How to Clean Your Invisalign Retainers (& Why It’s So Important)

Make your dentist proud by learning how to clean your Invisalign retainers (and all the tempting things not to do).

Published April 16, 2024
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woman holds invisible transparent aligners

If you paid for your beautiful smile, the last thing you want to sully that $1,000+ investment with is a dirty retainer. Keep your pearly whites on the pearly side by learning how to properly clean your Invisalign retainer. Whether it’s with Invisalign’s own cleaning crystals or hydrogen peroxide from underneath your sink, we have all the tricks you might need to keep your retainer clean.

The Dos & Don'ts of Keeping Your Invisalign Retainers Clean 

Treat your retainers well, and they’ll last you for years. But part of doing right by them is knowing how to clean them (beyond scrubbing some toothpaste in there).

DO Wash Them With a Professional Cleaner

invisalign blue package with a box and cleaning crystals

While Invisalign makes its own cleaning crystals, any professional retainer cleaner will suffice. Simply follow the instructions on their packaging every day. Usually, they involve soaking your retainers in the solution for a short period.

DON’T Clean Them With Toothpaste or Baking Soda

Toothpaste and baking soda are abrasive agents that may clean your Invisalign retainers but at the cost of leaving scratches all over them. Don’t make life harder on yourself by having to reorder another tray or walk around with visibly marred retainers by using the wrong cleaning agents.

DO Soak Them in Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar will work great at lifting any stains on your retainers and cutting through odor-causing bacteria. Soaking them with distilled white vinegar is a quick way to get them clean.


  • Warm water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Invisalign retainers
  • Empty container


  1. Mix ⅓ cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Pour the mixture into an empty container.
  3. Drop in your Invisalign retainers, making sure they’re completely submerged.
  4. Soak for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Rinse well.
Need to Know

If you don’t have distilled white vinegar, you can also soak them in hydrogen peroxide. Swap out the vinegar mixture for a 1:1 hydrogen peroxide and water mix, and you can follow the same process.

Related: How to Disinfect a Toothbrush: 10 Easy Methods That Work

DON’T Rinse Them in Hot Water

Invisalign retainers aren’t traditional braces, and the thin material can get warped when you put it under intense heat. You could completely corrupt your Invisalign’s shape by washing or rinsing the retainers in hot water. So, always stick with lukewarm water at most when cleaning them.

DO Use an Ultrasonic Cleaner for a Deep Clean

Most often you see ultrasonic cleaners used in jewelry stores. The gentle vibrations help lift dirt from small nooks and crannies, and they can work on your Invisalign just as well. According to Invisalign’s website, their ultrasonic cleaner can clean their retainers in five minutes.

Unfortunately, ultrasonic cleaners can involve putting a lot of money down upfront, although you can find many affordable ultrasonic cleaners on Amazon. But if you want to keep your retainers clean with the least amount of effort on your part, you may find them well worth the investment.

DON’T Wait Too Long Between Cleanings

Treat cleaning your Invisalign like cleaning your teeth — brush them twice a day. So, in the morning and the afternoon, you should give them a good cleaning. Whatever method is up to you, but the longer you wait to clean, the more likely it is that your Invisalign retainers will stain. 

Why Is Cleaning Your Invisalign Retainers So Important?

Cleaning plastic aligner aligners with a toothbrush

Keeping your Invisalign retainers clean is just as important as keeping your teeth clean for the same reasons. Your mouth is a hotbed of bacteria, and if you don’t clean your retainers for a while, that bacteria can grow inside of them like a Petrie dish.

Every time you put your Invisalign back in, you expose your mouth to bacteria. If left for long enough, this can lead to oral thrush or infections.

Keep Your Stunning Smile for Decades

Unfortunately, adjusting your teeth’s alignment isn’t the one-and-done kind of thing you probably hoped it would be. After you’re finished with the initial rodeo, you have to get back in the ring every day to make sure you don’t lose that pretty smile. And the best way to keep it locked in place is by properly cleaning your retainers.

How to Clean Your Invisalign Retainers (& Why It’s So Important)