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How to clean your vulva and vagina


The words 'how to clean your vulva' are in black over an image of frothy waves

I frequently get asked how to clean the vulva and vagina so here's my advice.


Vulva

Remember, the vulva is everything on the outside. All you need to wash this is water. That's it. You don't need fancy 'feminine hygiene' washes or soaps or cleansers or masks or creams or oils. You only need water. Your vulva and vagina have very delicate pH levels and using anything else can disrupt this and lead to infections.


If you have any vulval issues, your doctor may ask you to wash with a very delicate, fragrance free emollient. But for the rest of us, water is all it needs.


Please please please don't use fragranced washes. Advertising for these 'feminine hygiene' soaps are aimed at making us feel scared that we're dirty and gross and must change ourselves. This makes me so mad.


If you're unsure exactly where you should and shouldn't use soaps, here's a simple tip. If you stand with your legs together, everything you can reach can be washed with soap like you would the rest of your body. If you need to open your legs to reach an area of your genitals, then that bit should be washed with water.


Vagina

The vagina is internal. It's the muscular tube inside where tampons, menstrual cup, fingers, toys and penises may go. This area cleans itself. I repeat, you DO NOT NEED TO WASH THE VAGINA, IT CLEANS ITSELF.


Discharge is created in the cervix and the vaginal walls and this is what cleans your vagina. It picks up anything that shouldn't be there and washes it out the vagina.


By squirting water or soap and rubbing wipes around your vagina, you are removing all the good bacteria that live there and help your vagina to work properly. By doing this, you're increasing the chances of an infection starting (because the good bacteria aren't there to fight it off). This often leads people to think they are dirty and want to clean more. You can see the nasty cycle this is headed in.


Please, do not try and clean your vagina. It will only increase your risk of infections. Leave it alone to clean itself, like it has done for thousands of years.






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