• Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed) 1
  • Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed) 2
  • Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed) 3
  • Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed) 4
  • Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed) 5

Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed)

If you’ve ever worn a retainer or clear aligner, there have definitely been times when you’ve noticed strange odors or unsettling build-up on it, no matter how well you’ve rinsed or brushed it. But it’s not your fault. Retainers are full of nooks and crannies that can be hard to clean, so it’s a good idea to look for a cleaner that’s specifically made to handle that task. But it can be hard to pick and find what will work for you

In this guide, prepared with Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing a retainer cleaner that’s right for you, plus a tip for keeping your retainers in tip-top condition. We’ve also got a list of our 9 favorites to help you get started, with guardClean's Mouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray taking our number one spot. Read on to find out why!

Experts featured in this article

Jaeyoung Yoo
Erica Baron
  • Last updated: 08-11-2021
  • 30,490 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo

In Collaboration With Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo

Jaeyoung is an oral health educator and dental disease preventer passionate about paving the way for patients to embark on their journey to proper oral hygiene. She graduated from UNC School of Dentistry in 2018 and served on the UNC SOD SPURGEON Student Government. 


She's always trying to keep up with new dental research articles and products to help her patients choose compatible products that work with their lifestyles. She's also a coffee lover and mom to two Bengal cats and multiple plants! Catch up with her on her Instagram.

Why Do You Need a Retainer Cleaner?

Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo evaluates what retainers are for and why you need to be careful when taking care of them.

Retainers Retain Teeth Shape

Retainers Retain Teeth Shape

There are three different types of retainers: Hawley retainers, clear plastic retainers (Essix, Vivera, or others), or fixed or bonded retainers. In this article, we will discuss how to keep plastic retainers clean.


After the long journey of orthodontics treatment, your orthodontist will make you a retainer that is needed to retain the shape and position of all your teeth. Some people also have retainers to wear at night to prevent jaw pain from clenching and grinding.

Clean Them to Maintain Fresh Breth

Clean Them to Maintain Fresh Breth

We all have bacteria in our mouths, but we keep our oral health in good shape by flossing and brushing. The retainers hug your teeth tightly, so your teeth can quickly build up bacteria and tartar. These bacteria, or plaque, will get into the grooves and buildup in the retainers while in usage and can lead to strange odors and gunk buildup. 


Retainers can also get stained easily. It's important that patients keep their retainers clean for fresher breath and a healthier mouth. Brushing the retainers alone or soaking them in mouthwash will not get rid of the stains and all of the bacteria.

Clean Them to Maintain Fresh Breth

In fact, soaking retainers in mouthwash that contains alcohol can harm your retainers' plastic structure. To effectively remove bacteria and stains in retainers, a retainer cleaner is needed. Another benefit of using a retainer cleaner would be to kill cocci bacteria.


According to a study on Essix retainers, researchers found that tablets were effective at removing Streptococcus bacteria which causes strep throat. Take a look below for suggestions on what kinds of products you can buy to clean your retainers!

Compare the Best Retainer Cleaners

Image
1
guardClean Mouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray 1

guardClean

2
DentaSOAK Mouthpiece, Retainer, Denture, & Appliance Cleaner 1

DentaSOAK

3
Regent Labs Kleenite Multipurpose Dental Cleanser 1

Regent Labs

4
Fresh Guard by Efferdent Soak for Guards, Retainers & Clear Braces 1

Fresh Guard by Efferdent

5
EverSmile WhiteFoam Clear Retainer Cleaner 1

EverSmile

6
OAP Anti-Bacterial Cleaning Solution 1

OAP

7
Smile Again Retainer Cleaner and Disinfectant 1

Smile Again

8
Avistar Retainer & Denture Cleaning Tablets 1

Avistar

9
Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets 1

Retainer Brite

Name

Mouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray

Mouthpiece, Retainer, Denture, & Appliance Cleaner

Kleenite Multipurpose Dental Cleanser

Soak for Guards, Retainers & Clear Braces

WhiteFoam Clear Retainer Cleaner

Anti-Bacterial Cleaning Solution

Retainer Cleaner and Disinfectant

Retainer & Denture Cleaning Tablets

Cleaning Tablets

Features

Our Best Pick! An All-Natural Spray Cleaner with Peppermint Oil

Gentle, Non-Toxic Week-Long Cleaner

Adjust Amount and Time Based on Cleaning Needs

Convenient Powder for Retainer Nooks and Crannies

No Soaking or Rinsing Required for Easy Cleaning

Foaming Cleaner That Works in Just One Minute!

