It Turns out There’s a Best Way to Wipe Your Butt

Image Credit: Instagram

Science, man – it’s got the answers for everything!

Things you thought you wanted to know and things you might have figured didn’t have real, actual answers and everything in between. Like, for instance, the correct way you should be wiping your rear end after doing your daily business.

So, what is the right way to keep it clean and copacetic?

Who better to tell us than Curtis Asbury, a dermatologist from Delaware who has seen his fair share of blotchy, red, irritated buttholes and insists that incorrect hygiene is behind the trouble.


“It’s called perian*l dermatitis,” he told Mental Floss, naming to the topical irritation that can result from wiping poorly, not enough, or too much (funnily enough).

Fun fact (unless it’s happened to you): there’s a condition known as Polished an*s Syndrome (PAS) that results from scrubbing your rear too roughly after defecating.

“I see people scrubbing hard,” Asbury said. “That just makes the problem worse.”



No matter which side of the spectrum you fall on, if you’re ready to have the cleanest, least irritated bum in town, Asbury has some advice for making it happen. First things first? Toss those baby wipes being marketed to adults.

The wipes have been associated with allergic reactions to methylisothiazolinone, a preservative intended to lengthen shelf life.

“Even the all-natural ones can cause problems,” Asbury explained. Plus, the chemicals they’re soaked in are not great because they’re somewhat difficult to wash off.

That said, he doesn’t think your old school, toilet paper only approach is the best one, either.

“It’s healthier, certainly, to clean your body with water. Nobody takes a dry piece of paper, rubs it over their skin, and thinks they’re clean.”

What’s the answer, then? Two things you’ve already got on hand – just relocate them to the bathroom!

“What I tell people to use is Viva, a really soft, thick paper towel made by Kleenex. You get a squirt bottle and you leave it near the toilet and moisten the paper towel.”

For you ladies who have given birth vaginally, you’ll definitely recognize this routine from those hazy first days home from the hospital, wondering whether you’ll ever recognize your nethers again.


Two things: wipe front to back to avoid transferring bacteria, and don’t flush the paper towels down the toilet.

Asbury also advocates for the mass adoption of the bidet – a toilet or toilet accessory that squirts a spray of water between your cheeks – into Western culture.

“It’s cold at first, but you get used to it.”


Whether you go the route of paper towels or a bidet, Asbury does advise drying off before zipping up, washing up, and going on with your day. Moisture can lead to intertrigo – irritation in skin folds – or even a fungal infection.

If you’re sure your hygiene is up to par and you’re still feeling unclean or discomfort, Asbury says it will be time to check in with your doctor.

“If you’re not feeling clean, there could be issues with your sphincter.”

Weakened muscles can cause leakage.

Fun times ahead, my middle aged friends.