How to Clean Invisalign Retainers/Aligners

Learn how to clean Invisalign retainers.

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we know Invisalign. Since BHO was founded in 2008, we have been using Invisalign to correct a range of orthodontist issues throughout the greater Los Angeles area. From correcting minor misalignment to treating severe problems with hybrid methods, the team here at BHO is well-versed in creating Invisalign plans to create beautiful, healthy smiles. 

Of course, it’s essential that all Invisalign users practice basic oral hygiene for optimal results. That doesn’t just mean twice-daily brushing and flossing—Invisalign patients also need to clean their retainers/aligners on a daily basis.

Although patients switch out trays every few weeks during treatment, aligners constantly come into contact with a host of foreign materials, including:

  • Food bits
  • Bacteria
  • Miscellaneous debris

Without regular aligner cleanings, these materials accumulate and contribute to plaque build-ups and a mounting threat of dental decay.

Fortunately, it only takes a small amount of effort to keep aligner trays in tip-top shape. In this blog post, we take a close look at how to clean Invisalign retainers/aligners and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding proper Invisalign hygiene:

How to Clean Invisalign Retainers

To keep your mouth healthy throughout Invisalign treatment and stay on track with your treatment, it’s important to regularly clean your retainers/aligners. Thankfully, once you know how to clean Invisalign retainers, it’s easy to make it part of your daily routine.

Unless your trays are extraordinarily dirty, a simple nighttime rinse and brush are all that’s needed to keep retainers/aligners in good condition. Follow these steps to keep your aligners clean and free of debris:

  1. Run cool or lukewarm water from your sink faucet
  2. Hold the retainer/aligner in the water stream
  3. Take a mechanical or electrical toothbrush and gently scrub the inside and outside of the tray (it is preferable to use a new toothbrush that you don’t use on your teeth)

Once you have completed these steps, you can either place the aligners back in your mouth or you can soak them for a more thorough clean. Although daily soaking isn’t necessary, it is a good practice to soak your trays on a weekly basis to avoid plaque buildup. 

If you choose to soak your retainers/aligners, we recommend that you use one of these two soaking products:

  • The Invisalign cleaning system (contains 50 packets of cleaning crystals and a soaking tub)
  • Polydent denture cleaner

As you may expect, the Invisalign cleaning system is Invisalign's official soaking product recommendation. However, the cleaning system is significantly more expensive than Polydent without delivering many additional benefits. If you want to save some money while keeping your trays clean, Polydent will work just fine. 

Now that we’ve reviewed how to clean Invisalign retainers, let’s take the time to answer some frequently asked questions about aligner upkeep.

Invisalign Hygiene FAQs

When patients begin Invisalign treatment, questions are to be expected. Beyond patient-specific topics like “How long will my treatment last?” and “Will I need a new retainer once treatment is over?” some of the most common questions we receive involve basic aligner upkeep. 

FAQ #1: What Can I Do to Keep My Aligners as Clean as Possible?

Aside from daily rinsing and weekly soaking, there are some additional best practices to keep aligners in top shape:

  • Keep a retainer/aligner case on you at all times to store trays when eating, drinking, or running
  • Do not drink anything aside from water when wearing your retainers/aligners
  • After eating, it is ideal to both brush your teeth and rinse your retainers/aligners before placing the trays back in your mouth. If you cannot brush your teeth, at least rinse your mouth with water before wearing your retainers/aligners again.

FAQ #2: What Should I Do About Calcium Deposits?

Notice a white film on your retainers/aligners? Chances are that film is either a calcium deposit or tartar buildup. And if you've tried to brush it away, you’ve likely noticed that it isn’t as easy to clean as it initially appears. 

Fortunately, calcium deposits are easy to remove with the help of a quick soak. Simply follow our soaking instructions above to eliminate your calcium deposit problem. 

FAQ #3: What Should I Avoid When Cleaning My Invisalign Retainers/Aligners?

Although it isn't difficult to clean Invisalign retainers, there are a few common mistakes that we see patients make when performing aligner care. To prevent damage to your aligners, make sure to follow these instructions:

  • Do not rinse your aligners with hot water (cold or lukewarm water will not cause warping)
  • Do not use toothpaste when scrubbing your retainers/aligners (many toothpastes are abrasive enough to scratch Invisalign trays)
  • Do not soak your retainers/aligners in mouthwash, soap, or any other unapproved cleaning solution

By avoiding these common mistakes and closely adhering to BHO’s cleaning instructions, you can keep your retainers/aligners clean, clear, and plaque-free throughout treatment. 

Have More Invisalign Questions? Beverly Hills Orthodontics Has Answers

Recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country, Beverly Hills Orthodontics offers Invisalign services to both teens and adults. Along with conventional braces and accelerated orthodontic treatments, Invisalign forms the backbone of BHO’s services.

With locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Orthodontics is here to help you improve your smile. Whether you want to know how to clean Invisalign retainers or what to expect from treatment, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to get started.