Retainers are given to a patient after receiving orthodontic care. Retainers are common but some people are not knowledgeable on how to keep a retainer clean. It is important to keep it clean because of tartar build up. This plastic sits on your teeth for long periods of time so if it is not clean then your teeth will not be either. Cleaning your retainer should be a step you add to your morning and evening routine in order to have a healthy smile!

The most important tool you have when it comes to cleaning your retainer is your toothbrush. The soft bristles will keep plaque off. It is important to brush your retainer every single day.

The problem with using a cleaner, or any type of chemical when cleaning your retainer is that your retainer ends up soaking up and holding onto those chemicals, and when those chemicals sit on your teeth for hours on end, it can do a lot of damage to your teeth.

The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to a retainer!


  • Don’t clean with a Clorox wipe, again the chemicals on the wipe will ruin your teeth.
  • Don’t soak with extremely hot water. The heat will warp the retainer from its original state, which will change the position of your teeth.
  • Don’t put your retainer in the dishwasher. (Read above).
  • Don’t use mouthwash to clean.
  • Don’t place it on a bedside table or in a tissue or napkin. This dries out the retainer, plus it makes it super easy to throw it away by accident.


  • Do brush the retainer under warm water. Brush well this is the absolute best way to keep your retainer clean.
  • Do have a separate toothbrush for your retainer.
  • Do use 50/50 water and hydrogen peroxide or 50/50 water and baking soda. Both will kill the odor and the build-up happening inside the retainer.
  • Do wear your retainer at what times and for as long as your orthodontist recommends. Take it from someone who had to wear braces twice, if you do not wear your retainer, your teeth will move!!

Here at Nowlin Orthodontics, we promise to help make wearing your retainer as simple as possible! Our goal is the same as yours, to make sure you have a healthy, straight and gorgeous smile! Contact us today with a free orthodontic consultation for your best smile.