Don't Be A Douche: 5 Dumb, Persistent Myths About Cleaning Your Vagina
Sure, we might think of “pussy” as a dirty word, but unless you physically rolled around in a mud pile and then had a dust storm sweep through your nether regions, your pussy isn’t actually dirty.
Yes people, you heard it here (unfortunately, probably first): Your vagina isn’t unsanitary or grimy – it’s actually very clean and neat all on its own (some, like Dr. Oz, liken it to a “self-cleaning oven”).
In fact, it’s probably a lot tidier than most of your other holes, which might be going too far, but then again, so is bleaching it.
Think of your vagina more so as a curse word – all it needs is a little wash with soap and water.
Ladies, and even gentlemen, it’s time we stop being such douchebags and treat our vahinas with respect.
Here are all the dumb things you’ve been told about cleaning your vagine.
1. Perfumes actually stink when it comes to cleansing
Similar to how spraying Febreze after you sh*t will only make it smell worse (PSA: fresh laundry + sh*t = soiled scented clothes), using fragrances or perfumed gels will make your vagina gag.
According to the doctor experts at WebMD, “It's a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation.”
This isn’t a Nordstrom cosmetic counter. You don’t need to bombard your va-jay-jay with perfume.
It’s perfectly fine browsing on its own, thank you.
2. Don’t be a douche
Douches are like the nasal spray equivalent for your lady bits.
They flush water up into your vag to clear out almost everything that’s inside of it, except you don’t get that added Allegra high (how this sounds appealing to anyone is somewhat baffling; it’s like a reverse water park).
"I can't think of any circumstances where douches are helpful because all they do is wash out everything that's in the vagina, including all the healthy bacteria," explains Professor Lamont to WebMD.
Additionally, there are no findings that douching protects against STDs or infections – they actually may even increase your risk of getting one.
Don’t flush your vaginal health down the toilet. If you want to keep your hoo-ha fresh, skip the water works.
3. Deodorants are the pits
Last time we checked down there, we saw a vagina, not an armpit.
So why are we trying to swipe deodorant all over it? Same goes for scented wipes – this is a space for making babies, not wiping their asses.
Many products with fragrances can screw up your vagina’s natural pH balance and mess with good bacteria.
"If nature had intended the vagina to smell like roses or lavender, it would have made the vagina smell like roses or lavender," says Professor Lamont to WebMD.
Vaginas are supposed to smell like… wait for it… vaginas! Would you expect a hot pocket of love to smell like lust?
If you’re really concerned about your vagine’s odor, then consult your gynecologist before resorting to harmful wipes and deodorants.
You wouldn’t put flowers on your eggs just because they stunk like sulfur, amiright?
4. Steaming is just blowing hot air
Recently, Gwyneth Paltrow discussed the virtues of "steaming your V" on her GOOP blog, claiming it helped cleanse her uterus and balance her hormones.
Um, why are we listening to a woman who hasn’t used her vagina in years OR thinks consciously uncoupling is a real thing? It probably only worked for Paltrow because she had such a tightly wound stick up there.
Vaginas aren’t supposed to burn – we know this – but you know what will make it burn? Spreading your legs on top of scalding hot water. You barely open them for hot men!
You don’t need to heat your vagina up like it’s a Lean Cuisine.
According to The Guardian, “Any [heat] and unwanted bacteria and yeasts, such as candida, will proliferate, normal enzymes start to get sluggish and increased blood flow due to the heat will make the vagina itchy.” Maybe that’s why Gwyneth seems so uncomfortable all the time?
Water vapor isn’t a smart tip either, as it rinses away your vagina’s natural oils that are useful for lubrication and protective against irritations.
This leaves your hoo-ha dry and sensitive – kind of like the “Miranda” of your body’s group. And nobody likes Miranda.
Furthermore, there is no way steaming your lady bits can impact your hormones. This claim is basically bogus, just like “Bounce.”
Bottom line: only sh*t or get off the pot.
5. You can’t scrub one out
Let’s get one more thing right here: You don’t actually clean inside your vagina (that part cleans itself, remember: the oven); you clean your vulva, the outer layer around your vagina.
The vagina cleans itself inside your body with natural secretions, or discharge, according to WebMD experts.
So, you’ve finally figured out that all it takes to gently clean your undercarriage is some good ‘ol plain soap and water (what a breakthrough!).
This doesn’t mean, however, you should go cray-cray on your va-jay-jay and wash it multiple times a day, or even every day for that matter.
Like a Jewel song, your skin down there is sensitive. The more you wash it, the more you rinse away those natural oils we were chatting about above.
“One of the big problems we have in North America is over-washing,” says Dr. Jennifer Gunter to Buzzfeed.
During your period or after a workout, it’s OK to be more diligent about cleaning it. But in general, the only thing that needs a routine cleansing are all these myths about your hoo-ha.