After having your braces taken off, your orthodontist probably gave you a retainer to wear to keep your teeth aligned. Because it needs to be cleaned on a daily basis, you may be looking for a natural, homemade cleaner to soak it in every night. If so, use the three-step guide below to make and use a solution using ingredients found in grocery stores and pharmacies.
Step 1: Make A Vinegar Infusion
In the first step, a vinegar infusion is made that serves as the base for the cleaner. The white distilled vinegar used is a natural antibacterial. It also pulls out the beneficial properties of the other ingredients added to the liquid, creating a powerful, natural cleanser that is both antimicrobial and antifungal.
The orange peels used in the infusion contain small amounts of acetic acid. This helps kill any germs on your retainer, as well as removes any stains. Using the peels in the infusion gives you a milder dose of the acid that does not eat away at the retainer's material.
The tea tree oil in the cleaner serves as a natural antifungal and antibacterial. Since your retainer stays wet and dark inside your mouth, fungi could grow on the surface. The oil helps eliminate any growth before it has a chance to take hold.
The peppermint oil used helps improve the taste of the retainer cleaner. Even after rinsing it thoroughly, there is still some residual on the surface and the oil masks any bitter taste from the other ingredients.
To make the vinegar infusion, pour two cups of vinegar in a quart-sized mason jar. Add the peels from a medium orange, eight drops of tea tree oil, and 10 drops of peppermint oil.
Screw the lid onto the jar and shake it vigorously. Then, let the mixture sit for at least eight hours. Once the time is up, remove the orange peels and proceed to step two.
Step 2: Mix Up The Cleaner
Once you have made your infusion, the next step is to add the other ingredients for the cleaner. The hydrogen peroxide gently lifts away any food stuck on the retainer. It also kills any germs on the surface.
The baking soda helps neutralize any acids that remain on the retainer from your saliva. It also gives the cleaner a mild abrasive quality to help further remove any stuck-on food.
Open the mason jar and pour in a quarter of a cup each of the peroxide and baking soda. Replace the lid and shake the jar. Then, go on to the third step.
Step 3: Soak Your Retainer In The Cleaner
After making your cleaner, it is time to use it to soak your retainer. You will need a small bowl or shallow dish deep enough to submerge the retainer.
Place your retainer in the dish. Shake the jar one more time to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed well. Then, pour enough of the cleaner over the retainer to cover it. Replace the lid on the jar and set it aside for its next use.
Put a lid over the retainer's container and let it soak for at least four hours, or overnight. Then, remove the retainer from the dish and discard the cleaner. Rinse the retainer thoroughly with warm water. Place it on a towel and let it air dry, then use as usual.
Soaking your retainer in the above cleaner every night should keep it clean and sanitary. However, if you decide you would rather use a pre-made cleaner, you may want to ask your orthodontist to recommend the product that works best for your type of retainer.
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