Candida-Killing Solution That Lasts for More Than a Week

5 Months of Easy-to-Pack Cleaning

Convenient Tablets for Everyday Use

Price$10.99$18.99$7.69$7.00$24.99$16.99$34.95$16.97$19.99
Amount2 oz.13 packets9 oz.24 packets1.69 fl. oz.1.5 fl. oz.22 packets150 tablets120 tablets
CompatibilityAllAllAllAllClear aligners & retainersClear alignersAllAllAll
TypeSprayLiquid and powderPowderPowderFoamFoamPowderTabletsTablets
Persulfate-freeYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Link

Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners

Here are our top 9 picks for retainer cleaners that come in all different forms. It includes a lot of persulfate-free options, too!


※These rankings were decided based on user reviews and popular rank lists from Amazon gathered on July 1st. Please note that these products were not picked by Jaeyoung Yoo, but chosen through extensive research and by combing through customer reviews by our staff at mybest.

1

guardCleanMouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray

$10.99

Amount2 oz.
CompatibilityAll
TypeSpray
Persulfate-freeYes
2

DentaSOAKMouthpiece, Retainer, Denture, & Appliance Cleaner

$18.99

Amount13 packets
CompatibilityAll
TypeLiquid and powder
Persulfate-freeYes
3

Regent LabsKleenite Multipurpose Dental Cleanser

$7.69

Amount9 oz.
CompatibilityAll
TypePowder
Persulfate-freeYes
4

Fresh Guard by EfferdentSoak for Guards, Retainers & Clear Braces

$7.00

Amount24 packets
CompatibilityAll
TypePowder
Persulfate-freeYes
5

EverSmileWhiteFoam Clear Retainer Cleaner

$24.99

Amount1.69 fl. oz.
CompatibilityClear aligners & retainers
TypeFoam
Persulfate-freeYes
6

OAPAnti-Bacterial Cleaning Solution

$16.99

Amount1.5 fl. oz.
CompatibilityClear aligners
TypeFoam
Persulfate-freeYes
7

Smile AgainRetainer Cleaner and Disinfectant

$34.95

Amount22 packets
CompatibilityAll
TypePowder
Persulfate-freeNo
8

AvistarRetainer & Denture Cleaning Tablets

$16.97

Amount150 tablets
CompatibilityAll
TypeTablets
Persulfate-freeNo
9

Retainer BriteCleaning Tablets

$19.99

Amount120 tablets
CompatibilityAll
TypeTablets
Persulfate-freeNo

How to Choose a Retainer Cleaner – Buying Guide

Here, we'll be introducing the following three important points to check when you choose a retainer cleaner.

Points to Consider:

  1. Make Sure It's Compatible With Your Retainers
  2. Pick a Type Based on Convenience
  3. Avoid Persulfates When Possible

1. Make Sure It's Compatible With Your Retainers

1. Make Sure It's Compatible With Your Retainers
Many people think that denture cleaners can also be used to clean retainers, and that’s true–sometimes. Denture cleaners that require scrubbing are usually too abrasive for retainers and could scratch them. Instead, look for cleaners that signify they’re made with retainers in mind to prevent any accidental damage.
As for differences between retainers, most retainer cleaners work well for both clear plastic tray retainers as well as the ones with the metal bar. As with the denture cleaners though, be sure to read the box to make sure that it’s compatible as some application types are more difficult to use on one type versus another.
Jaeyoung Yoo
Dental Hygienist
Jaeyoung Yoo

Just as there are many different types of toothpastes and toothbrushes, there are many different types of retainer cleaners in the market. It can get overwhelming to try to pick the right one.

2. Pick a Type Based on Convenience

There are a few different types of retainer cleaners, and which one will be best for you largely depends on what’s the most convenient for you.

For Hands Off Soaking, Look for Tablets, Powders, and Concentrates

For Hands Off Soaking, Look for Tablets, Powders, and Concentrates
Tablets and powders are probably the most common. These require you to mix them with water and soak your retainer for up to 15 minutes before rinsing them off. They’re easy to travel with and take up very little space.
Concentrated pastes are also available and work in much the same way. However, you do have to be sure to remove them after the specified time, especially if the solution is on the stronger side.
Jaeyoung Yoo
Dental Hygienist
Jaeyoung Yoo

Hands off soaking, specifically the Brite brand, is my personal favorite option. One trick I have with the tablet is you can break the tabs apart and use them that way. For example, I use half of the Brite tab and soak my retainers in for 20 minutes. This saves money and, from my experience, it cleans just as well as using a whole tablet.

