So, can washing the vagina or penis with soap and water get rid of a yeast infection; or, any other part of the body for that matter attacked by yeast? Generally, the answer seems to be overwhelmingly “no.” Washing or douching with soap and water alone will very frequently be of little to no help when it comes to healing your Candida infection. As research indicates, many soaps have little or no ability to even arrest the development of yeast at normal concentrations. And, when we refer to soap’s ability against yeast, we are talking about normal concentrations of such soaps. And, you do not want to use extremely intense, alkaline chemicals on your skin to fight off a yeast infection. Such chemicals can cause a lot of damage to your skin and be dangerous for important, sensitive areas like those involved in reproduction. And, do not try using extremely potent soaps on any animals that may be suffering with yeast problems! One excellent answer to solving a yeast infection naturally in 12 hours time will be discussed at the close of this writing; it may be a great thing to include with soap for killing off yeast.
It is true that some soaps actually do possess antifungal ability. A study we will consider later on in this topical discussion, shows how a liquid soap did possess an antifungal ability. The study that found this actually grouped this soap in one of its 3 control arm soaps. The study helped show that if a soap contains preservatives that are added in, such additives may actually provide an antifungal ability. This unique antifungal ability due to chemical additives is perhaps totally inadvertent. But, almost always, soap you buy at the store will have no ability to stop yeast. Medicated antibacterial soaps also very frequently have no ability to stop Candida. But, remember, these soaps are antibacterial in nature--not antifungal; and, of course, fungi and bacteria are two very different microbes! What should help prevent and ameliorate a yeast infection is a strong medicated antifungal soap. These soaps may not be able to kill off a yeast infection; but, they could give you an edge against future recurrence and help to reduce the severity of an infection.
Soap has long been a part of society, and is generally a very safe thing to use on the outside of the body. Archeologist have found soap-like material during the excavation of ancient Babylon. Also, an ancient literary paper indicates Egyptians used various fats and alkaline salts to create a soap like substance. In modern day times, it is easy to find some retailer that provides a plethora of various soaps and washes for the body. Unfortunately it seems bacterial pathogens are more readily addressed by soap manufacturers; and you’d have a hard time finding a well known antifungal soap. Although the desire for such a product is uncommon, it may be a very clever thing for you and your family to have on hand--just in case you need to clear up an all too common fungal infection.
Cleansing with Soap & Salutary Practices
An excellent study, which looked at handwashing procedures and how they correlated with reducing the carriage of Candida, was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases [46.9 (2014): 633-636]. The study was conducted on 80 hospital personnel and looked to see how various forms of hand sanitization helped to restrict the carrying of Candida species on the hands. This group of participants was comprised of 50 females and 30 males. The 80 participants spent at least one month adhering to various hand cleansing activities. The study's exclusion guidelines for participants included skin disorders of the hands, skin tears or abrasions, and the use of an antifungal substance. These hospital professionals were monitored at the peak activity times of the day; and, these subject’s adherence to the specified sanitation guidelines was overseen by a infectious diseases specialist. The study included four different avenues for cleaning hands; and, these methods are the following:
- Rubbing of the hands with an alcohol-based solution (19 personnel made up this group)
- Washing of the hands with 4% chlorhexidine gluconate (19 personnel made up this group)
- Washing of the hands with 7.5% povidone – iodine (16 personnel made up this group)
- Using just soap and water for handwashing (26 personnel made up this group)
Cleansing agent aside, personnel participants who used the alcohol based disinfectant rubbed their hands for 30 seconds. Those subjects who used plain soap and water, or other cleansers, washed their hands for one minute.
The prevalence of Candida on the hands of the group who used soap and water was 50%; thus 13 subjects in the soap and water group were found to be carrying Candida. The carriage rates for this yeast among the other groups was found to be 21.1% for the alcohol based cleanser group, 18.7% for the povidone-iodine cleanser group, and 10.5% in the chlorhexidine gluconate group.
The researchers found that there was no significant difference in the rate of Candida carriage among all groups except the group using soap and water. Since the carrying of Candida on the hands was significantly reduced in the 3 groups using disinfectants compared to the group using just soap and water, this result indicates that using antimicrobial cleansers can reduce the amount of Candida on the hands. The study goes on to state that a systematic investigation of publications on the efficacy of alcohol-based solutions for hand cleanliness demonstrated that washing with soap and water irritated the skin more, required more time, and was not as capable of removing organisms as are alcohol based disinfectants. Pictured below is a study chart showing the findings of how hand washing technique impacted Candida carriage.
