Penis Hygiene

The main points

  • Avoid irritants such as perfumed products, soaps, cleansing (or baby) wipes and “hygiene” products
  • Keep the area dry
  • It is important to see a doctor if you have genital skin irritation and/or symptoms
  • Do not attempt to treat genital skin irritation and/or symptoms yourself as sometimes this can worsen the genital skin

Cleaning in the shower

  • Wash the penis every day gently with soap-free products. Soap can cause irritation
  • If you have a foreskin, gently pull back the foreskin and wash it underneath. This can reduce the build-up of smegma (thick, oily, white discharge under the foreskin). Do not forcibly pull back the foreskin and return the foreskin to its original position when done
  • Wash the skin around the base of the penis, the scrotum, and the skin between your thighs and your pubic mound. Sweat can collect here
  • Pat (rather than rub) your genitals dry after washing or use a hair dryer on cool setting if required. If you have a foreskin, make sure you dry the area underneath before putting on your underwear

What to avoid

  • Perfumed products such as laundry detergent, fabric softener, soaps, shower gel, bubble bath, bath salts, baby wipes and toilet paper
  • Talcum powder, “hygiene” products, tea tree products or any product that has not been recommended by your doctor or nurse
  • Too much or vigorous washing/scrubbing and drying of the genital skin. Washing once a day is enough
  • Too much shaving and waxing of the genital area. Pubic hair protects genital skin by reducing friction during sex and other activities and helping to prevent the transmission of bacteria and other infections

Don't Forget

  • Pull the foreskin back all the way when urinating to prevent infections and odours
  • Pay attention to any changes to the genital skin and see a doctor or nurse if you develop any genital symptoms that are not usual for you

Where to get more information and support

If you are using the internet for information, only use reliable and reputable websites, such as the ones provided above.


This website and any related materials are for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as (or in substitution for) medical or other professional advice. You should seek specific medical or professional advice for your individual circumstances.

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