Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Clean Your Belly Button

Bodies are exhaustingly demanding to maintain. The longer you live, the more detailed the list of things you need to do to stay alive and in good enough health becomes, especially when it comes to self-care and hygiene . You might think you’re doing a pretty good job of detailing all the parts of your body, but a lot of people are missing out on a pretty important part of their dishwashing: their belly button.

You probably don’t think much about your belly button, at least not since the 90s pierced fleet. As it turns out, you do this at our peril and risk. If you fail to keep it clean, it will insistently remind you of its presence. Here’s why you should clean your belly button regularly (and how to do it).


Simply put, your belly button is disgusting. Rudeness varies depending on whether you have “innie” or “auti”. Outies are slightly easier to clean, less of a problem, although they still need to be cleaned regularly. Innies need a little more attention because they are literally a recess in your body and a lot of really nasty things can burrow in there. The study found that the middle navel is home to over 60 different types of bacteria ; they also tend to pick up dirt, hair, shed skin cells and fibers from your clothes, all of which create nightmarish scenarios.

What scenarios? Well, infections, first of all: the dirt and damp conditions found in this fleshy cave can lead to nasty irritation caused by bacteria, yeast , or fungus. Infection of the belly button leads to redness, swelling, itching, pain, and a discharge that can be a mixture of blood and pus. And a belly button infection can become quite serious, especially if it spreads to other parts of the body.

You may also develop omphaloliths, or umbilical stones. These are pretty much mega-eels, formed from dead skin, sebum secretions, hair, and whatever else gets in there. They can be quite…impressive in size and sometimes require professional help (and a strong stomach) to remove them.

How to clean your belly button (and what not to do)

The best way to avoid infections and belly button stones is to keep it clean. The bad news is that if you have an innie, just taking a shower isn’t enough – while occasional contact with soap and water can’t hurt, you do need to dig in there from time to time to make sure your belly button is clean. In other words, we finally have a use for cotton swabs that don’t touch your ears . Use one with a little rubbing alcohol and just swirl it in there gently. If it comes out dirty, throw it away and use another one and repeat until the swab is clean.

Cleaning the “outie” is obviously easier, but you should definitely be careful when you shower to make sure you’ve actually removed dirt or other substances from the ledge. Your suit can still get infected if you let it get dirty.

And the last tip: if you use lotions or any other skin creams, avoid getting them inside the navel. It’s already quite damp in there, so adding something wet and lubricating to the mix isn’t a good idea.


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