The study definitively addressed the microbe killing power of soaps by stating plain soaps have only a slight amount of antimicrobial activity, if any activity at all. Soap can, of course, dislodge and remove microbes that are loosely attached to the hands. Thus, using soap is frequently an effective choice when the hands are extremely soiled. The authors state the following regarding soap:
[Soap’s] cleansing activity can be attributed to their detergent properties which result in the removal of lipid and adhering dirt, soil, and various organic substances from the hands. Plain soaps have minimal, if any, antimicrobial activity, though hand washing with plain soap can remove loosely adherent transient flora. In the present study, we found that hand washing with plain soap and water resulted in significantly more frequent hand carriage of Candida species compared with antimicrobial hand disinfectants. Bottone et al. reported that hand washing with plain soap failed to remove pathogens from the hands of [healthcare workers].
Female Hygiene Practices (Vaginal Washing Included)
There are quite a few options for women when it comes to feminine care. A study discussing the rates of such product usage by women was published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal [10.3 (2006): 303-310]. This research shows that women practice a variety of feminine cleaning options.
- Feminine sprays -- 205 users (7.9%)
- Deodorant vaginal tablets / suppositories -- 31 users (1.2%)
- Feminine cleansing wipes -- 425 users (16.3%)
- Feminine powder -- 214 users (8.2%)
- Vaginal anti-itch products -- 173 users (6.7%)
- Bubble bath for feminine cleansing -- 200 users (7.7%)
- Douching -- 307 users (11.8%)
Another research publication, presented in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections [77.1 (2001): 46-52], focused on how feminine cleaning practices influenced the rates of candida colonization and the prevalence of certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These women were quite sexually active; having frequent sexual engagements. Concerning a key issue in question, how feminine hygiene practices correlate with the prevalence of yeast in the vagina, the study found there was a connection. Women who engaged in regular cleansing with feminine products had Candida isolated from their vagina more frequently. Yet, concerning symptomatic yeast infections, the women’s use of feminine cleansing products did not impact the occurrence of such infections. Yes, yeast was more frequently isolated from this cross section of women, but--yeast infection occurrence was not seen in the time frame of this investigation. However, one could clearly see how having more Candida in the vagina, even if it is not causing symptoms currently, could be a “hot bed”--so to speak--for a future break out. Arguably, if the study encompassed a larger time frame, a direct correlation between vaginal yeast infections feminine cleansing product use could be apparent.
This research was conducted over three years; with 4 rounds of data collection and analysis. A round was six months in time; and, data collection occurred at the end of these half year time intervals. This study may be somewhat specious in the fact that it states it was conducted over a time frame of 3 years; leading readers to assume the data on Candida was derived out of that long duration of time. However, according to the study’s data analysis section, information on infections was nearly all comprised by data from the second round of the study. Therefore, perhaps only the second round of this study can accurately qualify as the timeframe used to assess the relationship between feminine cleaning product use and yeast infections. The study states 601 women were tested for Candida; however, the researchers state: “Of the 625 women studied, 238 women had been present in round 1 as well as round 2…” Thus, it is easy to assume round two data alone is practically the only evaluation period where Candida infection rates were gathered.
Albeit perhaps somewhat rare to some, in certain parts of the world toothpaste is used as a vaginal cleanser. According to the authors of this study, toothpaste may actually have adequate antiviral activity. According to the study’s authors: “A recent report suggests sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), a surfactant that also has protein denaturing capabilities, may have virucidal activity against human papillomavirus (HPV) as well as HIV-1 and HSV- 2. This compound is present in significant concentrations in many toothpastes, soaps, and shampoos, substances often used as vaginal cleansers throughout the world.”
Concerning the rate of Candida infection among these women, 25.4% (153 of 601 women) had a candida infection. Regarding the type of cleanser used and the rate of yeast infections, there was no association between the type of cleansing product used and yeast infection rates. Thus, the use of soap versus other personal care products does not seem to be a relevant factor in acquiring yeast infections. Cleansing alone, regardless of the use of soap, seems to be the cause of increased Candida presence in the vagina. The following chart was taken from the study and shows the regularity of hygiene product use (the four bars on the left) and the category of cleanser utilized (the five bars on the right). And, soap is one of the cleansers used by the women in the study; as the following chart makes certain. The chart below that, which also displays information about the study, shows the correlation between vaginal cleansing product use and the various vaginal symptoms among the women.
