What's Going On When Your Vagina Smells Like Bleach Or Ammonia

And do guys care?

woman in towel wondering why her vagina smells like bleach Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

Sometimes it can feel like my vagina smells differently every day. I don't think I will ever get the self-loathing put upon women by the patriarchy long enough to ever fully embrace the way it smells, but I can definitely tell when I'm having a good vagina-smell day versus a bad one.

To me, a bad vagina smells like fish, or at other times, sweat. There are even times when my vagina (and probably yours too) has smelled like a loaf of slightly rancid bread. More specifically, like a loaf of bread thrown into the ocean and then retrieved and left to sit on a counter for a day or two.


All of those smells aside, there is one particular bad vagina smell that really makes my hair stand on end: when my vagina smells like bleach. And when you say that your vagina smells like bleach, what you're really saying is that your vagina smells like ammonia or chlorine.

Why does my vagina smell like bleach or ammonia?

There are a few reasons why your vagina smells like bleach, and we're going to go over them. We'll also talk about how to get rid of the smell, and get into how much that smell is affecting your sex life. That's right, I asked a dude what he thought of bleachy-smelling vaginas.


I am going to go ahead and assume that you have at no point poured bleach onto your vagina.

And if you did pour bleach into your vagina, please stop reading the internet and go directly to the hospital.

RELATED: 8 Things Your Vagina Desperately Wants You To Know

When your vagina starts to smell like bleach (ammonia), it can be a sign of serious bacterial upheaval.

Your vagina is the merry little Roomba of your body. Without your intervention, it keeps itself clean and healthy thanks to its garden of good bacteria. Thankfully, that is where the comparison to Roombas ends. (Although, if cats like to ride your vagina please do contact me.)


Bacterial vaginosis can be a cause of this smell, a fishy smell is also related to this bacterial infection. You may also notice white or gray discharge.

Believe it or not, we don't know a whole lot about bacterial vaginosis. Thankfully, we do know that you don't get it from swimming in a pool or peeing in a public toilet.

BV is essentially the bad bacteria that have invaded your vagina converting nitrogen in your vagina into ammonia and that is just plain not good!

Eating a diet too rich in nitrogen (I'm looking at your broccoli and other delicious and healthy leafy greens) can also cause your vagina to smell like bleach.

Or rather, eating a diet with too much nitrogen doesn't affect the way your vagina or your vaginal discharge smells at all, but it can affect the way your urine smells.


And the way it makes your urine smell is similar to the bleachy smell some women associate with trouble in the vagina.

Menopause is another big culprit when it comes to a vagina that smells like bleach.

Interestingly enough, when a woman enters menopause she tends to stop drinking enough water. Weird, right? When you're dehydrated, your urine is more concentrated and gives off a more powerful smell ... like bleach!

So, good news, it's not your vagina, the bad news: girl, you need to get some water in your body.

RELATED: 11 Things You Do That Make Your Vagina Smell & Taste Bad

How can I make my vagina smell good again?

If bacterial vaginosis is at the root of your bleachy-smelling vagina I have good news — it is treatable.

Yes, your vagina will, in fact, play the violin again.


Most of the time, in fact, BV clears itself up (that wonderful Roomba between your legs hard at work again!)

If it doesn't, your doctor can prescribe you antibiotics. They may also suggest that you wear a pad to cut back on the stank coming from your crotch region.

If a nitrogen-rich diet is to blame for your bleach-laden aroma, a balanced diet is key.

Most women who this happens to are new vegetarians, which means they are eating an overabundance of leafy greens. Once you regulate your diet, the smell will clear up on its own. That's what you get for not eating cheeseburgers.

If menopause or dehydration is to blame for your bleachy-smelling crotch castle, drink some water.

Also, make sure that you are eating a diverse amount of vegetables because apparently, all kinds of vegetables can wreak havoc on the smells that come from your nethers.


And if it is really bothering you or the odor remains persisent, don't hesitate to call your doctor.

RELATED: Why Your Vagina Smells Like Onions — And What To Do About It

Do guys care if my vagina smells like bleach?

As a general rule, the only time guys get weird about the way a vagina smells is if they plan on providing you with some top-of-the-line cunnilingus.

I asked 20 men if they had ever experienced a vagina smelling like bleach and they all said no, which leads me to believe that a "bleachy" vagina isn't one of the smells down below that turns a guy off.

In fact, when I asked my own boyfriend he said "wouldn't that just mean it is extra clean?"


The smells that do trouble guys are usually an intense fishiness or body odor, both of which can be cured with a shower.

If you have a fishy-smelling vagina and the shower just ain't touching it, you might have BV or another infection or STI and should definitely consult your doctor.

Heck, if your vagina is in such a state that you are on the internet hunting for answers about it, I'd say check in with your doctor just for the heck of it anyway.

Take care of the old girl, and she'll take care of you.

RELATED: 6 Subtle Hints Men Give When They Think Your Vagina Smells Bad (Sorry!)

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman.