Cleaning all the bits
November 28, 2018 12:53 PM   Subscribe

A question for the female-bodied of Metafilter who have showers with fixed heads: how do you get your bits properly clean?

I am on holiday and staying in a place which has a fixed shower head over a bath. Because of the arrangement and narrowness of the bath/shower head, I am finding it really difficult to clean properly between my legs, especially the rinsing part. My current strategy is to use a wet washcloth (facewasher) and repeatedly swab and rinse the washcloth, then swab again, repeating until I feel I have done the best I can. But I don't feel clean and things do seem extra unpleasant in the area.

Constraints: I will not be installing a new shower head which is on a hose (this is what I have at home and why I am unfamiliar with coping mechanisms for my current kind of shower arrangement). Please don't suggest that. Also I am large and not hugely flexible with knees and lower back particularly, so any solutions involving yoga-type positions are unlikely to work for me. Sitting/squatting, for example, are right out, since even if my knees permitted such nonsense, there is not enough room to do so.
posted by Athanassiel to Grab Bag (29 answers total)
I just kinda.... catch the water in cupped hands and splash? I have never not had a fixed shower head so I've never even thought about the possibility that there's another way! Just direct the water to your bits until there's no more soap residue.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2018 [28 favorites]

It‘s going to be one of those questions, isn‘t it.

Ok, so...I use my hands. Like, this is what Cthulhu gave you fingers and a cupped palm for, yes? Stand. spread legs a little. Catch water with palm, apply to bits, then use shower gel/whatever of choice. Cup hands again a couple of times and splash/rub on bits.

(also, state your allegiance: what direction are you facing)
posted by Omnomnom at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2018 [34 favorites]

Splash upward with after cupping water in your hand.

posted by hydra77 at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

With a bit of skill and high water pressure you can also let the water blast from your palm right at your bits.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:03 PM on November 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


You... pigeon toe your feet, squeeze your butt cheeks, and tilt your pelvis back as best you can, line up/adjust the shower head so the water is hitting in the right zip code, and do the rest with your hands. Scrub vigorously with hand as needed.
posted by telepanda at 1:04 PM on November 28, 2018 [11 favorites]

I’ve always had a fixed shower head.
Rub soap on hands, wash with hands between legs, rinse hands, collect water in cupped hands and splash upwards until fully rinsed. No sitting or squatting needed!
posted by bookmammal at 1:08 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I don't use any kind of soap or cleanser on my vulva. It depends on the shower but most of the time I can pivot the shower head down and then just step back/turn around so that it rinses my pubic mons and buttcrack. Lifting my stomach or cheeks out of the way helps.
posted by muddgirl at 1:09 PM on November 28, 2018 [10 favorites]

Yeah, the key here is to let the soap suds do a lot of work around the crack, and a good rinse will ensure that the rest of the region is clean. No need to sully a washcloth or loofah or whatever. Just suds and water and hands.
posted by witchen at 1:10 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

1. Face shower
2. Tilt pelvis
3. Aim water stream at the upper level of targeted wash area and use a combination of gravity and cupped hands to allow the same water to then flow over lower level.
posted by HotToddy at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've had a fixed shower head for the last few years. I just wet my whole body, and that gets my pelvis wet enough that I can run a bar of soap over it and lather up my whole body. I then do the whole shampoo-conditioner thing for my hair before worrying about rinsing my pelvis; soap everywhere else on my body has generally rinsed off by then.

I am Team Away when it comes to shower direction facing, but to rinse soap off my vulva, I turn around and face towards the shower stream for the 15 seconds it takes to get sufficiently desudsed down there. I use my hands to try to redirect the stream of water to that area in a more focused way, since the lowest the shower stream could actually hit on my body is just below chest level. I have to go by feel a bit, but I can tell from the texture when my vulva's properly rinsed and I'm done.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 1:23 PM on November 28, 2018

This is such a delightful question because most American showers have fixed shower heads, so this is totally normal for us. Anyway, yeah, I suspect the not feeling clean part is psychological... or else we Americans are super dirty, which is definitely a possibility!

Use water and soap to get your hands soapy and then scrub with your hands. If I feel extra un-fresh, I might use a washcloth on my feet, armpits, etc. Then rinse while the water dribbles down all over you, including aforementioned cupping of hands, if need be. You can also use your hands to move your butt cheeks apart so water dribbles in there, too. I imagine there's some leaning and tilting involved too.

