How to clean your vagina/vulva (spoiler: it doesn't involve steam!)

January 24, 2020

Pink steam

There's been so much talk lately about vaginal health, 'rejuvenation' and 'cleanliness', with some 'experts' (read: celebs) praising vaginal steaming - but we're going to give it to you straight up, Moxettes, and call out the BS! Here are some super simple tips to keep your hoo-ha healthy (that doesn't involve steam and herbs or expensive creams...).

So here's the tea: your vagina doesn't really need to be 'cleaned'. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't shower on the regular, but unlike other body parts that require human intervention to be cleaned (like brushing our teeth, washing our armpits or our hair) the vagina is super clever in that it is self-cleaning!

Remember, the vagina is actually the inner canal that leads from the opening through to the cervix of the uterus - this bit cleans itself - so please don't stick anything up there with the intention of 'cleaning' it, because you'll likely disrupt the pH balance (which is actually slightly acidic), which may cause infection and/or discomfort. Best to just let it do it's thing.

The 'outside', on the other hand, known as the vulva (that is, the labia minora and majora, also more casually known as 'lips'; the clitoris; the clitoral hood; the monis pubis or pubic 'mound'; and the urethra, where we pee from) can be gently cleaned, either with warm water, or with water and a mild, unscented, un-coloured wash or soap. If you can't get to a shower, you can also use an intimate wipe, but again, be sure to look for something that's mild, pH friendly, fragrance and colour free. Remember to pat the area dry with a clean towel after you've washed it.

TIPS FOR A HEALTHY VAGINA:

  • When 'cleaning', be sure to do so from front to back - so to be frank, clean your vulva before you wash your butt, otherwise you risk getting bacteria from your anus into your vagina, which again can disrupt the pH.
  • Wear cotton or breathable underwear (don't wear it to bed, and take it off as soon as you get home if you can - let your bits breathe a little!)
  • Always pee after sex. This helps to flush out any bacteria that may have made its way inside your vagina
  • Use condoms or barrier protection when having penetrative sex to avoid catching any STIs or STDs
  • Drink lots of water and maintain a healthy diet
  • Don't use any perfumes or fragrances around the area

 

And please, Moxettes, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED, do not 'steam' your vagina. There isn't enough science around this yet to prove that it's beneficial and it may potentially even be harmful (hot steam + 'herbs' = plz keep that da fuq away from my vagina) so it's probably best to stick to tried-and-tested methods for now.

 

Head to the 'Girl's Got Moxie' podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher to listen to our chat with obstetrician and gynaeocologist, Dr. Kelly Griffin, where she talks more about steaming, cleaning, what's considered 'normal' and when to get checked.