Butt cleaning questions
September 14, 2010 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Butt cleaning questions inside. If you think this might gross you out, don't read it.

Sometimes I have uncomfortable itching between my butt cheeks. I have seen a dermatologist about this. He told me it is common among men and nothing to worry about. It's still uncomfortable and gross and I'd rather avoid it if possible. Tucks medicated pads seem to reduce the problem, but it usually comes back. What else can I do?

I think part of the problem is that the area is just hard to keep clean. Part of this problem is the hair there. Stuff sticks to it and it's impossible to get rid of it without showering or using a wet wipe. I've thought about shaving it but I have a few questions. How do I do this? Electric? Safety razor? It seems like the process would be awkward. Will it look weird if I only shave in the crack and not anywhere else on my hairy body? Will it be really uncomfortable if I don't keep up the shaving so regularly and the hair starts to grow back out?

While the pads are medicated, one of their benefits is that they help get the area really clean. The baby wipes I tried weren't as effective. Is there something that works better, or perhaps a brand of baby wipes that works well?

Also, can you suggest a kind of toilet paper? The less-soft toilet paper irritates the problem, but the really soft stuff tends to shred when I am using it, making a big mess, and sometimes sticking to the hair.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (59 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
CVS Baby Wipes (or your local supermarket/drugstore variety).
posted by not_on_display at 8:35 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Time your poops for right before you shower.
posted by rjacobs at 8:36 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

(ooops, just noticed you mentioned baby wipes. Just saying, when the apocalypse/big economic downturn comes, I will miss CVS baby wipes. They work like a charm for me, and easy to tear in half so you can use half as many... and I'll shut up now.)
posted by not_on_display at 8:37 PM on September 14, 2010

i just cured my itching issues, though i am not male but wonderfully hairy, by purchasing a clipper! night and day, brother
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:42 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm of the opinion that shaving and the alcohol in tucks pads actually make things itchier. The last thing that you need back there is dry skin and ingrown hairs. So, if you've talked to a doctor and have ruled out hemmorhoids, what you need more than cleanliness is lubrication. Preparation H is greasy, so it helps things to move around without skin tags and such agrravating your tender nethers. But simple vaseline or sesame oil also prevent chafing, and therefore keep everything nice and calm and ignorable.
posted by pickypicky at 8:46 PM on September 14, 2010

There's nothing wrong with wet wipes. We live in the future, dammit and the future demands clean, itch-free bottoms!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:47 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

You can do what folks in the Middle East do and manually water-cleanse your butt each time you take a dump. From what I understand, this is especially good for hairier regions. This should be done while sitting on the toilet (use a bottle, pitcher, or cup of water for this) and aided with your fingers, repeated until thoroughly cleaned. Finish with toilet paper.

NB: This method produces a clean butt and poopy fingers.

If you are not down with poopy fingers (I am not down with poopy fingers), I highly recommend Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper. If you are down with poopy fingers, I highly recommend soap.
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 PM on September 14, 2010 [8 favorites]

Also, try baby powder if you suffer from even the milder forms of swamp ass. Moisture is not your friend down there.
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

manually water-cleanse your butt each time you take a dump. From what I understand, this is especially good for hairier regions. This should be done while sitting on the toilet (use a bottle, pitcher, or cup of water for this) and aided with your fingers, repeated until thoroughly cleaned.

They make strap-on bidets too (strap-on the toilet, if that isn't clear), which can be jiggered to shoot pressurized streams of water directly at the bung region. It's like a little ass shower every time you poop. Though I recommend something stronger than TP to dry it off with.
posted by carsonb at 8:56 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

We have one of those telephone showerheads (like these though I don't know what brand we have). It seems to provide unparalleled freshness and cuts down on irritation. In the summer I often shower twice a day for this reason. I also recommend using an oil soap like Dr. Bronners liquid/bars as opposed to a typical detergent soap... in my buttly experience they are much easier on the skin.

