6 Ways To Clean Your Vagina Without Damaging It

If anyone has ever told you that you should be washing your vagina, you should know that, for the most part, that is a bunch of B.S. Your vagina cleans itself (really!), so the best way to keep it healthy and clean is by leaving it alone. In fact, doing things that you might do to clean other parts of your body are actively bad for your vagina, since it can mess with your natural pH and actually cause more bacteria to grow in there than it would have before. Basically, what this means is that you shouldn’t be scrubbing it with a bar of soap, or rubbing it down with, like, a lavender-scented body wash, or steaming it, or douching it. (Never douche. Under any circumstances. If there is one thing that you learn from visiting Gurl.com at any point in your life, it is that you should, never, ever douche. Got it?)

But, as with most things, there are a few exceptions to this rule. While douching and using fancy washes that claim to balance your pH (they don’t) are definitely still things you should stay away from, and you should never feel like you *have* to clean your vagina, you would be forgiven for thinking that sometimes you just kinda want to. If so, you’re in luck. “Cleaning” is a term I am using loosely here–it’s more just, like, gentle, optional maintenance–but there actually are a few ways to feel like you’re keeping your vagina clean without damaging it. Check ’em out here:

Wash The Vulva With Water

You definitely shouldn't make a habit of getting all up in your vaginal canal all the time. You can, however, clean the vulva--the external part of your vagina that includes the labia and mons pubis--with warm water. All you have to do is use your hand or a washcloth to gently clean the outer part of your vagina.

Image source: iStock

If You Must Use Soap, Make It A Gentle One

The previous tip is the only one you really need to know, technically--you don't have to scrub, and you also don't need to get soap involved. But, if you must use soap, make sure it's one with as few dyes, perfumes, and chemicals as possible. Otherwise, the chemicals in the soap could irritate your vagina and lead to itching and burning. Which I am assuming you don't want.

Image source: iStock

Don't Wash It Every Day

Since washing your vulva is so low-maintenance, you might be tempted to do it every day. Don't. The skin down there is really sensitive, so over-washing could lead to dryness and irritation, even if you're doing everything right. You know yourself and your body best, but as a general rule, try to only do it every few days and definitely don't exceed once a day.

Image source: iStock

Wash Your Butt Last

Is your butt your vagina? No, but it is in the general vicinity, so it's important to know about in this context. Anway, make sure you're cleaning your anal area last when you're washing up. This way, you won't get rectal germs and/or fecal matter--AKA poop--near your vaginal opening, which could cause irritation in your vagina.

Image source: iStock

Remember To Dry Off

When you step out of the shower or bath, make sure you dry off your vaginal area with a towel. Your vagina is a little moist (sorry) naturally, so you shouldn't be rubbing the towel all up in there trying to get it totally dry. But gently patting the groin can help soak up excess moisture before you put on underwear, which, in turn, will help prevent potential yeast infections and odor, both of which can be caused by moisture.

Image source: iStock

Choose Your Underwear Carefully

If you want your vagina to stay as fresh as possible, make sure you're wearing the right underwear. That is, you need to stay away from anything super tight-fitting or made of non-cotton material, like rayon, silk, and/or polyester, since either of these factors can make it harder for your vagina to "breathe" and results in excess moisture and odor. Some moisture and sweat is normal--inevitable, even--but you can make it less soupy down there by wearing looser-fitting cotton underwear whenever possible.

Image source: iStock

Were you surprised by any of these tips? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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