Caring for Your Undercarriage

Many of us take it for granted that we’ve got it down regarding our down-under hygiene. But if you weren’t listening when your mother taught you this stuff, or if you were too embarrassed to listen, here’s a little refresher to help keep you fresher and healthier in the undercarriage.

  1. The best way to keep clean is to shower every day using a mild soap and warm water. Both help wash away bacteria.1 Your private parts should get a little special attention, too, which we’ll talk about in tip 3, but first…
  2. Avoid baths, especially prolonged ones. Bath water can quickly become contaminated and sitting in the tub can allow bacteria and irritants to reach your urethra and vagina.2
  3. In the shower (or sponge-bath-style if you can’t shower daily) wash the outside of your genitals with warm water. You can use mild soap on your sensitive parts, or no soap at all. As you clean yourself, use only front-to-back motions. If you like to use a wash cloth, use one clean cloth for your vaginal area and one clean cloth for your anal area and never the two shall meet. Launder each between use.1
  4. Aside from the gentle external cleansing mentioned above, let your vagina handle itself. Your vagina has its own natural cleaning system that flushes out bacteria, menstrual blood, and semen. In most cases, you don’t need to add anything extra to help.1 In fact, doing so usually leads to more harm than good, which is why you should…
  5. Just say “No!” to scented feminine hygiene products such as perfumed tampons, pads, powders, and sprays and steer clear of douching unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Douching and products marketed for women’s privates (aside from simple tampons and pads) can cause irritation and increase infection risk.1
  6. Know that even healthy, “clean” vaginas come with mild odor that changes through the day. Sports and exercise can result in a stronger scent, but that’s still normal. If you are concerned about vaginal smells, talk to your doctor.1
  7. Avoid tight underwear, stockings, pants, and jeans. These can increase body heat and moisture in your genital area. Stick to cotton
    underwear or at least undies with a cotton crotch to help keep you dry.1
  8. Change out of wet swimsuits, sweaty workout clothes, and any damp underwear as soon as you can.1
  9. Always, always, always wipe from the front to the back after using the bathroom. Never wipe twice with the same tissue.2
  10. If you suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections, consider using tampons for your periods. Tampons help to keep your urethra area drier than pads, thereby limiting bacterial overgrowth.2
  11. Urinate before and after sexual activities to help flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra.2,3

That wasn’t so bad was it? We’re glad we couldn’t see you rolling your eyes. Your mother and your middle school health teacher would be proud.

One last parting tip: If you end up with a UTI, despite your excellent hygiene habits, don’t beat yourself up. There’s often a lot more to a urinary tract infection than hygiene, and sometimes it’s just bad luck.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any UTI symptoms such as:

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain

The only way to cure a urinary tract infection is with a doctor-prescribed antibiotic. To ease your discomfort while you wait for your appointment or medication, try an over-the-counter product such as Cystex® Plus Urinary Pain Relief Tablets. Cystex can help relieve the pain associated with a UTI and keep the infection at bay in the interim.



  1. Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Women – Overview. Medscape website. Accessed August 9, 2016.
  2. Urinary Tract Infection in Women – Self-Care. U.S. National Library of Medicine/MedlinePlus website Accessed August 9, 2016