User Reviewed

How to Clean Your Belly Button

Two Parts:Cleaning Your Belly Button or NavelTaking Regular Care of Your Belly Button

The belly button can be a difficult area on your body to clean, especially because we forget about it so often. The good news is that, aside from taking regular baths or showers, you don't need to clean your belly button much, especially because it contains a team of very helpful bacteria. But if you've recently gotten a piercing in your umbilicus, or you haven't peeked down there recently and think it could stand a good clean, this article will guide you.

Part 1
Cleaning Your Belly Button or Navel

  1. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 1
    Gather your supplies. Of course, you'll need a few cotton swabs. But other than that, there's no go-to set of ingredients that people use to clean their belly button . Rather, they use a whole host of items. Experiment for yourself what works best on your body. You can use:
    • Water
    • Baby oil
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Another kind of astringent, like witch hazel
  2. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 2
    Dip one head of the cotton swab into whatever cleaning solution you want to use and start poking around in your belly button. Gently work your way around the belly button, being careful not to rub inside the navel too hard.
  3. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 3
    Discard old swabs and repeat the process if your navel is still dirty. You should only need one or two takes and you're good to go. When you're done, take a clean swab and gently clean out any remaining cleaning solution still present in the navel. Make sure to get as much water, baby oil, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol from your belly button as possible.
    • If your belly button is dry, use some Neosporin and you work your way around your navel. Use a slow, circular pattern and get right in the middle before removing the cream entirely with a swab.

Part 2
Taking Regular Care of Your Belly Button

  1. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 4
    If caring for a piercing, make sure to soak your belly button in salt water. It's a bad idea to take your piercing, if you have one, out every once in a while, because that is when most bacteria and other infection-causing things get in. Also, it can take as little as ten or fifteen minutes for a piercing to start closing up! Even if it isn't completely closed, it may be too painful for you to re-insert it. Do not remove a new piercing until you are sure it is fully healed, and there is no blood or pus coming from it, or crust on the jewelry. If your belly button is pierced, move it as high up as possible, soak it, then as far down as possible. Make sure you de-crust it, using a clean paper towel soaked in the saline solution, because it can cause pain if you try to slide it when there is crust present. Make sure you use SEA salt. Iodized (table) salt will do nothing for preventing infections! If you have an infected piercing, do not take out the jewelry. This can cause it to close with the infection inside, and it is not pretty. See a doctor. [1]
  2. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 5
    Make sure you dry your navel carefully after you take a shower. Too much water and moisture can promote the growth of more harmful bacteria. Remember, your belly button is a haven for over 1,500 kinds of healthy bacteria[2] — you don't want those interfered with by bad bacteria.
  3. Image titled Clean Your Belly Button Step 6
    Remember that you don't have to clean your belly button regularly. As long as you regularly bathe and use effective soap in and around your belly button, you don't have much to worry about. Your belly button, unlike your teeth, does not require constant supervision. Your belly button is like the brother who prefers to be left in his room for the whole day and prepares his own meals.


  • For people with belly buttons that smell bad and exhibit redness, use a wash that is specially formulated for sensitive skin or feminine wash. The most common cause of an odor from belly buttons is washing with bar soap without rinsing well, so the skin becomes dry and irritated.
  • Before showering, use a little coconut oil or olive oil in your navel. Oil binds to dirt and other particles, making it easier for it to be washed away during your shower.[citation needed]
  • Q-tips are the same thing as cotton swabs; they are just a specific brand of the product.
  • Your belly button is a closed, healed area of your stomach. Nothing should be able to enter your body that way. Ask your doctor if washing it concerns you.
  • Do not use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol as it can further damage the wound, as can cotton swabs, if you aren't careful. Instead, use antibacterial soap and warm salt water. You could also try an antibiotic ointment.
  • You could use petroleum jelly on your belly button. After applying, wait 5 to 20 minutes, then take a tissue and start cleaning. Any residue should come out easily.
  • Even if perfume contain alcohol, it is never good idea to use it to clean your belly button since it can cause rashes.


  • Call your piercer if something seems amiss with your piercing. If you fear it may be infected, call your piercer, not your friends. They are NOT the professional.
  • Seek medical assistance if you have accidentally injured your navel while cleaning.
  • If your belly button itches or burns go to the doctor. It may be infected.
  • Never use sharp or dirty objects to clean your belly button.
  • Be careful when cleaning your belly button. Rushing in it may hurt you and inflict pain to your belly button.
  • Keep the alcohol and the cotton swabs away from children.
  • If you have a piercing follow your piercer's instructions. Some beads on body jewelry crack or shatter when in the presence of alcohol, even the small amount in mouthwash.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Warm Water / Baby oil

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Personal Hygiene | Articles in Need of Sources