How To Wash It [The Vagina]

A pink image of a naked woman with black curly hair with pink bubbles in her hair and in front of her vulva Illustration by Vero Romero from Pussypedia

The following text uses the word “pussy*” as defined by Pussypedia.

by Colleen Li

What’s Going On?

For decades, there have been an abundance of products marketed to people with pussies*, claiming to clean pussies* and stop their natural odor. These products not only contribute to the myth that vaginas need cleaning, they are also associated with serious health risks. Pussies* have a bit of an odor which can intensify with physical activity and that’s healthy and normal!1 Vaginas clean themselves. Keeping your pussy* clean and healthy does not involve anything complicated.

Your pussy* is composed of different parts⁠—all of which have different functions and different cleaning needs. We’ll start off by distinguishing them.2

Outer parts of the Pussy*: The outside of your pussy* can be referred to as your vulva. The vulva includes: the labia, clitoris, opening of the urethra, opening of the vagina, mons pubis, and some people also include the perineum and anus.2

Inner parts of the Pussy*: The inside of your pussy* holds the vaginal canal, a tube that connects the vulva to the uterus.2

How Can I Take Care of My Pussy*?

Outer parts of the Pussy*: You can wash your vulva (the outside of your pussy*) with plain, odorless soap and warm water while you’re in the shower or bath. Avoid scented soaps and make sure to rinse off all excess soap. When you’re finished, pat your vulva dry with a soft towel.3

Inner parts of the Pussy*: The best way to take care of your vaginal canal is to let it take care of itself. Vaginas clean themselves naturally by making mucus, which washes away blood, semen, and other things that shouldn’t be in there.1

Other Tips for Keeping Your Pussy* Clean and Happy

  • Stay away from products such as douches, scented tampons, scented pads, powders, and sprays. These often mess with your vagina’s pH and and disrupt the vaginal bacteria necessary for keeping your vagina healthy.4
  • Always wipe from front to back. Wiping the other way can transfer unwanted bacteria (poop) to the opening of the urethra (pee hole), leaving your body vulnerable to urinary tract infections.
  • Choice in panties also plays a role in keeping the pussy* clean. 100% cotton or cotton crotch panties are ideal to keep the vulva healthy⁠—allowing air in while absorbing perspiration/moisture. Panties with synthetic fibers have been proven to increase temperature and retain heat, promoting the growth of fungus and unwanted bacteria.6

Remember: it’s normal for your pussy* to have a bit of an odor! That said, If you either have discharge that smells bad or itchiness with thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor, they might be signs of infection, so you should get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can.1

Author’s Dedication: To Amber, thank you for always inspiring me.


  1. Douching: A Fact Sheet from the Office on Women’s Health” Office on Women’s Health. Accessed 2019.
  2. What are the parts of the female sexual anatomy?” Planned Parenthood. Accessed 2019.
  3. Vulvar and Vaginal Care and Cleaning.” Center for Young Women’s Health. (2017).
  4. Asian E,  Bechelaghem N. “To ‘douche’ or not to ‘douche’: hygiene habits may have detrimental effects on vaginal microbiota.” J Obstet Gynaecol. 38(5). (2018): 678-681.
  5. Our Bodies Ourselves. Preventing UTIs and Avoiding Reinfection. Accessed 2019.
  6. Dimetry SR, El-Tokhy HM, Abdo NM, Eissa M. “Urinary tract infection and adverse outcome of pregnancy.” J Egypt Public Health Association. 82. (2007): 203-18.

This article was previously published in Pussypedia and is reposted with permission.