How to Wash the Feminine Genital Area?

Q: I am a 17 year old female. I get pimple on the exterior of my genitals or on the outside of the inner lip, after my menstrual cycle. Also, what should us girls use to clean ourselves down there?

Reply:

These pimples are likely to be clogged sweat or sebaceous glands. It’s like having acne anywhere else in the body.

You may read here about how to take care of these pimples.

If they itch, hurt or ooze out, you need to see a doctor.

What Should Girls Do to Clean Their Vaginal Area?

Vagina is a self cleaning organ. So, no vigorous cleaning is required in this area. All you need to do is to wash the area twice a day with plain water using bare hands.

Washing the Genitalia

  1. Take plain water in a bucket. Do not put any extra thing (soap, antiseptic, etc.) in it.
  2. Clean your hands and trim nails to avoid any injury to the area.
  3. Now wash the area gently using your finger tips for rubbing where required.
  4. You do not need any soap, gel or shampoo to clean the area.
  5. No vigorous cleaning or scrubbing, with any washcloth or scrubber, is recommended.
  6. Move your finger tips gently in the area to clean from inside out – the opening, the inner lip, the outer lip, and the outer portion including pubic hair.
  7. Internal cleaning of the vaginal canal is not required.

Why Not Use Any Soap Here?

Girls need to know that the vagina is a self cleaning organ. It produces healthy microbial flora and certain chemicals to keep itself clean and free from diseases. This good flora and chemicals flow from inside out.

So if we clean the vagina from within (douching), these protective chemicals get drained away.

Similarly, using soaps may also wash off this protective layer, thereby making it vulnerable to dryness and infections.

Soaps and other washing gels also irritate the soft skin and mucosa of the area, that may cause an allergic reaction and inflammation of the area.

They also remove the slimy mucous layer rendering the area dry, and prone to allergies and infections.

Though many people may tell you to wash your private parts vigorously, scrub with soap, or douche it; from medical point of view, these practices are not recommended.

What We Need to Wash Off While Cleaning?

All we need to remove while washing the area is smegma.

Smegma is a white looking substance . It is formed by accumulation of dead skin cells, oil produced in the area, some dead bacteria, and various feminine secretions. All these are swept automatically and collected around the clitoris and labial folds.

While cleaning the area, gently wash off this smegma. Cleaning twice a day would be adequate.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “How to Clean Vagina?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You don’t require any soap for the area. Just plain water cleaning is enough.

      Even a natural or herbal soap would over clean the region, washing away the good bacteria, which are actually required for defense there.

      Reply
      1. Khat

        Hi doctor. I am married women 25 years old. After intercourse get bad smell down near from vagina. No discharge no itchy and no burning. What it could be? Although I get per burned after having intercourse with my husband. Please advice.. thanks in advance.

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          That’s normal. May be you’re smelling the mix of your secretions and his. Till there is no itching or rashes, it’s normal.

          Slight burning may occur due to friction during the act. Start using a lubricant, like KY jelly, during the act. This would help lubricating the surfaces and prevent burning sensations.

          Reply
  1. Sheela

    I am 16 years old girl. I usually clean and shave my vagina daily. Now it became reddish and paining a lot.

    While sleeping I was peeing. What could have happened?

    Reply
  2. Bahjee

    When cleaning, I tend to use my fingers to clean inside. I am getting a lot of urinary tract infections. Are the two related?

    If so, how could I get rid of the uncomfortable “wet” feeling?

    Reply
      1. Rita

        Hi doc, I used have itching immediately I removed my pants. During the day there wouldn’t be any sign of it. Immediately I removed my pants it will start. And I used to have bumps on my Virginia but it comes and disapers by itself.

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Any discharge from the vagina, may be white to yellow? Check your underwear for that.

          Any redness or swelling down there?

          Reply
    1. lessy

      Hi Doctor,

      I have small very tiny pimple not exactly pimples some kind of allergy in pubic area. I am unhappy I have itching and irritation also but I noticed it now. Please give me a remedy and this is happening from 5 days. I use Lactacyd solution to clean that area.

      Reply
      1. lessy

        I have small very tiny pimple not exactly pimples some kind of allergy in pubic area that is with in the lips and tip of lips ..I am unhappy I have itching and irritation also but I noticed it now .. please give me a remedy.. and this is happening from 5 days, I use Lactacyd solution to clean that area

        Reply
      2. Buddy M.D. Post author

        Don’t use lactacyd solution for cleaning, unless prescribed to do so for some illness.

        This lotion is mildly acidic. Though it kills the bugs down there, it also alters the normal vaginal pH. The friendly bugs residing down there also get killed, making grounds for the growth of opportunist fungus.

        You may be having a mild fungal infection. Apply an anti fungal cream, like monistat or candid, over the affected area. Apply it twice daily for a week.

        Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It could be some infection. An examination is required.

      Rarely, such cuts happen due to friction on a dry vagina, after sex or changing tampons. However, the possibility of any infection has to be ruled out.

      Reply
  3. Annie

    Hi,
    I am a 43 year old woman who hasn’t been sexually active for a very long time. About a week ago, I discovered a good sized firm bump on the inside of the labia (labia minora?), right by the vaginal opening. It was tender to touch. I also experienced severe burning and itching. Then, I noticed what looked like a skin tag on the opposite side, a little higher up, also the inner labia. This freaked me out badly. I’m mortified to even contact a Dr. Just now I checked it again, and it seems to be shrinking considerably. The skin tag looking thing is still the same though. It doesn’t appear to be wart like, just like a skin tag and singular. Do you think the bump was just a boil or cyst (not herpes or something worse) and the other thing, could it just be a skin tag? Thanks in advance.
    ps: the itching has improved considerably also.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Though it doesn’t look like herpes, you may need to get it ruled out if it doesn’t improve in 3 to 4 days.

      For now, you may apply candid- B vaginal ointment over the affected area. Apply it twice daily for a week.

      Reply
      1. mary

        Hmmmm… Hello there I somewhat have the same problem but I have a lump between my stomach and lower area. Sometimes it causes a burning feeling, any advice would be useful please

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Where exactly, is it over the mons? How big is it, one or many? Since when? Are you sexually active?

          Reply
  4. Nusrat

    For removing the spots, which medicine or cream girls should apply on their pussy? And applying cream or medicine is safe for pussy? Please tell us what cream or medicine we should apply on our pussy for get a beautiful pussy.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      No such creams are available.

      Just keep your vaginal area clean (read above) and stay healthy. A healthy vaginal area is the most beautiful.

      Reply
  5. Emmanula

    Please, best way to shave hair on vagina, because I use razor and it causes small pimples when the hair starts to re-grow? Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Emmanula

    Thanks Doctor
    Please, can you list non-alcoholic shaving creams to soften hairs and non-alcoholic moisturizing creams for after shaving that are save to the skin.

    Reply
  7. Kira

    There is odor in my vaginal area and it hurts and burns. I went to the doctor but she said it is a normal thing that happens with periods. What should I use?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Since you have already been examined by a doctor, it’s unlikely that it’s an infection.

      Do you masturbate a lot. It’s likely that there are minor scratches over the region (may be due to rough masturbation or otherwise), which burn when you urinate or menstruate.

      Apply KY jelly or bland coconut oil to the affected area liberally, twice daily.

      Reply
  8. Rachel

    Hey, I masturbate a lot ., like 3-4 times a week and my Vigina has thin cuts and it’s burning a lot and I just got out of my periods
    So could you tell me anything for cuts and burning sensation

    Reply
  9. chits

    My discharge is very low for about 3-4 days. And it is first week after periods. Usually I washed the exterior portion of vagina with soap. Is that a problem? Last year I got married. It’s time for me to think about a baby.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I am a virgin, do not masturbate, and I stopped using soap on my vagina, but my vagina has a bad odor. I have no infections, so how can I get rid of the odor? Also, do you think that using products like vagisle would help?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      If you have no itch, discharge or any other problem down there, better not use any product. No symptoms suggest that you have a healthy area down there.

      Eat home made curd/ yogurt on a daily basis. This would maintain ideal flora down there and keep the area infection free.

      As for the odor, it may be due to some food stuff you are taking, may be too much of garlic, fish oils or any thing else.

      Reply
  11. Emma

    Hi Doctor,

    I’m ocd when it comes to cleaning my vagina, even though it’s recommended not too clean too often, I frequently use baby wipes and I’ve never had any infections (& I’m 30/sexually active), but this last week…After cleaning as usual I have redness, burning sensation, irritation and areas where it looks almost burnt (pruned fingers after being in a bath too long) I don’t want to visit gp, as recently saw gynaecologist and this has occurred afterwards… Any ideas on cause? And possible home remedies Thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You may have disturbed your vaginal pH in some way. Try correcting it first.

      Two species of probiotic bacteria have been identified with remarkable benefits for female health. (Lactobacillus rhamnosus (GR-1) and Lactobacillus reuteri (RC-14))

      Using a probiotic vaginal product would maintain an ideal pH out there, fighting out bacterial and fungal vaginal infections.

      Reply
  12. precious

    l have itching down there and when i srup it turn to red colour,i used to clean it with sunlight soup and after cleaning it become dry and painful ,am sexual active but its been 7month without having sex and its when all pain,itching and dryness start….i need help doctor

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      What color?

      If it’s whitish, you may be having yeast. That’s pretty common in women and is treated by using anti fungal creams there.

