No, you shouldn’t start wearing your underwear in the shower to avoid cleaning your vagina, but you don’t need to scrub it like you would your armpits or your feet—a simple splash of water will do. “I always see folks who think they need to get a strong soap and scrub it, but plain water to rinse is more than enough. Scrubbing that area can make the vulva very raw and a scented soap can irritate it if you’re sensitive,” says Tosin Goje, obstetrician gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. If you do want to use some sort of cleansing agent, look for a mild unscented hypoallergenic soap and just use your hand, never a loofah or washcloth.
“For patients with a sensitive vagina, I always tell them to stop using pantyliners when they’re menstruating,” says Dr. Goje. “Sitting in a liner all day can irritate the vulva.” If you like to wear a liner instead of tampon when you’re just spotting, look for an all cotton liner and be sure to change it regularly.