Another study also dealt with vaginal cleaning habits; and, was published in the journal PloS One [5.2 (2010): e9119]. The study stated that soaps, antiseptics, and detergents--when used used to wash the inside of the vagina--can raise vaginal pH and also may cause chemical damage. The increase in vaginal pH, the study stated, can also encourage the development of microbes associated with bacterial vaginosis. Using a cotton, paper, or wool material to wipe out the vagina after intravaginal washing or during sex may also cause physical damage to the vagina or create chemical abrasions. This vaginal damage could be aggravated during sexual intercourse.
Another study reported that vaginal douching with soap and water was quite common among the women included in the research. This study was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections [83.5 (2007): 365-368]. The study involved the analysis of 273 females, and 812 follow up visits were conducted over a period of about 8.5 months. The women in the study had an average age of 28 years, and had a high level of sexually activity. Among 268 of these women, nearly 97% (259 women) reported engaging in daily vaginal douching. The majority of the women analyzed used only soap and / or water for this douching practice. Surprisingly, the baseline rate of Candida albicans prevalence was 2.5% among the analyzed women.
Douching with Soap and Water — Good or Bad?
So is it a good idea to douche with soapy water when you have a yeast infection; or, in an attempt to try and prevent one? It might seem that a yeast infection is primarily a hygiene issue; but, almost always, this is certainly not the case. Things like vaginal acidity, vaginal microbiota, and glycogen (a type of sugar produced by the body; which estrogen stimulates the cellular synthesis of) in the vaginal lining are much more important factors, on average, than having an “unkept” vagina. No, in fact, not douching or cleaning the vagina may be much better for keeping Candida out compared to regular soap and water douching! A critical reason for this is that douching can upset the bacterial life in the vagina. And, using an alkaline solution like soapy water, can help to raise the pH out of a healthy acidic state. Remember, common hand soap has a pH of around 10 to 12 (depending upon the soap)! Since soap is a very alkaline substance, it can greatly alkalinize your vagina (for a fun example of common item pH levels, you can check out pH Scale: Basics from the University of Colorado Boulder).
Candida prefer a more alkaline vagina, and they also do not like a lot of Lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina. Lactobacillus eat up available food that yeast need to live on and take up space on the surface of the vaginal lining--crowding out other microbes that desire to colonize the area. Additionally, these bacteria produce substances like hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid; which can help stop bacterial pathogens from overgrowing and causing problems. Soap and water douching can thus be a detriment to these natural mechanisms which are often quintessential yeast infection prevention factors.
According to the academic study published in Human Reproduction [16.9 (2001): 1809-1813], vaginal acidity is an important factor for maintaining vaginal health. And, a healthy woman’s vagina is normally found to have a pH of 4, plus or minus 0.5. So, you will want your vagina to be somewhat acidic; around a pH of 4 or so. Vaginal bacteria are thought to be the major source of lactic acid in the vagina; which they produce by metabolizing glycogen into lactic acid. The study’s results greatly supported the claim that vaginal bacteria, and not the vaginal cells themselves, are the main source of lactic acid in the vagina. Simultaneously, these bacteria can lower the sugar content and lower the pH inside the vagina; starving yeast and making the environment less conducive to the rapid proliferation of yeast. In addition to this study, we will include a statement briefly from a study presented in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [108 Supplement 1 (2011): 4680-4687]; also speaking along the same lines:
The human vaginal microbiota seem to play a key role in preventing a number of urogenital diseases, such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, and HIV infection. Common wisdom attributes this to lactic acid–producing bacteria, mainly Lactobacillus sp., that commonly inhabit the vagina. These species are thought to play key protective roles by lowering the environmental pH through lactic acid production, by producing various bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal compounds, or through competitive exclusion.
Does Soap Kill Yeast Cells?
One study, published in the International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences [2.3 (2012): 69-74], looked at the potency of industrial and local soaps, along with various detergents, in regards to their Candida killing ability. The study used an extremely comprehensive array of 129 Candida strains; these were comprised of 43 Candida albicans, 19 Candida pseudotropicalis, 15 Candida tropicalis, and 52 Candida glabrata strains. The yeasts were sourced from vaginal swabs and oral rinses / swabs of healthy individuals. Regarding the soaps used against these yeasts, 5 detergent, 18 industrial, and 12 local soaps were tested for antimycotic potential against the aforementioned strains.
