Your belly button is pretty easy to forget. This abdominal scar marks the spot where your umbilical cord was once attached. Post birth, well, it doesn\u2019t offer any real function.\nBut the navel can be a breeding ground for dirt, sweat, bacteria, and a variety of unpleasant substances, particularly if you\u2019ve had this spot pierced. In fact, the average belly button harbors more than 67 kinds of bacteria.\nYou\u2019re at higher risk of problems if you have an \u201cinnie\u201d belly button or if you have your belly button pierced. That\u2019s because deeper belly buttons and piercings are more apt to become infected.\nWhy Does My Belly Button Smell?\nDischarge and smells can be a result of several different factors, though slight navel odors are typically normal. If you have a combination of foul smell and discharge, it could be a sign of:\n\nA fungal infection or yeast infection of the belly button\nA bacterial infection of the belly button\nA wound or bruise around or within the belly button\nA simple build-up of sweat and belly button dirt\n\nWhy Does My Belly Button Itch? Could It Be Infected?\nBelly buttons that are crusted, inflamed, or itchy may be infected. Common symptoms of a belly button infection or allergic reaction to a piercing include:\n\nRed, itchy skin around the navel\nFoul smells\nSwelling\nYellow, green, or dark-colored discharge\nPersistent pain, particularly around a piercing\nBlistering around the navel or piercing\n\nRarely, people can develop\u00a0stone-like masses\u00a0inside the belly button. Known as omphaliths or umboliths, these growths can fill the entire navel and lead to infection, inflammation, and ulcerated skin.\nFor these reasons, it\u2019s important to keep your belly button as clean as possible.\n\n\u00a0\nBelly Button Infection Prevention: How to Clean Your Belly Button\n\nThe first step to a clean belly button may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. A\u00a0shower\u00a0with plain old soap and water should remove lint, dirt, and some bacteria. You don\u2019t need to scrub, but you should make sure the shower washes away obvious grime.\nIf you have an \u201couttie,\u201d lucky you: Your belly button is probably pretty clean. Those with deeper navels may need to get a little more aggressive about cleanliness. Dip your finger or a soft washcloth in a solution of salt water (about a teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water) and gently massage the inside of your navel. This should loosen stubborn germs that can cause odor. Then rinse with plain water and pat it dry.\nResist the temptation to apply lotions or creams to your belly button. The extra moisture can contribute to bacterial or fungal growth.\n\nHow to Clean a Belly Button Piercing\nIf you have a navel piercing, you\u2019ll need to pay special attention to your belly button. You can use the same saltwater solution mentioned above:\n\nWet a clean cloth in the solution and apply it to the area as a warm compress several times a day. This should remove any discharge or crust and allow you to gently move the jewelry through the piercing.\nPat it dry when you\u2019re finished.\n\nRemember, if your belly button still smells and doesn\u2019t respond to these approaches, you should visit your doctor. If you develop redness, swelling, pain, or discharge, your belly button could be infected. This is especially likely if you have a navel piercing. In this case, you may require antibiotics or other treatment and should visit\u00a0UPMC Urgent Care\u00a0right away.