About 14 million people have already improved their smiles with the most advanced clear aligner system in the world: Invisalign. Before you begin treatment, however, it helps to understand what to expect. For example, you’ll need to care for your clear aligners to keep them clean and transparent.

Otherwise, your aligners will begin to look discolored, making it more obvious you’ve started treatment.

Here are a few easy tips to help you care for Invisalign aligners. With these tips, you can keep them clear and clean. Read on to learn more!

Remove and Rinse

First, it’s important that you remember to remove your Invisalign aligners before meals. You should only drink water when your aligners are in place. Otherwise, food particles can stick to or damage your aligners. 

When food particles mix with bacteria and saliva, plaque can form. Plaque is the clear, tacky substance that sticks to and between your teeth. If your aligners are in place, plaque can form between the trays and your teeth.

Your risk of tooth decay or gum disease could increase as a result. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. When left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are major causes of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease can increase your risk of stroke, lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease as well. 

The dyes in many beverages can discolor your trays, too. Most people choose Invisalign treatment for its discretion. If you want to keep your aligners clean and clear, remove them before meals or drinking beverages besides water.

After removing your aligners, rinse them under lukewarm water. Don’t use hot or cold water, which can cause the plastic to warp.

Once you’ve rinsed your aligners, keep them in their designated case. Otherwise, wrapping them in a napkin could increase the likelihood of you losing or tossing them out. 

After meals, brush and floss your teeth. Otherwise, putting your aligners back into place will allow bacteria to build against the plastic.

Brush Them

Before putting your aligners back into your mouth, brush them.

Brushing your aligners will allow you to remove bacteria, saliva, and plaque that’s formed against the plastic. When brushing your aligners, make sure to use lukewarm water. Again, you don’t want to warp the plastic.

Warping the plastic can impact how the aligners fit, which could impede your treatment plan.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your aligners. Avoid using toothpaste, which is abrasive. Otherwise, you could scratch the plastic.

If your aligners look discolored or emit a foul order, it’s likely bacteria are clinging to the plastic. Consider using a colorless, unscented liquid soap and brush to clean Invisalign trays. Rinse all the soap away.

Once you learn how to care for clear aligners, develop a routine. Remind yourself to:

  • Remove the aligners before meals
  • Brush them under lukewarm water
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Place the aligners back into your mouth

Consistency is key. You’ll need to wear your aligners 20 to 22 hours a day to remain on track with your Invisalign treatment plan.

Let Them Soak

If your aligners begin to look discolored or emit an odor, consider soaking them using the Invisalign cleaning system. Invisalign’s cleaning crystals will clear away bacteria and plaque. You can keep your aligners clean and clear without stress.

First, remove your Invisalign aligners and rinse them under lukewarm water. Consider brushing them, too.

Place the trays in a bowl of lukewarm water. Add a packet of the cleaning solutions and dissolve the crystals. Then, let them soak for 15 minutes.

Rinse the aligners one more time under lukewarm water before placing them back in your mouth.

Once you complete your Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist will likely have you wear retainers. Your retainers will help you maintain the results of your treatment. Otherwise, your teeth might shift back to their previous position.

With Invisalign treatment, you’ll likely replace your aligners every one or two weeks. You won’t swap out your retainers that often, though. As a result, it’s important to keep your retainers clean.

Make an effort to soak your aligners in the cleaning solution once a week to clear away bacteria. 


Make an effort to clean your aligners every night. To remain consistent, clean your aligners before or after you brush and floss your teeth. Consistent cleaning will remove bacteria, food particles, and debris. 

Otherwise, clean your Invisalign aligners when they look dirty. For example, maybe you consumed a beverage containing food dyes while wearing your aligners. Maybe you put your aligners back in without brushing your teeth.

While you’ll change out your aligners every two weeks, cleaning them frequently can help you avoid discoloration. Otherwise, your teeth could start to look yellow. Bacteria could cause bad breath, too.

Caring for clear aligners will help you avoid exposing your teeth to bacteria.

Mistakes to Avoid

When cleaning your aligners, avoid harsh products that might damage the plastic. These include:

  • Mouthwash (which contains color dyes)
  • Scented soaps (which can leave a bitter taste)
  • Toothpaste
  • Denture cleaners

Avoid any products that contain added dyes, which can stain the plastic. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratches, too.

Keep Your Clear Aligners Squeaky Clean With These Tips

Learning how to clean your clear aligners can keep them clear. Otherwise, discoloration can make your teeth look yellow or dull. Keeping your aligners clean can benefit your breath and oral health as well.

For more tips on caring for Invisalign aligners, make sure to talk to your orthodontist.

Want to discuss treatment with a member of our team? We’re happy to help.

Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.