I have also heard people rave about Toto Washlet toilet products, which wash your bum with water after each B.M. Never tried one myself but I gather that urban Japanese regard our toilet technology as sort of nineteenth century.
posted by mindsound at 8:56 PM on September 14, 2010

'bidet attachment' link
posted by carsonb at 8:59 PM on September 14, 2010


I love it when I get a hotel with a bidet.

Or just get your ass waxed.
posted by orthogonality at 9:06 PM on September 14, 2010

When I lived in Egypt I used the water technique (I pretty much had to; it was weird at first but by the end of a year or so I missed it when I came home). They have a little pipe in the toilet for this purpose. It actually is pretty pleasant, especially in very hot weather. I can't recall getting your particular affliction at any point during my stay in Egypt, even in the hottest summer months, so I assume it works.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:07 PM on September 14, 2010

Seconding baby powder and also, when you finish bathing, try thoroughly drying the area with a hair dryer on the cold setting. Then apply your baby powder, then your undies & pants.
posted by hansbrough at 9:12 PM on September 14, 2010

Have you considered waxing? I know some dudes won't do it, but frankly I think it's worth the time and expense to not have to worry about this problem at all.
posted by unannihilated at 9:34 PM on September 14, 2010

In the words of my SO, you basically need to cut down your ass forest. A clipper will work fine.
posted by kthxbi at 9:42 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Um, beard trimmer. Taking showers helps, for a limited time.
posted by mezamashii at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2010

Instead of baby powder, try corn starch. Also you won't smell like a teenage girl (no offense).

Try trimming; shaving is difficult and will cause irritation from the stubble. Even if you shave all the time it's hard to get a really smooth shave and then--stubble right away ow ow ow.

Trimming with scissors could be easy enough if you have a partner/assistant. Waxing...ouch and expensive. I would try trimming first.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2010

For two and a half years I used these cheap and durable Ikea Krama washcloths to wipe a poopy bum. They were soft but remarkably efficient for wiping -- baby wipes do not even come close -- wore like iron -- came out of my front-loader sparkling clean. I have on occasion reached for them myself for extra bottom spiffing, having had them on hand and having had a place for them to go when used and all. Kid is out of diapers and I am looking at purchasing more, not getting rid of the cloths... Well recommended if your access to a washing machine is good.
posted by kmennie at 9:47 PM on September 14, 2010

Beard trimmer.

Also, don't be afraid to give your wipesmanship a visual inspection every so often.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:54 PM on September 14, 2010

First, don't be bashful with the wiping. The only times I've ever experienced this is when my wiping was, shall we say, half-assed.

Second, nthing baby wipes. Again, go deep. A moment's private indignity is well worth avoiding hours of agony.

Lastly, if you want a water wash solution, try out a Toto Washlet add-on for your john. Don't know if they only fit on Toto toilets, but hey. They're the best toilets out there anyway.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:00 PM on September 14, 2010

If you shave, you only want to trim, otherwise you'll get stubble, which is not good. Also, you'll want to do so after a shower and thorough drying, so your beard trimmer, clippers, or scissors (careful now) stay clean.

You can do this blind or with a mirror, and it gets much easier the second or third try.

Unless you expect others to see between your cheeks and comment unkindly on your ass-coif, you really don't need to worry about doing a salon-level job. The goal is just to cut down on the thicket so there's less surface area to clean.

You'll have better hygiene and it will take less effort. Both of these will help reduce your skin irritation.
posted by zippy at 10:08 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Keep the hair short using beard trimmers or a pair of scissors.

Popular in the Philippines or use a flexible shower head.

Use lots of soap and it's practically the same as being in the shower. If you're worried about the process, you can wipe with toilet paper, rinse, lather up your hands and wash, then rinse again. Use a little more toilet paper to dry.

