Retainer Cleaner Review 2024: Zima Dental Pod

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An honest review from a dentist about the Zima Dental Pod Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine.
Dental Pod

The Zima Dental Pod is a high end ultrasonic cleaning machine that really works. From my first use, my retainers looked clean and tasted fresh. Over time, the dullness of my 3 year old discoloured retainers did seem to improve a little, but I wasn’t blown away by the stain removal. To keep your clear retainers transparent, I would advise using the Zima pod regularly with brand new retainers.

Cleaning in just 5 minutes, it’s a great piece of a kit if you wear aligners or retainers. It’s safe to use for pretty much every dental appliance too from toothbrush heads, to whitening trays and dentures. The Zima Dental  pod offers a superior clean using ultrasonic waves, without causing any damage to your retainer, and without the need for brushing it afterwards. 

It’s a little expensive, but it certainly does the job well AND looks good on my counter. If you want to keep your retainers looking  good, the Zima Dental pod is a worthwhile buy. 

Pros
✅ Easy to use, one button activation
✅ Sleek design, comes in a range of colours
✅12 months complete warranty and 30 day money back guarantee

Cons
❌ More expensive than other retainer cleaners
❌ Not great at stain removal on older retainers
❌ Needs to be plugged in so you can’t operate it in a UK bathroom.

Enter code MPD10 for 10% discount


Dental Pod Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine by Zima Dental

As a dentist and a retainer wearer myself, I know its a commitment to keeping your teeth straight. Brand new retainers shine bright, but with time, they can get dull and stained, even with regular cleaning.

So, I put the Zima Dental Pod to the test for a month (and counting), comparing it to my usual routine of soap and a toothbrush daily, plus retainer cleaning tablets weekly. The Dental Pod left my retainer feeling fresh and clean, but honestly, I didn’t notice a huge leap from just using tablets. Zima says to use their own tablets to protect the pod’s stainless steel tank, but others like Retainer Brite are cheaper and seem fine.

The Zima Pod uses 42000 Hz ultrasonic waves, mimicking dental surgery techniques. It didn’t miraculously erase stains on my retainers, but they definitely felt clean, and stayed in good shape. Designed by UK dentists, it claims to wipe out all bacteria, viruses, and pathogens, which is pretty reassuring. I didn’t run any lab tests on this, but keeping a retainer clean is crucial for dental health.

I liked the Zima Dental Pod for maintaining my retainers safely, and they felt hygienically clean. But it didn’t blow my mind with stain removal. That was a bit of a letdown, especially since that was the big selling point. I tried it on three sets of three-year-old Vivera retainers, but the dullness didn’t improve much.

After trying out the dental pod, I’m sold on its effectiveness, making it a recommendation for anyone looking to keep their retainers and other dental gear clean and damage free. To get the best results and avoid staining issues, make it a habit to use the pod right from the beginning with new retainers. Remember to avoid eating or drinking when wearing your retainers.


Cleaning Performance

  • Noticeably cleaner retainers
  • Damage free, ultrasonic cleaning means no need to brush your retainers
  • Stain removal is limited

I looked at how well the Zima dental pod cleaned 3 sets of used Vivera retainers, exploring its performance with and without retainer cleaning tablets, comparing Zima’s own against Retainer Brite, and even trying out the Zima pod versus tablets in plain water. Zima Dental advises using retainer tablets if your retainers are worn for 6 hours or more of wear. 

Here’s what I found. Even without the retainer tablets, the Zima pod worked really well, giving my retainers a visible upgrade from their dull and cloudy state. Although my retainers weren’t exactly heavily stained, the first spin in the Zima pod noticeably reduced the cloudiness. 

The retainer cleaning tablets were good too – my retainers were not just clean but also tasted much fresher.

Now Zima Dental recommend their own dental pods, as they advise any retainer tablets that produce hypochlorite ions such as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or calcium hypochlorite can damage the pod’s stainless tank. But I found Retainer Brite tablets to do the job  just as well, are a fraction of the price, and don’t contain any of the damaging ingredients that Zima warn about.