The study used a bioassay (a method for testing the effect of a substance on living things like cells) to see how the yeasts would react to the soaps. Plates were spread with agar (a gel like substance) and inoculated with Candida. Soap solutions were placed onto plates with yeast and allowed to incubate for 24 to 48 hours at 35° C. Surprisingly, the research found that none of the soaps used by the study had any effect on the yeast. The local, industrial, and detergent soaps showed zero millimeter zones of inhibition on the yeast--meaning, the soaps did absolutely nothing to stop the development of any strain of Candida examined by the research.
The Performance of Medicated Soaps
One study, published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences [3.3 (2011): 299-302], looked at how well a soap medicated with 2% miconazole nitrate (miconazole nitrate is a common antifungal that works to stop Candida cell wall production by stopping the synthesis of ergosterol) would work at inhibiting Candida albicans (the species of Candida causing the sizeable majority of vaginal yeast infections). The study used strips of paper 5 mm by 5 mm in dimension and soaked them in a mixture of distilled water, 15% soap w/v (w/v means a weight to volume ratio; indicating the grams of a solute in 100 ml of solution. Thus a 15% w/v ratio here means there are 15 g of soap in 100 ml of distilled water. More on w/v ratios here), and 2% miconazole nitrate was also added into this mixture. The paper strips were soaked in this soapy medicated solution and placed onto plates with Candida albicans growing thereon. The plates were then placed into an incubator for 24 hours and kept at 30° C. The study found these strips produced a zone of inhibition of about 3.5 to 4 centimeters. Thus, the study showed that this type of medicated soap does arrest the development of Candida albicans. Making it a possibly good choice to use to prevent yeast infections and help calm existing flare ups.
Another study looked at the antifungal ability of common medicated soaps and three non-medicated soaps (which served as negative controls). This research was published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences [2011 Jan-Feb; 73(1): 92–98]. The study used 13 medicated soaps and 3 non-medicated soaps; and, tested these soaps on four microbial species: Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. The study found that the medicated soaps had an excellent effect at stopping the bacteria in the study; however, few of these soaps actually inhibited Candida. And, this seems like something to expect; as most medicated soaps may be formulated to stop bacterial pathogens. Oddly enough, the soap that performed remarkably well at inhibiting Candida was the non-medicated soap produced by the brand Linda. Linda liquid soap was far and away the very best inhibitor of Candida albicans at a concentration of 8 mg / ml. The studies’ authors theorized that the reason this soap possessed such strong antifungal efficacy was due to the presence of preservatives in the liquid soap. Nearly all of the other soaps that inhibited Candida albicans were close to half as effective or less than Linda liquid soap.
Below is a chart taken from the study detailing the active ingredients in soaps used by the study. Also below this is a list of a few of the soap brands used by this research.
List of Soap Brands in the Study:
- Linda liquid soap
Should I Use Soap and Water to Prevent & Help Yeast Infections?
As the 2014 Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases study (which discussed handwashing) pointed out, there was much more Candida present on the hands of those personnel that used soap and water to wash with. Those hospital personnel that used other disinfectants had much lower rates of carrying this yeast on their skin. Also, the various local soaps, detergents, and industrial soaps that were tested multiple strains of Candida; by the 2012 study in the International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences; were found to have zero action against any of the yeasts. The soaps simply all failed to stop the development of any of the many types of Candida they were tested on. And, remember, this comprehensive study included 43 Candida albicans, 19 Candida pseudotropicalis, 15 Candida tropicalis, and 52 Candida glabrata strains. Thus, this study can easily relate to your personal yeast infection situation. But, there were some exceptions: the Linda liquid soap, for example, did arrest the development of Candida. The authors speculated that preservatives added to soap may confer to it some antifungal activity. And, even many medicated soaps have no ability to stop Candida; but, are great for stopping bacteria. An excellent conclusion to make is that soap generally won’t do anything to help stop a yeast infection. And, you should look for a soap that is made to contain some type of antifungal ingredient when you want to use a soap to help prevent or treat a yeast infection.
Locating Medicated Antifungal Soap
If you want to start cleaning your penis, vagina, or other area on the body with a soap that actually has antifungal power, you may wish to shop around for a good antifungal medicated soap. The internet is perhaps the quickest way to get a hold of such hard to find products. Just remember, it may not be a good idea to use an anti-yeast soap inside the vagina--due to the possible high alkalinity; but, external use may prove to be salubrious. Google provides a way to search for products given what you type in. If you’d like to take a look at some of the items that may help using Google’s powerful search algorithm, you can check out medicated antifungal soap on Google. Using one of the best antifungal soaps can be leagues better than ordinary soap!