Don't wipe the soap on your butt. That's not cool.
posted by just.good.enough at 10:29 PM on September 14, 2010

Several years ago, I experienced the itchy ass thing. I thought perhaps I wasn't cleaning well enough, but fastidious cleaning didn't seem to alleviate the problem. Fuzziness wasn't much of an issue. After a few months, with off and on itchiness, I came to the realization what the problem was while in the shower during a particularly bad flare up. I noticed soapy water was causing some burning. Obviously, there was some broken skin and inflammation, and I had seen this sort of thing before with my two kids... when they were infants... diaper rash! Basically a fungal infection, it went away after a couple days using over the counter anti fungal cream left over from when the kids needed it. I have not had it return since, since I've been more aware of not only the cleanliness, but also the humidity down there. I find when conditions cause more dampness, I simply find the dime to dry off, and sometimes powder, down there.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:48 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

That is... time to dry off...
posted by 2N2222 at 10:49 PM on September 14, 2010

Wet wipes and frequent nether-parts washing (with soap) all the way. After all, if you somehow got poop on your arm, would you just rub it with some paper and then go about your day? Didn't think so.

Cottonelle makes individually packaged wet wipes that fit discreetely in your back pocket if you need to use the facilities at work or elsewhere.
posted by halogen at 10:53 PM on September 14, 2010

No shaving with a razor, ever. It irritates the skin and all that germ/sweat action down there will dramatically aggravate your problem. Use a bodygroomer; unlike hair clippers the bodygroomer won't nick your parts. Also, see if switching underwear formats helps (boxer to brief or vice versa).

For the chocolate starfish itself: use the most powerful narrow stream you have on your showerhead attachment, plus a good strong soap (Dr. Bronner's Peppermint). Or baby wipes, if you're away from home. Also consider leaving a few sheets of TP folded up and lodged in the fold to keep the cheeks dry and to prevent them from rubbing against each other.

Use cornstarch or talc to keep dry. Any time you go to the bathroom, go to the stall to clean up, powder down, and replace TP.
posted by holterbarbour at 12:33 AM on September 15, 2010

see: this in conjunction with this
posted by jannw at 1:05 AM on September 15, 2010

I shave with a safety razor, and don't have any problems with stubble, but it is not for the faint of butt.
posted by benzenedream at 1:27 AM on September 15, 2010

I will never again live in a home without a bidet (the attachment kind that sits on top of the toilet).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:08 AM on September 15, 2010

Shaving in the crack area has the risk of ingrown hairs as well as razor burn and stubble.

One of my friends is insanely happy to use the Toto washlet, which is installed on his toilet.
posted by thatdawnperson at 4:24 AM on September 15, 2010

Gold Bond medicated powder is like baby powder^2. If you are having particularly itchy times, go for the gold! Then you can go back to just regular baby powder after two or three days.
posted by Grither at 4:33 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Along the lines of powder-based suggestions--if you are having some sort of skin infection, as 2N2222 suggests, then cornstarch-based powders will make it worse rather than better. Cornstarch will feed the infection, whereas talc won't.

Gold Bond may be helpful, but if you have a fungal skin infection your best bet is one of the OTC produces intended for athlete's foot or jock itch. Tinactin, Desenex, stuff like that. There's a product called Zeasorb which is like the nuclear option for fungal skin infections, but it's sometimes hard to find.

Sounds like a very unpleasant problem--hope you find a good solution!
posted by Sublimity at 5:15 AM on September 15, 2010

Once you've had a Toto washlet or used a well equipped Japanese bathroom, you can't go back. it is not just the heated seat, but the remote control that will win you over with pressure adjustments, warm water and a warm air dryer. Unfortunately, this can be spendy. The other option is flushable wipes from either CVS or Cottonelle, which are available through Costco.

Unless you are good at defoliation techniques, I would avoid self administered deforestation. Now if you are good about having waxing done by a professional then go that route since in grown hairs are awful and let us be frank, will not get you the ladies or the laddies.

Look at the other suggestions as well, but pleasure and hygiene do not need to be exclusive of the other.
posted by jadepearl at 5:32 AM on September 15, 2010

Oh yeah..Gold Bond Medicated Extra Strength is a must have, especially if you're a desk jockey. That stuff helped solve a rather nasty issue some years ago. plus, it leaves your butt minty fresh!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:46 AM on September 15, 2010

Don't be discouraged -- shaving isn't that hard. Anus hair doesn't grow that quickly. If you can manage to shave your face, you can manage this. If you have hemorrhoid issues, it will be a little dicier, but use a mirror, learn to spread, and do it :) It would be wise to use a different razor for it, than the one for your face. Shave in the shower :)

Also, tp is for the birds as other mentioned. It is rough! If you are having irritation, make sure that whatever you use is unmedicated, unscented, and in general gentle. I prefer the shower myself, and have synced my shower schedule with my *other* schedule, which is much easier to do when one works from home!
posted by gregglind at 6:10 AM on September 15, 2010

If you do decide to shave, use lots of razors (cheaper if you have to). It's key that they're sharp.

