Self-Care for “Down There” – Ways to Keep your Vagina happy and healthy!

Do you want to take better care of your vagina and vulva? Worried about smells or cleanliness or taste? You’re not alone. We’re constantly bombarded by advertising telling us that our vulvas and vaginas need scrubbing, perfuming, hiding, or douching – no wonder so many of us think we need elaborate regimes to take care of our honey-pots!

However, unlike what you may have heard from Big Pharma and your local “Feminine Hygiene” aisle, the absolute best way to look after your hoo-ha is actually to do as little as possible. Yes, that’s right – apart from your daily gentle, water-only-cleaning – leave it alone!

The reason for this is that the vagina is actually a self cleaning system! Isn’t that wild? Kind of like a self-cleaning oven, the conditions in your vagina when it’s stable and happy should keep most opportunistic infections at bay. 

How does it work?
A model of the female reproductive system, held by feminine hands
It’s an amazing system! It deserves the best of care.

The vagina, when it’s in a robust, stable balance, usually has a pH of between 3.8 and 5, which means it’s moderately acidic. That environment is conducive to maintaining the happy community of lactobacilli and other beneficial microbes that actually live and hang out in your vagina, whilst putting up a keep-out sign to unwanted guests. Yes, you read that right; your vagina is home to billions and billions of organisms that don’t even know your name! But it’s that community – or “microbiome” – of happy mostly-lactobacilli that keeps you safe, and comfortable, as they hang out in your vaginal nooks and crannies, and keep more unpleasant microbes from taking over. Go lactobacilli!!  

A happy, healthy vagina also creates discharge – that slightly sticky, gooey substance that you might have noticed dried in your undies, day-to-day. You can think of that steady discharge as your vagina’s cleaning cycle, in action! It also provides lubrication, and keeps you comfy, as you go about your life. 

Keep in mind, though, that your vagina’s happy equilibrium can be thrown off by many things. Antibiotics, for example, can take out your body’s populations of benevolent bacteria as collateral damage, whilst they attack whatever nasties they’re targeting – and that leaves an opening for other, more unpleasant populations to move in. Stress, sex, menstruation, hormone changes, and douching can change the pH of your vagina abruptly, and cause imbalance in your microbiome. Some vagina-havers have a particularly sensitive microbiome, and so can experience recurring issues and infections as their microbiome naturally shifts in response to life events, and things get thrown out of whack. If this is you, consult your doctor – and also take a look at these tips and ideas of ways to maintain your particular vaginal environment at its most balanced and resilient. 

First, the Basics – Let that pussy breathe!
A cat under blankets
This pussy also needs to breathe. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist!)

Your vagina and vulva are warm, moist, dark, and made up of some of the most delicate tissues on your body. Which is great, for so many sexy reasons! But that warmth and wetness also makes it a prime spot for pathogens to move in and multiply – which is NOT so fun. 

How to help prevent an aggressive micro-invasion? Underwear made of breathable, natural fibers – ideally cotton – is the best clothing for your cunny. Not only does cotton allow that whole area to breathe and vent heat, it also absorbs and wicks away extra moisture and dampness, preventing an overgrowth of unpleasant bacteria, or funguses like yeast. Go cotton!

Wash daily with warm water, and remember – front-to-back!
Two lesbian women kiss passionately under pouring rain - a still from the film "Il Pleut", by Forplay Films
Just Add Water – ForPlay Films performers Lila Alma and Phoenix Rae kiss under the rain in the short film, “Il Pleut”

Wondering how to clean your vagina? No need for soaps, perfumes, douches, or (yoni forbid!) bleaches – All you need to keep your bits and pieces clean is plain old water. And you don’t even need to go inside the actual vagina, either! Just open your labial folds, and use your fingers or a clean washcloth to gently clean amidst and between them. Try to avoid getting any water inside your actual vaginal canal – even that can throw the pH out of whack. 

If you desperately want to use a soap of some kind, go as light and mild as you can, and use as little as possible – choose something unscented, with no dyes, and non-toxic, formulated for sensitive skin. And remember, keep it all external!

Another tip – much like wiping after going to the bathroom, or transferring between sexual activities – make sure you clean front to back. That way you minimize the risk of transferring any bacteria from around your back passage to your delicate vaginal bits. We don’t want any party-poopers here!

(yes, groan.)

Ready for more? Some extra tools in your V-tool-box

A pink and brown toolbox, with hammers, wrenches, and a pink hard hat.
(We don’t recommend inserting ANY of these particular tools into your vagina, just FYI!)

