Hi Anon! We’re glad you like the blog!
To wash your vulva (the outside area around your vagina), it’s healthiest to use water and a little unscented soap if you want (only on the outside). Washing more than once a day is unnecessary and can put you at risk for infections. Wearing cotton underwear and loser clothing allows your vulva to breathe, which can help with odor. It’s also healthiest to avoid douches (which can get rid of the bacteria that help your vagina clean itself) and scented soaps, pads, and tampons (which can cause infections and make your vagina produce more discharge). You may also want to try changing tampons and pads more frequently.
Some people say that changing your diet can alter how vaginas smell, but there doesn’t seem to be any hard scientific evidence out there. Fruits (especially pineapple) and pineapple and cranberry juices supposedly improve smell. Meat, fish, onions, garlic, coffee, and cigarettes are said to make you smell less pleasant.
Sometimes an infection (like an STI or a bacterial or yeast infection) can cause your vagina to have a strong, unpleasant scent. If you don’t have any other symptoms this is likely not the cause, but if you’re worried you can ask a healthcare provider.
In the end, chances are you don’t need to be concerned. Our society makes people with vulvas really self conscious about how they smell. But, as long as you’re washing healthily and don’t have a infection, you probably smell just fine. You’re not missing some vulva-care secret that everyone else has. All vulvas/vaginas are going to have some kind of scent, and that’s healthy! They’re human body parts and they won’t smell like flowers.
Sarah, Sex Educator