Instructions for using Crest Whitestrips® products.

- A universal set of directions that explain how Crest Whitestrips® are used. | Part 1: Starting your treatment session - Preparing your teeth. / Handling strips. / Applying your strips.

Directions for using whitening strips.

This page outlines how to use Crest Whitestrips® products. We originally wrote these directions for Whitestrips Classic®, a version that has been discontinued. We've since updated our pages (Parts 1 & 2) so they include information pertaining to the different products that currently make up the Whitestrips® line.

This lineup includes: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Glamorous White, 1 Hour Express, Gentle Routine, Professional White, Brilliance White, Classic Vivid, Professional Effects

Other product versions covered by our pages: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Vivid, Advanced Vivid, Stain Shield, Intensive Professional Effects, Luxe Supreme Flexfit and Luxe Glamorous White.

Directions for using Crest Whitestrips® -

We've subdivided our discussion of this subject into the following sections.

  1. Getting ready to start your treatment session.
  2. Placing the strips.
  3. Performing the treatment - Application times.
  4. Wrapping up your treatment session.
  5. Treatment frequency. - What's permitted?
  6. Which style of strip will you use?


Directions -

1) Getting ready to perform your whitening strip session.

Actually, when using Whitestrips® products it's not so much what you should do in preparation for applying them as opposed to what you shouldn't.

a) Should you clean your teeth first?

Better adherence.

No, you shouldn't. Crest's® directions for their Whitestrips® products state that they'll stay in place better if you do not brush your teeth before applying them.

Preventing gum irritation.

Crest® publications also suggest that you'll tend to notice less treatment-associated gum tissue irritation if you don't brush your teeth before using your strips.

An explanation.

One would have to presume that both of the above phenomena have to do with the dental (tooth) and mucosal (gum tissue) pellicles (biofilm layers) that naturally form and are evidently exploited to aid strip retention and protect gum surfaces from the whitener. And the act of brushing your teeth would tend to remove them.

How long should you wait after brushing?

While we don't find any specific recommendation from Crest®, we see it stated on their website that if you have just brushed your teeth you should "allow for some time to pass" before using your whitening strips.

We can report that:

  • A tooth's pellicle starts to reform instantaneously upon its exposure to saliva.

    At a period 1 hour out, it has developed substantial thickness. And at a point 2 hours following brushing, its formation (based on the number of different kinds of proteins it contains) can be considered substantially mature.

  • Your gum tissue's surface renews itself every 3 hours. So, whatever amount of protective film formation does help to reduce soft-tissue side effects, it forms more quickly than that.



Based on this information, it seems that waiting around 1 hour, possibly two, after having brushed would constitute a reasonable enough amount of time.

Section references -,, Dawes

b) Removing the strips from their packaging.

  • Whitestrips® come packaged in pairs (one upper and one lower) in individual pouches.
  • The two strips in each pouch are used for one treatment session and then discarded.



Simply tear open the pouch and remove the thin plastic (polypropylene) carrier on which the whitening strips are affixed. The strip for the upper teeth is the larger one of the two.

The side of the whitening strip that faces its plastic carrier is the side that contains the tooth whitener and is the side that needs to be placed against the surface of your teeth.

Peeling an Advanced Seal Whitestrip from its carrier.

Peeling a Whitestrip® from its carrier.

c) Don't peel a strip off until you're ready to apply it.

Whitestrips® are relatively flimsy items and can be tricky to handle. So before you peel one off its plastic carrier, make sure that you're all set and ready to go.
Patience pays.

In general, as you peel the strip off its carrier, just be as careful as you can. You don't want to do anything that will make you have to touch or otherwise disturb its surface that contains the whitener any more than you absolutely have to.

A crinkled Whitestrip.

Be careful not to crinkle a Whitestrip®.

This especially includes not letting the strip fold over on itself, or letting it get stuck to the other strip or some other object. Straightening things out can prove to be a difficult task, so just take your time and be careful.
Also, use dry fingers. You don't want excess moisture to get on the whitener and dilute it, or help it to spread easily onto your fingers.

