How to Clean Your Navel: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Clean Your Navel: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Clean Your Navel: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

It's easy to forget about your navel, but it needs cleaning just like any other part of your body. The good thing is that just use a little soap and water to do the job! If you feel an unpleasant odor in the area that doesn't come off with regular cleaning, look for signs of infection. With proper treatment, it is possible to eliminate the source of the bad smell and return to having a clean, fragrant navel.


Method 1 of 2: Adopting a Regular Cleaning Routine

Clean Your Belly Button Step 1
Clean Your Belly Button Step 1

Step 1. Wash your navel when taking a shower

The best time to sanitize the region is during the bath, of course! Try to get into the habit of including it in the cleaning.

If you perspire a lot, you may need to wash your belly button more often (such as after exercising or if the day is very hot)

Clean Your Belly Button Step 2
Clean Your Belly Button Step 2

Step 2. Use regular soap and water

You don't need to use anything special to wash your belly button. Hot water and your usual soap will do! Smear some soap on your fingers or a damp washcloth and massage the area to get rid of dirt, oil and lint from clothing. When finished, rinse well until all foam is removed.

  • In general, soap or shower gel used on the rest of the body can be used on the navel. Go for a mild, fragrance-free option if your skin is irritated by scented soaps.
  • It is also possible to use a saline solution to wash the most sensitive navel. Mix 1 teaspoon (5 g) of salt with 1 cup (240 ml) of warm water and dampen a washcloth in the solution. Carefully massage the navel and rinse it with water only.
  • Saline solution can kill germs and loosen dirt, and is less irritating than soap.


if you have a navel piercing, you need to do even more cleaning. Use a warm saline solution to sanitize the area around the jewelry at least two to three times a day or as often as recommended by the piercing professional. A belly button piercing can take a long time to heal, so you may need to maintain this routine for a few months or even a year.

Clean Your Belly Button Step 3
Clean Your Belly Button Step 3

Step 3. Clean a deep navel with a washcloth or cotton swab

It's easy to let dust and lint accumulate in a deeper navel and then struggle to get it all out. If your belly button goes in, it's a good idea to use a washcloth or cotton swab to do a thorough cleaning. Apply soap and warm water, massage with the cotton swab and rinse well afterwards.

Do not rub too hard, as you may end up irritating the delicate skin in the area

Clean Your Belly Button Step 4
Clean Your Belly Button Step 4

Step 4. Dry the navel

It is important to keep it very dry to prevent the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. Once you've finished washing the area, use a clean, dry towel to get the moisture out of the inside and outside of the navel. If you have time, let it air dry a little longer before putting on your clothes.

You can prevent moisture buildup by using fresh, loose pieces when the weather is warmer or when you're going to sweat

Clean Your Belly Button Step 5
Clean Your Belly Button Step 5

Step 5. Avoid putting oils, creams or lotions on the navel, unless recommended by your doctor

These products can leave the navel moist, providing the ideal environment for the multiplication of unwanted bacteria or fungi.

It's safer to moisturize your belly button with a drop of oil or a very light moisturizer if it's going out. Stop using moisturizer if you experience a bad odor, itchiness, irritation, or other signs of infection

Method 2 of 2: Dealing With Persistent Odors

Clean Your Belly Button Step 6
Clean Your Belly Button Step 6

Step 1. Look for signs of infection if frequent cleaning does not work

The most common cause of persistent bad navel odor is dirt and sweat. In most cases, just wash with a little soap and water. However, if that doesn't work, you may have an infection. Observe symptoms such as:

  • Red and flaking skin.
  • Tenderness or swelling in the region.
  • Itch.
  • Yellowish or greenish discharge or pus coming out of the navel.
  • Fever, malaise or fatigue.


you are more likely to have an infection with a piercing at the site. If so, look for signs such as excessive pain and swelling, tenderness, redness, local fever or pus.

Clean Your Belly Button Step 7
Clean Your Belly Button Step 7

Step 2. Go to the doctor if you have signs of infection

Do you think the navel is infected? Make an appointment with a general practitioner as soon as possible. He or she can assess the type of infection and recommend an appropriate treatment for the condition.

  • The right treatment depends on the cause of the infection, which can be a bacteria, a fungus, etc. Don't try to guess yourself, as using the wrong medication can make an already bad situation worse.
  • Your doctor may take a sample of secretions or tissue from your navel to find the cause.
Clean Your Belly Button Step 8
Clean Your Belly Button Step 8

Step 3. Use topical remedies to treat the infection

If you do have a navel infection, you may have to apply an antibiotic or antifungal ointment or powder to the site for a while to eliminate the cause. The doctor may prescribe a specific medication. Treating the disease will also eliminate unpleasant odors and disgusting secretions! Follow all your doctor's recommendations for taking care of your belly button at home, such as:

  • Resist the temptation to scratch or poke your infected belly button.
  • Change and wash bedding and clothing frequently to avoid re-contamination.
  • Do not share bath towels with anyone.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing so that your navel breathes and stays dry.
  • Clean the site every day with a saline solution.
Clean Your Belly Button Step 9
Clean Your Belly Button Step 9

Step 4. Ask the doctor to drain a navel cyst if applicable

Sometimes a cyst forms in the navel area, causing swelling, pain, and releasing foul-smelling secretions. If you have one of these, your doctor can probably drain you in the office. He may also prescribe oral and topical remedies to fight the infection. Follow the care guidelines to help the cyst heal properly.

  • Ask for detailed instructions on how to clean and care for the cyst at home. Your doctor may recommend making a warm, dry compress on the spot three to four times a day. If he wears a bandage, you should change it at least once a day for as long as your doctor recommends.
  • If there are stitches, you may have to go back to the office to have them removed. The doctor should provide the right instructions depending on the situation. Wash the area with warm water once a day.
  • If the cyst re-forms, you may need surgery for complete removal. In the case of deep cysts, such as urachus, the surgeon makes a small incision to remove with delicate instruments, guided by a camera.
  • You may have to stay in the hospital for two or three days after surgery and you should be able to get back to your normal routine in about two weeks.
Clean Your Belly Button Step 10
Clean Your Belly Button Step 10

Step 5. Go to the doctor to get a black ball of dirt from the navel

A deep navel that is not cleaned properly can accumulate dirt, lint and oil. These materials can harden over time, forming a dark mass. In that case, see a doctor, who can remove the ball with the right technique.

  • In many cases, there are no associated symptoms, but some people may experience pain or develop infections.
  • It is possible to prevent the problem with regular cleaning of the navel using soap and water.


  • Does your navel tend to collect lint from your clothes? Alleviate the problem by using new parts and trimming or shaving the hairs in the region.
  • Newborns need special navel care, especially after the umbilical cord has fallen. Talk to your child's pediatrician about the best way to clean and care for your baby's belly button.


  • Do you suspect your piercing has become infected? Make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible to get the right treatment.
  • Never try to clean your belly button or remove lint with sharp objects, such as tweezers or nail pliers, as you could injure yourself. Always use your fingers, a clean washcloth or a cotton swab.

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