Do UV Sanitizers Work On Aligners and Retainers?

UV light is undoubtedly an effective disinfectant that can be used on a variety of personal items, including cosmetics, electronics, jewelry, and even dental items. If you wear retainers, aligners, or dentures, you probably know how difficult it can be to keep them clean. Retainers are exposed to the same bacteria as the rest of your mouth, and they need to be cleaned just like your teeth. Without proper care, retainers can harbor significant bacteria and odor. This post will teach you how to use UV-C sterilization to clean and disinfect your retainers, aligners, and dentures.

Do UV Sanitizers Work on Retainers?

UV light sanitizers can destroy up to 99.99% of germs and bacteria any object you put into the device’s UV radiation - and they are highly effective on retainers, aligners, and dentures.

Today, UV sanitizer devices are readily available for at-home use. UV sanitizers use ultraviolet light to clean and disinfect retainers, dentures, whitening trays, and mouth guards. Exposure to UVC light causes irreparable damage to microbes DNA, which stops them from replicating and kills them in a matter of seconds. UVC Light is extremely effective against virtually any microbes including rhinoviruses (colds), influenza, bacteria, mold, Streptococcus (Strep), and Staphylococcus (Staph). If you want to keep your retainers clean, you should use a UV cleaner every day to eliminate germs, bacteria, and odor.


Is UV Light Safer Than Other Cleaning Methods?

UV light sanitizers provide a safer alternative to using traditional retainer cleansers such as Polident and Efferdent tablets, which were popular in the past. These tablets contain persulfate, a chemical that has been proven to cause dangerous allergic reactions. In fact, The FDA advised against using products that contain persulfate in 2018. Retainers are porous, and they easily absorb the products you clean them with. This means that if you use a product with persulfate, it will penetrate the material of the retainer, making it almost impossible to rinse completely clean.

Because of this, many people have switched to soaking their retainers in mouthwash – since it does not contain persulfate. The problem with mouthwash is that it contains ingredients that dry out your mouth and your retainer, such as alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate. Since UV sanitizers do not contain harmful chemicals, they are a more natural and effective solution for keeping your retainer fresh and clean.

Should I Still Brush My Retainer? 

Rinsing your retainers with water is still advised, but this method alone is unlikely to kill all the bacteria on your retainer. UV light sanitizers can be used in conjunction with other methods to completely disinfect your retainer and kill the bacteria that brushing cannot remove. If you brush your retainer with a toothbrush, it can create micro scratches in the material, which can collect bacteria and can cause odor and discoloration.

For the best sanitizing and cleaning, consider investing in a high-quality UV light sanitizer that combines UV-C technology (wavelength of 253.7 nm, preferably multiple lamps) with the power of professional ultrasonic cleaning (at least 45,000Hz).

The Takeaway

Retainers, dentures, and aligners are difficult to clean, and can harbor significant harmful bacteria. Since UV sanitizers do not contain harmful chemicals, they are a natural and effective way to keep your retainer fresh and clean. Better yet, using a high-quality ultrasonic cleaner with UV technology is the easiest and most effective way to clean and sanitize your retainer. You can even use your device to clean many other household and personal items like ear buds, jewelry, watches, keys, electronics, and more.


Gillespie, Claire. “UV Sanitizers Make Bold Claims-but Do They Actually Work?”, 17 May 2021,

Inagaki, Hiroko, et al. “Rapid Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 with Deep-UV LED Irradiation.” Emerging Microbes & Infections, vol. 9, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2020, pp. 1744–1747, 10.1080/22221751.2020.1796529.

Miranda Hitti. “FDA Warns of Allergy to Denture Cleansers.” WebMD,

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