2) How to place a Whitestrip® on your teeth.



  • It's the gel (coated, sticky) side of the strip that's placed against your teeth. This is the side of the strip that was face down on the plastic carrier.
  • The longer of the two strips is intended for use with your upper teeth. (That's because each upper tooth is wider than its corresponding lower one, hence the added length of the longer strip is needed.)


a) The strips need to be aligned properly.

When placing a Whitestrip®, you generally align it across the height of your gums. Of course, its straight edge and the scalloped outline of your gum line won't match up exactly, so just do the best that you can. (See illustration.)

Position the edge of the whitening strip (Whitestrips) with the gum line.

Place the strip so it fully covers your teeth.

Make sure to cover your teeth.
The idea is to maximize the amount of tooth surface that the strip covers over.

Any portion of a tooth that lies beyond the edge of the whitening strip won't receive the same level of exposure to the whitener.

And yes, this type of positioning means that the strip will lie over small portions of your gums where they come up in between your teeth.

Take your time.

The sticky fit of Whitestrips® products tends to make them a tad difficult to work with. And if you position one incorrectly, while you can still just peel it back off, you'll feel its strong tug and wonder how much whitener you're leaving behind as you do. So it's nice if get things right the first time.

b) Once positioned, press the Whitestrip® into place.

Gently press the whitening strip (Whitestrips) in place.

Once positioned, gently press the strip in place.

Once you have the whitening strip positioned properly, gently press on it so to secure it in place and maximize its contact with each tooth's surface.

Then, fold the remainder of the strip back behind the biting edge of your teeth.

Fold the whitening strip (Whitestrips) onto the backside of the teeth.
Now that your first strip is in place, all you have to do is repeat the same process on your other arch (upper/lower teeth).
It doesn't really matter which arch you do first. But you'll probably find it easier to start with the lower and then do the upper second.

c) Wash your hands after handling Whitestrips®.

The bleaching agent that's applied to Crest's® products is hydrogen peroxide (it's the standard for whitening strips in general). And this compound readily reacts with surfaces that it comes into contact with, not just your teeth.

Always wash your hands after touching a whitening strip.
Wash your hands afterward ... in every case.
There is no question about this point. You will get some of your strip's whitener on your fingers during the application process, so wash them (soap and water) after you're finished handling them (and their packaging).
Signs and symptoms.

If you don't wash up, you may notice that your fingers start to tingle, or even burn. That's the peroxide reacting with your skin. It may even cause white patches to form. In any case, just wash your fingers off and you should be fine.

Be careful though, additional, possibly more serious, complications can occur too.

  • Just like with your fingers, touching any portion of your skin can cause irritation and/or whitening. (Wash the area immediately with soap and water.)
  • Touching your eyes can certainly result in irritation. (Immediately flush your eyes with water for 15 minutes as a first step. Seek medical attention if the irritation persists after rinsing.)
  • The whitener may bleach your hair (on your head, eyebrows, beard or mustache) if you touch it.
  • These same types of accidental harm can occur with your child or pet too if you touch them before washing your hands first.


Permanent damage may occur with clothing or any other possessions or objects you touch (towels, purse, furniture, etc...). So be careful and always wash your hands after handling whitening strips or the pouch they came in.

Jump ahead to Part 2 of our directions: Performing your whitening strips treatment session.

3) FYI: Whitening strip design.

Historically, Whitestrips® came in two basic forms. The big difference between them was that one type stayed in place better than the other.

At this point in time, this issue seems to be just historic. Crest's® trend has been that newer/revised Whitestrips® versions have been designed with the tighter, more-adherent fit we describe below. And in fact, we are unaware of any types that don't have this feature.