If, despite ordinary care, you experience some fluctuations in your vaginal comfort, and feel like you need some extra techniques to keep your microbiome happy, consider these options. But remember, this is NOT a replacement for actual medical advice: always do your research, and talk to your doctor. 

Grapefruit leaking yoghurt
Mmmmmm, yoghurt.

Remember those happy lactobacilli we love to host in our vaginas? Guess where else they like to live – yes, yogurt! But only in yogurts with “Active Cultures” present, that haven’t been heat-treated before going to market. Check the labels to make sure that the yogurt you prefer has live populations of Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and/or look for the “Live and Active Cultures” seal to check. And don’t worry, vegans – non-dairy options with active cultures also abound! 

Simply incorporating yogurt (or other active-fermentation foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, or lacto-fermented pickles) into your diet will theoretically help sustain your body’s population of beneficial bacteria – including in your nether regions. Delicious and pro-biotic – what’s not to like?

If you want to take it a step further, evidence shows some beneficial effects of yogurt inserted directly into the vagina. Mind, blown! In fact, this small study compared the effects of a combination of yogurt-and-honey to the anti-fungal clotrimazole alone, in 70 women with yeast infections, and found that yogurt and honey was actually MORE effective for treating thrush than the standard anti-fungal cream. Whether because of the lactobacilli going directly where they wanna be, or additional lactic acid preventing growth of the bad-guys, yogurt seems to do the trick. Yaay science! 

How to do this? You can try soaking a tampon in plain yogurt before inserting it, pushing it into your vagina directly with your fingers, or freezing it as a VERY cold home-made suppository in an applicator, straw, or finger of a glove (it’s a thing – we’re looking at you, Gabrielle Union!). Whatever the method, this is an option that has our very cautious seal of approval. Just make sure to opt for unsweetened, unflavored yogurt with active cultures, and no added fruits, and you should be good to go! We don’t want any sugar-loving yeast infections to get worse rather than better, after all.

PRO TIP – We recommend also wearing a pad to catch any, er, extra drips. Trust us on this one!

A suppository
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s… a vaginal suppository!

Similar to yogurt, but in an even-more-concentrated way, probiotic suppositories contain suspended populations of lactobacilli and sometimes other beneficial microbes. In theory, putting probiotics up your come-hither regions should replenish the populations of helpful bacteria, and help prevent other, more dangerous bacteria from taking over.

Studies have shown a lot of promise to using probiotics, although we desperately need more rigorous, and larger, studies to be conducted (whaddayaknow, vaginas haven’t been proritized in a world where women weren’t even required to be included in clinical trials till 1993!? *shocked face*). That said, we found zero reports of adverse effects of vaginal probiotics in the literature, so they’re totally worth a try! You’re welcome to use them as maintenance, or a first resort – but we believe they’re especially helpful in conjunction with/following more traditional antibiotic and antifungal treatments, to rebuild your decimated microbiome, and hopefully prevent a recurrence. Again, though – consult your actual doctors!

One thing to make sure of is to check that the probiotics you choose include strains that are specifically found in the vagina. Many (although not all) vagina-havers tend to have a majority of lactobacilli present, varying between strains. Again, more research is needed, especially across different demographics – but it seems like a solid bet for most women to aim for probiotics that contain lactobacillus crispatus or lactobacillus rhamnosus, which have both shown protective qualities against BV and candida in medical studies. (ForPlay Films founder Inka Winter recommends these suppositories containing crispatus, amongst other strains, and although these rhamnosus capsules are meant for oral use, several reviewers mention using them vaginally as well!)

Boric Acid
Boric acid is powerful, but also dangerous if swallowed – be careful if you choose to use it!

Another low-cost “home remedy”, this one might be especially useful for vagina-havers that suffer from recurring infections that resist other treatments. Boric acid suppositories (and gels) have a lot of anecdotal evidence for their efficacy, and some small medical studies have also found proof of their positive effects, especially when other treatments have failed to help. In fact, this clinical study showed boric acid in combination with probiotics were actually more effective than the standard treatments in treating suspected yeast and BV infections, when measured by patient symptoms and recurrence. 

That said, boric acid is extremely toxic when ingested – so PLEASE don’t mess around with this stuff! Never use boric acid when you’re pregnant. And as always, consult and inform your doctor when trying these treatments. (If you need help advocating for yourself in a medical scenario, read this article for some tips!). If you’re interested in trying boric acid, we’ve had good results with these suppositories, which also include tea-tree, lactic acid, and pre-biotics, for a holistic approach to stabilizing your microbiome. 

Barrier Methods of Birth Control
The moment of truth – and hopefully avoiding BV!

