Yes, you really should clean your belly button: the average one contains more than 60 types of bacteria (healthy and harmful alike)! Most people believe they have a clean belly button after the warm water and body soap suds wash over it in the shower, which is the least effective cleaning method because people do not typically dry themselves thoroughly enough. This especiallygoes for people with “innies”: water can get trapped inside the belly button hole, providing a perfect environment for germs. To get a clean bellybutton, you should have a direct focus on it instead of treating it as an afterthought. Although it is not possible to completely rid it of bad bacteria, you can decrease its population on and around your belly button by following these directions:
Basic Care for a Clean Belly Button
- Dip one head of a cotton swab into water or an astringent, like rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. Other solutions you can use include baby oil, hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar. If your belly button is dry, use Neosporin or Vaseline.
- Place it into your belly button and gently work your way around the navel. Do not apply a discomforting amount of pressure.
- Repeat the above steps if your belly button is still dirty.
- Use a clean swab to remove any excess cleaning solution. Make sure to soak up as much water and/or cleaning solution as possible. You may have to use more than one swab.
- After showering, use your index finger and a small section of towel to wipe the belly button and its surrounding skin. Keep an eye on any piercings.
Belly Buttons with Piercings
- Soak your belly button with a cotton ball dipped in sea salt water for 5 minutes
to reduce the risk of infection. Table salt will not work as a substitute.
- Remove crust buildup by applying a paper towel dipped in the sea salt water and gently wipe it off.
- Use a clean towel to completely dry your belly button. It is best to press down lightly to absorb the remaining liquid: any repetitive wiping or scrubbing motions could cause irritation in the pierced area. How often should you clean your belly button? It depends on how fast dirt accumulates inside it. If your belly button is dirt-prone, you should clean it on days you start to notice it. If it always looks clean to the naked eye, you may only need to clean your belly button once every two weeks.