Washing your vagina. It's a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation. Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day. Apr 17, - Feminine hygiene products increase your risk of infection. A gynecologist explains the best way to keep your vagina clean instead.