But for those considering using alternative or generic brands, especially if they have trouble with keeping them in place, the following discussion probably explains why.

a) Sturdy, strongly adherent strips -


This is the newer type of Whitestrip®. And kits of strips that have this design are frequently (historically have been) labeled with the terms "Advanced Seal" or "FlexFit."

The term Advanced Seal refers to the "no-slip grip" nature of the whitener that's been applied to the strip, which also serves as its adhesive.

The FlexFit term applies to the way the strip can be "stretched and molded" around the user's teeth. In this type of product's instructions, it usually states to "stretch and apply" the strip.

The trend is that newer Whitestrips® versions have the tighter, more-adherent fit.

Advanced Seal Whitestrips.

If you want a secure fit, look for Advanced Seal Whitestrips.

What you'll notice.
  • As compared to earlier Whitestrips® designs, the strip itself is made out of a relatively thick, tougher type of plastic.
  • The nature of the whitener/adhesive that's been applied is very sticky.
  • The strips in this category are generally intended for longer wear times (30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the product).
  • We are under the impression that the following types of Whitestrips® have this design feature: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Advanced Vivid, Professional Effects, Intensive Professional Effects, 1 Hour Express, Luxe Glamorous White and Luxe Supreme Flexfit.


There is no question that these strips stay in place well. And if you've had difficulty wearing previous generations of Whitestrips®, this design will likely provide the solution that you need.

They are so adherent that Crest® suggests that you could whistle or drink water while wearing them (which to us, seems a fairly accurate claim).

b) Flimsy, less-adherent strips -

We're currently under the impression that Crest® no longer manufactures this style of strip. But when purchasing generic brands, you may find that they still use this design.

  • These strips are made out of a comparatively lighter weight, flimsier plastic. And the whitener/adhesive applied to them is much less adherent.
  • The online reviews we've read for this type of product frequently include the words: slippery, slides around, don't stick. So if you see these works associated with the product you're considering, there's your tipoff.


Which style of strip should you choose?

It only makes sense that most people probably prefer using a more-adherent style of strips.

But that's not to say products (alternative or generic brands) that don't have as snug a fit aren't or can't be equally effective. (If they have a similar whitener they can be.) But Crest® and their Whitestrips® products seem to excel in regard to the way they stay in place on your teeth, which can make performing treatments less of a task.

Continue to Part 2 of our instructions: Performing your whitening strips treatment session.


 Page references sources: - Can I Brush My Teeth Before or After Using Whitestrips? - Crest Whitestrips Instructions.

Dawes C, et. al. The functions of human saliva.

All reference sources for topic Teeth Whitening Strips.


3dwhite strips

i wish I read this page first,before I purchased this product,I would have
Purchased a more sticker one.
My 3d white strips don't stick like I thought

They don't work

Save your $$. Pulling them off the clear plastic strip and placing them is so difficult. And when/if you get it done, they DO NOT STICK. THey do not work. I wasted $72 when I bought from my dentist's office following a recent visit. Save your $$.


Hi there I just read your comment, so did you not continue to use the strips or was it just a one off problem you had?
I am using the Luxe Glamorous White and haven't came to any problems yet :-)


There seem to be a couple of issues being discussed here.

1) As far as staying in place, it would be our opinion that the "Advanced Seal" strips are very sticky and stay in place quite well (and infinitely better than previous generation Whitestrips).

2) "Pulling them off the clear plastic strip and placing them is so difficult" - We absolutely see how this might be a problem for some people. So the first time you do the process have all of your ducks lined up in a row so you have no interferences or distractions.

3) "They do not work" - This technology absolutely can work, and probably does for most people. But there can be a lot of variabillity in types of staining and between different people. There's no way in advance to know what type of results you will get.

Good sensible viewpoints

Thanks, farily reasonable viewpoints. Helps this old guy modernize his tooth care. LOL. I'm guessing I need to update some probiotics afterward to replace intestinal flora killed off by the peroxide?

Jim B.

We're not really going to have an answer for you about intestinal flora. We'd anticipate that the bulk of the peroxide is neutralized in your mouth.