      Reply
  13. Shaawa ah abdul

    Whenever I had sex when the sperm touches my pussy I have a severe itching pls can you tell me the main couse

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Depends upon the degree of reaction. A mild reaction can be circumvented by using lubricants liberally. However, if the itch is very intense, condoms need to be used. You have to avoid direct contact.

      Read here about the topic- http://buddymd.com/semen-allergy

      Reply
  14. magda

    Hi there my 3 year old girl has a foul fishy smell down there. She bathes once a day and wipes properly after each pee. What could be causing this foul smell? I get nauseous of the smell sometimes. Really disturbing.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Examine her lower dawn and let us know-

      Any redness down there?
      Any bumps or rashes there?
      Any discharge?
      Does she itch/ scratch there?

      A fishy smell may also means that blood is coming out from somewhere. So, better not ignore it.

      Reply
  15. Gallegos Jo

    Hi I have problems with yeast infections. I constantly am at the doctors office and I feel so embarrassed because I always have to go. I changed what I eat drank lots of water and cranberry juice and ate plain yogurt. My doctor prescribed a pill called flucanazole. I think that’s what it’s called. I took a total of 3 pills in three weeks still nothing has worked for me any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Are you taking any other medicine for any other ailments, like antibiotics for UTI or steroids etc.?

      Reply
      1. Gallegos Jo

        No, I haven’t taken any other pills. I finished the pills my doctor prescribed to me and my boyfriend has a yeast infection and got a shot for it.

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          You are probably getting the infection again and again from somewhere. Or else, you may be having a weak immune status, some temporary nutritional deficiency.

          Reply
  16. Cathy

    I have a flesh toned bump on my left lip of my vulva. I only notice it when I bathe. It is very small, smaller than a pea. It doesn’t hurt or itch but I’m thinking it is a pimple because I have problems with acne. I am not sexually active so I can rule out anything bad. What could it be?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Very likely to be a pimple. Don’t fiddle with it. Just let it be. It’s likely to regress on its own with time.

      Meanwhile, avoid friction over it while walking.

      Reply
  17. Bliss

    Hi Dr. For some time now have been experiencing some kind of abnormal viginal discharge,smelly viginal ,itching nd pimples in my viginal nd burnts too..pls i need your help. THANKS IN ADVANCE

    Reply
  18. Sammy

    I’m a virgin. I masturbate a few times a week. I am not on birth control. I do use soap while washing but I have my whole life and I only wipe my lips. I noticed a small bump by my Vagina hole. It doesn’t hurt but it’s super small, smaller than a pea for sure. I also itch like crazy and I think it’s from the dryness. It’s soooo dry. But there’s no Odor and I didn’t notice any irregular discharge. Please tell me what this is doctor ! THANK YOU

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Likely to be due to some clogged gland in the lower canal. You may start using any vaginal emollient after washing. This would combat dryness and relieve itch.

      This bump is likely to regress on its own with time.

      Reply
      1. Jay

        When I shower and apply soap to my vulva, it feels slimy when I rub the soap in. Is this something to worry about? No other problems noted.
        This happens with every soap I use. Also, I know you don’t recommend soaps, but how can I feel fresh and clean down there without using soap?

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          There’s no problem with that slimy feel. That’s normal and also an essential layer that the vulva secrete to avoid dryness there.

          You may use a mild soap if essential.

          Reply
          1. Jay

            Omg!! Thank you for your help, you’ve put my mind at ease lol
            This is an awesome blog you have here. Keep up the good work!!!
            I’ll get to looking for mild soaps. Thanks again!

  19. Anonymous

    Hi I haven’t had sex in about 3years just recently started but inside always smells like fish…. is this normal? what can I use to cleanse with naturally besides douche with all the chemicals…

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Besides the smell, any other problem, like pain down there, discharge from vagina etc.?

      For better environment down there, keep it clean. Too much of douching of use of soaps is not recommended. Include home made curd or yogurt in your daily meals to maintain a healthy pH there.

      Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You may use a mild soap there, if required. However, remember to put cream/moisturizer over there, as you do for the rest of your body skin.

      Reply
  20. karina

    hi doc I’m 12 years old and my vagina iches and burns and I have pimples there it been 2 weeks since this has been going on what should I do

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      This could be a pH issue. Just clean the are with ample water. Avoid using any soap or gel over there. Plain water cleaning is enough.

      Apply any bland emollient over the area after each wash. You may use bland coconut oil.

      Avoid excess of spices and caffeine in your diet.

      Reply
  21. Please help me

    Hello doctor I was a virgin up until last year I lost it to my boyfriend. We use condoms and I’m on birth control. But I noticed that my discharge is a yellowish color and I don’t know what to do. It doesn’t burn or itch.

    Reply