Someone recently told me they read online that a mixture of baking soda and vinegar was a good vagina cleaner. Last week a person told me they heard tea tree oil was the best vagina cleaner. A few months ago someone informed me that Coca-Cola acted as spermicide and should be poured into the vagina after sex to prevent pregnancy. I am continually told by people with vaginas they use douche on a regular basis or while they are menstruating or after sex.
I have said it before and I will say it again: vaginas clean themselves.
There is no need to put any type of cleaning product, homemade or bought, in your vagina. When I say vagina I am referring to the canal that leads from the vulva on the outside of the body to the cervix and uterus on the inside of the body.
Vulvas can be cleaned with a soft cloth and warm water, or even just warm water and clean fingers. Pubic hair and butts can be cleaned with mild soap, but leave the vagina out of it. Not even water is recommended to clean out the vagina.
When I think about cleaning body parts, I like to think about vaginas being similar to eyes. We do not clean our eyes, they clean themselves by watering or as we sleep. We do not put soap or vinegar solutions or Coca-Cola into our eyes. We do not scrub our eye balls. We gently clean around the eyes.
So treat your vagina as you do your eyes.
By putting solutions or soap or Coca-Cola into vaginas we can upset our body’s levels of acidity, which can cause discomfort, irritation and infection. Your vagina is acidic for a good reason – to protect your health. Because the vagina opens to the outside world, bacteria can get in. The vagina’s acidic environment controls bacteria and prevents the harmful types from overgrowing.
The vagina has natural secretions made up of oil, cells, sweat, bacteria and fluid from the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. Secretions are usually white or clear. Sometimes they can be slippery or sticky. Sometimes people call this discharge. It is the sign of a healthy vagina, a vagina that is fully capable of cleaning itself. There may also be a faint odour which may change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. This odour is also natural.
If your vaginal secretions are a different colour than usual or have a strong or different odour, it may be the sign of an abnormal secretion or infection and it is recommended you see a health care provider.
We live in a hectic world with more than enough to do, so let’s take cleaning our vaginas off our “to-do” lists. Keep your vagina healthy and happy by wearing cotton underwear or no underwear, avoiding G-strings or thongs, wiping from front to back, only putting food in our mouth where it belongs and making sure that anything — fingers, sex toys, penises — that goes inside the vagina is clean.
Stacey Jacobs has been a Sex Educator for almost 2 decades. For 13 of those years she worked as a Sexual Health Educator at Planned Parenthood. She teaches in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies Program at the University of Waterloo and when not educating, she enjoys reading, walking her dogs and eating good food. The life of a Sex Educator is usually not as interesting as people assume.