13 Efficient Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis

Good and bad bacteria exist in a woman’s vagina [1].

As long as there is balance between the two, there’s usually no problem [1].

However, when the bad bacteria outnumber the good, this leads to an infection called bacterial vaginosis [2].

Caused by bacterial strains such as Gardnerella vaginalis, this condition is marked by excessive vaginal discharge and fishy odor [3].

It can be very embarrassing, and negatively affect one’s sexual relationship.

Fortunately, you can get rid of  bacterial vaginosis immediately with the help of some home remedies.

These are not only simple and easy to put together, but also safe and effective.

In the following article, you will find:

  • 13 Home remedies for bacterial vaginosis
  • How to prepare and use the home remedies
  • Lifestyle changes to curb bacterial vaginosis naturally

RELATED: 8 Coconut Oil Remedies for Vaginal, Skin, and Oral Yeast Infections

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is more than just a healthy snack, it’s also an efficient way to restore balance of bacteria in the vagina, thanks to its probiotics [4].

In 2010, 120 Chinese women with recurrent cases of bacterial vaginosis were given either a capsule containing 8 billion units of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other probiotics or a placebo for 14 days [5].

Those who received the probiotic treatment reported fewer episodes of vaginal infection [5].

The use of this treatment resulted in less bad odor and vaginal discharge [5].

These benefits were achieved without experiencing any side effects during the treatment period [5].

Researchers conclude that probiotics reduced the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis safely and effectively [5].

Many other studies confirm that yogurt is useful is combating this and other vaginal infections, even preventing complications such as pre-term birth [6, 7, 8, 9].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of yogurt
  • Cotton pad
  • 1 cup of yogurt

Recommended Directions:

  1. Spread a tablespoon of yogurt on a cotton pad.
  2. Apply on the vagina.
  3. Let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with water.
  4. Repeat three times a day until symptoms disappear.
  5. Eat one cup of yogurt a day to speed up treatment.

RELATED: 17 Practical Home Remedies for Vaginal Dryness & How to Use Them

2. Tea Tree Oil

With its broad spectrum of antimicrobial properties, it’s no wonder tea tree oil is incorporated in a vast array of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products [10].

There was case where a woman suffering from signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis used tea tree oil to treat herself [10].

The self-treatment proved successful, and the woman was free of symptoms after the treatment [10].

This has prompted researchers from Australia to make a scientific investigation of tea tree oil’s effects on the microorganisms linked to vaginal infection [10].

They collected three isolates of the bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis and exposed these to minimum concentration of tea tree oil [10].

The tests were carried out using agar and broth dilution methods [10].

Findings reveal that this oil can successfully inhibit the activities of Gardnerella vaginalis without affecting the good bacteria [10].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 bowl of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix tea tree oil with warm water.
  2. Rinse vagina with solution.
  3. Repeat once a day for up to four weeks.

RELATED: 12 Incredible Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil (Backed by Evidence)

3. Garlic

Many people know about garlic’s strength as an antibacterial agent.

Not surprisingly, it has been used for decades to combat various types of microbial infections.

Allicin, the main active compound in garlic, has been confirmed to be a strong antimicrobial agent that can kill a wide range of bacteria and fungi [11].

In fact, it works even for bacterial strains that have grown resistant to antibiotic medications [12].

The process by which it works is that it chemically reacts with the thiol groups of different enzymes that can affect the metabolism of the microbes [12].

For bacterial vaginosis, garlic has been listed a number of times as one of the effective alternative therapies [13, 14].

However, further studies are required to establish the safety of this herbal remedy for vaginal infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

Recommended Directions:

  1. Rub garlic gently on the vagina.
  2. Wait for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water.
  3. Do this remedy once a day for up to one month.

4. Neem

A popular remedy in Ayurveda and Homeophatic medicine, neem has generated interest worldwide with its broad range of therapeutic benefits [15].

It has over 140 active compounds that fights many types of ailments including infections, malaria, skin disorders, inflammatory diseases, dental problems, fever, cancer, and many more [15].

Most of its parts—leaves, seeds, flowers, fruits, bark and root—demonstrate medicinal value [15].

It’s no surprise that it can also be used as a remedy for vaginal infections such as those caused by bacteria.

Clinical trials show that it’s highly effective in resolving abnormal vaginal discharge caused by bacterial infections [16].

It was one of the key ingredients in a polyherbal cream that was highly active against bacteria that are commonly known to infect the vagina [16].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of neem oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine the two oils.
  2. Wash vagina with oil mixture.
  3. Follow this remedy once a day for up to three weeks.

RELATED: 12 Most Effective Home Remedies for Vaginal Itching

5. Japanese Mugwort

Japanese mugwort may not be as popular as garlic or tea tree oil in fighting infection but it also works effectively.

