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Vaginal applicator – how to

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(This post was updated in December 2014, and again in May 2016)

A vaginal applicator is used for inserting different preparations into the vagina: medication (i.e. Monistat for infection), hormones (i.e. estrogen, such as Premarin or Estrace), lubricants (i.e. Replens), etc.

Some applicator come pre-loaded and are used only once before being discarded.  Others are used repetitively and  last for months/years as long as they are properly cleaned.  The applicator of a tampon is a mini version of a disposable vaginal applicator.

Watch our YouTube video How to Use and Clean a Vaginal Applicator, or read on:

To use an applicator:

  • Screw the straight end with the threading onto the tube of the preparation to are to use (lube, medication, estrogen)
  • Fill the applicator to desired or prescribed level
  • Unscrew, and add a dollop of the preparation to the tip to smooth its way into the vagina
  • If you use vaginal estrogen, smear some on the vulva & clitoris before inserting into vagina
  • Insert the loaded applicator into the vagina and empty it (press the plunger part into the barrel part)
  • Hold it closed as you take it out so it won’t re-suck what you just deposited in the vagina

To clean a reusable applicator:

  1. Turn on the hot water to a comfortable temperature
  2. Pump the applicator under the running water
  3. Take the applicator apart (pull out the plunger from the barrel)
  4. Wash the applicator parts with soap and water; you may use a Q-tip for removing leftover residue from the tip of the barrel, or better yet – get an eyebrow brush and dedicate it for this very purpose – it works great!
  5. Rinse well and pat dry
  6. Leave disassemble, wrap in a paper towel, and let dry until ready to be reused

Do not boil the applicator as it will cause it to melt and lose it shape & functionality.

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  • Judie Pincus says:

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Can you kindly recommend a vaginal plunger that I can keep using for a while without discarding it. I use it three times a week when I use Replens and use an 1/2 inch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do you have such a vaginal plunger. I bought two plungers and it said to discard after one use!! I don’t want to have to do that s it will become quite expensive since I would need to use 12 a month. If you have the plunger that I do not have to dispose of, please let me know ASAP!!!!

    Thank you very much,

    Judie Pincus

    • Jodie says:

      Hey go on eBay I got mine I got 8 reusable ones that u can wash and use again they’re great!

    • Ditza Katz says:

      A plastic applicator/plunger may be used time and again, for years as long as it is being promptly cleaned. Contact us directly for further discussion: doctors@womentc.com (By the way, we tried to call you but no reply; we removed your phone number off the post for your security)

  • Jane says:

    Can I wash with antibacterial soap?

  • Marie says:

    I would like to buy a reusable vaginal applicator for contraceptive gel. Is there a brand you recommend?

    • Ditza Katz says:

      We do not know of any one particular applicator to recommend. They should all do the job, just make sure they can fit/screw on to the tube of the preparation you are using, and have markings should you need to only use a particular amount. Just out of curiosity, didn’t the contraceptive gel come with its own applicator?

  • Janice says:

    can i use the same applicator (1) for 5 days in a row at night for metronidazole gel for Bacteria Vaginitis. I do not have any more applicators and it states to throw away after use. But I thought cleaning it thoroughly may be an option.. thanks

    • Ditza Katz says:

      Typically speaking, you can reuse an applicator over and over provided you cleaned it promptly. We are not sure why the medication did not come with enough applicators if they said to throw each out after each use.

  • Mary says:

    My doctor prescribed estradiol vagina cream USP with the applicator it hurts to insert the applicator is there something I can put on the applicator before I Inserted into my vagina so it will not hurt

    • Ditza Katz says:

      Put a bit of the estradiol cream on the tip of the applicator to help sliding it into you. If that is not helpful, speak with your doctor (or come to us if interested).

  • Ashley Darby says:

    I am using metronidazole vaginal gel USP, 0.75% can I reuse the applicator for this medication?

  • Alice Rauschkolb says:

    A diagram in with the packaging would be VERY helpful!

  • Carolyn says:

    But, what kind of soap to use? Used Dove and didn’t get all the soap out and ended up w/infection. Thanks!

  • Marion says:

    Hi have just started to use ovestin and not sure how to pull apart applicater as i have tried And worried some may have gone past red line and i have took to much

    • Ditza Katz says:

      Typically, you pull out the plunger part from the barrel part; to reassemble, you push back the plunger into the barrel (you may feel a ‘pop’ when it goes through a catch area). Assuming the applicator is reusable (comes apart), there is risk in assembling/disassembling it as often as needed.

  • Regina says:

    Hallo. Can i have intercourse after i have just inserted the vaginal cream using the vaginal applicator? Thank you.

    • Ditza Katz says:

      That depends what was in the applicator… If lubrication or spermicide, then yes you may have intercourse. If estrogen or vaginal moisturizer that need to ‘work’ on the vagina overnight, then no.

  • Linda says:

    The new number is 1-800-678-1605. Choose option 5 and request estrace applicators. They will send you a month’s supply of disposable applicators. If you call monthly, they will send a new supply each month. I called today and will post after I receive.

  • nhl 17 coins says:

    I like reading your websites. Thanks a ton!

  • F.T. says:

    Brushes are no longer available through the company (called in May 2015).

  • Donna says:

    The new customer service number (since bought by Actavis) is 1-800-272-5525. They were extremely helpful, and it appears that once a month you can call and request 8 applicators. Apparently the request orders go in every Wednesday, so the best time to call is Mon. or Tues. to ensure your order will get in for that week. They were really helpful!

    • Anita Woo says:

      I called and they don’t send out applicators as you suggested. Guess they changed their policy. I need applicators for a creme in a tube which requires a screw on applicator plunger. Any ideas where to get some? The manufacturer nir pharmacies sell them.

      • Ditza Katz says:

        Go to the drug store and buy a vaginal preparation (yeast medication, lubricant, etc.) that comes with an applicator. Discard the tube but use the applicator. Hoping this helps.

    • Rachelle says:

      Thank you for this valuable info! I called and place my order today.

  • Cindi says:

    I spoke to the company today, and they have been purchased by another company that is a little more strict on their policy, but they will send out 1 applicator and cleaning brush for frees.

  • Jennifer says:

    If you call the manufacturer of Estrace, they will send you additional applicators and/or a special brush to clean them, free of charge.

  • Liwymi says:

    Thanks for this, I didn’t realise the applicator could come apart!