How to Remove Stains from Invisalign


Are you struggling to keep your Invisalign aligners stain-free? Stains on Invisalign trays can develop due to various factors, such as dark-colored beverages, smoking, and bacterial buildup. These stains can compromise aesthetics and the success of your orthodontic journey.

Fortunately, there are effective ways to remove stains from your aligners at home. In this article, we’ll cover a range of methods, from using a simple cleaning solution of water and hydrogen peroxide to utilizing specialized cleaning products. 

Plus, we’ll touch upon professional cleaning options available if stubborn staining persists despite diligent care. Keep reading to discover how to keep them looking their best throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Identifying Invisalign Stains

Invisalign aligners have gained popularity as a discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional braces for orthodontic treatment. However, over time, you might notice that your aligners become stained or discolored. 

This discoloration could compromise their aesthetic appeal and the effectiveness of your treatment if left unaddressed. That’s why it’s best to take prompt action when you notice staining on your aligners. 

Recognizing Discoloration on Aligners

To determine if your Invisalign aligners have become stained, look for any changes in color or transparency compared to when they were new. The following are common signs of staining to look out for:

  • Yellowing or browning of the plastic material
  • Cloudiness or opaqueness in areas that were once clear
  • Visible buildup of plaque or debris on the surface of the aligner
  • Foul odor emanating from the aligner

Different Types of Stains

Differentiating between various stains on your Invisalign aligners is crucial since each type may require specific cleaning methods. The following are the types of stains that may appear on your aligners:

  1. Dental Plaque Buildup: This type of stain appears as white spots on your Invisalign trays due to an accumulation of bacteria around teeth during prolonged use without proper cleaning. Dental plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not addressed promptly.
  2. Tannin-Based Stains: Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods and beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine. These substances can cause yellowish-brown stains on your aligners if you consume them while wearing your aligners.
  3. Calcium Deposits: Hard water or excessive saliva minerals may lead to calcium deposits on your Invisalign aligners, resulting in white spots or a chalky residue that is difficult to remove with regular cleaning methods.

To effectively address and prevent discoloration on your Invisalign aligners, it’s essential to identify the type and severity of the stain. This can be done through a visual inspection or by using a specialty light. 

Causes of Invisalign Stains

To maintain the discreet appearance of your Invisalign aligners and prevent discoloration, it’s crucial to understand the causes of staining. Several factors can contribute to stain formation, including:

  • Diet: Certain foods and beverages can cause staining on your aligners. Drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored sodas are notorious for causing stains on teeth and Invisalign trays. Furthermore, foods that contain strong dyes or artificial colors can also stain your aligners.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking or using smokeless tobacco products can lead to yellowish-brown stains that are difficult to remove from both teeth and aligners.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Neglecting proper oral care routines, such as brushing and flossing, can lead to plaque buildup, eventually resulting in stained aligners.
  • Inadequate cleaning of the aligner trays: Not cleaning your Invisalign trays regularly or using improper cleaning methods can contribute to stain formation over time.

To prevent these issues, consider implementing preventative measures, such as avoiding eating or drinking while wearing your aligners. Orthodontic treatment is also a good time to embrace healthier habits like quitting smoking and practicing good oral hygiene.

Avoiding Staining Foods & Beverages While Wearing Aligners

To maintain good oral hygiene while using Invisalign trays, it’s best to remove them before eating or drinking anything other than water. 

This precaution is necessary because food particles can easily get trapped between the trays and your teeth, which can promote bacterial growth and cause discoloration. However, when you must consume beverages that can stain teeth, we recommend using a straw to minimize contact between the aligners and the liquid. 

Proper Oral Hygiene

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial for preventing stains on both your teeth and Invisalign trays. This can be achieved by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. These simple steps will not only keep plaque buildup at bay but will also ensure a clean environment for your aligners when they are in place.

Cleaning Aligner Trays Regularly & Properly

Developing a consistent cleaning routine for your Invisalign trays is crucial to prevent bacteria buildup and potential staining agents. 

To ensure they remain clear throughout use, it’s recommended to clean your aligners every time you brush your teeth using specialized cleaning solutions like Invisalign cleaning crystals or hydrogen peroxide. You could also clean the aligners by gently brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste like baking soda.