The Zima Dental Pod promises a clinical-grade cleaning in just 5 minutes, and the experience generally aligns with that claim. However, some user reviews hint at a bit of a struggle in the stain-removal department, contrary to the seemingly effortless magic in the ads. 

Zima ran tests on 50 kinds of oral appliances, and after three months of use, they all came out unharmed [1]. Why’s this a big deal? Well, when you brush your retainers, it can get a bit rough, leading to grooves and wear. Not only can that mean harbouring bacteria, but the wear and tear might force you to replace your retainers more often. So, Zima’s durability test is a win in keeping our appliances in good condition.

While the pod might not be the ultimate stain buster, it leaves your retainers feeling fresh and hygienically clean, especially when paired with sterilising tablets. The ultrasonic vibrations suggest a deeper clean, which I think is well worth the investment for my retainers.

Category Score : 70%


Ease of Use

  • One button activation
  • 5 minute cleaning cycle
  • Automatic shut off

The Zima Dental Pod is super user friendly. A single push button initiates the the 5-minute cycle, with a blue light indicating its on. At the end of the cycle, the pod turns off automatically.

The set up is simple too. Simply fill the tank with cold water between the min and max levels, add an optional (but recommended) effervescent tablet, and drop in your retainers. Rinse the retainers after the cycle, and their ready for use. No need to brush them clean, and no risk of abrasive damage to the appliance.

Slightly annoyingly, it comes with a 3-pin UK plug and so can’t actually be used in the bathroom. I ended up using mine in the bedroom, and weirdly enough, it serves as a handy reminder to pop my retainers in right after waking up.

Another thing to note is that the water warms up during use, so I would avoid using it for more than 2 cycles without replacing the cold water.

Category Score : 80%


Compatibility

  • Works with virtually every oral appliance
  • Appliances with metal components also safe to use in Zima Dental Pod
  • Zima advise using own brand retainer tablets only to avoid risk of corroding stainless steel tank, but I found some others to be suitable

We know that the Zima Dental Pod works for aligners and retainers. But for added value, I wanted to know if other oral appliances could be cleaned with it too . I reached out to Zima Dental about this and their response was reassuring. They emphasised that they had done extensive testing, and due to the are non-abrasive nature of ultrasonic cleaning, they were confident that the pod is suitable to clean all oral appliances

This includes all sorts of clear aligners, retainers (even those with metal components), mouth guards, dentures, bite guards (night guards), sleep apnea devices, toothbrush heads, and more. I really liked that it could be used by the whole family to disinfect our dental products.

Zima Dental strongly advises against using retainer tablets from other brands in the Dental Pod and encourages the use of their own subscription service. They caution that certain tablets may contain chemicals capable of producing hypochlorite ions, posing a risk of damaging the stainless steel tank in the Dental Pod and potentially reducing its lifespan.

You should steer clear of tablets containing sodium dichloroisocyanurate or calcium hypochlorite, as these ingredients can lead to the formation of hypochlorite ions when dissolved in water. However, I looked at the ingredients in other retainer cleaning tablets and found these to be suitable and also more cost-effective:

Category Score : 90%


Noise Level

  • Operates quietly, and takes only 5 minutes

Ok the dental pod isn’t silent, but it isn’t disturbing at all. There is a gentle whir whilst the 5 minute cycle was active, but I actually liked this as a reassurance that it was working. No complaints from me on the noise level.

Category Score : 90%


Size and Portability

  • Need access to fresh water
  • Needs to be plugged in to work
  • Small and lightweight so can be taken on holiday


The Zima Dental Pod comes with a compact and lightweight design, weighing just 310g, making it exceptionally portable. This means you can easily bring it along when travelling, allowing for convenient oral appliance care. The 150ml tank strikes a balance between compact size and practical functionality.

