Vaginas clean .
They don’t need help.


There’s nothing shameful about vaginas and yet they’re often insulted with shaming words like ‘dirty’. In fact, the vagina is the opposite of dirty, it literally cleans itself. A healthy vagina may also have a light scent, which is natural – it doesn’t make it dirty.

As the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, it doesn’t need any help to stay clean. In fact, cleaning can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina’s ecosystem, which can lead to infections like thrush and – if the pH level changes – BV.

The vulva (all the outer parts of the genitals) can be washed with water (using a pH-balanced, unscented washing product with water is also fine). Scented products, deodorants and soaps should be avoided, as these can also disrupt the natural balance of the vagina and change the pH level.

The wellness and beauty industries can use language claiming to ‘fix’ or ‘beautify’ things, when in fact they may not even need it.

Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% w/w cream contains clotrimazole. Always read the label.

Behind the Label Lingo


Vaginas are amazingly stretchy, so they don’t need to be ‘tight’ or ‘firm’.


Vulvas don’t need invigorating or correcting, because each one is unique and perfect as it is. ‘Revitalise’ also suggests that vulvas should look more youthful – that’s creepy.


Odour is just the medical term for ‘scent’ or ‘smell’. It doesn't mean bad – that would be malodour. Vaginas can have a natural light scent, and healthy discharge – they shouldn’t smell like artificial flowers.

If the scent does change, that could be a sign of infection, in which case it’s important to see a doctor instead of covering it up with an artificial scent.


The vagina isn’t toxic – neither are periods or having sex.


If you have a vagina, you don’t need to pamper it with beauty treatments and products.


As the vagina cleans itself, there’s no need for cleansing products – but you may wish to use pH-balanced, unscented washes on/around your vulva.

ph balanced

Using a gentle cleanser, rather than a fragranced product, on the vulva may be preferable to help maintain the vagina’s pH balance.


If you want to use a cleanser, you can use a gentle, unscented cleanser on the vulva. Remember, you don’t have to use a cleanser – water is good at cleaning too.

Don’t try this at home…

  • Douching

    What is it?
    The practice of pumping a water solution into the vagina to ‘clean’ the area. Some people believe douching gets rid of odours, prevents pregnancy and avoids STIs – but it doesn’t do any of these things.

    Why it should be avoided:
    Douching does not work as contraception and it can actually destroy the vagina’s good bacteria and cause an imbalance of the vaginal pH, which may make the individual susceptible to infection.

  • Steaming

    What is it?
    Sitting over a bowl of very hot water, sometimes with dried herbs added, to ‘cleanse’ the vagina. A few celebs have talked about steaming recently but there are no proven benefits.

    Why it should be avoided:
    The steam could affect the vagina’s good bacteria and pH balance, possibly leading to an infection, and it could cause serious burns. An all-round risky business.

Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% w/w cream contains clotrimazole. Always read the label.