Whether it’s scented tampons or those new yoni pearls, there are many products marketed to cleanse your vulva. But experts tell SELF they’re unnecessary and possibly dangerous.

In fact, your crotch has pretty much perfected self-cleaning. It keeps its own pH balance and discourages outside organisms all on its own.

Steaming

Between menstruation, childbirth, and sexual intercourse, the vulva takes a beating. That’s why steaming is a popular natural remedy that is said to cleanse the vagina and uterus, balance hormones, ease period cramps, and improve fertility. Since it was praised by Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop, it has become extremely popular and has been touted as a “facial for the vulva.” This treatment involves sitting or squatting over a pot of hot water with a mixture of herbs (including mugwort, sage, and lavender) boiled for a set amount of time. The hot steam, in addition to smelling good, may increase blood flow to the area and can be soothing.

It’s important to note that if you are pregnant, it’s not safe for you to try this treatment because the steam can burn the thin and sensitive tissue in your genital region. Also, if you are already prone to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, it could worsen those conditions by altering your vaginal pH.

Most OB-GYNs don’t recommend trying a vaginal detox – This section is provided by the portal’s editor Erotic Ecstasy. Besides being uncomfortable, it’s unnecessary. Your vulva is a self-cleaning organ that regularly maintains its own acidic pH, says Kecia Gaither, M.D., an ob-gyn and maternal-fetal medicine specialist. Your vaginal discharge is typically a mix of normal sloughing skin cells, bacteria, and mucus. Douching or vaginal steaming can overly clean your vulva and can cause irritation, itching, and bacterial or yeast infection.

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Yoni Pearls

Yoni Pearls are cloth-wrapped bundles of herbs that people insert into their vagina or uterus to cleanse or detox. They are also known as herbal tampons or vaginal detox pearls. People who sell them claim that they help with a variety of health concerns, including toxin build-up, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and fibroids or cysts. However, there is zero research to support any of these claims. Plus, yoni pearls can be uncomfortable and may cause serious complications.

The main reason people use yoni pearls is because of genital shame, Streicher says. Thanks to marketing, media, and misogyny, we’re often led to believe that our vaginas smell bad or are dirty, so we feel the need to “detox” them with products like yoni pearls or vaginal steaming.

But the truth is that your vulva already cleans itself. And if you stick something in there for too long, it can throw off your natural bacterial balance, leading to infection and even pelvic inflammatory disease. Additionally, the thick grey discharge that yoni pearl users often show off on social media as a sign that it’s worked can actually be a sign of infection—not that the yoni pearls have cleansed your vulva. It can also indicate that you have a yeast infection, which requires medical attention. So, skip the yoni pearls and talk to your doctor instead.

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Feminine Sprays

Walk down the feminine hygiene aisle at any drugstore, and you’ll see a wide range of products meant to keep your genitals fresh, clean, and even “detoxified.” But while some may help reduce odor, they can also cause irritation or worsen bacterial infections, gynecologist Donnica Moore tells SELF. And some, like vaginal pearls (also called yoni pearls) or the clothed “pearls” of Goddess Detox, could even damage your delicate vulva tissue.

Your inner vulva does need regular cleansing, but that happens naturally by way of your own natural discharge. That, along with the presence of healthy bacteria and an acidic pH, helps protect the vulva from unhealthy bacteria and other issues. And a little self-cleansing is all you need—in fact, trying a vaginal detox could actually be harmful.

That’s why the experts recommend skipping all products that claim to cleanse your intimate area, including those you find in the drugstore and even some that are advertised as natural. Instead, use a gentle, gynecologist-approved wash. One option is this Vagisil intimate wash, which balances the pH of the vulva and removes odor with a blend of gentle, effective ingredients. It’s also hypoallergenic, gynecologist-tested, and free of fragrance chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. Or try this soothing, hydrating rosewater spray that’s safe for the most delicate areas. (It’s also great for preventing stinky feet!) For an extra-fresh feeling, you can even sleep in cotton underwear (just be sure to change it regularly). Then, go commando during the day and wear loose, comfortable cotton underwear at night, too.

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Water

The vagina (aka the vulva, lady parts or punani) is an amazing part of the body. It is a self-cleaning system that naturally has an acidic pH and discourages the growth of unhealthy bacteria, yeast or other infections. It also cleans itself regularly with its own discharge, which is usually clear but may have a tinge of pink or reddish brown during your period.

It doesn’t need a detox, but there are some things you can do to help keep it healthy. A big one is drinking plenty of water, especially if you’re having a heavy flow or are on your period. Another thing you can do is add some apple cider vinegar to your daily routine. This has antibacterial and antiseptic properties to help fight off any bacteria that might be causing odor, plus it’s a natural deodorizer.

Also, try to eat more leafy greens, as they are great for the vulva. Foods like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collards are high in vitamins and minerals that help prevent dryness that can cause bacterial growth or odor. Another good addition is neem, which has been shown to have anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. Adding it to your diet can help prevent infection and reduce itching in the area. Finally, a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oil or a vegan supplemental product, is great for vaginal health as well.