Worked Perfectly

I don't see how anyone can have any problems!.. I use the Luxe Glamorous White and iv not had any problems so far :-)

They worked great for me.

The one problem I had was that they didn't stick well to my lower teeth. I think that was because they were more wet with saliva. So, I eventually started to pat down my lower teeth with a paper towel to dry them before I applied the strips. That seems to take care of the problem. My teeth are much whiter now then when I started.

great instructions!

I purchased a box of Whitestrips Classic months ago, and had never gotten around to using them. Evidently I'd opened the box at some point, though, because I'd lost the instructions! I bumbled my way through, but would have had far less difficulty had I thought to seek out instructions first! I'm sure this will help with tomorrow morning's application, and I can hardly wait to see my bright and shiny teeth in another week or so! Thank you for these excellent and clear instructions.


Thank you for leaving a comment. If you've never used Whitestrips before, on the first two days you might just use one strip each day, just to see how your teeth and gums respond to wearing them (in terms of sensitivtiy), then go from there.

Which side

I recently purchased the crest white strips professional effects. I opened my first strip and I was confused which side goes on my teeth. Is it the side i peeled off the plastic? Or the other side.? There also little patterns on one side of the strip. Need some clarity on which side of the strip goes against my teeth.


The side of strip that faces down on its plastic packaging is the side that is coated with the whitener and is placed against your teeth.

Just some advice, after

Just some advice, after pressing the strips into place on your teeth make sure you wash your hands off. I know the whitener is only on the other side of the strip but I didn't wash and ended up getting whitener on my new Christmas blouse by touching it. It made a white spot.


Yes, this is a warning that everyone should take heed of. You might have just as easily wiped your finger across your eye.

Kinda confused

So I'm reading all the comments and it looks like these strips only whiten your teeth after a week or more of consisted used. I know it's not gonna whiten my teeth completely after one use but I think it's a little crappie that it takes so long to see any resultimate and that it only keeps them white for as long as you use them. Not to mention that they are painfully expensive. I cold NEVER afford to use thesearch things on a daily basis. Great idea but not a realistic possibility for a middle/lower class person such as myself.


Some of what you state is accurate.

This part is not: "and that it only keeps them white for as long as you use them"
The results you get with whitening strips will last as long as with any other whitening method, because all methods are based on the same chemistry (peroxide tooth whitening).

Also: "I think it's a little crappie that it takes so long to see any resultimate"
There just wouldn't be anyway a user's gum tissue could tolerate the concentration of peroxide that would be needed to produce single-treatment results using a whitening strip method.

If your goal is same-day results you should investigate in-office whitening (treatments performed by your dentist). However after comparing costs, you'll probably consider at-home treatment a bargain.

Apply White Strips

Can I apply the Professional effects strips with a pair of latex gloves to avoid the stickiness and finger irriation issue or will this create even more problems?


It would be our thought that wearing latex gloves wouldn't do much to avoid the awkwardness associated with the stickiness of the strips. Also, gloves are often coated with talc that would get transferred to the strips.

Lesson learned. Don't take a

Lesson learned. Don't take a WhiteStrip off its plastic sheet until the moment when you're ready to apply it. I've wasted more than one set by letting them get tangled up.


You're right. That's clearly a best-practice.

Which strip for uppers and is the smaller one for the bottom

Confused which strip big or small for what upper or lower teeth a


In this picture, the longer strip is for the front upper teeth, the smaller one is for the front bottom teeth.

Dry strips

I just purchased the Professional Effects strips and I’m noticing the strips are bone dry. You mention there should be stickiness to them so I’m wondering if the strips I purchased are old or defective. The best before date states August 2019. The strips still adhere to my teeth, but are they meant to be sticky with product or dry when first applied?


No, you're all set and we've removed the "stickiness" statements from this page. The current formulation that Crest is using is (as you state) is comparatively dry and therefore less difficult to handle than the old one. Thank you for posting the question.

