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Zima’s $100 Dental Pod Made My Foul Retainer Look New in 5 Minutes

I’ve slept with a bulky mouthguard in my mouth every night since my early teens, and while I’ve made peace with the fact that I was not blessed by the orthodontal divinity, I can’t get over the cleaning obligation. The only thing more irritating than trying to doze off with a mouth full of plastic is dropping that bundle of polymers into a sketchy “cleaning solution” the next morning. Not cleaning it isn’t an option, but my dissatisfaction with the slow soak made me desperate for an alternative.

So when the Zima Dental Pod showed up on my social media feed, presenting itself as the most scientifically-advanced dental appliance cleaner on the market, I was intrigued. The futuristic orb uses provided tablets, water and vibration to create thousands of tiny bubbles that scrape the food bits out of your cavernous retainer through a process, ironically, called “cavitation.” After 5 minutes, it promises to have cleansed your retainer thoroughly without the need for a messy, fizzy solution.

Turns out, the Zima Dental Pod is the closest you’re going to get to a dentist-level clean in the comfort of your own home. Not only did I immediately feel the difference of a smoother, cleaner retainer when I placed it back in my mouth but the process is idiot-proof. It really is only the press of a button, and despite feeling a bit superfluous given that the aforementioned cleaning method is not at all complicated, it made a simple task even simpler.


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Zima’s cleaner uses a combination of water, soap tablets and 42,000-hertz ultrasonic waves to scrub retainers free from plaque and grime without you having to actually scrub. It can be used with aligners, retainers, mouth guards and even dentures. It makes the same technology used in dental offices accessible at home.

Another pro is the pod looks very sleek on my bathroom counter, so even the most aesthetically picky among us won’t be bothered by its discrete, unobtrusive design.

As with other needlessly technological solutions, it has its drawbacks. The tablets you drop in the water before turning Zima on didn’t always dissolve fully, and even though they’d break up inside once the process started, their tenacious structure made the whole thing feel less effective.

It had also been a bit since my retainer had gotten a deep clean, so it took a few rounds before it looked like new. Given the $100 price tag and ultramodern design, I expected a gasp-worthy “before” and “after” following the first session but that didn’t happen.

This small but mighty device has become a staple in my morning routine and will benefit anyone who has been, unfortunately, destined to a lifetime of plastic and metal at bedtime. It’s powerful, tasteful, and, most importantly, uncomplicated to use, yielding guaranteed results after every wash.

It’s expensive and ultimately unnecessary, since the dissolve-and-soak method works just fine for most people, so I wouldn’t describe it as a “must-have.” However, if you love gadget-izing a daily task and don’t mind throwing a little money at the “problem,” it delivers on its promises.

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best alternative

SmileDirectClub has their own ultrasonic retainer cleaner made with a stainless steel reservoir that can clean multiple items at once. It has a compact, space-conscious design and cleans with just water. It’s also a third of the price of Zima’s cleaner, so it’s a great alternative for folks who can’t stomach the $100 price tag.


Voraiya’s cleaner uses a combination of ultrasonic vibration and LED to clean retainers, dentures and mouthguards. It’s similar to Zima in that it is small and portable, uses just one button to function and a full cleaning cycle is only five minutes long. It can also clean keys and necklaces, making it a great multipurpose option.