First impressions can have a lasting impact. According to this study, 29% of Americans say they notice a person’s teeth before any other aspect of their face. Meanwhile, 58% of Americans with straight teeth are expected to become more successful.

57% of Americans would rather have a nice smile than clear skin.

This growing priority regarding our teeth has encouraged more people to get Invisalign aligners. However, it’s important you know how to clean Invisalign aligners properly. Otherwise, the time, effort, and money you put into straightening your smile will go to waste.

In this guide, we will discuss the importance of cleaning your aligners, along with a few Invisalign care tips.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Aligners

Like brushing your teeth each night, learning how to clean Invisalign retainers is essential for your oral health.

First, cleaning your aligners keeps them invisible. One of the main benefits of Invisalign over braces is their subtly. However, failing to clean Invisalign retainers can cause them to become stained.

Good oral hygiene practices, on the other hand, can help your invisible orthodontics stay invisible. Another reason Invisalign care is important is it helps prevent bad breath.

Food particles can get stuck in your Invisalign retainers. This can cause bacteria to spread, which in turn causes you to develop bad breath. Regular cleanings will keep your mouth smelling fresh and teeth looking bright.

Learning how to clean Invisalign aligners can also help you avoid tooth decay.

Decay occurs when you leave food particles between your teeth or on your aligners. In time, this can cause bacteria to spread. As a result, you’re more likely to develop cavities, tooth decay, or even gingivitis.

Avoiding gum disease is another reason to keep your aligners clean. Gum disease develops when oral bacteria linger in your mouth. By keeping your teeth and aligners clean, you’re keeping that bacteria at bay.

If you neglect to clean your aligners, you could find yourself dealing with costly, uncomfortable dental issues.

7 Tips on How to Clean Invisalign Aligners

In 2017, orthodontists prescribed Invisalign trays to 931,000 people. Aligners often cost patients between $3,000 to $8,000 each. If you’re spending that much money, it’s important to learn how to clean Invisalign aligners on your own.

Otherwise, your smile won’t look as bright and clean as you hoped.

Here are seven tips on how to clean Invisalign aligners.

1. Remove Your Trays Before Eating

First, it’s important to remove your trays before you eat each time. Otherwise, the food and beverages you consume can damage and stain your aligners.

Food particles get stuck in your trays as often as they get stuck in your teeth. If these particles cling to your aligners, they’ll transfer to your teeth and gums as well. Over time, these particles provide the bacteria that create plaque.

Plaque is a sticky film that clings to your enamel. Brushing your teeth and cleaning your enamel can help you remove this plaque. When left unattended, however, plaque hardens and becomes tartar.

You can’t remove tartar on your own. Instead, you’ll need a professional’s help.

If you don’t remove tartar from your teeth, you might develop gingivitis. This gum disease can worsen with time and become periodontal disease.

Instead of dealing with the hassle of plaque and tartar, make sure to remove your Invisalign trays before eating or drinking.

Then, you’ll need to clean your trays and teeth before placing your aligners back in your mouth.

2. Clean Your Trays When You Remove Them

Each time you remove your trays, you’ll need to clean them thoroughly. Rinsing and soaking them in water won’t prevent bacteria from building up. Instead, consider using a clear soap, which won’t tint your aligner.

There are also denture cleaners and Invisalign cleaning crystals available.

These options can help prevent foul-smelling bacteria from clinging to your aligners.

When cleaning your trays, don’t use hot water to disinfect them. Your aligners are made of a thermoplastic material that can cause them to bend in hot water. Cold water, meanwhile, can cause your aligners to contract.

Instead, use room-temperature water.

3. Keep The Trays In a Case

When you’re not wearing your aligners, make sure to place them in a case instead of on a napkin. Otherwise, you might accidentally throw your aligners away.

A case will protect your trays from bacteria as well as possible damage.

4. Floss and Brush

Remember, food particles can get stuck between your teeth. Wearing your trays without brushing your teeth can prevent your saliva from washing these particles away. This can cause bacteria and plaque to build up, leading to oral diseases.

When wearing Invisalign trays, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush and floss after meals, before you put your trays back on. That way, you can keep your teeth clean and your aligners clear.

5. Stick to a Schedule

Make it a habit! Remember to clean your aligners as a part of your routine. Missing a cleaning can give bacteria the chance to build up against your teeth.

6. Avoid Basic Mistakes

Here are a few basic mistakes to avoid as you learn how to clean Invisalign trays.


  • Use cleaning solutions with harsh ingredients
  • Soak your aligner in mouthwash (which could discolor it)
  • Rinse your aligner in hot or cold water
  • Leave your aligner sitting out

These tips can help you maintain the quality of your aligner.

7. Soak It

Soaking your aligner can disinfect it from:

  • E. Coli
  • Staph
  • Candida
  • Strep

Soaking it can also prevent tough stains, debris, plaque, and odor. After soaking your aligner in a solution, make sure to rinse it under room temperature water.

All About Invisalign Care

Now that you know all about Invisalign care, you can use these tips on how to clean Invisalign aligners without stress!

Keep those aligners—and teeth—clean with these tips.

Ready for your first set of aligners? Book a free exam at one of our locations to get started!