To celebrate February, the month of love, I’m bringing back my Love to Clean Series. Each week I will share something I love to clean, now that I’ve figured out an easier way to clean it! First up is how to clean retainers, you know, those awful things you have to wear for the rest of your life after having braces!
I was not one of the lucky few that was born with perfect teeth. I had braces for a couple years in high school and then I was given a retainer. I wore my retainer for years but then got tired of it because I hated having to clean it. I stopped wearing it for a few years but when my bottom teeth started to get a little crooked I immediately found my retainer and started wearing it again! I’d rather deal with cleaning it than having crooked teeth!
Cleaning a retainer can be a tedious and I don’t like brushing it with my toothbrush because I feel like it just spreads the bacteria from my mouth onto my retainer. I knew there had to be a better way so I came up with three much easier solutions for how to clean a retainer. The best part about these three methods is that your retainer basically cleans itself while you wash your face, brush your teeth, etc.
The first method, and my favorite, uses Listerine. Listerine kills millions of germs in your mouth and it will do the same for your retainer. To wash a retainer with Listerine place the retainer in a glass or a small bowl. Poor Listerine into the glass or bowl until the retainer is completely submerged. It will kill germs on contact but it’s best if you can let the retainer soak for at least 30 seconds. I usually let mine soak the whole time I’m getting ready for bed. When it has finished soaking remove the retainer from the Listerine, rinse it with warm water and put it in your mouth. Not only will the retainer be clean but it will taste minty fresh too!
The second method uses denture tablets. Denture cleaning tablets are a great way to clean retainers because the fizzing bubbles work to remove build-up, bacteria and stains. Common denture cleaning tablets are Efferdent and Polident but I buy the off brand ones at Target. To clean a retainer with denture tablets place one tablet in the bottom of a glass or small bowl. Next place your retainer in the glass/bowl and fill it with hot water. Immediately the tablet will start to fizzle. Once it has completely stopped fizzing let it soak for a few more minutes and then remove the retainer and rinse it under warm water. I still use this method once in awhile because the bubbles really do help get some of the tough spots off.
The last method uses hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a great, natural way to kill bacteria on a retainer. Place the retainer in a glass or small bowl and pour hydrogen peroxide over it until it is completely submerged. It will probably fizzle which means it’s working to kill off any germs. Let it soak for up to a minute and then remove the retainer and rinse it with water. I personally don’t use this method because I don’t like the taste of hydrogen peroxide but it’s a very effective way of cleaning a retainer.
There you have it, my 3 super simple methods for how to clean retainers. I hope it helps save some time in your evening routine and makes you feel good that your retainer is as clean as it could possibly be!
To read other easy cleaning tips in the Love to Clean Series, click the links below.
- Tips for Washing Windows and Mirrors
- The Benefits of Vacuuming and More
- How to Clean the Kitchen Sink
This is awesome! My siblings & I were just talking about out retainer wearing habits!!! I’m definitely going to try the listerine method. I’ve been doing the denture tablets but you probably told me that years ago!
Haha, actually I got that trick from you! You taught ME that years ago! 🙂
It’s even cheaper to clean if you buy denture cleaner at the dollar store. I buy 24 tablets for $1 and that’s all I ever use. So easy!
Robin Brown says
Be careful with the denture tablets they can ruin you retainer. I learned this the hard way and got lectured by my ortho.
Thank you for the added info!!!
Monique (Ask Anna assistant)
After I had to replace two retainers, I learned from my orthodontist not to use denture tablets or peroxide. In fact, if you leave a retainer in peroxide long enough, it will eat away all of the non metal material. The denture tablets destroy the soder that connects the metal pieces together.
I clean mine with a soft toothbrush and dish washing liquid.
My Ortho suggested mouthwash. Let it soak, rinse, ready to go!
Great suggestion! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Always cleaned mine in listerine and water 5 min
Now I see listerine has high alcohol content not good for it
But u say it’s fine