How to sterilize a retainer

After months of wearing braces to straighten your teeth, using a retainer helps keep them straight. Because this orthodontic device is in your mouth, it comes in direct contact with bacteria and germs present inside the mouth. Regular cleaning and sterilising of the retainer helps prevent illness due to germs and bacteria. The orthodontist is likely to send a patient home with proper care instructions, demonstrating that simple, but regular care of the retainer keeps it in good, sanitary condition.

Remove the retainer from your mouth. Add two drops of dishwashing detergent to a wet toothbrush.

Scrub the retainer with the dish detergent and toothbrush. Clean both sides of the plastic, as well as the retainer wire. Rinse the retainer well with cool water.

Fill a glass with 59.1ml. of chlorine bleach and 56.7gr. cool water. Soak your retainer in the bleach solution for 10 to 20 minutes to sanitise and sterilise it.

Brush the retainer again with dishwashing detergent. Rinse it well, then allow it to air dry on a clean towel.


Use toothpaste in place of dish washing detergent to clean your retainer. Store your retainer in the appropriate container between uses.


Don't sterilise your retainer by placing it in boiling water, hot water could melt the plastic. Keep your retainer away from all heat sources.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish washing detergent
  • Toothbrush
  • Glass
  • 56.7gr. chlorine bleach
  • Towel
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.