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Why Does My Belly Button Smell?

Updated on March 10, 2016

Why Do Belly Buttons Smell?

There are a number of reasons why the belly button, commonly referred to as the 'navel', might start to smell funny; some have to do with hygiene and others are completely unrelated. Quite often though, people will report that the inside of their navel or belly button does come with a bit of an odor which can only be described as unpleasant, which prompts the question of: “Why does my belly button smell”?

The "Innies" and "Outies"

In many cases, the likelihood that your navel will become smelly when not regularly cleaned has to do with the shape of your navel. Some people have navels that face outwards while others may have navels that face inwards. The two names generally associated with these two navel shapes are “Outies” and “Innies”. Because the navel is one spot in the body where oil and dirt tend to accumulate, bacteria usually thrive in it. Usually, Innie-styled navels are the ones more susceptible to bacterial growth, which then emits that characteristic unpleasant odor, although "Outies" may also be susceptible to such but to a lesser scale.

However, in some rare cases, there are a number of different skin conditions that can aggravate the smell of the navel as well and increase the production of bacteria. Conditions such as eczema may create dead skin cells that flake off and clog up the navel. This condition can spur even further creation of bacterial growth and oils which cause the smell.

What You Can Do To Prevent a Smelly Belly Button

Certain hygienic options can be taken in order to try to combat the smell. Part of answering “why does my navel smell?” is coming up with an answer on how to prevent it from smelling in the first place. One of the easiest ways to clean out the small, hard to reach area of the navel is by using q-tips or cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol, an antiseptic, stops the growth of bacteria and dries out the moisture that forms inside the navel. However, one must take some precautions with rubbing alcohol as it can sometimes be an irritant. Other alternatives may be witch hazel, or hydrogen peroxide.

Some have also used anti-perspirants and deodorant in order to combat the smell temporarily as well. Moreover, making sure that your navel is always well-cleaned in the shower is a good hygiene regimen that keeps any kind of navel smell down to lower levels to nil.

In a Nutshell

In the question of “what makes my navel or belly button smell?”, the main culprit seems to be the growth of bacteria which causes the foul odor. The main solutions to the problem generally fall under hygiene and skin care issues. Although people with inward belly buttons are more at risk for this type of problem, just about anyone can experience the same foul smell from their navel if they do not take care of their skin or keep an eye on controlling their hygiene.

Watch this short video on cleaning the belly button


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    • profile image

      katie 2 years ago

      II think it is awesome i tried it

    • profile image

      susan 3 years ago

      I have read that odor is caused by bacteria..navel, armpits, crease in legs at genital area. My idea was to use a cloth with antibacterial hand soap! It works!

    • profile image

      unkown 3 years ago

      My Belly button smells I Donr Know What To Do I Dnt Know Why Either .?

    • profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago

      wow thanks for that it made it smell better for a day or two this was very helpful

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      I agree that this is unique! I cannot imagine how you came up with this idea and am shocked there was a video to go along with it. Lordy!

    • profile image

      david 5 years ago

      i have this problem often but I believe it has to do with my digestion ...

      i really have no hygienic problems. I am very clean so i know its not that

      but I do worry about it being a monthly problem what gives! can anybody help on what else it can be? thanks

    • geraldhakks profile image

      geraldhakks 5 years ago

      @beingwell - thanks for the vote.

      @Man from Modesto - thanks for stopping by.

    • geraldhakks profile image

      geraldhakks 5 years ago

      Angela: I also had a big grin on my face when my kid asked me why his navel is smelly. This was after he poked his forefinger into his navel and smelled the tip of it.

      Thanks for stopping by and the vote.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up, useful and shared.

      Good topic. I used to have this problem w/ my navel. I learned to clean it regularly with cotton buds dubbed in baby oil.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Rubbing alcohol is also a great natural underarm deodorant. It only lasts about 5 minutes, so keep some extra in a hip flask.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This made me laugh and voted the most unique topic yet!