How to Get Rid of Belly Button Odor

Sweat, dirt, bacteria and lint from your clothing can accumulate in your belly button and cause an unpleasant odor. Newborn babies' umbilical cord stumps often give off a slight odor during the first few weeks of life as their belly buttons heal as well. Most of the time, your belly button should not require any special cleaning other than your normal showering, but if you have persistent problems with odor you may need to give your navel some extra attention.

Close-up of a woman's belly button. (Image: offstocker/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your belly button with warm water and salt, recommends Margaret Steam, M.D. Add about 1 tbsp. of salt in a small bowl of warm water. Use your fingertip to gently massage the salt water into your navel or dab it with a soft washcloth.

Step 2

Rinse your navel area thoroughly and dry it with a clean towel or cotton balls. Use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to dry your belly button if you have trouble removing all of the excess moisture.

Step 3

Refrain from applying lotion or creams to your navel area, unless your doctor recommends using an antibacterial cream. Excess moisture can contribute to the growth of fungi, which could result in an infection and persistent odor.

Step 4

Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and gently swab it over your newborn's umbilical cord stump once or twice a day to minimize odor, recommends Carol A. Miller, a pediatrician and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California in San Francisco.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt

  • Bowl

  • Washcloth

  • Towel

  • Cotton balls

  • Hairdryer

  • Rubbing alcohol

Tip

Shower after you exercise or sweat heavily to prevent moisture from accumulating in your belly button.

Warning

Contact your doctor if you or your baby experience belly button odor that does not go away with self-care or if you notice pus or discharge.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.