How to Clean & Store Your Invisalign Retainers

Posted | Blog, Braces, Invisalign

In exchange for the invisibility and freedom you get with Invisalign aligners, you have to spend a little more time taking care of your orthodontic appliance than someone with traditional metal braces. Also because of the uniqueness of Invisalign aligners, there are special steps you’ll need to take to clean and store your Invisalign aligners correctly. 

Why You Need to Clean Your Invisalign Aligners

Because the aligners cap over your teeth, they are susceptible to bacterial buildup, which can affect your oral hygiene. This bacteria can not only cause oral infections, but also leads to an unpleasant taste and odor. In order to prevent this growth and any further oral health issues, Invisalign users need to practice good oral hygiene and clean their Invisalign retainers regularly.

What Supplies Do You Need to Clean Invisalign Aligners?

When you first start your Invisalign treatment, your Invisalign specialist will provide you with care instruction as well as a few minor care tools. Your full Invisalign cleaning kit should include the following: 

Aligner-Friendly Cleaning Solution

You can buy cleaning solution from Invisalign that was created specifically to work with their products. However, some at-home remedies include: 

  • A 20 minute soak in a 3:1 ratio of distilled white vinegar and water
  • A 30 minute soak in an equal mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water
  • A 60 min soak in a mix of a tablespoon of baking soda and  ½ cup water (this one is helpful if stains/residue begin to appear on your aligners)

Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

After soaking in your prefered cleaning solution, you will need to scrub your Invisalign retainers for remaining solids and to remove any lingering cleaning residue. Your trays are strong enough to arrange your teeth, but an abrasive brush with your typical toothbrush may damage your trays and not allow them to work properly. We recommend getting a separate, soft-bristle brush for cleaning your aligners.

Invisalign Tray Case

While you may think of your case as more of a protective measure than a cleansing one, your Invisalign aligner tray case plays an important role in keeping that bacteria we wrote about earlier at bay. When you remove your aligners to eat, make sure to store them in your case. This will limit their exposure to air and reduce the likelihood of bacteria blooming. Your case also provides a perfectly sized soaking vessel.

How Often Do You Need to Clean My Invisalign Aligners?

Like your teeth, Invisalign aligners need to be cleaned everyday in order to best prevent bacterial growth and oral health problems. Ideally, you’d take the time to scrub your retainers each time you remove them. However, we know this is not always possible. So, the cleaning schedule we recommend is once in the morning, when you wake up, and once in the evening, before you go to bed. In between, make sure you rinse your aligner in cold water before replacing it after eating. Remember: just rinsing them after meals is not enough to prevent bacterial build up! 

How Do You Clean Invisalign Aligners?

When it comes time to perform your daily deep clean of your Invisalign aligners, follow these steps to ensure the best clean. 

  1. Remove your aligners and rinse in room temperature or cold water to remove any large particles.
  2. Soak your aligners in your prefered cleaning solution for the corresponding time above.
  3. While your aligners soak, be sure to follow your normal oral health routine of brushing and flossing your teeth. 
  4. After your aligners are done soaking, give them another rinse in room temperature or cold water.
  5. Finish up by gently scrubbing your trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush and replacing them in your mouth.

How to Store Invisalign Aligners When Not In Use

For your Invisalign aligners to work as intended, you need to be wearing them for as much of the day as possible. However, when you remove your retainers for meals, cleaning, or other activities that may require their removal, be sure to secure them in your Invisalign case, away from hot environments. 

When you receive your next set of Invisalign aligners, we recommend storing them in a cool place and in the packaging they arrive in. This can help minimize misplacing or confusing them with your old retainers.  

While it may seem like a lot laid out in this blog post, taking good care of your aligners each day takes minimal time. It’s much more beneficial to invest the time over each day of treatment than attempt intense deep cleans only once every so often. Proper care and cleaning of your Invisalign will ensure you maintain your oral health and achieve your ideal smile.

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