How to Clean Retainers the Safe and Natural Way

A retainer is a special device individually constructed with the function of holding the teeth in place after surgery or realignment. Retainers are constantly in contact with the teeth so they should receive as much care as your teeth.

Would you like to know how to clean retainers? This article will be focusing primarily on the various methods you can use to clean your retainers. These methods do not involve harsh chemicals but make use of easily accessible domestic ingredients.

The emphasis will be on natural ingredients to avoid the possibility of toxicity which harsh chemicals come with. The retainer is a very porous substance and has the ability to absorb whatever it is soaked in. Hence, it is best to avoid soaking your retainer in harsh chemicals that could prove unsafe to your health.


The methods we will be detailing in this article require only ingredients that you can easily find within your home. No harsh chemicals will be listed, so you do not have to worry about chemical exposure. This article will be useful if you are looking for safe and natural methods of cleaning your retainers. The ingredients required to clean your retainers are:

  • Baking Soda
  • Clean Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Clean metal bowl or container

Importance of Baking Soda

How to Clean Retainers the Safe and Natural Way

Baking soda is a very effective ingredient in cleansing your retainers. It is even more powerful than the chemicals that are prescribed alongside your retainers at the doctor’s office. It’s benefits include:

  • It increases the basicity of your mouth (pH level), which makes your mouth a hostile environment for bacteria to grow in.
  • When making use of baking soda, you can rest assured that it will combat any stench or mouth odour that may threaten to develop.
  • It does not put you at risk of chemical exposure, or cause any side effects.

How to Clean Retainers

Prepare the Mixture

In a clean metal bowl (try to avoid plastics as much as you can), pour in enough water to fully submerge your retainers. Add some baking soda to the water; you don’t need so much baking soda in the water. You can go ahead and use your finger to mix the contents a little until the baking soda has been dissolved in the water.

Submerge The Retainer

​After preparing the mixture, place it into the mixture, and cover the container/bowl with a lid. Allow your retainer sit in the mixture for as long as necessary. You can leave it there overnight, or for the duration of time you will not be wearing it.

Clean The Retainer

After submerging the retainer for a while, you should use a toothbrush to clean the retainer. This is to the dirt build-up and tartar that your retainer could have accumulated from contact with your teeth for an extended amount of time.

Rinse The Retainer

When you are done cleaning your retainer with a toothbrush, you should rinse it thoroughly in warm running water to get rid of the loosened dirt and tartar. Once this has been done properly, replace the retainer back into mixture until you are ready to wear it again. Don’t worry, your toothbrush will not scratch your retainer, or ruin it in anyway.

PRO TIP: The retainer is made from a very porous material, meaning it is capable of absorbing the content of whatever mixture it is soaked in. Hence, if you are going to introduce the retainer into your mouth, you should soak it in substances that will not cause any harm to your health. However, if you get to decide what material is used to make your retainer, you should go for the less porous option.

How To Care For Your Retainers

While knowing how to clean your retainers is important for caring for your retainers, it is not the only thing you should know to take care for your retainers. Other things to keep in mind when caring for your retainers include:

How to Clean Retainers the Safe and Natural Way

1. Keep your retainers moist

The retainers are made up of porous materials that absorb moisture. However exposure and other factors could cause the retainers to dry up. It is important to keep your retainers soaked in liquid (preferably the Baking Soda and water mixture) whenever it is not in use. If a dry retainer is placed into the mouth, it has a chance of drying it up and cause an unpleasant smell.

2. Always keep them soaked

This is just an echo of the earlier point. Your retainers should always be soaked in distilled water with some Baking Soda, or some Castile soap (for cleansing and fragrance). Your retainers should only have two possible points of placement: Your mouth and its container soaking in distilled water.

3. Take them to your dentist

You will have to take your retainers to your dentist at intervals for periodic disinfection. This is necessary for clearing up the build-up that is likely to occur on your retainers, which your toothbrush may not be able to get rid of. Your dentist will have a proper equipment to perform this task.

How to Scent up Your Retainers

The cleansers provided with the retainers usually contain fragrance which boosts the appealing scent of the retainers. However if you are going the natural way, it means you do not have access to this fragrance.

You don’t need to bother as all you need to do for crisp fresh smelling retainers is to add a squirt or two of castile soap into your retainer’s submerging liquid. This will help clean your retainer further, and help it smell a lot better.

What Ruins Your Retainers

How to Clean Retainers the Safe and Natural Way

When using of retainers, there are certain substances you should not consume, or let your retainers come in contact with. Some of substances include:

  • Bleach
  • Alcohol
  • Boiling water or heat: This can cause the retainers to become deformed.
  • Harsh chemicals
  • Cleansers and tablets


Retainers are made of delicate substances, but they are quite easy to care for. You just have to understand what your retainer needs to give you the best teeth possible. We hope this list was useful for those looking for natural ways of maintaining optimum dental hygiene. It is eco-friendly and the ingredients stated are unlikely to cause any harm or damage to your body. Was this article useful in helping you clean your retainers?