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How often should you clean smile direct aligners?

Smile Direct Club clear aligners provide an affordable and convenient way to straighten your teeth. However, like any orthodontic device, proper cleaning and care is essential to avoid issues like bad breath, stains, and bacteria buildup. But with their tight-fitting removable design, many wonder just how often Smile Direct aligners need to be cleaned. Here’s a look at how often you should be cleaning your Smile Direct Club aligners and the best cleaning methods.

Daily Cleaning

Most orthodontists recommend removing your Smile Direct Club aligners and cleaning them after each time you eat or drink anything other than cool water. Bacteria, food particles, and acidic drinks like coffee can get trapped under the aligners, not only leaving stains but potentially causing tooth decay, gum irritation, and a bad taste or smell.

Give your aligners a thorough daily cleaning by:

  • Rinsing under cool running water
  • Gently brushing with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soaking in Smile Direct’s recommended Retainer Brite cleaning solution for 15 minutes

Be sure to also brush and floss your teeth well before reinserting your freshly cleaned aligners.

Weekly Deep Cleaning

In addition to quick daily cleanings, you should give your Smile Direct Club aligners a more thorough weekly deep cleaning. This helps keep them free of bacteria, stains, and odors that can build up over time.

Each week you should:

  • Soak aligners in Retainer Brite for 15-20 minutes
  • Brush thoroughly with a soft toothbrush
  • Use a Q-tip to clean hard to reach crevices
  • Rinse very thoroughly

You can also occasionally use clear mouthwash instead of water for soaking to help sanitize the aligners.

Monthly Cleaning

For a super thorough monthly cleaning, some dentists recommend using a small amount of hydrogen peroxide instead of regular toothpaste when brushing aligners. The bubbling action can help remove debris and kill bacteria.

You can also swap your normal aligner soaking solution for a dental appliance cleaner, like Steradent. Soak aligners for 15 minutes monthly to sanitize and help remove set-in stains.

Deep Cleaning Methods

If you notice odor, stains, or buildup on your Smile Direct Club aligners that don’t come clean with normal brushing, here are some extra deep cleaning methods:

Method Steps
Baking Soda
  1. Make a paste of baking soda and water
  2. Gently rub paste on aligners
  3. Rinse thoroughly
Soak in Vinegar
  1. Soak aligners in equal parts warm water and white vinegar for 15 minutes
  2. Rinse thoroughly
Denture Tablets
  1. Soak in denture cleaning tablets and cool water for 15-20 minutes
  2. Rinse thoroughly

Daily Aligner Care Tips

In addition to regular cleaning, be sure to follow these aligner care tips to help keep your Smile Direct Club aligners fresh, stain-free, and working efficiently:

  • Rinse after eating and drinking (except cool water)
  • Store aligners in the case, not napkins or paper towels
  • Don’t soak aligners in mouthwash longer than recommended
  • Use aligner-safe whitening products if needed
  • Don’t use abrasive toothpaste on aligners
  • Keep aligners away from hot water and heat sources

Signs Your Aligners Need to Be Cleaned

Be on the lookout for these signs that your Smile Direct Club aligners are due for a cleaning:

  • Visible stains or film
  • Bad breath while wearing aligners
  • Buildup of debris and plaque
  • White spots or mineral deposits
  • Aligners look cloudy
  • Discoloration

Regular cleaning and care will help avoid these issues and keep your aligners working smoothly.

Don’t Use These Cleaners

It may be tempting to use household cleaners and strong chemicals to remove stubborn stains from aligners. However, cleaners like these can actually damage the plastic:

  • Tooth whitening products
  • Bleach
  • Oil-based soaps
  • Alcohol
  • Ammonia
  • Antibacterial cleaners
  • Abrasive scrubbers
  • Hot or boiling water

Check with your orthodontist before using any alternative cleaning methods not recommend by Smile Direct Club.


Caring for Smile Direct Club aligners by cleaning them properly on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis helps keeps them functioning correctly while preventing damage, stains, and bacteria buildup. Plus it keeps your teeth and gums healthy and avoids issues like bad breath. By brushing with soft toothbrushes and recommended cleaners and following the appropriate soaking methods, you can keep your Smile Direct aligners fresh and effective.