The antibacterial activities of Japanese mugwort against Gardnerella vaginalis was the subject of a 2011 Korean study [17].

Its active compounds alpha-terpineol and eucalyptol inhibited the growth and spread of the bacteria [17].

Most of the bacterial strains were wiped out by alpha-terpineol [17].

Its effects were similar to that of clotrimazole, an antibacterial commonly prescribed for this condition [17].

These compounds also alleviated inflammation by suppressing the activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the activation of NF-KB [17].

Researchers conclude that this herb dramatically reduced the number of Gardnerella vaginalis in the vaginal cavity and tissues [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • A handful of Japanese mugwort leaves
  • A pot of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of water.
  2. Add Japanese mugwort leaves.
  3. Use this solution to rinse the vagina.
  4. Repeat once a day for three weeks.

6. Lemongrass Oil

ringworm-lemongrass-oilLemongrass oil is derived from a tropical perennial plant that grows in sunny and humid environments [18].

The long list of its uses for the health will astound you.

Traditional healers from India and Nepal commonly use lemongrass to treat fever, pain and infectious diseases [18].

It has also been found to aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, treat head lice and dandruff, and even prevent certain forms of cancer [18].

As what recent research indicates, lemongrass is also beneficial for those suffering from bacterial vaginosis [19].

In fact, lemongrass is listed as one of the “most potent essential oils” that can successfully inhibit bacteria that cause vaginal infections [19].

That’s because it demonstrated the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration [19].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lemongrass oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add lemongrass oil to jojoba oil.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Apply oil mixture on the vagina.
  4. Leave it on for one hour before rinsing with warm water.
  5. Use this remedy daily for three weeks.

7. Lavender Oil

Another essential oil that’s included in the list of most effective remedies for bacterial vaginosis is lavender oil.

Like lemongrass, it also has strong inhibitory effects against bacterial strains that cause this vaginal infection [19].

At 1 to 2.5 ml, lavender oil can successfully suppress the activities of infectious bacteria [19].

As an added bonus, lavender is also an anxiolytic agent that reduces stress and anxiety caused by having an unpleasant medical condition [20].

Like most of the essential oils listed here, it’s important to dilute lavender first before using.

This is to ensure that your skin does not get irritated.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix all the oils.
  2. Wash vagina with oil mixture.
  3. Repeat once a day until symptoms are gone.

RELATED: 11 Health Benefits of Lavender Oil That You Should Know

8. Clove Oil

stomach-ache-clove-oilAlso a potent antibacterial that has long been used for treating all sorts of bacterial infection is clove oil.

Eugenol in clove oil has been found effective in reducing symptoms of vaginal infections [21].

In one study, clove oil was applied by women with bacterial vaginosis once a day for seven days [21].

Results show that it worked just as well as thyme in reducing unpleasant symptoms [21].

Its effects were comparable to those of vaginal metronidazole [21].

Apart from this, this oil also helps resolve the issue of bacterial imbalance in the vagina [21].

It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most widely used natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis.

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 drops of clove oil
  • 1 cup of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute clove oil in water.
  2. Use solution to rinse vagina after bathing.
  3. Repeat until symptoms disappear.

9. Thyme Oil

hemorrhoids-essential-oil-thymeSuffering from annoying vaginal infection?

Thyme oil can come to your rescue.

Researchers from the University of Milan in Italy found that thyme oil is an efficient treatment method for bacterial vaginosis [22].

Results show that thymol, the active compound in thyme oil, interfered with the growth and spread of native and mature Gardnerella vaginalis [22].

Thymol’s antibacterial properties mainly work by preventing the adhesion of bacterial strains [23].

Even at minimum concentration, this highly potent chemical was able to exert these actions and prevent infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine thyme oil and jojoba oil.
  2. Follow this remedy once a day for three weeks.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

It doesn’t sound like a good idea to wash your vagina with vinegar.

But you’ll be surprised at how well it works in combating vaginal infection caused by pathogenic bacteria.

Apple cider vinegar, in fact, possesses potent antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can fight off the bacteria that cause malodor [24].

It works by preventing microbes from adhering to the vaginal area and causing harm [24].

Moreover, it also helps restore the acidity of the area to maintain proper vaginal flora.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 glass of water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add apple cider vinegar to water.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Drink this concoction once a day or every other day for one to two weeks.

RELATED: How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema Relief

11. Baking Soda

As it turns out, baking soda is not just an all-around household cleaner, it’s also an efficient way to maintain vaginal hygiene.

So here’s how it works:

Baking soda is a natural alkaline that helps neutralize the pH level in the vaginal area.

