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

Clinical Content Reviewed by Byte Licensed DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Importance of Cleaners
  2. Cleaning Solutions
  3. Wearable Cleaners
  4. Natural Cleaners
  5. DIY Cleaning: The Basics
  6. Effects of Improper Cleaning
  7. Ingredient list

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 InMaking 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. This chart can help you understand the best retainer cleaners on the market. We’ll dig deeper into each type of cleaner within this article.

Cleaner Type



Ease of Use


$20-$50 for a box

Very effective, depending on the product you use and how long you soak the retainer

You don’t need to mix them, but you must soak your retainers in the solution.


Around $20 for a bottle

Depends on the product, how much saliva you produce, and more

You can use these while you wear your retainers.

Natural solutions

Around $7 for a box of baking soda

Depends on how well you mix the solution

You must mix the solution and soak before wearing.

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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.

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.

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.

At-home Cleaning Methods

Some people don’t want to buy specific cleansers to keep their retainers clean. Some of the elements within your home’s cupboards and drawers could be used to keep your devices clean, but you must choose carefully. These are a few options:

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.

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

White vinegar could help to remove the bacteria on your retainer that you can’t see. Create a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% cool water. Submerge your trays in the solution and soak them for at least 20 minutes. Then, rinse them with cool water.

In a study of the effectiveness of different cleaning methods on clear aligner trays, researchers found that white vinegar worked just as well as peroxide-based cleaning tablets in reducing bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus.

Soaps made from vegetable oils are Castile soaps. Unlike other soap products, they don’t contain any kind of animal fat, and they often don’t have any kind of perfume or synthetic elements. You can find soaps like this in most grocery stores and health food shops.

Mix a small amount of Castille soap with warm water, and use a toothbrush to apply it to your trays. Brush softly along all surfaces of the retainers, and rinse well when you’re done.

Intense research on the efficacy of Castile soap on retainers hasn’t yet been performed. However, experts say that the product is safe to use and comes with no poisoning warnings.

Read the ingredient list

The best retainer cleaners will keep your devices free of bacteria without causing you physical harm. Unfortunately, some products contain chemicals that can harm your health if they’re not used properly.

Commercial denture and retainer cleaning products may contain the ingredient persulfate. This chemical is a bleaching agent, so it’s useful when your appliances are stained by things like coffee, tea, or cigarette smoke.

While persulfate is effective, experts consider it hazardous to human health. When it’s swallowed, the chemical can be taken up in the gastrointestinal tract and move throughout the body. It’s not safe to swallow any solution that contains persulfate.

In studies of the safety of persulfate, at least one death has been tied to denture cleaners. Others had problems like rashes, gum sensitivity, breathing issues, and circulation problems. People who don’t smoke shouldn’t consider these cleaners at all. People who smoke should follow the cleanser’s instructions carefully.

Long-term effects of improper retainer cleaning

Your retainer is a medical device that sits inside your mouth almost every hour of the day. If you do not keep the trays clean, you could face serious health issues that put your smile at risk.

Unclean trays put your teeth in close contact with bacterial colonies. They can interact with the sugars found on the surface of your teeth, leading to cavities and gum disease. These painful problems could lead to more dental appointments in time.

Refusing to clean your retainers can also make them wear out faster. You may be asked to pay for replacements, especially if your dental professional can prove you haven’t been cleaning them.

How to clean your retainers while you travel

We’ve outlined products you can use to clean your retainers. If you travel, ensure that you take at least some of your products with you. For example, your tablet-based products could be useful. You’ll only need a glass of water to make them work. Gels you can use while you wear your retainers may also be useful.

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.