Line across top two front teeth

1/2 of my upper front teeth are lighter on bottom and darker on top. It’s like a middle line where shades are noticeably different . Not sure what I did wrong except I brushed first and not after. I have never used these before . What happened and how can I get the my top teeth to look one color ? I am freaking out a bit .

There can be a few variables

There can be a few variables involved, so you'd be best served by calling the help number on your product so they can collect all pertinent information and advise you accordingly.

It's not uncommon that teeth initially lighten unevenly due to the make up of the tooth internally. The biting-edge 1/2 of a front tooth may respond to whitening treatments more quickly because this aspect of the tooth is often almost entirely enamel.

The composition of the 1/2 of a tooth toward the gum line is one where an enamel layer covers over a darker center of dentin. This portion of the tooth may take longer to respond to the whitening treatments.

A common scenario is one where the biting-edge side of the tooth reaches a point where it lightens no further. Then due to continued treatments the gum-line portion tends to catch up in color.

Due to this anatomical difference, natural teeth frequently have some shade variation in these two regions. Bleaching treatments may or may not be able to overcome this and make a tooth entirely uniform in color.


So just confirming the professional effects strips are rather dry? I was worried that the gel had dried up and they won't work?


You could touch base with Crest to confirm, but what you describe seems WNL for Professional Effects from our experience.

lost/misplaced instructions

I have 3 foil packets of Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal whitening formula. I have lost/misplaced the instructions. I'd like to use them but need help on how long to leave them on my teeth. Anyone have info for me, please?


We're hesitant to say much with just the information that your foil package states "Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal."

The "advanced seal" term simply refers to the way the strips adhere to your teeth, and has no bearing on how long you wear them (but this property would be more likely to be associated with strips worn for longer a duration, either worn 30 or 60 minutes).

"Crest Whitestrips" is obviously their brand name. In years past when that term was used alone it typically referred to their basic/introductory product, which was worn for 30 minutes. But we don't know if your packaging contains other descriptors that would indicate a different product.

The safest bet would be to contact Crest.

Brush before or after.

I'm confused about brushing before or after using the strips


As this page states, Crest's advice is that you should not brush your teeth before placing the strips. Not brushing first helps to improve strip adhesion and tends to decrease gum sensitivity to the strips.

Then after your treatment, yes, you can gently brush your teeth to remove any whitener that remains on your teeth.

Problem to stick and take off

I have Crest 3D White whitestrips LUXE this time. I have big problem to stick them, they are dry. After 30 minutes another problem -to remove strips from teeth. Afraid for teeth ! The seller told me - its a new technology and this method is very different from what we used them in the past. The products are carrying JUL 2020. Is he right ?

* Comment notes.


We're not sure we can really answer your questions.

There is no question that the "advanced seal/flexfit" type products do have a dryer/less sticky characteristic. And it's not uncommon that people mention how tenaciously they've stuck to their teeth. So what you've experienced seems somewhat within normal limits. (These strips are a "newer" type of product but they have been out for a few years now.)

In pealing them off, it's unlikely that that any pieces of sound tooth structure would come off. And with dental restorations, it would seem most likely that only those that had problems would dislodge. (Slowly pealing them off vs. pulling them off would be the more cautious way to go.)

In regard to product expiration, you state you've used WhiteStrips before. When comparing your experiences, the level of sensitivity you notice and whitening results you get might be some indication if the product you have is deficient.

which strip is the bottom and which is the top strip?


Think about it. Each of your upper teeth are larger in width than your lower ones, so it is the longer of the two strips that goes on your upper teeth.

More than twice a year

Can a kit be used as often as needed, more than twice a year, until the stain is removed, if there are no side effecst?


We've just completed a page that explains considerations associated with your question. Whitening strips- Can you use additional kits?

Dry your teeth first

Many people complaining that they don't stick. Likely due to saliva on your teeth. Try drying them with tissue paper well first.

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