Dr. Bronner's is a great suggestion for gentle soap. Their almond soap is lovely. Never tried their peppermint.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:19 AM on September 15, 2010

I see someone mentioned baby powder, I am yet to try it but Anti-Monkey Butt is supposedly the masculine equivalent.

Wet wipes are amazing, dry for removing the solids, wet for removing stuck on grime and then dry again for a polish.

And as for shaving, go for it, once a week, gently does it.
posted by chrisbucks at 6:21 AM on September 15, 2010

Lastly, if you want a water wash solution, try out a Toto Washlet add-on for your john. Don't know if they only fit on Toto toilets, but hey. They're the best toilets out there anyway.

Toto Washlet is the most awesome invention ever. Get one, immediately.
posted by odinsdream at 6:37 AM on September 15, 2010

BTW - Washlets don't just fit on Toto toilets, but you do need to carefully measure before you select a model.
posted by odinsdream at 6:39 AM on September 15, 2010

The idea of recommending shaving or waxing in that area to someone who already has an itch problem is diabolical. I wish people wouldn't answer questions with the first guesses that pop into their heads.

Do not use razors or hot wax or anything like that down there, that is serious overkill. As others have said, skimming the area with a beard trimmer or carefully with scissors to take things down to a clean, manageable fuzz will be more than adequate.
posted by hermitosis at 6:40 AM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

The poor woman's bidet - I'm sure it works on man butt too, despite the pretty purple.
posted by cindywho at 6:58 AM on September 15, 2010

Word to the wise from experience:
Be careful with the Gold Bond powder and the Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap.
I found that the extremely tender skin in the nether regions we speak of are susceptible to "OMG! Peppermint and menthol burny!" sensations after being applied.

posted by Drasher at 7:15 AM on September 15, 2010

Seconding CORN STARCH. Corn Starch is eminently superior to baby powder (talc) or Gold Bond IMHO. It will keep you cool and dry.
posted by MasonDixon at 7:42 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding or thirding Gold Bond. Works wonders!
posted by brand-gnu at 8:06 AM on September 15, 2010

Wet wipes are great, but they clog your plumbing.
posted by mkultra at 8:14 AM on September 15, 2010

My GP prescribed some of this in a cream for occasional use and it's been helpful.
posted by doctord at 8:41 AM on September 15, 2010

Baby wipes DO work, but be careful with them and your plumbing - they can clog up the works if you flush them! Especially if you have old sewage pipes that might have been infiltrated with tree roots and such. The local sewage folks have put out warnings asking people NOT to flush baby wipes, as they are not meant to be flushed and don't break up like TP.

If you're in that situation and prefer not to have to deal with alternate disposal of used wipes, look for the flushable wipes (the Charmin brand are nice). They are made to break up and not cause plumbing problems.

Also, trimming. And after showers and towel-drying, a good blast of cool or tolerably warm air with the hair dryer can make sure things are no longer swampy before you get dressed.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:40 AM on September 15, 2010

Whatever you do, do NOT shave it. I did that once when I was in my teens and society's 'you are a woman and therefore should not have any hair on your body except on your head' thing had gotten to me. Worst. Idea. Ever. Difficult? Yes. Prickly? Yes. Itchy? Yes. Moist? Yes. Don't do it. Sorry, I don't have any other suggestions for you.
posted by delicate_dahlias at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would (and do) preferentially wax rather than shave, because inside-the-butt-cheeks stubble is the worst.

Honestly, I've never found that specific area very painful (if I had to pick a "most painful spot", it would be the backs of the ankles, and my waxers seem to agree with me.)