You remember how we mentioned that all sorts of foreign substances – even just water – can throw off the pH of your vagina and lead to funky outcomes? Well, guess what happens with semen! Yup – for some women, the introduction of semen, with its slightly alkaline pH (7.2-7.4) can wreak havoc with the balance of things and cause infections after sex. If you’re part of this crew, you might want to shift to using a barrier method, like condoms. 

Of course, latex can be irritating to many folks, and barriers can make things slightly less sensitive – so here at Forplay, we love our Skyns! Non-latex, extremely thin, with excellent heat-transfer and lacking that condom-smell, it’s a winner. Try them, and let us know what you think!

If you do experience post-semen microbiome issues, but want to continue having your semen and er, absorbing it too – you might want to consider using a boric acid vaginal suppository right after your come-down (ahem), to “rebalance” your pH. If you do, let us know how it works, and if it makes a difference!

Nature’s intimate-moisturizing gifts.

If you’re going through hormonal shifts like menopause, are post-partum, are a vigorous exerciser, or tend to shave or wax your labia – you might be experiencing dryness, irritation, chafing, or ingrown hairs. Or maybe you just want to give your vulva a little more TLC! Whatever the reasons, we’re here for it – And we’ve got options for you. 

A vulva moisturizer or balm is exactly what it sounds like, treating your vulva to a specially-formulated cream of hydration, lubrication, and emollients.

A personal favorite of our founder, Inka Winter, V-Magic is a toxicity-and-hormone-free cream for your vulva that is – literally- good enough to eat. So even when you’re using it, your human-honey can lick your vulva honey-pot! Containing sustainably sourced beeswax, propolis, and honey, as well as avocado and olive and sea buckthorn oils, V-Magic will soothe and moisturize your intimates and protect against further chafing – Just be warned, that because of all the oils, it does not play well with latex-based barrier birth control methods, so play safe and be careful.

Other options include creams and suppositories with hyaluronic acid (like this gel, or these capsules). But, again, if you are experiencing sustained dryness and discomfort, we recommend seeing a doctor, in case you need more targeted treatments, like hormones.

But whatever you do – Don’t douche!
A very unhappy, post-douching vagina…

Despite all the advertising sent our way, there is (most likely) nothing wrong with the way your vagina smells or tastes. But even if there IS something wrong – whatever you do – don’t douche! Douching – especially with anything harsh, or perfumed – is more likely to throw your microbiome even MORE out of whack, irritate your vaginal tissues, and worsen whatever condition you think you might have. Even more dangerous, by squirting random liquids up there, you run the risk of actually forcing the bad bacteria even further up into your vaginal canal, towards the cervix. If the bacteria travels up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, it can cause something called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which is unpleasant, painful, and even dangerous. Don’t do it!!! 

Finally… Just… Breathe…
Mindfulness, gratitude, and self-care can work wonders.

Maybe the most comprehensive – and most challenging! – option on this list is to just relaaaax. If you want to lavish luxury upon your vulval-and-vaginal region, try to de-stress as much as possible. Stress can absolutely wreak havoc with inflammation, and affect every part of your body – including your vaginal microbiome! So, as much as you can, take steps to look after yourself, and your emotional well-being. Your yoni will thank you. And whilst you’re bringing your emotional energies back into alignment, go ahead and try the tips above, just to keep things under control. 


A great relationship with a doctor can be hard to find, but is absolutely worth it.

All of these natural tips are here for you to consider and try. That said, here at ForPlay Films we also recognize the power and importance of science, medicine, and doctors… Even as we know that it can be challenging to advocate for oneself in the medical system. That said, please do find a doctor and OB-GYN who you feel safe with spilling all your secrets to. No need for shame – trust me, they’ve seen it all. Your vagina – and your whole reproductive/sexual system – is worth it!!! 

Your turn

Which of these did you try? Did they work for you? Do you have any favorite tips we missed? Write in and let us know!


DISCLOSURE: ForPlay Films prides itself on its integrity and transparency. We offer product links in this blog for your convenience, and as an Amazon Associate, we may receive commissions from any products that we link to on That said, we always recommend products that we believe in and have researched, or have (very) personally used. Your clicks and purchases help keep us going, so thank-you for supporting our work! 

Additionally, please be aware that although we source our information as scientifically as possible, we are not doctors! None of what you read on this site is intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for a medical diagnosis or treatment. Everything we provide is intended for educational, entertainment, and informational purposes only. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you read on a sex and sexuality blog! If you think you may have a medical emergency, please do right by your body, and contact your doctor or 911 immediately.