“For vaginal health up inside, you don’t need to do anything,” Dr. Jennifer Gunter, Bay Area OB-GYN, tells BuzzFeed Life. “Leave it alone. It’s like a self-cleaning oven.” But instead of an oven cleaner, you’ve got tons of good bacteria called lactobacilli working to keep everything spotless.
“They make the vagina acidic so that it makes it difficult for pathogens to grow,” explains Gunter. “And they produce different substances that can be toxic to different bacteria and viruses.” Basically, they do all the cleaning for you, so they really don’t need your help. (FYI: We’re strictly talking about the vagina here — not the vulva, which is the outer layer of your genitals. We’ll get to that in a minute.)