DIY Retainer Cleaner (for Hawley, Metal, & Invisalign)



I’m a huge advocate for using oral healthcare products that are safe, effective and support your health and well-being. Sometimes that means making your own. Here is a retainer cleaner recipe that will clean your retainer without compromising your health (and it’s easy on your wallet).

Ask the Dentist is supported by readers. If you use one of the links below and buy something, Ask the Dentist makes a little bit of money at no additional cost to you. I rigorously research, test, and use thousands of products every year, but recommend only a small fraction of these. I only promote products that I truly feel will be valuable to you in improving your oral health.

Unfortunately, the common “fizzy,” effervescent tablets used to clean retainers, like Polident and Efferdent contain a known allergen called persulfate. Persulfate residue can stick to your retainer and cause allergic reactions. Don’t take the risk of exposing yourself to this toxin that can land some people in the emergency room.  Instead, try this simple and inexpensive retainer cleaner recipe to effectively clean your retainer. You’ll be making a better choice for your health and will extend the life of your retainer when you opt out of using harsh chemicals.

Learn More: How to Clean Retainers Without Harsh Chemicals

DIY Retainer Cleaner

Want to ensure your teenager uses this safer, chemical-free alternative to traditional retainer cleaners? Why not have her mix up the solution herself? It’s a fun way to get into the kitchen and takes so little time to prepare!

  • Author: Dr. Burhenne
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: Cleans 1 or a pair of retainers


  • 2 tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup warm (not boiling) Distilled Water
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda


  1. In a jar or bowl mix together the vinegar and water.
DIY Retainer Cleaner (for Hawley, Metal, & Invisalign) 1

2. Add baking soda.

DIY Retainer Cleaner (for Hawley, Metal, & Invisalign) 2

3. Soak for 10-15 minutes and then rinse the retainer to remove any tartar that has accumulated. You don’t need to soak it very long, so don’t use this cleaner overnight.

4. Rinse with cool water. To extend the life of your retainer, let it soak in distilled water if you aren’t planning on using it right away.

DIY Retainer Cleaner (for Hawley, Metal, & Invisalign) 3


Add the baking soda after you’ve mixed the water and vinegar together.  Adding baking soda to straight vinegar will create a mini volcano (you may remember that from science class!).

Never use boiling or really hot water to clean your retainer as the high temperature can melt the plastic and deform it, resulting in an improper fit.

This is not a cleaner to use overnight, every night. I recommend soaking your retainer for 10-15 minutes maximum, about once a week.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

The post DIY Retainer Cleaner (for Hawley, Metal, & Invisalign) appeared first on Ask the Dentist.