A 12 Hour Yeast Infection Remedy Better than Soap
A woman named Sarah Summer, once a former yeast infection sufferer, went through the hell of having terrible yeast infections. At first, Sarah would simply use a common yeast infection treatment like an over-the-counter cream or pill. Her yeast infections, however, kept coming back. Eventually Sarah developed an extremely severe vaginal yeast infection; and, quickly made an appointment with a doctor to get herself checked out. The doctor unfortunately gave her some very bad news: the Candida in her vagina had turned into a mold and sent tendrils into her body. The infection was thoroughly entrenched, and the physician made it clear that Sarah might never be free of this problem.
Faced with a very long road ahead of coping with such an aggravated yeast infection, Sarah decided to investigate her problem personally. Her husband Robert also diligently helped her; and, together the two began to explore this life ruining condition. Sarah began to study natural medicine and ways to utilize what nature provides as a means to get her life back.
It took quite some time, but eventually Sarah developed a very powerful, natural solution that wipes out yeast infections in just 12 hours of time. And, if you are one of the people like Sarah who dealt with recurrent yeast infections, Sarah’s program will also put an end to the recurrence of this problem. Sarah wants to give you a solid answer for this problem; and, also provides an 8 week, 100% money back guarantee on her book. So, if you decide to try her book; and you feel the purchase was a mistake, you can rapidly get a full refund of your money. Sarah’s book is available as a digital download (in PDF form). And, can be accessed right away from the comfort of your home.
Sarah’s publisher, a subsidiary of Keynetics Incorporated, handles the distribution of her book and is a very large, reputable publishing company based in the United States. Sarah can also be contacted by email with questions regarding her work. For more information about Sarah’s personal journey to freedom from Candida, or to learn more about her excellent book, you can find out much more at Sarah Summer’s website.
- http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/00365548.2014.922694 -- Yildirim, Mustafa, et al. "Hand carriage of Candida occurs at lesser rates in hospital personnel who use antimicrobial hand disinfectant." Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases 46.9 (2014): 633-636. PubMed
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10995-005-0054-y -- Grimley, Diane M., et al. "Vaginal douches and other feminine hygiene products: women's practices and perceptions of product safety." Maternal and child health journal 10.3 (2006): 303-310. PubMed
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sti.77.1.46 -- Reed, Barbara D., Kathleen Ford, and Dewa N. Wirawan. "The Bali STD/AIDS study: association between vaginal hygiene practices and STDs among sex workers." Sexually transmitted infections 77.1 (2001): 46-52. PubMed Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009119 -- Hilber, Adriane Martin, et al. "Intravaginal practices, vaginal infections and HIV acquisition: systematic review and meta-analysis." PloS one 5.2 (2010): e9119. PubMed Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sti.2007.024794 -- Nagot, Nicolas, et al. "Association between bacterial vaginosis and Herpes simplex virus type-2 infection: implications for HIV acquisition studies." Sexually transmitted infections 83.5 (2007): 365-368. PubMed Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/humrep/16.9.1809 Boskey, E. R., et al. "Origins of vaginal acidity: high D/L lactate ratio is consistent with bacteria being the primary source." Human Reproduction 16.9 (2001): 1809-1813. PubMed, PDF Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1002611107 -- Ravel, Jacques, et al. "Vaginal microbiome of reproductive-age women." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 Supplement 1 (2011): 4680-4687. PubMed Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.21276/ijpaes -- Ekanola, Y. A., et al. "Studies on in vitro antimycotic potentials of local and industrial soaps on vulvovaginal Candida species." International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences 2.3 (2012): 69-74. PDF Available Here
- ResearchGate -- Jagdale, Swati, et al. "Formulation and evaluation of miconazole nitrate soap strips for dermal infections." Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 3.3 (2011): 299-302. PDF Available Here
- https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0250-474X.89765 -- Mwambete, K. D., and F. Lyombe. "Antimicrobial activity of medicated soaps commonly used by Dar es Salaam residents in Tanzania." Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 2011 Jan-Feb; 73(1): 92–98. PubMed Full Text
***This article and the material on this website MAY have slight errors. Make sure you check out our disclaimer.