How to clean your aligners easily

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are extremely popular these days. However, many people do not realize that these aligners need to be cleaned daily. Even if you purchase the very best clear aligners on the market, they are not magically going to clean themselves. You need to put in the effort. That being said, there are some misconceptions that people may have when it comes to cleaning your aligners. That is why this article is going to provide you with all the information you may need to clean your aligners in a proper way.

Cleaning your aligners the right way

First of all, you need to understand that you might need to change your habits and form new ones once you fit your aligners. This is the most important part of the entire process, as it will considerably improve your quality of life. Many people wonder whether you can eat with your aligner in and may do so without researching the topic first. While eating with your aligners is definitely possible, it is not a habit that you wish to form. Instead, what you want to do is form a habit of removing them every time you want to grab a bite or a drink. Water is, of course, the only exception.

a water droplet falling onto the surgace of water forming tiny circular waves
Forget about chemicals; all you need is water!

That being said, no matter what you do, you will have to clean your aligners. Otherwise, they might discolor and build up bacteria inside your mouth. Consumer Opinion Guide will help you choose the correct way to keep your aligners immaculate.

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The cleaning process

Here’s a quick outline of what you want to do to keep your aligners clean:

  • Clean twice a day
  • Keep the aligners safe
  • Take the aligners out when you eat and drink
  • Soak the trays once a week

The most important thing is to make sure that you attend to your aligners at least twice a day. Going back to the habits, this is a habit that you absolutely want to form. Unlike wearing traditional metal braces, aligners are designed to be removable. You will still wear them for most of the day (around 20 hours on average), but you have the possibility of removing and cleaning them properly. Keep your aligners safe at all times, take them out when you eat and drink, and allow them to soak in an aligner cleaner once a week.

Cleaning solutions

There are many aligner cleaners on the market, but sometimes it is best to “keep it simple”. Here are some of the most effective cleaning solutions for your aligners:

  • Soap and water
  • Cleaning tablets
  • Water and vinegar
  • Baking soda and water
two light-colored bars of soap used to clean your aligners
Sometimes, the simplest solution is also the most effective one.

Word of warning, though, you will not want to utilize these cleaning solutions while your aligners are in. If you are looking to prevent white spots on teeth, there are other solutions readily available. Even though it may be simpler to rinse your mouth with water and vinegar, for example, make sure that you remove the aligners before you start cleaning them.

Next up, we are going to outline what the cleaning process might look like for each cleaning solution.

How to clean your aligners with soap and water

First off, you will want to prepare a cup of warm water. You don’t want the water to be hot; you just want it to be warm. Mix in a bit of soap and form suds in the water. Once the mixture is prepared, you will want to soak the aligners in the now-soapy water and leave them there for around 30 minutes. After that, simply rinse the aligners clean.

How to use cleaning tablets

If you want an even simpler cleaning solution, you can always procure cleaning tablets. Pretty much any universal cleaning tablet will work for your aligners, provided that you follow the instructions on the package. Similar to how there are many different types of braces to take into consideration, there is a plethora of cleaning tablet brands readily available. Simply go with what you feel like going; you can’t really make a mistake.

As for the cleaning process, all you need to do is prepare a cup of warm water and drop one cleaning tablet in. However, unlike soap and water, it only takes around 3 minutes to fully clean your aligners with the cleaning tablets. That being said, tablets are still something that you need to buy. The best course of action is usually to “save” the tablets for when you need to clean your aligners in a rush. Of course, rinsing the aligners afterward is still mandatory.

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Vinegar and water for cleaning your aligners

If you are not comfortable with using either soap or a cleaning tablet, you can utilize vinegar for pretty much the same effect. All you need to do is create a mixture that is three parts warm water and one part white vinegar. Soak the aligners for about 20 minutes in the mixture before you rinse them.

apple cider vinegar in a small glass container among small pumpkins
Avoid using “colored” vinegar.

Water and baking soda are a powerful combination

Lastly, if you are planning on taking your aligners for about an hour at a time, you may want to try using a mixture of baking soda and water. Baking soda is a key ingredient in many homemade cleaning solutions, as well. You will want a single tablespoon of baking soda and half a cup of water. Soak your aligners in the mixture and leave them there for about 60 minutes.

How not to clean your aligners

All of the cleaning solutions above are ideal for cleaning your aligners. However, many people try to clean their aligners with other solutions—mouthwash/toothpaste being the “usual suspects.” Furthermore, you NEVER want to put your aligners in a dishwasher. The reason for this is rather simple: the dishwasher utilizes hot water for cleaning, and hot water can damage your aligners.

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Of course, you will not want to use any chemicals to clean your aligners, either. Chemicals such as alcohol and bleach can damage or warp your aligners and make it, so you need to purchase new ones. To be perfectly safe, stick to the proven cleaning methods and avoid experimentation.

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