How to Clean Your Butt: Safely Wash Your Anus

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD


Soap may be an important part of your bathing routine, but how do you wash your anus? The answer may surprise you. There should never be soap on (or in) the anus. The best way to safely wash your anus is to use plain water while you shower simply!

Anal health care, like other topics related to defecation and the anus, tends to be a taboo subject for many Americans. Parents do not teach their children how to clean themselves, and it’s not a topic you ask your friends about.

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This is why in this post, we will discuss how to wipe your butt according to a healthcare provider safely.

Butt soap: best soap for the anus is no soap!

The anus is remarkably self-cleaning and should be treated with as much care as other sensitive areas of the body. Traditional soaps and cleansers are too harsh to apply directly, especially combined with the rough act of scrubbing.

Many self-care products also have fragrances and other additives that can irritate the area. So while polishing yourself clean may be tempting, it may cause small cuts and fissures around the anus.

Plus, if you are already suffering from hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus), your symptoms can worsen due to soap.

How to properly clean your anus

The best way to clean your anus (if you must) is to simply use the water from our pipes, which will easily wash away any particulates without causing abrasions or irritation.

If you must use something other than plain water, witch hazel or Balneol can be used in conjunction with your bath or shower.

In between shower routines, you may resort to witch-hazel wipes or flushable baby wipes but be sure they are unscented and free of additives like alcohol.

Remember that even the best wipe can dry out your skin, so limit your use. And be aware of how hard you may be scrubbing because it’s easy to get carried away.

You may feel like wet wipes and water are not enough, but it is vital to remember that micro-abrasions can quickly turn into a bigger issue if you use harsh products down there or don’t wipe correctly.

How to wash your bum properly in the shower

The best way to wash your bum properly in the shower is to simply use a hand-held bidet or a warm and gentle shower spray to rinse your anal area.

As we’ve already mentioned, most soaps are too strong for this sensitive area and can irritate, so it’s best to avoid soap altogether.

Stay away from harsh products and procedures

We see it regularly in our Los Angeles colon and rectal practice. Patients pay hundreds of dollars for complicated anal cleaning procedures like anal bleaching or deep cleaning that only put them at risk for small tears, open cuts, itching, irritation, and other symptoms.

Even if you can’t see or feel the effects immediately, harsh products weaken and dry out the sensitive areas you’re paying so much to care for, coddle, and beautify.

The bottles of anal douching solution seen in feminine hygiene aisles may also be tempting, but these products have too much fragrance to be considered safe. You should never need anything stronger than lukewarm water to stay clean and comfortable.

Anal itching and irritation: a common colorectal complaint

Pruritis ani — anal itching — is usually not caused by poor hygiene. Instead, too much scrubbing with a rough washcloth or loofah damages the skin and causes irritation. Other causes may include the following:

  • Wiping with harsh toilet paper following frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Pieces of stool or toilet paper left in the skin fold around the anus after a bowel movement
  • Cleaning of the anus with very hot water or strong soaps
  • The use of scented toilet paper, harsh soap, douche products, or unnecessary ointments
  • Hemorrhoids
  • An infection of the anus or rectum or some colorectal diseases
  • Medicines, especially antibiotics that lead to diarrhea
  • In children, pinworms and other parasites are a common cause of anal itching

If your anal itching is getting out of hand, consider seeing a proctologist instead of using harsh products to wipe your butt.

When you see a proctologist, the doctor will discuss your symptoms before conducting a visual examination.

They may also need to conduct a manual exam, depending on your symptoms. Before they get to that point, however, they will try to learn as much as possible about your medical history, bowel habits, if you eat a high-fiber diet for colorectal health, and anal hygiene.

If you report regular scrubbing with strong soap, they may have a good idea of what is causing itching and irritation before they take a look.

What happens when you put soap in your anus?

Putting soap on your anus can lead to several issues in your anal area. Using the wrong soaps too often can cause dryness and irritation to any skin, and we recommend never using them on sensitive skin around the anus.

Bar soaps many people use in the shower often have a very high pH, much higher than your skin. Liquid soap, such as body wash or shower gel, may be somewhat better. However, most still have harsh ingredients that wash away your skin’s natural oils. With these oils gone, your skin gets dry and irritated.

Some of these ingredients include:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic colors
  • Artificial fragrances

In contrast, water cleans your skin without exposing you to these harsh ingredients and is the best option for keeping your anal area clean. Just say no to soap, but rinse regularly and pat dry.

Anal hygiene when you have external hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are bulging lumps in the opening of the anus. Sometimes, itching and feeling a lump coming from your rectum are the only symptoms you will see. A proctologist can diagnose external hemorrhoids by taking your history, discussing your symptoms, and doing a visual examination.

This clump of tissue can be painless, but it can make it difficult to perform good anal hygiene. However, some tips for maintaining good anal hygiene with external hemorrhoids include:

  • Using regular sitz baths for hemorrhoids to relieve pain and swelling
  • Showering instead of wiping after a bowel movement
  • Avoiding rubbing or scrubbing by using a hair dryer or patting the area dry
  • Applying medications or creams only when prescribed by your doctor

Do I have to clean the inside of my anus after pooping?

No, you do not need to clean the inside of your anus after pooping. The inside of the anus is full of bacteria, and any attempt to clean it can not only damage the muscle around it but also lead to urinary tract infections.

Should you wash your anus with soap?

No, you should not wash your anus with soap. Instead, use a hand-held bidet to spray the anal area with warm water. Follow this by dabbing the area dry with a soft cloth. If you must use soap to clean, make sure to use a non-scented, mild product and limit the amount and frequency of usage.

Does putting soap in your anus make you poop?

No, putting soap in your anus does not necessarily make you poop. It can make you constipated as it irritates the skin around the anus, which leads to pain and contraction of the anal sphincter (the muscle that surrounds the anus).

Can you put soap up your bum for constipation?

No, you should never put soap up your bum. It is a dangerous practice that can weaken and damage the skin around the anus. Furthermore, and more importantly, soap does not affect constipation… these are two unrelated concepts that have no relation to each other.

How to clean your butt — now you can safely wash your anus

If you are experiencing symptoms that include anal itching and irritation, the cure may be as easy as changing your routine to eliminate harsh soaps and vigorous polishing. If symptoms don’t go away, it is a good idea to see a proctologist to rule out anything more serious. In Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or other areas nearby, you can find out more about making an appointment with one of our colon and rectal surgeons at (310) 273-2310.

Our doctors can also offer additional tips and tricks to keep your anal area clean without too much scrubbing “down there.” Let us help you eliminate your symptoms and prevent them from coming back.

If the diagnosis is more serious than too vigorous cleaning, we can also put in a treatment plan that allows you to get relief quickly. At the same time, we work toward stopping your infection, getting rid of parasites, or disease control of another colorectal health concern.

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