Can feminine wipes help prevent UTIs?

Aug 31, 2018 | Daphne Kim

Women get UTIs ten times more frequently than men do, so this makes good hygiene essential to preventing UTIs. For women, vaginal health can be tough to maintain since your genital area is close to your urethra, making women more susceptible to bacterial infections. Feminine wipes can be helpful for keeping that area clean. Some wipes can help with itching (a common symptom of yeast infections) and many help prevent the spread of bacteria (which can result in a UTI). So are feminine wipes worth considering?

Can feminine wipes help prevent UTIs?

Managing your feminine hygiene is one of the best ways for you to prevent getting an infection in your bladder. Keeping your private areas clean helps control the bacteria that can easily enter your body. Luckily there are a lot of products out there that can help you. Among other types of feminine hygiene products like cleansing sprays and creams, feminine wipes have gentle hygienic benefits for your genital area and are especially recommended for situations such as:

  • After exercise; make sure to change out of sweaty clothes too!
  • Before and after sex. Sex is a common trigger for UTIs
  • When in humid weather, or when you're sweating a lot; bacteria grow easily in damp conditions, increasing your risk of getting an infection
  • When you're traveling and need to clean after extended periods of time
  • When you’re on your period; be extra cautionary and wipe thoroughly.

Do feminine wipes help prevent infections?

Feminine wipes are pre-moistened towelettes that hydrate and clean your skin and surface genital area that is easily susceptible to infection. They can be used like regular towelettes, but most feminine wipes have chemicals that act as antibacterial agents. They claim to help reduce odors and balance the pH of your vaginal area, which is part of your body’s defense against bacteria that enter the body through your genital area.

Using feminine wipes are not necessary to regularly maintain your vaginal hygiene and most are not recommended for frequent daily usage. A study in Canada found that of the many participants who said they purchased feminine hygiene products, most reported having previously experienced symptoms of an infection or had one. Although it doesn’t prove that these products helped or aggravated their symptoms, it suggested that women may be encouraged to buy hygiene products if they’re worried about having infections or experience symptoms of one.

Can feminine hygiene products cause more harm than good?

Feminine wipes are popular because they’re convenient and are made for surface-level cleaning; it can be less harsh to use compared to other soaps and cleansers that have more direct chemical application.

It’s important to remember that some other things you are recommended to do to keep your genital area clean:

  • Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom
  • Wash before and after having sex

One concern is that these products don’t do anything to promote hygiene; some studies even suggest that these products may be harming bacteria in your vagina that protect it from the outside. Using irritating feminine products may result in lowering your vagina’s organic defense against infections and thus increase your risk for getting infections like UTIs. It's suggested that you limit using feminine products with chemicals that could risk aggravating symptoms of your infection. 

What kind of wipes can I buy?

You should research as you look for the right kind of feminine wipes you may need for your vaginal health. A lot of brands advertise themselves as being anti-itch, anti-odor, or are specifically made to help relieve itching and other symptoms of common infections. Most wipes are for sanitation; others are specifically made to clean bacteria in your genital area or prevent other symptoms of infection.

Depending on what you need, there are a number of feminine wipe brands you can consider. Here are a few products that we ranked to help you find the best product for your hygiene!

What are some popular wipes?

Vagisil: Anti-itch Medicated Wipes

Promoted benefits: Anti-itch; Odor block; kills the bacteria; for painful itches and infections

Review: Vagisil sells feminine wipes that are specifically made to treat painful or burning itches. It claims to provide instant itch relief and uses odor block. Vagisil has been used by people with yeast infections who experienced itching and other UTI symptoms. Vagisil’s Anti-Itch Medicated Wipes are sold along with another line of products, including cleansing cream.

Always: ALWAYS Spring Blossom/Fresh and Clean Wipes

Promoted benefits: Clean, refreshing quality; light fresh smell; Absorbency; good for quick cleansing

Review: Most reviews were happy with the wipes which made them feel refreshed after use. Another good benefit was that some said they would recommend it for women to use during their period. ALWAYS sells these “powerful” clean wipes in two different scents, Spring Blossom and Fresh and Clean. Although not made for treating itches or prevent infections, it ’s a standard hygienic product that is great for an extra cleanse.

Summer’s Eve: Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths

Promoted benefits: Clinically Tested Safe Scents™; Removes odor-causing bacteria; pH-Balanced; Free from dyes and parabens; Gently cleanses & freshens

Review: Summer’s Eve has a very extensive collection of cleansing products and wipes. Their Cleansing Cloths are popular for removing odors (they have the largest variety of different scented products) and feeling refreshing after use. They promote their products as being able to balance the pH of your skin and vaginal area; this is said to help with anti-itch relief, as itching may be caused by an imbalance of bacteria and pH in that area. This is a very popular item.

Dr. Soother: Dr. Soother’s Healthy Wipes

Promoted benefits: pH balancing; For everyday use; Gets rid of excess oils that cause bacteria

Review: Dr. Soother’s Healthy Wipes also claim to help balance pH levels and sooth itching with all-natural products. Their products remove excess oil on the skin that also cause infections  Dr. Soother’s promotes their product to be safe to for daily use, something not usually recommended for most cleansing cream products that have many chemicals in them. Dr. Soother’s is designed for everyday use and claims to help with symptoms of UTIs and other simple infections.

Feminine wipes aren’t necessary, but feminine hygiene is.

Feminine wipes are not necessary but they can be helpful in maintaining good feminine hygiene. The main concern with using feminine wipes are possible side-effects of the antibacterial chemicals used on the wipes. Ask your health care professional what your safe options are for both preventing UTIs and promoting good vaginal hygiene.

Other ways recommended to help you maintain good feminine hygiene include:

  • Change your underwear daily or often; reduce your risk for infection by changing into fresh, clean clothes
  • Avoid irritating feminine products, especially if they aggravate your symptoms
  • Avoid harsh soap or cleaning products for your lower areas
  • Shower and bathe regularly and don’t forget to clean your genital area

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