For a Faster but More Hands-On Cleaning, Look for Sprays, Pastes, and Wipes

For a Faster but More Hands-On Cleaning, Look for Sprays, Pastes, and Wipes
Sprays, pastes, and wipes are less common and more involved than tablets and powders but tend to work faster. With sprays, you spray your retainer, let it set for a few minutes, and give it a quick brushing before rinsing it off.

Pastes work much like a less abrasive toothpaste—just add it to your toothbrush and brush down your retainer. For sprays and pastes, how well they travel depends largely on the size.

Wipes probably require the least amount of fuss. Simply use it to wipe down your retainer and rinse. Naturally, they’re very easy to travel with.
Jaeyoung Yoo
Dental Hygienist
Jaeyoung Yoo

A less common method to clean retainers would be sprays and wipes, but they work on the spot as a temporary solution.

3. Avoid Persulfates When Possible

3. Avoid Persulfates When Possible
Persulfates are one of the main ingredients in many retainer and denture cleaners, but some people have issues with sensitivities and allergies. Should you be sensitive to it, it can lead to issues like sensitive gums, hives, and breathing problems.
While this can largely be avoided by rinsing your retainer thoroughly after cleaning it, you might also want to consider just getting a cleaner without persulfates for peace of mind.
Jaeyoung Yoo
Dental Hygienist
Jaeyoung Yoo

Persulfates do not belong in the mouth or in the body, but some retainers cleaners have them listed as their main ingredient. 


Gum tenderness and tissue damage could occur if persulfates make contact with the mouth or, even worse, if they are swallowed. If you have an allergy to persulfates I would actively look in the ingredient list and make sure that it is not listed.

How to Properly Clean Your Retainer

How to Properly Clean Your Retainer
Aside from having a good disinfecting retainer cleaner, there are a few other steps you can take to ensure that your retainer isn’t causing bad breath or contributing to gum disease.
Clean your retainer as soon as it comes out of your mouth in order to prevent it from drying out and accumulating debris. If your retainer has metal, be sure not to soak it for too long. Doing so may cause the metal to break down. 
How to Properly Clean Your Retainer
Also, don’t use hot water! Water that’s too hot can warp your retainer.

Try to keep your retainer wet at all times when it’s out of your mouth–allowing it to dry out can compromise the plastic. Finally, don’t forget to clean your case regularly. Even if your retainer is clean, if it’s in a dirty case you’re still exposing it to germs.

Jaeyoung Yoo
Dental Hygienist
Jaeyoung Yoo

Definitely avoid using hot water since it can change the shape and elasticity of the plastic retainer. As for cleaning and gunk out of the retainers right away when it comes out of your mouth, that will help to keep its longevity. Make sure that retainers are not dried out with stains and bacteria on them!

Extra Tips from Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo

Extra Tips from Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo

Orthodontists recommend that you clean your retainers every week when it's new. After a couple of weeks, it is recommended that retainers are cleaned using retainer cleaner products every few days.


Always read the instructions on these products. Retainers can be worn down from daily wear, clenching, grinding, and, depending on the amount of pressure and force that is put on it, they may need to be replaced every six months to a few years.

Extra Tips from Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo

For patients who have just finished their orthodontics treatment, it's recommended that retainers are worn for the whole day for at least three months straight to create a rigid bone structure. Once the bone structure is more rigid, patients can then wear it only nightly.


If not done so, teeth will shift back to their original structure. Having more than one retainer case can help keep them clean. Some people may forget their case and end up wrapping it in napkins or paper towels which will be easier to accidentally throw away than having it in an actual case, so be very careful.

Tooth Goods Our Experts Love

You've got your retainer cleaner, but now you also have to take care of your teeth! Erica Baron of @cleanlivingwitherica has you covered with this fluoride- and harsh chemical-free toothpaste.

Expert's
pick

RisewellNatural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

4 oz.

$12.00

Keep Your Breath Fresh All Day Long!

Keep Your Breath Fresh All Day Long!

You can't always have a clean retainer on hand, so here are some options to keep that halitosis at bay all day long.

Summary

Hopefully picking out a cleaner for your retainer is a bit easier now. The most important thing is that you find something that you actually want to use. Wearing a retainer is a necessary evil you suffer for an indefinite period of time, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unpleasant!

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro

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