How to wash a baby boy's penis and foreskin
Explaining how to wash
this body part seems a little silly; especially since it is actually a lot easier to clean than a baby girl’s genitals, with its many folds. But then, if you’d never seen ears before, and your baby was born with them, you might wonder how to clean them, too. So here goes…

Your instructions: Wash his penis just as you wash his fingers. Using a cloth, wipe it from base to tip. Use only mild soap and rinse well with clear, warm water. NEVER attempt to retract (pull back) his foreskin to clean underneath; before separation it’s self-cleaning.123 That’s all there is to it—it’s that simple!

His instructions: When it’s time for him to learn how to wash himself, just show him what you have been doing.4 Tell him to wash his hands first. If his foreskin has begun to separate, have him gently pull it back as far as is comfortable (remember: only he should retract it, to avoid injury). Show him how to clean his glans and inner foreskin with clear water only (no soap), rubbing lightly with his fingers. Then have him return the foreskin to its normal position, drying only the outside.567

SOAP WARNING: All soaps, shampoos, and bubble baths can irritate the sensitive inner foreskin, and are entirely unnecessary for cleanliness anyway. Even worse, they also destroy the beneficial pH balance and “friendly flora.” 8

This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.

  1. Menon P, Rao KL. What should mothers be counseled about care of child’s foreskin? Indian Pediatr. 2004;41(2):200–1.
  2. Care of the Uncircumcised Penis, Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999.
  3. Bollinger D. The Penis-Care Information Gap: Preventing Improper Care of Intact Boys. Thymos, 2008;1(2), 205-219.
  4. Osborn LM, Metcalf TJ. Hygienic care in uncircumcised infants. Pediatrics. 1981;67(3):365-7.
  5. Menon P, Rao KL. What should mothers be counseled about care of child’s foreskin? Indian Pediatr. 2004;41(2):200–1.
  6. Care of the Uncircumcised Penis, Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999.
  7. Bollinger D. The Penis-Care Information Gap: Preventing Improper Care of Intact Boys. Thymos, 2008;1(2), 205-219.
  8. Bollinger D. The Penis-Care Information Gap: Preventing Improper Care of Intact Boys. Thymos, 2008;1(2), 205-219.