What to Do if Your Clear Retainer Turned Yellow

Has your Clear Retainer Turned Yellow? Here’s How You Can Successfully Remove its Stains

Clear retainers are a game changer for people who have to wear their devices for extended periods of time or want to stay discretely compliant overnight. But if you don’t keep them clean, you run the risk of blowing your cover. If you are panicking because your clear retainer turned yellow, check out these methods for cleaning off those unsightly stains now.  

Why Your Clear Retainer Turned Yellow

And How You Can Keep it From Happening Again

There are a number of reasons why your retainers can get stained in the first place. Many patients do wear a daily retainer after Invisalign for up to 6 months, so stains can occur just the same as during treatment. If you eat or drink without removing your retainers, they’ll obviously get dirty. Even if you don’t eat or drink with your retainers, forgetting to rinse and clean them on the regular can make them susceptible to staining. 

Clear retainers in a blue Invisalign case

It’s a lot easier to prevent stains from occurring than eliminating them once they exist, so the best think you can do is learn how to clean retainers the correct way. 

Clear Retainer Cleaning Tips

Keep these tips in mind as you start to follow a regular cleaning schedule: 

  • Rinse your retainers with water every time you remove them, and before you put them back into your mouth
  • Use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water for an anytime cleaning, especially if you’ve been sick, but never place them in boiling water which can soften and ultimately warp your retainers
  • Gently brush your retainers whenever you brush your teeth, but avoid using abrasive toothpaste which can scratch and create a porous surface area where bacteria love to hide out and flourish
  • Never eat or drink anything other than water (or Movemints clear aligner mints) while wearing your clear retainers
  • Brush and floss your teeth after eating and before you reinsert the retainers to get rid of any residual drink or food
  • Use a dedicated retainer cleaner like Smilesaver™ Spray or retainer cleaning tablets

Get Comfortable Cleaning Your Retainers On The Go

If you’re wearing a clear retainer, that probably means you’re familiar with the song and dance of cleaning your aligners in public restrooms, friend’s half baths, and wherever else your smile journey takes you. The same principles apply for your clear retainers, but eventually you’ll transition to night time wear only. 

Until then, if you’re heading out to a restaurant or getting ready for a weekend trip, make sure you have a well stocked accessories bag. A portable toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss will maintain your dental hygiene and a bottle of Smilesaver Spray cleaner for retainers will keep those yellow stains at bay. 

Smilesaver Spray cleaner works for aligners, retainers, dentures, mouthguards and all oral devices

One pump of Smilesaver works in 60 seconds to eliminate 99.9% of stain causing bacteria while cleansing and freshening your device, and it’s great taste and peroxide-free formula means you don’t even have to rinse it off before you reinsert. It’s ideal for a quick on-the-go cleaning and is sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener that has positive benefits for oral hygiene, making Smilesaver a must have product for preventing stained Invisalign and clear retainers. It also works on toothbrushes!

Finally, make sure to keep a good retainer case on hand, as you never want to put clean retainers in a dirty place. Not only is this unhygienic, it makes them far more susceptible to accidental disposal or misplacement. Retainers are expensive but cases are not, so there’s no excuse here but to protect your investment.

Remedies For Stubborn Yellow Retainer Stains

If Your Clear Retainer Turned Yellow, Try These Solutions

If your clear retainer turned yellow and won’t turn back, the most effective method for cleaning it is to soak it inside a solution. Many users mix a pack of Invisalign crystals with a glass of water to create a quick cleaning solution. After inserting your retainers into the solution, wait at least 15 minutes before taking them out. 

hand holding dental aligner retainer (invisible) at outdoor nature park and garden background

You can also make your own cleaning solution. Simply grab a bowl that is deep enough to fully immerse your retainers and fill it with half water and half hydrogen peroxide (add a little vinegar to disinfect, if desired). Let your aligners soak in the bowl overnight. This solution is great for addressing serious stains. If your retainers have yellow stains that aren’t as severe, you can lightly brush them with a toothbrush that has been dipped in baking soda. Soaking your trays in a half-water, half-vinegar solution for around 30 minutes is also extremely effective in getting rid of unsightly stains. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Retainer Stains

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients ask us in regard to cleaning their clear retainers. 

Is toothpaste bad for my aligners?

While toothpaste is a necessary cleaning tool for your teeth, it is usually too abrasive to clean your retainers. But we recognize how convenient it is to brush your teeth and retainers at the same time, so here’s a technique you can try. Start brushing your teeth and once the toothpaste is good and diluted, you can use the residual paste left on your brush to lightly give your retainers a quick scrub. Just be gentle, because you don’t want to create microscopic scratches and craters where bacteria can hang out. 

Can I use teeth whitening solutions while wearing my retainers?

While certain teeth whitening solutions will not likely harm your clear retainers, you should double-check with your dentist regarding the specific solution you are interested in using. 

How often do I need to clean my clear retainers?

You should clean your retainers whenever you brush your teeth. You should also rinse them before and after taking them out. 


Realizing that your clear retainer turned yellow is never pleasant. But with the right amount of cleaning solution, you can get rid of those obnoxious stains in no time. For more tips and tricks on taking care of your clear retainers, follow our Save Your Smile Blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published