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Washing Your Vagina Is As Easy As 1-2-3

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Written by: Laurie Riihimaki

Fact-Checked by: Dr. Tiffany McCalla, Emergency Physician & Sexual Enhancement Specialist



It’s no secret that our bodies need to be regularly cleaned with soap and water to wash off any dirt, excess oil, and sweat that accumulates throughout our busy days. The vagina, however, is delicate and must be cleaned a certain way in order to avoid skin-related issues or cause an imbalance in pH.


The vagina has natural bacteria inside of it to keep it clean and healthy. However, these bacteria only eliminate what it considers ‘harmful’ bacteria while helping to maintain the pH balance. It doesn’t get rid of sweat, vaginal secretions, odor, traces of urine, or anything else that may have tracked its way into or onto your lady bits.


Your vagina can’t do it alone. It needs your help!


In order to help out that natural bacteria, it’s important to learn how exactly you should be washing your vagina. A healthy vagina is a happy vagina, right?


Should We Really Put Soap Down There?


While water can help clean the vagina, soap is necessary to remove excess oil and other secretions that may have made their way into your genital region. However, you must be cautious when choosing the soap for your lady bits. Unlike the skin elsewhere, the genital skin is very delicate and fragile, and the wrong soap can have uncomfortable consequences.


It’s also important to note that if you are experiencing an abnormal odor or irritation of the vagina, it’s best to consult your doctor before trying to solve the issue yourself with soap. Your issue may point to a more serious problem or could be easily solved with a change in diet or a prescription from your OB-GYN.


The pH of the vaginal area is a delicate balance. A normal pH level of the vagina ranges from 3.8 to 4.5. If the balance is disturbed, the skin will quickly develop irritation, inflammation, and even infection.


Soap is one of the number one offenders when it comes to disturbing the balance. There is power in knowledge, so it’s important to check the labels on soaps for the pH to make sure it’s vagina-friendly.


How To Pick The Right Soap


The genital area is fragile and sensitive and thin making it highly absorbent. For that reason, you want to choose something with as few chemicals as possible and fragrance-free.


The rule-of-thumb is to find a soap that contains mild ingredients and is fragrance-free. Almost all scented products are made from synthetics products like coal tar, petroleum, and many other additives, all of which can do more harm than good. Plus, any additives, preservatives, or fragrance can quickly irritate and cause dryness to the skin in and around the vagina and when your vagina is not at its best, it’s at a greater risk for infection.


Another buzzword when it comes to vaginal soaps is ‘pH balance.’ It is vital to choose a soap that has a pH that is considered acidic, with a level between 5 and 7. It’s up to you whether you prefer to use a bar of soap or a body wash, but bar soaps tend to have a higher pH which is not recommended for use on the vagina.


How To Properly Wash Your Vagina


Although, as women, we want our vaginas to smell clean, we don’t need to buy-in to the products that promise to make our lady bits smell like roses. Cleaning your vagina and your vulva and keeping it healthy can be done in a few simple steps:


  1. Wash your vulva with warm water and the intimate soap brand of your choice. Be sure the water isn’t too hot, as hot water can dry out your skin.

  2. Rinse off all of the soap. When soap is left on the skin, it can cause dryness, irritation, and inflammation.

  3. When washing, separate your labia to clean around the clitoral hood and between your labia. Do not use a washcloth or loofah, but rather your hand. This helps so that you do not transfer bacteria to your vagina. If you separate your labia and let the warm soapy water run down, it will gently cleanse the areas that need attending to without any harsh rubbing. Remember, do not put soap INTO the vagina as it can affect your pH balance, natural bacteria, and cause irritation.

  4. When you’re finished with your shower or bath, pat dry your vulva with a clean dry towel.

Taking care of your vagina is just as important as taking care of your heart, brain, and lungs. So, now that you know what your vagina really wants out of bathtime, you can provide that service. Washing your vagina properly and using soaps that work with the body rather than against will keep your vagina healthy, happy, and give you peace-of-mind that you’re smelling fresh.


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