Retainer Care

2. Use the Right Retainer Cleaning Agents

3. Avoid Using Hot Water with Your Retainer Cleaner

4. Regularly Inspect Your Retainer for Damage

5. Keep Your Retainer Away from Direct Sunlight

6. Safeguard Against Retainer Loss

7. Protect Your Retainer from Pets

8. Replace the Retainer Case Regularly

9. Schedule Regular Orthodontist Visits

10. Conclusion

Retainer Cleaner Care: Tips You Need to Know

Daily Cleaning: Essential For Retainer Care

Your retainer is in constant contact with the inside of your mouth, making it vulnerable to bacterial accumulation. Because of this, daily retainer cleaning isn't just a recommendation; it's a necessity.

Taking a few minutes each day to gently scrub your retainer with a soft-bristled brush and some mild soap helps eliminate plaque and any lingering particles.

Skipping this essential step can have consequences. Over time, a dirty retainer can become a source of bad breath and might even pave the way for mouth infections .

Use the Right Retainer Cleaning Agents

Choosing the right products to clean your retainer is crucial for its longevity and function. While it might be tempting to use the same toothpaste you use for your teeth or an alcohol-based mouthwash, these aren't the best choices.

Such products can be abrasive or too strong, potentially harming the retainer's material or causing it to lose its color. It's recommended to stick to gentler options, like mild soaps that don't have harsh chemicals.

If you're seeking a specialized solution, cleaning sprays are a good choice. Along with your Ultrasonic retainer cleaner, you can quickly and safely spray away 99.9% of bacteria using Smilesaver, stands out for its efficiency and gentleness. It not only avoids harsh chemicals but also promises a clean retainer in just 30 seconds.

Avoid Using Hot Water with Your Retainer Cleaner

Water temperature plays a significant role when cleaning your retainer. You might think using hot water would give it a deeper clean, but this is a common misconception. In reality, exposing your retainer to hot water can be harmful.

The material from which retainers are made can become distorted or misshapen when subjected to high temperatures. Once this happens, the retainer may not fit properly in your mouth anymore. This fit is vital for the retainer to do its job correctly.

So, when it's time to clean or rinse your retainer, make sure the water is either cold or just slightly warm.

Regularly Inspect Your Retainer for Damage

It's vital to keep an eye on your retainer's condition over time. Despite taking good care of it, daily use can lead to small damages. It's a good habit to examine it often, looking out for signs like cracks or unusual bends.

These might seem minor, but they can compromise the retainer's ability to keep your teeth in their proper position. Noticing these early can save you from potential dental issues down the road.

If you do find something off about your retainer, don't delay. Reach out to your orthodontist for advice. They can guide you on whether it's a minor issue or if you need a replacement.

Keep Your Retainer Away from Direct Sunlight

Sunlight and heat aren't friends to your retainer. These elements have the potential to distort its structure. When the shape changes, even slightly, the retainer might not fit your mouth as it should.

This can impact its primary function: to maintain your teeth's alignment. When you take your retainer out, be mindful of where you put it. It's best to place it directly into its protective case.

Moreover, find a spot away from windows, heaters, or any direct heat sources. A drawer or a cupboard, for instance, can be ideal.

Safeguard Against Retainer Loss

Losing a retainer is something that happens more often than you might think. People tend to set it down and forget where they placed it. To avoid this, it's a good idea to pick one specific location in your home where you always keep it.

This consistency helps in remembering where to find it next time. When you're outside, especially at restaurants, a frequent mistake is to wrap the retainer in a napkin or tissue. This makes it hard to see and easy to overlook when leaving.

More so, there's a risk of it getting discarded unintentionally. Instead, always use its case and keep it inside your bag or pocket.

Protect Your Retainer from Pets

Pets, particularly dogs, are often drawn to personal items, and retainers are no exception. Your retainer carries your scent, which might make it seem like an attractive item for your furry friend to explore or even chew on.

A chewed retainer loses its shape and function, leading to unnecessary expenses and visits to the orthodontist. When not in use, ensure your retainer is securely placed inside its protective case. Then, place the case in an elevated location or inside a drawer, somewhere your pets can't easily access.

Replace the Retainer Case Regularly

It's not just the retainer that requires attention; its case does, too. Over time, despite regular cleaning, the case can accumulate bacteria.

This is because it constantly comes in contact with the environment and holds a moist retainer, creating a favorable environment for microorganisms. Simply cleaning might not always suffice in the long run. For this reason, it's wise to think about getting a new case every so often.

Swapping out the old case for a new one every few months is a practical step to maintain retainer hygiene standards. Remember, a clean case contributes to a clean retainer.

Schedule Regular Orthodontist Visits

Setting up and sticking to routine appointments with your orthodontist plays a crucial role in your retainer's care. While personal maintenance is essential, an orthodontist offers a professional touch that can't be replicated at home.

During these visits, they have the tools and expertise to give your retainer a deep clean, ensuring every nook and cranny is free from potential harm.

Additionally, they'll take a close look to see if there are any signs of wear or damage that might have gone unnoticed. Remember, a retainer that isn't in perfect condition might not be effective in keeping your teeth aligned.


Taking care of your retainer is crucial for lasting dental health. Clean it daily, using the right retainer cleaner products and avoiding extreme temperatures. Always store it safely, away from pets and direct sunlight. Don't forget to replace its case periodically.

Stay proactive by routinely inspecting for any damages. Regular orthodontist visits ensure professional oversight and maintain the retainer's efficacy. With these simple yet vital steps, your retainer will remain in prime condition, supporting your smile for years to come.


Q: How often should I use a retainer cleaner?

A: It is recommended to clean your retainer daily to maintain good oral hygiene using a device like an ultrasonic retainer cleaner combined with an proven effective disinfecting spray, like Smilesaver.

Q: Can I use toothpaste as a retainer cleaner?

A: No, it is not advisable to use toothpaste as a retainer cleaner. Toothpaste can be abrasive and may damage your retainer. It is best to use a non-abrasive retainer cleaner that is recommended by your orthodontist for proper care and maintenance of your retainer.

Q: How should I store my retainer when not in use?

A: Store your retainer in a clean case when not in use. This case helps protect your retainer from dirt and potential damage. Keep it away from heat and direct sunlight. Proper storage ensures that your retainer remains in good condition and continues to serve its purpose effectively.

Q: How long should I wear my retainer each day?

A: Adhering to your orthodontist's guidance is essential when it comes to the duration of wearing your retainer. Typically, it is recommended to wear your retainer for at least 12-22 hours per day. This ensures that your teeth remain properly aligned and that the results of your orthodontic treatment are maintained.

Q: What do I do if my retainer feels uncomfortable?

A: If your retainer feels uncomfortable, contact your orthodontist. They have the expertise to make necessary adjustments to your retainer or provide you with guidance on how to alleviate the discomfort. Prompt communication with your orthodontist ensures that your retainer remains comfortable to wear while still effectively maintaining your teeth's alignment.

bottom of page