Of course, it’s important to note that the Zima Dental Pod requires access to fresh water and must be connected to a power source for operation. While its size makes it suitable for travel, there are instances where its use may not be as convenient. The absence of battery power or a charging option is definitely limiting factor. The 3 pin plug means you can’t use actually use it in the bathroom or for on-the-go cleaning, adding a level of inconvenience to an otherwise portable device.

Category Score : 60%


Durability

  • Looks well built and durable
  • 12 month warranty
  • Some online user reviews have complained that their pod stopped working after a couple of months

The Zima Dental Pod looks solid and feels like it’s built to last, giving me confidence in its durability. Plus, theres a 30 day money back guarantee, and 12-month warranty to back it up and put your mind at ease.

There is plenty of positive feedback out there, but I have also come across some negative online user reviews. There is some mention of malfunctions or even breakage after a couple of months of use, which does raise a little about the long-term reliability.

Personally, I’ve been putting the pod through its paces daily for two months now, with my retainers, whitening trays and toothbrush heads- it’s working perfectly. My retainers look and feel cleaner than ever.

All in all, I’d give the Zima Dental Pod a durability score of 70%. It’s got a solid build and the warranty is reassuring, but I am wary of some of the reported breakage issues.

Category Score : 70%


Safety Features

  • Automatic shut off
  • Be careful not to turn on accidentally
  • Water heats up during use, Zima advise against reusing water

Using the Zima Dental Pod felt secure, thanks to a standout feature – the automatic shutoff after 5 minutes. When the pod is actice, a blue light and a gentle whirring sound kick in, both of which automatically turn off when the cycle is done.

Operating with a 3-pin plug, it’s important to plug it in after filling with water. Before plugging it in, make sure the exterior is dry, and after use, remember to unplug it to avoid overheating or electricity-related risks.

During cleaning, the water in the tank does warm up, but there’s no temperature gauge on the pod. To be safe, Zima Dental suggests not using the pod for more than 2 continuous cycles with the same water.

When draining water, keep an eye out for the on button, as it’s easy to accidentally touch. Be cautious not to unintentionally turn it on if it’s still plugged in.

Category Score : 70%


Value for Money

  • High end product
  • More expensive than other ultrasonic cleaning machines
  • Offer subscription service for tablets, but pricier than others available

You’ll be paying a premium for this high end ultrasonic cleaning machine. The Zima Dental Pod comes with a price tag of £79.99, and if you fancy the limited edition jet black version, it’s £89.99. It works well, look greats and is super easy to use, BUT you can’t actually use it in a UK bathroom, and there are cheaper alternatives out there for around £50.

When looking at cleaning tablets, Zima is also on the pricey side. Zima offer a subscription service for theirs. Three boxes of 30 tablets each will set you back £26.97. Compare that to Retainer Brite, offering a 3-month supply of 96 tablets for just £12.

If you’re looking at other ultrasonic retainers, you can find some cheaper alternatives that also do the job. The Zima pod loses some points for its higher price tag, but it definitely is a premium product. I love the sleek design and feel, and i am happy to keep it on my counter.

Category Score : 50%


Who is this product for?

If you want a premium product to keep you retainer clean, then the Zima Dental Pod ultrasonic cleaning machine is for you.

You’re in it for the long haul with your retainer – wearing it for long term or even indefinitely – and so a Zima Pod is a small investment in keeping your retainer in top condition. It will help you keep your retainer looking and feeling fresh. To get the best results, start using it right from day one. Without the need for using your toothbrush to clean the retainer, it remains hygienically clean and damage free, reducing the chances of any damage or grooves that could hide bacteria.

Not only will it clean your retainers, but the Zima pod can be used for virtually every oral appliance including:

  • Invisalign/Clear aligners
  • Post orthodontic retaines including those with metal components
  • Removable dentures including those with metal clasps, cobalt chrome and flexible dentures
  • Mouthguards, soft and hard
  • Whitening Trays 
  • Toothbrush Heads

How we reviewed this Product

As dentists, we have helped thousands of patients over the last 10 years, and we know what works.