I do this with my back to the shower head, maybe twisting once to get the last bits of soap off of my front.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:24 PM on November 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

I use a Japanese skin towel.

posted by BostonTerrier at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Really truly, unless you are growing a little colony of actual, non-imaginary mushrooms down there, you're clean enough. Suds up some soap in your palms and use that to wash between your legs (as in your inner thighs and outer genitals) and your butt, then rinse and wash your vulval area with water. (You can cup your hands to splash a bit of water upwards for this, which is what I usually do.) The end. You don't even need a washcloth! Don't be anxious about not getting clean enough; vaginas are basically self-cleaning creatures, and unless you're doing something very out of the ordinary (rolling in glitter or earthworms or a vat of sour cream), your worries are almost certainly psychological.
posted by tapir-whorf at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2018 [19 favorites]

A little soap goes a long way. Also try using a fresh washcloth just for rinsing/wiping the soap off rather than putting soap on the washcloth if that’s what you’re doing.
posted by bleep at 1:39 PM on November 28, 2018

What telepanda said. In this case, it's definitely all in the hips.
posted by Everydayville at 1:42 PM on November 28, 2018

Huh. I've had a fixed shower head my entire adult life and it's never occurred to me that this could lend to dirtier-feeling bits!

My routine is to use a specific lady-bits soap (Summer's Eve) to get all up in there, and then (for me) there's enough run-off water that makes it down there to rinse off the soap that I feel perfectly cleansed, no cupping/splashing required. Sometimes I'll hike a leg up on the edge of the tub to open up for more water flow. YMMV
posted by blueberrypuffin at 1:44 PM on November 28, 2018

Quick scrub with a flannel (washcloth?) or sponge, soapy or just wet. Or foam up a bar of soap on the old pubes and pass underneath. Or just manually make sure the water running down the body also goes "underneath". Then thoroughly dry and talc (nowadays cornstarch). Job done.
posted by runincircles at 1:52 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

As a woman of great largeness, I find that being able to raise one foot helps me get water to the right place, so I made my parents get a small plastic stool from the dollar store for their stand-up shower. At my own home, which has a bathtub, I put my foot on the edge of the tub for the same purpose.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:17 PM on November 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

If you really aren’t feeling quite clean down there, why don’t you invest a few bucks in a peri bottle? Probably available at a pharmacy near you, and specifically made for squirting water in your nether regions.

(But I just use my hands, too.)
posted by Andrhia at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

If the shower flow is weak, I use a 16oz plastic cup to fill and slosh in the general direction to augment the flow, one foot on the side of the tub.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:41 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Face shower head, put right foot up on tub edge, tilt pelvis towards water flow until it hits the area, spread labia and use hand to rinse with water all over labia and vulva. Later in shower (for some reason) do the same process but with left foot propped up.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:51 PM on November 28, 2018

I do not have enough room to face the shower head and spread my legs enough to use the cupped hand method, otherwise I would. I have to pretty much stand sideways. Water cupped in my hand tends to run out before I can get it where it needs to go. But the plastic cup idea sounds perfect, I will try it tomorrow.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:02 PM on November 28, 2018

You could just use a bottle / cup + the sink to have a makeshift downward bidet (whilst seated on the toilet).
posted by batter_my_heart at 4:32 PM on November 28, 2018

I’ve always had a fixed shower head.
Rub soap on hands, wash with hands between legs, rinse hands, collect water in cupped hands and splash upwards until fully rinsed.

This is me also. I sort of cup my hand right in front of my crotch area to splash water right there, not carry it any place. I don't particularly spread my legs. I am an average size person. I think a lot of Americans may use washcloths for this as well.
posted by jessamyn at 4:45 PM on November 28, 2018

Going on your latest update, maybe actually a squirt bottle would be an idea?
posted by runincircles at 4:51 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

...I am boggling at all you folks who use soap on your bits. I was always told that that leads to yeast infections and such, and to use water only!

So, wet hands, cup and splash, scrub around with fingers, rinse similarly, move on with my life.
posted by 168 at 5:09 PM on November 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

I think I just use water that’s already running down my body from standing under the shower head (small shower stall here.) Is it possible that you have some additional issue (BV or yeast) that’s giving you that not-so-fresh feeling?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:03 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am also of the "face forward, use hands if I need it" group. But something that I have also done is use a second non-soapy shower puff thingy as a sponge to soak up a lot of water that I then squeeze where desired. It's easier than a cup to keep track of in a shower and usually has a loop handle so I can hang it up somewhere and then there's no bending to grab it. You could easily pick one up that's a different color in any grocery store so you know that's the no-soap one. Also they compress well so it's easy to travel with.

(Are you on your trip that you made an Ask about? I hope everything is going okay and you're feeling well so far!)
posted by Mizu at 6:31 PM on November 28, 2018

posted by The corpse in the library at 8:52 AM on December 4, 2018

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