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How Do I Clean Invisalign?

March 6th, 2024 | 4 min read

By NYC Smile Design

Invisalign has revolutionized orthodontic treatment, offering a discreet and effective way to achieve a beautiful smile. 

At NYC Smile Design, we’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Invisalign and understand the critical role that aligner hygiene plays in the treatment’s success. Beyond their aesthetic advantages, keeping Invisalign aligners clean is paramount for oral health and the effectiveness of the treatment. 

This blog explores the importance of aligner hygiene, practical cleaning tips, and best practices, drawing on our extensive experience to ensure your Invisalign journey is both successful and hygienic.

The Importance of Clean Invisalign Aligners

Keeping your Invisalign aligners clean is crucial, not just for the health of your mouth but also for the effectiveness of your treatment. Clean Invisalign aligners mean more than just a fresh feeling; they play a significant role in maintaining your overall oral hygiene. When you keep your aligners clean, you help prevent the development of bad breath caused by lingering food particles and bacteria. This is important not only for your comfort and confidence but also for the health of your gums and teeth.

Clean Invisalign

Furthermore, clean aligners are key to ensuring that your orthodontic treatment remains as invisible as it was intended to be. Aligners that are not properly cleaned can become discolored or stained over time, which might make them more noticeable when you’re wearing them. This can detract from one of Invisalign’s major advantages: its discreet nature.

Neglecting the cleanliness of your aligners can lead to the buildup of bacteria and plaque, not only on the aligners themselves but also on your teeth and gums. This buildup can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, potentially leading to more serious oral health issues down the line. It’s a situation that not only undermines the cosmetic benefits of Invisalign but can also set back your treatment progress, requiring additional dental work to address these issues.

Basic Cleaning Recommendations

Maintaining your Invisalign aligners in pristine condition is key to ensuring they work effectively throughout your orthodontic treatment. To achieve this, incorporating a few simple yet essential cleaning habits into your daily routine can make a significant difference. Here’s how to keep your aligners looking and functioning their best:

  • Rinse with Lukewarm Water: Each time you remove your aligners, whether it’s for eating, brushing, or flossing, make it a habit to rinse them thoroughly under lukewarm water. This step helps to wash away saliva and plaque that accumulate on the aligners throughout the day. Avoid using hot water, as high temperatures can distort the shape of your aligners, compromising their fit and the effectiveness of your treatment.
  • Gentle Cleaning: After rinsing, apply a small amount of non-abrasive toothpaste or a mild soap to a soft-bristled toothbrush. We recommend using ordinary dish detergent on your soft toothbrush to maintain a clear and clean aligner. Keeping a small supply of dish detergent in your bathroom where you brush your teeth and aligners ensures you will consistently keep your aligners clean and make for a regular routine.  Gently brush the entire surface of each aligner, paying extra attention to any nooks and crannies where plaque and food particles might hide. This method ensures that your aligners are free from harmful bacteria and remain clear and unscratched. Remember, using abrasive toothpaste or hard brushes can create micro-scratches on the aligners, which can harbor bacteria and make the aligners look dull and cloudy. Also remember, it is best practice to maintain the clearness and cleanliness of your aligners, as opposed to allowing stains and debris to build up and then  trying to do a deep cleaning.
  • Avoid Hot Water: Exposing your aligners to hot water can cause them to warp, altering their shape and fit. A misshapen aligner won’t apply the correct pressure to your teeth, potentially delaying your treatment progress. Always use lukewarm water for rinsing and cleaning to preserve the integrity of your aligners.
  • Dry Thoroughly: Before reinserting your aligners, ensure they are completely dry. This can prevent the formation of a breeding ground for bacteria between your teeth and the aligner. Gently shake off any excess water and use a clean, soft towel or air dry for a few minutes.

Deep Cleaning Techniques

While daily consistent cleaning is essential for maintaining your Invisalign aligners, incorporating deep cleaning techniques into your routine can further ensure their hygiene and longevity. These methods are designed to provide a more intensive clean, helping to remove any stubborn residues and keeping your aligners as invisible as they were designed to be. Here are some effective deep-cleaning strategies:

Specialized Cleaning Solutions

For a comprehensive clean, soaking your aligners in a denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals can be highly effective. These products are specifically formulated to sanitize oral appliances without damaging them. Follow the instructions on the packaging for the duration and frequency of soaking.

Natural Soaking Solutions

If you prefer a more natural approach, a homemade soaking solution can be just as effective. Mixing water with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in a 50/50 ratio creates a gentle yet potent cleaning bath for your aligners. Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties that can help sanitize the aligners, while vinegar’s acidity can help dissolve plaque and eliminate bacteria. Soak your aligners in this solution for about 20-30 minutes, but not longer, as prolonged exposure to acidic solutions could potentially affect the aligner material over time. After soaking, rinse your aligners thoroughly under lukewarm water to remove any remnants of the cleaning solution.

Air Drying

After deep cleaning, allowing your aligners to air dry on a clean towel before reinserting them can prevent moisture from trapping bacteria between your aligner and teeth. Ensure your aligners are completely dry and free of any cleaning solution residue to maintain optimal oral hygiene.

Dos and Don’ts To Clean Invisalign

To maximize the effectiveness of your Invisalign treatment and maintain your aligners, keep these best practices in mind:


  • Do rinse your aligners every time you remove them: Rinsing helps to wash away saliva and plaque, reducing the risk of bacterial buildup.
  • Do brush and floss your teeth before reinserting your aligners: This prevents trapping food particles and bacteria between your teeth and the aligners.
  • Do wash your hands thoroughly before handling your aligners: This minimizes the transfer of germs to your mouth.
  • Do store your aligners in their case when not in use: Keeping them in their case protects them from bacteria and prevents loss or accidental damage.
  • Do follow your dentist’s instructions for wearing and switching aligners: Adhering to the prescribed schedule ensures your treatment progresses as planned.


  • Don’t consume anything other than water while wearing your aligners: Eating or drinking colored or sugary beverages can stain your aligners and promote tooth decay.
  • Don’t use hot water to clean your aligners: Hot water can warp the plastic, affecting their fit and effectiveness.
  • Don’t skip cleaning your aligners regularly: Neglecting to clean your aligners can lead to odor, discoloration, and a buildup of bacteria.
  • Don’t use abrasive materials to clean your aligners: Harsh toothpaste or brushes can scratch the aligners, making them more visible and less comfortable.
  • Don’t place your aligners in napkins or on surfaces when eating: This increases the risk of them being thrown away or contaminated.
Clean Invisalign

Your Next Steps

Maintaining clean Invisalign aligners is crucial for achieving the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment and preserving your oral health. By adhering to the recommended cleaning practices and consulting with your orthodontist or dentist for personalized advice, you can ensure a successful and hygienic Invisalign experience. For those looking for expert guidance on their Invisalign journey, consider reaching out to professionals like those at NYC Smile Design, who can provide tailored advice and support for your specific needs.