Invisalign Oral Hygiene Series :: Aligner Tray Cleaning

Invisalign Aligner Tray Cleaning

Aligner Tray Cleaning

Let’s face it, mouths are gross – even when you aren’t eating or drinking, that means your trays can be gross too. Brushing your aligner trays with your toothbrush keeps them clean throughout the day. In addition, I like to perform a daily deep clean to keep them clear and fresh – especially since I occasionally partake of (unsweetened, no dairy!) cold brew coffee with my trays in. After all, coffee-stained trays aren’t terribly invisible. If your goal is to prevent people from knowing you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, you need to become a zealot about tray cleaning.

Personally, I’m fine with people knowing I have Invisalign – but I still obviously want my aligner tryas to be clean and crystal clear. These items help me achieve that.

Method Fragrance Free Soap

Although you can definitely just use toothpaste on your trays, I prefer to rinse my toothbrush of paste and use an abrasive-free liquid soap for tray cleaning. Method’s fragrance- and dye-free gel hand wash is perfect for this purpose. At only $5-6 for a 34oz bag, this is inexpensive to boot.

I bought one of the refill bags from Target and decant a little bit into the tiniest Nalgene capped-spout bottles; one lives at my home sink, one lives in my purse kit. Six months into treatment and multiple uses per day has only required that I refill those tiny bottles once – I’ve barely made a dent in the bag!

Plus, if you don’t use it up during treatment it isn’t a waste; you have a good, unscented hand soap!

Retainer Brite

Retainer Brite was on my list of supplies to shop for already and then I received a sample from my Orthodontist when I started treatment. One of the nurses there said other effervescent cleaners, like a generic oral appliance (dentures, night guards, etc) cleaner, would suffice but this is what I use. I stocked up on Amazon when it was on sale and ultimately didn’t pay much more per-tablet than a generic cleanser tablet.

Tip: You don’t need a whole tablet for a daily aligner tray cleaning. Half a tablet does just fine!

Ultrasonic Cleaners

Before I get into which ones I’m talking about, let’s talk about how to use an ultrasonic appliance for tray cleaning:

  • Drop a tray cleaning tablet (like Retainer Brite) into the tub of the appliance.
  • Fill with enough warm (not hot or cold) water to submerge your trays.
  • Drop trays in.
  • Let it run for 10-20 minutes.
  • Remove trays and rinse thoroughly under cool water.
  • Dump solution from the appliance tub and rinse it thoroughly under cool water.

My orthodontist also gave me one of these when I started treatment. It is small, battery-operated, and looks identical to this except it has his practice’s branding on the lid. I think it works OK, and is great for free-to-me. It is a battery hog though, so invest in some rechargeable batteries if you go this route.

Recently, I upgraded. This one is AC-powered and can also use to clean jewelry (among other things); it has a timed run cycle (unlike the battery-operated one) and works wonderfully. Just be sure to thoroughly clean it between cleaning jewelry and cleaning things that go in your mouth! By the way, it did a lovely job on my engagement ring – now I don’t have to drop by the mall when I want it cleaned!