Retainer Care



Retainers play an important role in orthodontics by maintaining your teeth’s new position once your braces are removed. They should be worn as prescribed by Dr. VanderWall and cleaned properly on a regular basis. For everyday cleaning, you can simply rinse your retainer with warm (but not hot) water and scrub with a spare toothbrush. For a more thorough cleaning, you can use one of the following methods depending on your type of retainer.

Hawley Retainers (wire bow and acrylic), Essix (clear retainers), and Clear Aligners:

  • Soak in a mixture of half water/half white vinegar for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Soak in a mixture of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a commercial persulfate cleanser (e.g., Retainer Brite, Efferdent), as directed.

Hawley Retainers with Solder Joints:

If your retainer has solder attachments to hold the metal wires together, then you should avoid using persulfate based cleansers, bleach, and vinegar which can corrode and weaken the solder joints. Use a non-persulfate cleanser such as Dentasoak (, as directed.

Helpful Hints

  • Avoid exposing your retainer to excessive heat. Never boil them, put them in the dishwasher, or leave them in your car on a hot day.
  • Keep your retainer away from dogs who may chew on them.
  • Don’t wrap your retainer in a napkin to avoid accidentally throwing them away.
  • Always bring it with you to your retainer check appointment.

If you have any questions about your retainer, please ask one of the team members at VanderWall Orthodontics.