If you’re looking to eliminate stains, Invisalign cleaning crystals are highly effective. Alternatively, a mild cleaning solution or clear antibacterial soap can also be used to clean the trays. However, it’s important to rinse them thoroughly with water after cleaning.

It’s important to remember that poor oral hygiene can lead to excess plaque buildup on your aligner trays, which can cause discoloration. Therefore, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine and regularly cleaning your aligners is essential to remove stains and keep them looking their best.

Removing Stains from Invisalign Aligners

Stained Invisalign aligners can not only be unsightly but also impact the efficacy of your treatment. Let’s look at some of the methods available to safely remove stains from your aligners.

Soaking in Denture Cleaner or Invisalign Cleaning Crystals

Invisalign cleaning crystals are specifically designed for removing stains and maintaining the clarity of your aligners. You can also use denture cleaner as an alternative solution. Here are the steps:

  1. Dissolve a tablet of denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals in a glass or bowl filled with warm water. Make sure the water is not burning hot. 
  2. Place your stained aligner into the solution, ensuring it is fully submerged.
  3. Allow the stained aligner to sit in the solution for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water before placing them back in your mouth.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Another effective way to remove stubborn stains on your Invisalign aligners is by using hydrogen peroxide mixed with water:

  1. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide (typically available at drugstores) and lukewarm water in a large container to hold both dental trays.
  2. Place your aligners into the solution and let them soak for approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the aligners and rinse them thoroughly under running water.
  4. Brush your teeth before putting the aligners back in your mouth.

It’s essential to remember that even though these methods effectively remove stains from Invisalign aligners, they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for proper oral hygiene practices. 

It’s crucial to brush and floss your teeth regularly and clean your aligners daily using a mild cleaning solution or clear antibacterial soap. Additionally, it’s best to avoid consuming colored beverages while wearing your aligners and always rinse them with clear water after eating or drinking anything other than water.

Cleaning Your Invisalign Aligners

Maintaining a proper cleaning routine for your Invisalign aligners is essential to keep them free from stains and bacteria buildup. By following the recommended guidelines, you can ensure that your aligners remain clear and odor-free throughout their use.

Daily Cleaning Routine

Establishing a daily cleaning routine is essential in maintaining clean aligners. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Rinse your aligners every time you remove them: This helps wash away the saliva, food particles, and bacteria that may have accumulated on the surface of the trays.
  2. Clean your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush: Gently brush both sides of each tray using lukewarm water, mild soap, or a specialized cleaner like Invisalign Cleaning Crystals. Steer clear of toothpaste, as it can be too harsh and leave marks on the trays.
  3. Dry your aligners before reinserting them into your mouth: Make sure they are completely dry before placing them back in, as this will help prevent bacterial growth within the trays.
  4. Clean your teeth regularly: Brushing and flossing after meals maintains good oral hygiene and prevents staining agents from transferring onto your Invisalign trays when you put them back in place.

Weekly Deep Clean

Maintaining a daily cleaning routine is essential in keeping your Invisalign aligners free from stains and bacterial buildup. However, giving them a thorough deep clean at least once a week is essential to ensure their effectiveness and appearance. Here are some methods you can use:

Soaking in denture cleaner: One effective way to deep clean your aligners is to soak them. To do this, dissolve a denture cleaning tablet in lukewarm water and soak your aligners for the recommended time specified in the product’s instructions. After soaking, rinse them thoroughly with water before reinserting them into your mouth. This will help remove any stubborn stains or bacteria that accumulated over the week.

Using an ultrasonic cleaner: Another method to deep clean your aligners is using high-frequency sound waves to remove debris from hard-to-reach areas and small crevices in your trays. To use this device, place your aligners inside the machine filled with water or cleaning solution, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use. This method is particularly effective in removing tough stains and bacteria buildup.

Remember, regular cleaning of your aligners, both daily and deep cleaning, is vital to maintaining their effectiveness and keeping them looking great throughout your treatment.

Professionally Cleaning Your Aligners

If the stains on your aligners persist despite your best cleaning efforts, it may be time to consider professional cleaning. 

Professional cleaning is beneficial for aligners that have accumulated deep or stubborn stains that cannot be removed through regular cleaning methods. It is also a good idea to seek professional assistance if you notice any signs of damage or wear on your aligners.

