There’s a lot of misconceptions about feminine washes. Maybe you’ve heard that you need to use one to keep clean…but everything you’ve Googled says that’s not true. Maybe you’ve tried and liked a soothing vagina soap, or researched what to do instead of douching - but are unsure if the conventional ingredients are truly safe for such an intimate area. Here at FemiClear, feminine products are our passion and area of expertise. Here’s what our medical advisor, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, says on whether you need a feminine wash:
“The vagina is self cleansing so using excessive soaps will only irritate the pH and cause infections like yeast and bacterial vaginosis. Use products that keep the pH balanced and good bacteria thriving!” - Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA, FACOG
In the past, people thought that feminine washes were necessary for vulva and vaginal hygiene. Our moms and grandmothers may have used commonly available commercial feminine washes, believing that cleaning their genitals with special washes was an important way to feel “fresh.” For example, ads for floral-scented washes were common in magazines and on television for decades during the last century (Check out this vintage one for a blast from the past!) Some women of previous generations may have even participated in vaginal douching, a practice that is now accepted as unnecessary and possibly even harmful to the reproductive tract.
In recent years, the general consensus among the medical community and the public has evolved towards the idea that feminine washes aren’t necessary because the vagina is self-cleaning. Health professionals (like TikTok famous OBGYN Dr. Jennifer Lincoln) have educated vulva-owners about this topic, as well. Increasingly, women are embracing the natural state and smell of their vaginas and vulvas.
- What is a feminine wash? A feminine wash is a soap or cleanser used on the vulva. The vulva encompasses all of the external organs, including the pubic mound, the labia majora and minora, and the clitoris, the external openings of the urethra and the vagina. In other words, everything you can see. A wash is used to cleanse this area.
- Do you need a feminine wash? It depends. Broadly, we agree with the idea that no one needs a feminine wash because of the way their body smells or looks. Your vulva and vagina are not dirty or unhygienic just because they are part of your genitalia. And yes, it’s true that the vagina (your internal canal that leads to your cervix) cleans itself. But the vulva (your external area) is not self-cleaning.
- When do I need a feminine wash? Many people will be just fine using water or simple soap on their external genitalia. Still, a feminine wash can be appropriate for a number of reasons, like during a vaginal infection, if you’re prone to itching or skin irritation, and more. Some people like using a feminine wash around their menstrual period, after intercourse or sex toys, or even on days when they exercise.
- What should I look for in a feminine wash? We believe that the most important thing to look for in a feminine wash is what’s included in the formula…as well as what’s not included! Look for natural, organic and plant-based ingredients. We highly suggest avoiding washes with harsh ingredients that can irritate your vulva, like fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
- What else should a feminine wash include? It’s key to look for a wash that is pH-balanced. This is because the pH of your vulva (normally 4 to 6) can be easily disturbed. For example, regular soap often has a pH of around 9 or 10. When the pH rises, it can create an opportunity for bacteria to grow in and around your vulva. Most often, your body can fight off these bacteria by itself. But occasionally, infections like vaginitis or bacterial vaginosis occur when the pH is off.
- Meet FemiClear's new feminine wash! Here at FemiClear, we’re excited to launch our brand new ultra-gentle feminine wash, which is specially pH-balanced and infused with prebiotics to actually benefit the sensitive skin of your vulva. Yes, we said vulva—our wash, FemiClear Restoratives Feminine Wash, is made specifically to be used externally.
- What does this wash do? We’re not making any claims about freshening up your feminine area or wiping out the natural smell of your body. What our product can do is soothe and moisturize your skin with ingredients like aloe, oat, witch hazel, calendula, and chamomilla when you are experiencing itching or irritation. Our wash is also infused with prebiotics, which help contribute to a healthy vaginal microbiome.
- How safe is this wash? Other feminine cleansers typically include ingredients that contain fragrances, parabens, and sulfates that can throw off your vaginal microbiome, leading to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria. Ours doesn’t! It’s safe enough for daily use, but can be especially soothing when you’re needing relief from itchiness and other irritating symptoms.
- Wait, why is this feminine wash ok to use on my vulva? Because sometimes you want relief from itchiness and other irritating symptoms. Our wash is formulated with organic ingredients and helps calm irritation and balance skin pH.
We’re committed to providing you with products that keep your V happy and healthy. We’re excited to add this Feminine Wash to our FemiClear Restoratives product line - available to purchase at CVS Pharmacy, Amazon, and on our site. Check out our other products for vaginal health, like our probiotic, yeast relief, and more!