303 Smiles

5-star Orthodontist in Denver, CO
How to Clean Your Clear Aligners or Retainer

How to Clean Your Clear Aligners or Retainer

Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Straffon with 303 Smiles here in Denver, CO, and I want to share with you some tips and tricks on how to clean your clear aligners, whether it’s for Invisalign or retainers after you’re done with treatment.

Cleaning your clear aligners or retainer between meals

Before you put your clear aligners or retainer back in your mouth after eating, you want to make sure that they are clean and free of any debris. To do this, you want to remove them from their case and rinse them under warm – not hot – water.

Next, take a soft-bristled toothbrush and use soft, gentle strokes to brush the inner and outer surfaces of your aligners. Lastly, give them a final rinse under the warm water and they’re ready to go back in your mouth.

You’ll notice that I did not use toothpaste to brush the aligners. Why? Because toothpaste is an abrasive and can actually scuff up the surface of your aligners and make them cloudy.

Soaking your clear aligners or retainer daily

Because food and bacteria can build up quickly on your clear aligners, it’s important that, in addition to rinsing them between meals, you soak them daily. The best time to do this is when you’re getting ready to store them in their case for an extended period. Some examples of this might include:

  • At bedtime
  • Switching from your daytime retainer to your nighttime retainer
  • Transitioning to a new set of aligners

Before storing your aligners, rinse them under warm water and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean them. You want to be sure to brush all surfaces so that you can get rid of any bacteria or food debris.

Once you’ve rinsed your aligners, it’s time to soak them. You can use Dial or any other antibacterial soap for this, though a foaming soap works best. You want to be sure to leave a nice layer of soap on the inside of your aligners. If you don’t have foaming soap, you can use a few drops of regular antibacterial soap and use your fingers to create a bit of lather. Then you want to store your aligners – soap and all – in their case to soak overnight or until you’re ready to put them back in again. It’s a lot like soaking pots and pans in soapy water overnight to remove stuck-on food.

When you are ready to put your clear aligners back in, rinse them thoroughly under warm water so they don’t leave a soapy taste in your mouth and now your aligners are clean, fresh, and ready to go!


Dr. Derek Straffon and the team at 303 Smiles proudly serve the Denver community and surrounding areas, including Englewood, Greenwood, and Littleton, Colorado. We offer a range of treatment options including several types of braces as well as Invisalign clear aligners.