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Cleaning a Belly Button Piercing

Cleaning a Belly Button Piercing
Cleaning a belly button piercing is an essential part of its aftercare, as this allows the wound to heal faster and prevents bacterial and other infections. This write-up will answer your question as to how to clean your belly button piercing.
Parul Solanki
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Belly button or navel piercings have become quite fashionable in recent years, especially among teenagers and young adults. It is a piercing done on the navel or around it. With proper care, the piercing heals easily on its own in around four to six months. However, lack of proper aftercare can lead to the piercing becoming infected.

Scarring, bleeding, and blood infections are some of the side effects of a belly button piercing. As opposed to this, caring and cleaning the piercing on a regular basis allows the wound to heal faster and reduces the chances of contracting an infection. This can be quite a difficult task, as dirt and grime can easily settle in the area. Moreover, after the piercing is done, pus and blood from the resultant wound settles in that area, forming a hard crust. This needs to be cleaned thoroughly, so that the wound gets enough oxygen to heal properly.

How to Clean a Belly Button Piercing

☛ Wash with Antibacterial Soaps
Once your belly button is pierced, do not clean it the very same day. It is advisable to leave the piercing alone for a couple of days. This will allow the inflammation and swelling of the wound to subside. Later, to clean the navel piercing, you need to wash the area with an antibacterial soap. Wash your hands before the cleaning process, and using a Q-tip soaked in warm water to remove the hard crust in the navel. Apply soap to the area and then rinse it off completely with water. Follow this cleansing regime two times a day. If heavy workouts and exercises make you sweaty, then clean the area with lukewarm soapy water.

Caution: It is important to note that you should never scratch the crust around the piercing with your fingers, as it can lead to an infection.

☛ Salt Water Soaks
Salt water soaks are one of the best methods of cleaning piercing wounds and promoting the healing process. Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Put a pinch of sea salt in a small disposable cup. Fill it with hot sterile water and invert it over the navel piercing wound. Let it stay there for around five to ten minutes, before rinsing off the area. Dry it with a clean paper towel. Salt water is an excellent antibacterial solution that prevents bacterial infections and aids faster healing.

Caution: Do not use table salt, kosher salt, Epsom salt, or iodized sea salt. Pure sea salt is available at most convenient stores.

☛ Use Cotton Swabs
Use cotton swabs to clean the piercing everyday, instead of cloth towels, as they can harbor germs and bacteria which may infect the piercing.

Caution: Do not touch the piercing wound with your hands, as this can hamper the healing process and lead to infections caused by germs on the hand.

☛ Natural Healing Products
Along with cleaning products, you also need to speed up the healing process of the wound using natural antibacterial agents like tea tree and lavender oil. This will help soothe the irritated piercing area. Emu oil has been known to produce exceptional results when healing a piercing.

Caution: Do not use chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide on the belly piercing, as it not only kills the bacteria, but also the white blood cells of the affected area. The peroxide can cause irritation and lengthen overall healing time. Using rubbing alcohol on the fresh wound will dry the skin and irritate the raw piercing. This, in turn, can lead to an infection.

What Not to Do

When it comes to caring for and cleaning your belly button piercing, there are certain things that you should completely avoid. These include:

✖ Antibacterial ointments or similar products should be completely avoided. These only clog the pores and block oxygen from reaching the wound, thus delaying the natural healing process.

✖ Do not fiddle around with your navel jewelry during the healing phase. Changing the jewelry during this time period can leave the wound exposed to infection-causing bacteria. It is also best to avoid heavy and dangling jewelry during this time, as they can strain the wound.

✖ Avoid swimming pools and spas. If you must, be sure to clean your navel immediately afterward with an antibacterial soap, or wear a waterproof bandage over the piercing in order to avoid bacterial contamination.

✖ Make sure not to use a sun tan lotion or any skin care product on or around the piercing area.

✖ Avoid tight clothing such as jeans and fitting tops around the piercing, as this will restrict oxygen access, and increase the healing time. Tight clothing can also cause trauma to the wound due to constant friction.

While cleaning a belly button piercing, if you find pus, which is a yellow or green discharge accompanied by a foul odor or blood, then it is a signal that your piercing is infected. Make sure that you consult your physician. With proper care and cleanliness, you will soon have a fabulous navel piercing that you will be proud to show off.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by a medical professional.