How to Wash Your Vagina

Two Parts:Daily Washing RoutineKeeping Yourself Smelling Fresh

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Many people feel paranoid about how they smell "down there" — you are not alone! The truth is, every person with a vagina has their own signature scent, and if you have a sexual partner, your partner probably doesn't mind it a bit. At the same time, if you're feeling a little insecure, then it won't hurt to make sure that you're covering all of the bases when you wash your vaginal area. You deserve to feel clean and confident.

Part 1
Daily Washing Routine

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    Lather up a washcloth or sponge with some mild natural soap and warm water. Avoid using soaps with heavy perfumes, or gels or antiseptics, which may throw off the balance of healthy bacteria and irritate the sensitive skin around your vagina.[1]
    • The actual vagina (the inner canal) is "self-cleaning" and doesn't require washing; soap is likely to irritate the vagina if you try to use it on the vagina itself. You don't need to wash the vagina, just the area around the vagina (the vulva), using a plain, unperfumed soap, using the steps that follow.[2]
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    Clean the folds around your clitoris. Use your fingers to pull your labia away from your clitoris. Gently wipe the skin on both sides of your clitoris with the washcloth.
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    Wash your vulva and your vaginal opening. Also, clean around your bikini line.
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    Wash your perineum. The perineum is the area between your vagina and your anus.
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    Wash your anal area last. Keep your washcloth from touching your vaginal area after you've washed your anus. Doing this will ensure that you don't drag rectal germs toward your vaginal area. These germs can cause you to get urinary tract infections.[3]
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    Wash your vagina at least once per day. If you have sex, you may want to wash it a second time to feel fresh and clean, although washing after sex will not prevent pregnancy on its own.[4]

Part 2
Keeping Yourself Smelling Fresh

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    Trim, wax or shave your pubic hair if you feel like it. Thick pubic hair can cause you to sweat down below, which may make you have some issues with odor. However keep in mind that "Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture medium for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely Group A Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant. It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair-follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals." Pubic hair is there for a reason, and while you should feel free to remove it if you wish, it may not be the best choice for hygiene.
    • For a middle ground, try simply trimming your pubic hair, but be careful with scissors around your labia.
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    Stay clean during your period. Change your pad or your tampon frequently, according to the directions on the package. If you're worried about how you smell when you're having your period, you can wash your vagina 2 or 3 times a day.
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    Wear cotton underwear. Breathable fabric helps to prevent vaginal odor.
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    Try a reusable pantyliner.[5] The idea of reusing and washing your pantyliners may seem strange at first, but the cotton will help your vagina to breathe while absorbing any excess discharge. If you like the way they make you feel, you can graduate to reusable cotton menstrual pads or menstrual cups.
    • Keep in mind that, while they do stop extra discharge, they also increase vaginal sweating, stifle vaginal breathing and increase the vagina's temperature. This can culminate into a hot bed for fungus's and unhelpful bacteria.
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    Bathe as part of your foreplay. So are you worried that your partner won't like your scent? Take a shower or a steamy bath before you have sex. Let your partner wash your vagina for you. Who knows? It might lead to all kinds of fun.


  • Always wipe front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into your vagina.
  • Be gentle! It's a very fragile area and you don't want to get a cut or an infection.
  • Be careful when washing your vagina, its not a race. Don't rush. Take your time because you don't want to irritate your skin.
  • If you're concerned about a persistent, strong odor in your vaginal area, visit your gynecologist. Your gynecologist can test you for an infection and can prescribe an appropriate medication or topical cream if you need one. You can also talk to your gynecologist if you're worried about odor and cleanliness.
  • To prevent odor, make sure that you wipe the area around your clitoris with toilet tissue every time you urinate. Urine and vaginal secretions can accumulate in this area and can give you that not-so-fresh feeling.
  • Heavy perfume is a no-go!
  • Vaginas aren't meant to smell like baby powder or fields of flowers. If you're really worried about how you smell, it's okay to talk to your partner about it. You'll probably find out that everything is fine. And if your clean scent is a turnoff, maybe you need a new partner.
  • Wash with clean water every time you go to the bathroom.
  • If you really think your vagina is sick, then call a doctor so they can tell you if it is sick or not.


  • Avoid washing inside your vagina. You don't want to upset the pH balance of your vaginal walls. Also, you don't want to wash away all of your vaginal secretions because they are nature's cleaning mechanism for your vagina.
  • Both waxing and shaving require you to preform additional care on your vagina to prevent ingrown hairs, be sure to read up on the matter before doing so.
  • Before attempting to wash your vagina with soap of any kind you should consult your OB/GYN, and seek out other information pertaining to vaginas on the internet. Remember to always check multiple sources for accurate information.
  • Skip douches and feminine deodorant sprays. Douches can upset the natural bacterial balance in your vagina. Also, both douches and feminine sprays can irritate the sensitive skin in your vaginal area.[6]

Things You'll Need

  • Washcloth or loofah
  • Mild, perfume-free soap

Article Info

Categories: Feminine Hygiene