There is a common misconception out there that it is necessary for women to regularly clean their vagina (the inside of their genital anatomy) by using soap or other products. However, the reality is that this can do more harm than good, and the body has its own mechanism to keep the vagina clean.
The vaginal discharge that is often considered annoying and even unsanitary, is part of the vagina’s mechanism for keeping the vagina clean. It flushes out dirt and pathogens. The vagina also contains good bacteria called lactobacilli which keep the PH balance (i.e. the acidity / alkalinity balance) on the more acidic side. This makes it difficult for harmful pathogens to multiply.
Using soaps and other cleaning products can irritate the tissue in the vagina and affect the delicate PH balance, creating conditions for bad bacteria and pathogens to multiply.
That being said, it is a good idea to clean the vulva (the outside genital area) regularly, and this should be done using plain water and a cloth. If you absolutely have to use soap, use unscented soap and be careful to ensure that it does not enter the vaginal canal. Glycerin soap is ideal for this.
It is also not a good idea to douche the vagina, as this may also result in a PH imbalance and may affect the good bacteria. Even douches and products which claim to maintain the PH balance are usually more harmful than beneficial, and should be avoided.
Another reason to let the vagina do its own thing in terms of cleaning itself, is that cleaning the vagina make you more vulnerable to contracting a STD. The lactobacilli provide a level of protection against STDs, and this protection is compromised by doing anything which affects the lactobacilli.
At the end of the day, remember that your body is smarter than you think, and your body has its own mechanisms to keep the vagina clean and healthy.