If trimming works for you, that's great. But if you opt for complete removal, you're more likely to regret a razor than wax.

And seriously, folks, hair removal wax is not "hot". It's warm. It's even pleasant, until it comes off.
posted by endless_forms at 9:52 AM on September 15, 2010

I have this and love it. I don't use the closest setting. (Note: Unlike some, I can't wax or shave too close there, or I get a SERIOUS rash as soon as the stubble starts coming in.)

Also, I second using a removable shower head to get very clean in the morning.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:43 PM on September 15, 2010

Meet your new best friend - check out the reviews. We've had ours a year now, and couldn't be happier or cleaner. It's got a powerful spray, the 'Low' setting is more than adequate - 'High' is downright penetrative. We've saved on TP - you just use it to blot dry. (As I woman I can also attest that it's awesome for period week.) The only downside is that any other time you have to use another toilet, going back to paper-only feels downright barbaric by comparison.
posted by Lou Stuells at 1:24 PM on September 15, 2010

My bowel habits are very regular (soon after rising in the morning), so it is trivial for me to jump in the shower afterwards and perform waist-down cleansing with soap and warm water. As a "jungle" butt-crack person, this solves myriad problems including itching, odour and stains.

There's another reason to use actual soap to clean oneself, and it is indeed difficult to overstate the mutually appreciated benefits of my partner knowing that I am always clean. TP just doesn't make this possible, shaved or not.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:16 PM on September 15, 2010

I guess I'll jump in here and throw in my standard answer in this type of thread. Start ingesting pure psyllium husk at least one time every day. It firms up the poop so that it all comes out in solid chunks. Wiping is basically a courtesy at that point (although I wipe and use baby wipes regardless, thankyouverymuch). Plus, fiber is good for you in other ways like preventing colon cancer and stuff...
posted by kookywon at 3:44 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you do decide to shave, use lots of razors (cheaper if you have to). It's key that they're sharp.

Dr. Bronner's is a great suggestion for gentle soap. Their almond soap is lovely. Never tried their peppermint.

Bronner's peppermint is the. absolute. last. thing. you want anywhere near your tender zones!!! I, uh, know from whence I speak.
posted by jgirl at 4:01 PM on September 15, 2010

Corn starch is cheap, and works really well.

Do not flush wipes unless you are certain the landlord will never know it was you.
posted by theora55 at 5:07 PM on September 15, 2010

This is another vote for the Toto Washlet or a similar bidet-type solution. Man I love that thing. I also love my removable shower head. You can wash any part of your body directly, with the added bonus of it being much easier to rinse out the tub when you clean your bathroom.

As for a toilet paper recommendation, I have found that Charmin Basic is the perfect balance of soft, strong, and non-linty, while also being relatively economical.
posted by wondermouse at 10:00 PM on September 15, 2010

jgirl, I guess it's different for girls. I don't feel clean unless I'm Dr. Bronner's Peppermint clean.
posted by holterbarbour at 11:41 PM on September 15, 2010

I joined MetaFilter just to answer this question. A clean butt is so important! I highly recommend using a little soap and water right after the deed. Here's what I do:

After pooping, I use soap to lather one hand, and clean my butt. Using my other clean, dry hand, I reach over and grab my removable showerhead (which I usually leave coiled around the tub faucet for easy access - don't have to stand up). I rinse butt and soapy hand, and then use a little t.p. to pat dry. Then I wash my hands. If you don't have a removable showerhead, I've been told that you can keep a small bucket near the toilet and fill it with rinsing water beforehand.

I'm giving this blow-by-blow account because I don't want you to make the rookie mistakes that I made when I first tried - namely, don't use both of your hands to soap and wash, because once you're done, you will be stuck stranded on the toilet with two unusable hands.

If your itchiness is due to cleanliness, I hope this helps.

So that's the cleaning part. You can also do some dietary prep work to make your business solid enough that it's easy to clean - make sure you're getting enough fiber in your diet! It makes a world of difference. In the past I have used a fiber powder stirred into my drinks and it was great. I've also tried fiber chews, but they didn't taste good at all.

Good luck.
posted by pluot at 5:05 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

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