How to Clean Aligners and Other Maintenance Tips for Clear Aligners

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About 40,000 Australians use clear aligners for tooth straightening. Their growing popularity is not only because they offer fast and comfortable tooth alignment but also because they’re invisible, making them difficult to notice. Although using aligners is a convenient way to get a beautiful and healthy smile, you have to care for them for effective results. Wearing them throughout the night and day can make them unhygienic. Bacteria, plaque, and dried saliva tend to form on them, causing them to appear cloudy and a little discolored. If you fail to clean them, they may also start to produce an odor and give you bad breath. There are various methods to clean your aligners so you don’t have to stick to one. If you don’t know how to clean aligners, below is a guide to help you.


Before you start your morning or evening routine, you should take your aligners out of your mouth and rinse them. The rinse removes dried saliva and prevents plaque build-up. This also makes it more easy and comfortable to insert aligners. Always use warm water when rinsing as extremely hot water can twist and bend the trays.


For a deeper clean, you should soak your clear aligners. Soaking them can disinfect it from bacteria like E. Coli, Staph, Candida, Strep, and more. It can also help remove plaque buildup, stains, and odor. Ensure you soak your aligners once a day using the appropriate solution.


Sometimes food particles or plaque can cake on your aligners, making it difficult to just rinse the trays. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove them and keep your aligners looking clean.

What to Use When Cleaning Your Clear Aligners

Caring for your clear aligners is very straightforward. Here are some simple remedies you can use for a proper clean.

Clear Antibacterial Soap

Using a gentle antibacterial soap can stop bacteria from building up. Once you’ve applied the soap on the trays, use a toothbrush to create the suds and clean your aligner. Remember to rinse your clear aligners thoroughly with lukewarm water so you feel the taste of soap in your mouth.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an effective way to get rid of plaque and germs and buildup in your clear aligners. It can also deodorize them. Apart from being safe for use on aligners, it’s also cheap. Mix white vinegar with warm water and stir the solution so that the vinegar is evenly distributed. Place your aligners in the solution, and let them soak for about 15 to 30 minutes. It’s enough time for the vinegar to loosen the plaque build-up. After soaking, rinse them clean with warm water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has an abrasive quality that will kill the bacteria on the clear aligners without harming the trays. It can also get rid of stuck-on food particles and plaque. Dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in warm water. Allow your clear aligners to soak for at least 30 minutes before you take them out and brush them.

Denture Cleaners

Denture cleaners can work well as soaking solutions for your clear aligners. Most come in tablet form so you can dissolve them in warm water to form a bubbly solution. This will help clean plaque from your aligners, allowing them to look sparkly and smell fresh.

Hydrogen Peroxide

At low concentrations, hydrogen peroxide can be perfect for removing stains from your clear aligners. Combine 3% hydrogen peroxide with warm water and let your aligners soak for about 15-30 minutes. Although hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, it doesn’t prevent plaque build-up. This is why you should brush your trays after soaking to remove the leftover plaque and rinse them.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

Don’t have time to make home remedies for cleaning aligners? You can buy an ultrasonic cleaner. These devices are not only good for deep cleaning mouth guards and retainers but also clear aligners. Simply add cleaning tablets to water inside the ultrasonic cleaner and place your aligners inside. This high-tech device will clean your clear aligners in two minutes. Be sure to rinse your aligners before you place them back in your mouth.

How to Clean Smile Direct Aligners: What to Avoid

Cleaning your products can damage your aligners and hinder your orthodontic treatment. Below are things you shouldn’t use to clean your aligners:

Abrasive Toothpaste

Clear aligners are more delicate than your actual teeth. When you use abrasive toothpaste, it can lead to scratches on your aligners. These scratches can make your clear aligners more visible, defeating their main purpose.


While mouthwash is great for cleaning your mouth, it can damage your aligners. The colouring dye in them can stain your clear aligners, making them less appealing to wear.


Although it may seem like a convenient way to clean your aligners, dishwashers use hot water. The hot can distort your aligners so they may not fit properly when you wear them.

Coloured Soaps

Soaps with added dyes like red or blue can stain the trays of your clear aligners. You should also avoid using scented soaps.

How Often to Clean Aligners

Ensure you clean your clear aligner at least twice a day, preferably at the time when you brush or floss your teeth. You can rinse them throughout the day with lukewarm water will to help keep them clean and odour-free. What’s more, make sure you give them a deeper clean once a day. Once you’re done cleaning, you should place them in a case if you aren’t wearing them immediately. Leaving them in the open air exposes them to more bacteria.

Learn How to Clean Aligners for Beautiful and Healthy Teeth

Got crooked teeth? Looking to straighten them? Look no further than SmilePath. We offer quality clear aligners to help you achieve the stunning smile you deserve. Our goal is to boost our self-confidence and overall oral health. We can also guide you on how to clean aligners. Feel free to take a free assessment to get started.
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