When there’s proper balance of pH in this part of your body, the odor and infection will eventually be eliminated.

Plus, baking soda is also a natural deodorizer that can freshen up the smell down there.

Not surprisingly, Indian researchers who conducted a study on vaginal infection in 2009 recommend baking soda as an alternative treatment for this problem [25].

Not only is baking soda a common commodity that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard, this remedy is also very easy to prepare.

There’s really no excuse not to try this one out.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add baking soda to your bath water.
  2. Soak in the bath tub for 20 minutes.
  3. Dry your body thoroughly with a clean soft towel before putting on your clothes.
  4. Do this everyday until infection is cleared.

RELATED: How to Use Baking Soda Bath for Diaper Rash Treatment

12. Hydrogen Peroxide

The antiseptic chemical compound hydrogen peroxide is very effective in disinfecting minor cuts, bruises, burns, cold sores, and various skin disorders. According to various research, hydrogen peroxide is an exceptional home remedy for bacterial vaginosis.

Hydrogen peroxide is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen component of the chemical hydrates your vagina and the harmful microbes cannot stand the oxygen components.

Thus the chemical can fight of the bad microbes responsible for vaginal odor, discharge and infections. Hydrogen peroxide is more affordable and cheaper than other medications for relieving bacterial vaginosis.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 ounce or 6 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide
  • 100 ml. distilled water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water.
  2. Now irrigate your vagina with the solution.
  3. Repeat the process twice or trice daily for 3-4 days.
  4. Additionally, drink apple cider vinegar solution (mixing 1 tablespoon of ACV with 500 ml. water) thrice daily to restore good vaginal flora.

13. Practice Hygiene

You should bring certain lifestyle changes apart from using the above mentioned natural home remedies to get rid of bacterial vaginosis.

Recommended Directions:

  1. Practice good hygiene of your private parts on a daily basis. Your rectum and vagina are situated relatively close to each other. There’s high chance of bacterial contamination from the stool. It is advisable that you wipe and clean the area from front to back that means from the vagina towards the anal region every time you pass a stool.
  2. During menstruation, try to change the pads and tampons at regular intervals. Make sure to wash clean your sex toys with hot water and soap.
  3. Using condoms during sex is another important preventive step for bacterial vaginosis.
  4. Last of all replace all your synthetic underwear with cotton ones. Tight pants and linen underwear makes the vagina a breeding place for bacteria. Allow the vagina to get some air and breathe.


Some Q&A About Bacterial Vaginosis

Q. What are the common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?
A. The common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:

  • A very fishy and unpleasant odor in the vagina
  • Watery discharge
  • Sometimes, a greyish white discharge
  • The above symptoms worsening during period or after having sex

Q. Are there other types of vaginal odor apart from this fishy smell?
A. Yes. There is. The other type of “smells” can be:

  • Metallic smell
  • Musky smell
  • Yeasty or Bread smell
  • Rotten smell

Q. What do I do if I have these other types of smell?
A. If you have these other types of smell, then you can try using the home remedies for vaginal odor above. Or the other best thing will be to go to your doctor.

Q. Do certain types of food contribute to vaginal odor?
A. Yes. They do. Strong, heavily spiced and scented food can affect your vaginal odor. Plus, foods such as coffee, onions, garlic and strong spices can change your vaginal odor slightly.

What you should do is to try removing strong smelling foods from your diet. For example, removing meat and dairy and slowly adding them back to your diet to see which food is contributing to the odor. If the problem still persists, then you should consult your doctor immediately.

Q. What is the difference between bacterial vaginosis and vaginal thrush?
A. The difference is quite simple. Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection while bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection.

Q. What are the diseases and conditions that are associated with bacterial vaginosis?
A. Bacterial vaginosis can increase the chances of acquiring other diseases as well. These are:

  • Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and other STDs from a person who is infected with them.
  • Post-surgical infection
  • A pelvic inflammatory disease

Q. Is bacterial vaginosis a worry for pregnant women?
A. Yes. It is. The reason is the chances of abortion increases a lot. So, if you are a pregnant woman who has bacterial vaginosis, then get treatment immediately.


Bacterial vaginosis like vaginal yeast infection can be really stressful. It can often lead to periods of frustration.

You don’t have to deal with such problems for long, though. Try using these simple home remedies for bacterial vaginosis.

Although, bacterial vaginosis may not be life-threatening, still, it can impact your life negatively. It can hamper your sexual life and intimate relationships.

Therefore, don’t waste any more time and put an end to this infection.

Let us know how you progress with the home remedies described here. Write you feedback  in the comment section.

READ MORE: 18 Ways to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor Naturally