How to Get Rid of Belly Button Odor

Updated July 12, 2018

One of the most baffling body odours is belly button odour. A smelly belly button can be caused by many things, such as increased activity in your sweat glands, rashes, or an infected piercing. Cleaning your belly button isn't hard, but should be done carefully to avoid making the problem worse. Cleaning your navel thoroughly and regularly can go a long way toward keeping it fresh.

Fill a clean bowl with hot water -- however, not hot enough to irritate your skin -- just a degree or so warmer than your fingertips.

Add a tablespoon or two of salt to the hot water. Table salt will do, though you can also use sea salt. Stir it slowly with your fingers to let the salt dissolve.

Soak a clean, lint-free cloth in the salted water. Wring out the excess moisture and press the cloth gently against your belly button. Rinse the cloth and repeat this three to five times to soften and clean the area.

Apply a little bit of mild soap to a clean cotton swab and carefully clean out your navel area. Don't poke or dig, just gently remove anything that might be hiding in there.

Check your belly button for signs of infection, if you have a piercing. If you see redness, swelling or pus, contact your doctor immediately, because you might need antibiotics.

Rinse your belly button area well to make sure that all of the soap residue is removed, and pat it dry with a clean towel. Avoid scratching, poking or tugging at your belly button, and make sure your clothing doesn't irritate it.


Sleep in a loose nightshirt, or nothing at all, to keep pyjamas or lingerie from irritating your navel at night.


Don't attempt to treat any sort of rash or infection with hydrogen peroxide or over-the-counter ointments, because this can make the problem worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean bowl
  • Hot water
  • Salt
  • Clean, lint-free wash cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Cotton swabs
  • Clean towel
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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.