(Yanked from the Museum of Menstruation.)
Charming, huh? That was an ad for alternative uses of Lysol in 1948. I'm not too shocked that the medical profession view douching as "necessary" for a woman to retain her "youthfulness", but the website mentions that douching with Lysol was recommended "several times a week". I wouldn't even wash my most calloused skin with Lysol, never mind my more delicate regions.
Modern medicine has changed, but age old practices like douching still exist, especially in regions where people don't have access to good healthcare. Even women who don't douche on a regular basis, or at all, are still told that the douche is for "cleansing," and the US Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates that 20-40 percent of women still practice douching (which is absurd, considering the fact that the vagina, like the nose, is a self-cleaning organ), with at least half of those doing it once or more a week. The region inside the vagina is actually acidic (to prevent infections), and the best way to clean the vulva* is actually to use a more acidic soap (like Nature's Plus Natural Cleansing Bar, which also works great for the rest of your skin because the acidity helps slough off dead skin).
*Note that I said "vulva," not "vagina." The vulva is the external female genitalia, often confused with the vagina, which is actually just the region inside between the hymen and the cervix. It's best not to use any sort of cleaner on the sensitive membrane inside the vagina, but for the vulva, the acidic soap works the best. It's a bit of a peeve of mine that "vagina" is such a mainstream word people use when they actually mean the "vulva," but I'll save that discussion for later.