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

November 19, 2021

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 CLEANS ITSELF

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 in turn cause infection and/or discomfort. Best to just let it do it's thing.

 

YOUR MOST COMMON VAGINA/VULVA CLEANING FAQs, ANSWERED

Consider this your little vag/vulva cleaning checklist/cheat sheet, Moxette. Here's how to care for your most sensitive parts. 


HOW TO CLEAN YOUR VAGINA 

Don't. You don't need to. Yes, really! Soaps, douches, washes and steams can disrupt your vaginal pH, leading to irritation and infection. If you think things are unpleasantly smelly, if the colour of your discharge is funky (like grey, green or bright yellow, or is a cottage cheese texture), or if you're itchy or if it burns when you pee, then see your Doctor as you may need some treatment to get your vaginal flora back on track. Otherwise, just don't go sticking anything up there with the intention of cleaning it. That's what discharge does.


HOW TO CLEAN YOUR VULVA 

The vulva - known as the outer parts - including the labia minora (a.k.a. the 'inner lips') and labia majora, ('outer 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-fragranced wash or soap. Pat the area dry once your done/out of the shower or bath - you don't want the area to be too moist as this can become a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria.

If you can't get to a shower, you can also use an intimate vaginal wipe, but be sure to look for something that's mild, pH friendly and fragrance free - like our Moxie Organics organic cotton intimate wipes


HOW TO CLEAN THE CLITORIS 

Every vulva looks totally different - some may have a larger clitoral hood that covers the clitoris, others a smaller one that leaves it fully or partially exposed. Either way, discharge can often gather under the folds of skin (dw it's normal!) so be sure to gently fold back the skin and give it a gentle clean when in the shower - with your finger or a clean cloth and warm water (with or without a mild, unscented soap is also fine). Again, pat the area dry once you're done.


HOW TO CLEAN YOUR VAGINA DURING OR AFTER YOUR PERIOD 

Intimate wipes are our fave on-the-go period pals because they're ideal for keeping the vulva feeling fresh in between showers and will get any flow off your skin if you have an accidental spill. There's nothing 'dirty' about your period flow - just shower and look after your vagina and vulva as you normal would (normal 'cleaning' rules still apply, Moxette!).


HOW TO CLEAN YOUR VAGINA AFTER SEX 

Pee! Especially after penetrative sex, as penetration into the vagina can push bacteria from the anus or from a penis into the vagina and lead to potential infection. Also, if you're having unprotected sex with someone with a penis and they ejaculate inside you, their semen could also potentially throw off your pH - sperm is naturally alkaline and this can disrupt a vagina's naturally acidic environment. You want to try and flush anything out - peeing is fine (douching or any other kind of 'flushing out' that could mess with your pH is un-necessary). 

Showering and cleaning your vulva as above is also a good idea, too.

 

Moxie Organics organic cotton intimate wipes

EXTRA TIPS FOR A HEALTHY, HAPPY 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.
  • 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. 



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