You Asked It — Is My Vagina Gross?

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

Is my vagina gross? How can I keep it clean?

Flowers and vaginas: not the same thing.

First, your vagina is NOT gross. It’s a normal part of your body and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As for how to keep it clean, you can wash your vulva (the area outside your vagina) with soap and water. Make sure the soap is mild and unscented — this is not the time to try out the new vanilla-cucumber body wash with microbeads. Bars of soap in brands like Dove, Ivory, or Cetaphil are usually a good bet. You can use these brands to wash the outside part of your vagina only.

As for your actual vagina (the part inside)? Do not wash it. Seriously. Don’t do it. Your vagina is self-cleaning, and maintains a delicate balance of bacteria to keep your body healthy. If you wash inside of your vagina, you risk upsetting the bacterial balance and putting yourself at risk for infections. Douches, we should add, are another big no-no because douches can flush out the bacteria that keeps your vagina healthy.

Remember, if vaginas were supposed to look and smell like a rose garden, they would. If you wash with mild soap on the outside only, you’re doing exactly what you need to do to keep yourself fresh and clean.

About You Asked It

At the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, we answer a lot of questions. Topics range from nutrition to pregnancy prevention, and everything in between. Now, we’re bringing these questions back to you with our new weekly advice column, You Asked It. Got a question? Holler at us in the comments, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter, or email us at

Missed a You Asked It post? Check out our previous Q&As: Bedtime Woes, Lumps & Bumps, Ugh, UTIs, Fit on the Cheap,Private Parts, Private Tests, Coitus InterrWHATus?, Modest at the Docs, Condom Problems and Boys & Shots.