When Should You Consider Professional Cleaning?

Even with proper at-home care, there may be situations where professional assistance is necessary to maintain your Invisalign aligners. It is essential to recognize when to seek professional help to ensure the effectiveness and comfort of your treatment.

If you notice that your aligners have become severely discolored despite following recommended cleaning practices, it may be time to visit your orthodontist. Similarly, if you detect an unpleasant odor emanating from the aligners even after thorough cleanings, it could be a sign that it’s time for professional cleaning.

Furthermore, if the stains on your aligners appear resistant to home remedies or over-the-counter products, it is also advisable to seek professional assistance. Your orthodontist has specialized tools and cleaning solutions to remove stubborn stains and bacteria buildup safely and effectively.

In these cases, seeking professional assistance can ensure that your orthodontic treatment remains effective and comfortable throughout its duration.

Finding a Qualified Orthodontist for Aligner Cleaning

When seeking professional help to clean your stained aligners, choosing a qualified orthodontist with experience with this system is important. 

Such an expert will likely have access to specialized equipment specifically designed to remove stubborn stains from clear plastic materials like those used in Invisalign trays. This equipment can ensure that the cleaning is done effectively and safely without damaging the aligners. 

What Can You Expect During a Professional Cleaning?

A professional cleaning session for Invisalign trays typically involves several important steps:

Evaluation: First, an evaluation is conducted by the orthodontist to assess the severity of staining on the trays and to recommend an appropriate cleaning method. This step ensures the trays are cleaned using the most effective and gentle approach possible.

Ultrasonic Cleaning: Next, ultrasonic cleaning is performed. This process utilizes high-frequency sound waves to remove stains, debris, and bacteria from the aligners. It is a gentle yet effective way to clean Invisalign trays without causing damage.

Polishing: After ultrasonic cleaning, the orthodontist may polish your aligners using specialized tools or materials designed for clear plastic devices like Invisalign trays. This step helps restore their original shine and clarity.

It is important to note that professional cleanings are typically considered cosmetic procedures and often are not covered by insurance plans. However, many orthodontists offer affordable payment options or may provide discounts for existing patients who require this service.

Maintaining Your Aligners Post-Cleaning

Maintaining your Invisalign aligners post-professional cleaning is essential to ensure they remain in top condition throughout your entire treatment journey. Here are some tips on how to maintain your aligners:

  1. Regularly clean your aligners with a soft-bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
  2. Soak your aligners in approved solutions, such as Invisalign Cleaning Crystals, as instructed by your orthodontist or the manufacturer.
  3. Avoid consuming foods or drinks that can stain your aligners, such as red wine, coffee, or tea.
  4. Always remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water.
  5. Store your aligners properly in their case when you’re not using them to prevent loss or damage.

FAQs in Relation to How to Remove Stains From Invisalign

Below we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions regarding how to remove stains from Invisalign aligners.

Can I bleach my Invisalign to remove stains?

No, using bleach on your aligners is not recommended. Bleach can damage the plastic material and cause it to weaken or become discolored. If you use bleach, it may also irritate your mouth and cause discomfort. Instead, use a gentle cleaning solution like a 50/50 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide or an over-the-counter retainer cleaner. 

Does vinegar remove stains from Invisalign?

Yes, vinegar can help in removing some stains from your aligners. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can help eliminate bacteria and stains. To use vinegar, mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and warm water, then soak your aligners for 15-30 minutes. 

Afterward, rinse them thoroughly with cold water before wearing them again. However, avoid using this method too frequently, as vinegar may eventually weaken the plastic material.

How do you get orange stains out of Invisalign?

To remove orange stains from your Invisalign aligners, try soaking them in a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water for about 30 minutes. Afterward, gently brush the stained areas with a soft-bristle toothbrush before rinsing thoroughly under cold running water.


To sum up, removing stains from Invisalign aligners is crucial to maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing future dental problems. You can keep your aligners clean and fresh by following the tips and advice outlined in this article. However, if you encounter any difficulties, it’s recommended to seek professional help from a certified orthodontist. 

At Orthodontic Associates, our specialists offer comprehensive orthodontic services, including Invisalign treatment. Contact us at 410-744-2230 for personalized and expert care to achieve your desired smile.


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