Wearing retainers is a must for maintaining your teeth position after braces  or aligners. But keeping them clean can be a challenge.

I used the Zima Dental pod at home every day for two months (and counting) with my own vivera retainers and whitening trays. There are no science trials or research, just using it at home for an honest review for our patients. We only recommend products that we would use ourselves.


Ultrasonic Cleaner Alternatives

While the Zima Dental Pod offers a high end cleaning experience, it does fall on the pricier side. However, there are other cheaper alternatives in the market that also work well.

Here is a couple other ultrasonic cleaners for your retainer that are also available on Amazon.

Hangsun Ultrasonic UV Cleaner

Hangsun Ultrasonic UV Cleaner Machine for Dentures, Aligner, Retainer, Whitening Trays, Mouthguards, Ultrasonic Cleaner Machine for All Dental Appliances

Why our dentists like this ultrasonic cleaner:

The hangsun cleaning cleaner offers a superior clean, using both ultrasonic waves and UV germicidal technology for a deep disinfection of your retainers. With a cleaning the of only 5 minutes, this cleaner is super easy for daily use.

Pros:

Large 200ml Capacity, Easier than mechanically brushing, UV

Cons:

Noisy, Needs to be plugged in

DEBATLOG Ultrasonic Cleaner

DEBATLOG Ultrasonic Cleaner for Dentures, Retainer, Mouth Guard, Aligner, Whitening Trays, Toothbrush Head, 42kHz Jewelry Cleaner, 180ML Portable Retainer at-Home or Travel Use

Why our dentists like this ultrasonic cleaner:

A cheaper alternative to the Zima Dental Pod, the Debatlog also uses 42000Hz ultrasonic waves, to deep clean your retainer in just 5 minutes. It comes with a 1 year warranty, and a 30 day money back guarantee.

Pros:

Cheapest ultrasonic cleaner reviewed, Auto switch off, quick cleaning cycle

Cons:

A little loud <60db


Summary

I’m a fan of the Zima Dental pod, and I’ll be continuing to use it regularly to maintain my retainers.

Yes it’s a little pricey, but the thorough clean provided by its ultrasonic technology, especially as a dentist, is something I truly appreciate. The promise of keeping my retainers damage-free is a huge advantage, potentially extending their lifespan, and need to replace.

My retainers now look less cloudy, feel great, and the sleek design of the pod on my counter is a plus. It falls a bit short on stain removal, but avoiding eating and drinking with retainers in can avoid this issue.

For everyday maintenance, the Zima pod is quick, easy, and impressively performs, making it a valuable tool to keep all at home oral appliances hygienically clean.

Buy the Zima dental pod here, and remember to enter code MPD10 for 10% discount


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to use tablets with Zima Dental pod?

Zima Dental advise the use of sterilising tablets in the dental pod if the retainer has been worn for 6+ hours. They recommend their own brand which can be purchased on subscription. You can use alternative retainer cleaning products, as long as they don’t include any hypochlorite ingredients as this can corrode the stainless steel tank. I recommend Retainer Brite as a cheap and effective alternative retainer tablet.

Are ultrasonic dental pods safe?

Ultrasonic dental pods are safe and gentle for use on lots of oral appliances including retainers, aligners, dentures and whitening trays. Use them as instructed and do not carry out multiple cycles with the same water. Follow safety instructions and keep out of reach of children. 

How often should I use an ultrasonic cleaner for my retainer?

Use the ultrasonic cleaner after each use to maintain a thorough clean. Zima Dental recommend using a retainer cleaning tablet in the pod if the retainer has been worn for longer than 6 hours to tackle more resistant strains of bacteria.

Picture of Dr Ambika Amini

Dr Ambika Amini

BDS (Honours) London 2014, BSc Neuroscience (Hons) 2010. Dr Ambika Amini is a private dentist who has worked in 4 practices across West Yorkshire. She has an interest in Fixed Orthodontics and Clear Aligners.

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