Best Aligner & Retainer Cleaners: About the Products & Where to Buy

Clinical Content Reviewed by Byte Licensed DDS
Last Modified:

Table of Contents

  1. Importance of Cleaners
  2. Cleaning Solutions
  3. Wearable Cleaners
  4. Natural Cleaners
  5. DIY Cleaning: The Basics
  6. References

Making the decision to perfect your smile with clear aligners or after-treatment retainers can boost your confidence and allow you to truly shine in your personal life and even in your career (especially in the time of Zoom and video meetings).

Correcting your bite and smile can require some time and effort. While some at-home clear aligner options can be completed from home, some orthodontic options (like traditional braces or Invisalign) call for office visits. 

Either way, your teeth straightening treatment will be a process that you’ll have to take an active role in to achieve success. You’ll need to be diligent about wearing your aligner or retainer, and about hygiene and oral care.  

One step of that process that you don’t want to skip? Cleaning your aligner or retainer. Many people don’t realize that bacteria and plaque, the main cause of oral health problems and gum disease, can collect on your orthodontic devices. 

Cleaning your aligner or retainer should become a regular part of your oral care routine. Fortunately, cleaning your devices is easy, especially when you choose the right products.

The importance of aligner & retainer cleaners

With tooth straightening services and aligners kits more popular than ever, there are many orthodontic cleaners on the market. Depending on the type of aligner or retainer you use, some products may be more optimal than others.

You may want to ask your aligner or retainer provider about products they offer or recommend.

Cleaning solutions

Cleaning solutions offer a quick and easy option for cleaning your retainer or aligners. Most aligner cleaning solutions are for daily use, while some are geared for weekly cleanings.

These are some of the most popular cleaning solutions:

Designed for daily cleaning, these tablets come individually wrapped and claim to kill 99 percent of common odor-causing bacteria.

After placing one tablet into a cup of warm water, simply drop your retainer or aligner tray into the cup and let it soak for 15 minutes before giving it a good rinse. It costs about $20 for 120 tablets (a 4-month supply).

The Invisalign cleaning system includes a cleaning tub and 50 packets of crystals. The instructions advise to clean weekly by filling the cleaning tub with warm water, adding the cleaning crystals, and then letting your aligners soak for 15 minutes. Be sure to thoroughly rinse. 

While the reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive, some complain of a pool-like smell from the cleaner. It costs about $50 for the cleaning tub and 50 bags of cleaning crystals.

With a tagline of “Fizz Me,” PUL’s cleansing tablets offer user-friendly instructions: fizz, soak, rinse, and smile. They can also be used on retainers, mouth guards, most TMJ devices, sports guards, and dentures. It costs about $14 for a box of 96 tablets, available on Amazon.

Wearable cleaners

Unlike cleaning solutions, which usually require some soaking time and then a complete rinse, wearable aligner cleansers are designed to be used while wearing your retainer or aligners.

While this offers the ultimate in convenience and helps fight off daily bacteria buildup, for a deeper clean, you’ll likely want to use an aligner cleaning solution at least once a week. You can also brush your retainer or aligner with the wearable cleaner once a week, followed by a thorough rinse.

These are some of the top wearable aligner cleaners:

Shyne’s wearable whitening and cleaning foam is sprayed directly onto your aligner or retainer before you put it in. Just spit out any extra and go on with your day as it cleans and freshens your devices.Its small size makes it a great choice for traveling or bringing it to work. The gentle microfoam formula won’t damage your aligner or retainer. It costs about $18 for a 1.69-ounce bottle.

EverSmile’s WhiteFoam retainer cleaner is one of the most well-known and trusted oral device cleaners on the market. The On-the-Go formulation requires no rising or soaking and claims to cause no tooth sensitivity, as it kills 99.999% of bacteria within 60 seconds.It costs about $19 for 50 ml, available on Amazon.

This foaming cleanser can be used as a whitening toothpaste or as a wearable whitening cleanser. Just apply the foam to your device and put it on, spitting out any excess. It can also be used as a retainer or aligner cleaner by applying the foam onto your device, brushing with a toothbrush, and then rinsing.FoamBright’s formula doesn’t require soaking, and they claim it has no peroxide aftertaste. It costs about $18 for 3.21 ounces (120 applications).

Natural cleaners

For those looking for an eco-friendly or natural device cleaner, here are some top choices:

Unlike many other aligner cleaners, OAP’s cleaner requires no soaking. Instead, they claim their potent-yet-gentle formulation offers a deep cleanse in only 60 seconds. Users pump the cleaner onto their oral device, scrub for about a minute, and rinse thoroughly.The foam cleaner has a mint scent, and it is free of parabens, sulfates, and triclosans. It costs about $25 for 44.3 ml (a 45-day supply).

With ingredients like tea tree oil, menthol oil, and distilled water, this spray cleaner offers a safe alternative to harsh chemical cleaners. CustMbite claims the made-in-the-USA cleaner is vegan, BPA-free, sugar-free, cruelty-free, and formulated without bleaching agents, alcohol, zinc, phosphates, sulfides, or triclosan.They advise to spray or soak your devices with the cleaner for at least two hours for best results. Then, wipe down and rinse your devices completely with cool water. This cleaner costs about $20 for a 3.4-ounce spray bottle on Amazon.

This herbal denture cleaner claims to work on all removable dental devices. It contains only two ingredients: Greek oregano oil and Greek mastic oil. The directions advise adding eight drops of the cleaner into water, submerging your device in the water overnight, brushing the device with the solution using a soft brush, and then rinsing your device thoroughly under running water.For those who are looking for an herbal and chemical free cleanser, this all-natural option may offer a solution. However, as one Amazon reviewer warned, “You need to really love oregano for this to work.” It costs about $13.50 for 30 ml on Amazon.

DIY cleaning: the basics

It’s a good idea to have some oral care cleaning backups and basics on hand to ensure you have the tools you need to keep your aligners, retainer, or other dental devices fresh and clean.Here are some good choices:

For a deeper clean, aligner and retainer cleaners should be applied to your devices and brushed with a soft toothbrush to catch all the particles and bacteria. At around only $4, this six-pack is a bestseller on Amazon

Baking soda’s deodorizing and cleaning skills can come in handy for your dental devices too. Run out of retainer cleaning solution? Soak your device in a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water and then rinse before wearing. This costs about $6.50 for 12 ounces.

Mouthwash should be part of your daily dental routine, as it helps fight off plaque and promotes gum health. Invest in an alcohol- and dye-free mouthwash so you can also use it as a retainer or aligner cleaner in a pinch. Just give your device a quick scrub or soak with the mouthwash before rinsing it completely.This costs about $17 for a 3-pack of 16-ounce bottles.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.