Women's Health Friday February 26, 2016

How To Clean Your Vagina (Don't!)

Why do you want to clean your vagina? Does it smell funny or hurt? Then you've probably got an infection and no amount of scrubbing, douching or washing will help you. It'll just make it worse.

Vaginas are self-cleaning. They don't need any help from us to sort out the regime. That whitish discharge you see in your pants? That's self-cleaning. Unless it smells or it's a weird colour, it's totally normal. You should thank your vagina for being the only one who cleans up for you. If only she could put the kettle on.

Some reasons for weird vagina smells

If there's a fishy, sharp or unpleasant odour then you may have thrush or an STI. Thankfully both are easily cleared up with some medication. Thrush needs an anti-fungal treatment such as Canestan, but an anti-fungal won't help an STI. For that you'll need antibiotics, so see a doctor for testing and treatment - do it now before the infection gets worse.

Down to the practical

Just because you don't need to clean the inside of your vagina - really, even during a period don't do it, period blood is not dirty - that doesn't mean you shouldn't wash your vulva. That's the outside bit, in case you don't know.

You should do this gently with mild soap or plain water. There's no need to buy feminine hygiene washes unless you're really prone to thrush or cystitis. Often baby washes are gentle enough.


So many grown women don't know that wiping from the anus to the vagina spreads bacteria. What happens when poo bacteria gets into the bladder? It causes cystitis, something no-one wants to get. Always wipe front to back. That might mean bending around and reaching behind your legs, but it's for the best - and yoga is good for you. If you have a female child teach her how to wipe properly - it's something we all need to know from an early age.


Don't douche it. Douching is when water or other cleaning agents are squirted up into the vagina in the pretence of cleaning; it's like an enema for the vagina. It's just not necessary and will upset the natural PH levels, giving you thrush and all kinds of soreness.


Always change underwear every day. It presses against damp areas of your body that produce waste and barely ever get fresh air. Loose cotton knickers are the best bet for your vagina's health, save those frilly, sweaty bits of floss for a great night in the bedroom.

And speaking of which...

Use condoms if you're indulging in vaginal and anal sex. And always change them; don't use an anal condom in your vagina, it will just load you up with bacteria causing a hellish infection that no amount of pleasure or laziness can justify.


A healthy fruit and vegetable laden diet with plenty of water will help keep your vagina smelling fresh. Too much sugar can lead to yeast infections, not to mention diabetes. So there you have it. Plenty of information on how to clean your vagina, which in summary is - don't clean your vagina, simply wash your vulva with un-perfumed soap and change your underwear daily.

Remember, any persistent smell or discharge needs to be seen by a medical professional to rule out STIs.


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