gloved hands help insert an Invisalign clear aligner tray

How Do You Clean Invisalign Retainers & Trays?

Team Invisalign

Are you currently in the process of Invisalign treatment? If so, you’ve probably noticed that your aligner trays need cleaning now and then. Food particles and bacteria build up on them, which can cause discoloration and reduce their invisibility. Dirty aligners also increase the risk of tooth decay as plaque and bacteria settle into the space between your teeth and the trays. 

What’s the best way to clean Invisalign trays? There are a few different methods that are recommended by dentists, orthodontists, and the creators of Invisalign. Here’s what to do to keep your trays clear and free of bacteria. 

Brush Your Trays

The best way to clean your Invisalign trays on a daily basis is to brush them when you brush your teeth. Take your trays out and rinse them. Set them aside while you brush your teeth. Then use a separate soft bristled toothbrush and some clear, unscented soap to brush your trays clean. Clear, unscented soap is best because strong fragrances can cling to your trays and give them a bitter taste. 

Toothpaste contains abrasives which can over time cloud your aligners. If you are in Invisalign treatment and changing to new aligners every 7-10 days, this should not be a problem. You can just brush your trays with the foamy toothbrush after you brush your teeth.

Rinse Your Trays

You shouldn’t eat or drink anything with your Invisalign trays in, other than water. But if you do, be sure to rinse your trays off afterwards to remove the residue. Rinsing prevents sugar and dyes from coating your trays and staining them. Even if you don’t drink anything other than water, it can still help to rinse your trays periodically throughout the day. 

Use Invisalign Cleaning Crystals

Invisalign makes cleaning crystals that are designed to gently but effectively clean your trays. You simply place your trays in the cleaning container with water and crystals according to the instructions. Then shake the container to activate the crystals and clean your trays. Rinse them off and put them back in your mouth.

There are also numerous cleaning products available for clear aligners or clear retainers. Find one you like and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Not to Do:  

  • Do not soak them in mouthwash. Mouthwash is too harsh for your Invisalign trays and is not very effective at cleaning them. Many mouthwashes contain dyes that could stain your trays. 
  • Do not use hot water. If the water is too hot it can warp and distort your trays. For the same reason, do not place your trays in a dishwasher (it has happened!). 
  • Do not use alcohol. Never soak your retainers or wash them in alcohol. Alcohol is another substance that is too harsh for Invisalign trays. 
  • Do not use bleach. There are many reasons you should not use bleach to clean your aligners. For one, no matter how well you rinse them afterwards, you never want bleach to come in contact with your mouth. Also, bleach is one of the harshest chemicals in your home, definitely too harsh for your trays. 
  • Do not brush them with baking soda. Baking soda is too abrasive for your trays. It can scratch them and compromise their invisibility. 

Why is Cleaning Your Trays Important?

If you don’t clean your trays, bacteria can build up on them and lead to tooth decay. Another side effect of built up bacteria is bad breath. You may only wear each set of Invisalign trays for two weeks at a time, but they can get pretty dirty in that amount of time. Clean them regularly to keep them looking clear and keep your mouth healthy and fresh. 

Andover Orthodontics Provides Invisalign Treatment

Are you looking for an Invisalign provider? Andover Orthodontics provides both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen for patients who are candidates for this treatment. Adults and teens choose Invisalign because they can straighten their teeth in a subtle way that is less noticeable to others. The removable trays are convenient with no food restrictions and the plastic is smooth and comfortable. 

Call 978-475-0450 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you transform your smile with Invisalign.