How To Clean A Belly Button Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 1, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Making sure you know how to clean your new belly button piercing is a big deal. This is how you’ll prevent common complications from ruining your new piercing.

Although, knowing what to do isn’t enough. You have to commit to spending the time to actually do it. Cleaning your belly button piercing regularly has to become one of your top priorities for the first few weeks following the procedure.

Why Cleaning Your Belly Button Piercing Is So Important

If you ask people who have just had their belly buttons pierced what their biggest fear is, most of them will say developing infections.

Infections can be unsightly, unpleasant, expensive and sometimes even dangerous.

They aren’t super common – there is only a slight risk after getting your belly button pierced. Still, even though you’ll likely be fine, you have to take that threat seriously because it does happen.

You don’t want to be one of the people who gets stuck watching pus ooze out of their piercing and paying for medicine instead of new jewelry.

How To Clean A Belly Button Piercing

1. Wash your hands

The first thing you want to do is wash your hands well before you begin touching your belly button piercing. If your hands are dirty, they are probably harboring bad bacteria and you might just be giving yourself an infection with your carelessness. So take 30 seconds and give your hands a good scrub down.

2. Remove loose crust

After having your belly button pierced, you’ll notice a crust forming around it for the first few days. You should remove as much loose crust as you can with a Q-tip that you’ve moistened with warm water. You don’t want to be like a bull in a china shop with that Q-tip, though. Any crust that still feels firmly attached to the area should just be left to fall off by itself.

The best way to do it is slowly and gently; this will also minimize any pain you may feel in the tender area.

3. Clean the piercing

You should clean your piercing twice a day using a sea salt solution. This mixture is easy to make – stir one-fourth of a teaspoon of sea salt into 8 ounces of boiled water that has been cooled. You can use cotton balls soaked with the solution for cleansing.

An advantage of this mixture is that it’s incredibly cheap to make, which helps to keep the overall cost of your belly piercing down.​

If you’re not comfortable in making your own healing solution, or simply just don’t want to, there are many pre-made ones on the market that are specifically designed to help heal a piercing as quickly and efficiently as possible.​

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

Cleaning A Belly Piercing

How Often Should You Clean Your Belly Button Piercing?

You’ll need to clean your belly button piercing somewhere in the ballpark of between two and four times a day with the saline solution.

If you think the wound is potentially infected, you may want to consider adding some extra cleaning sessions in per day. Cleaning the piercing is a great way to work any infected discharge out of the wound by encouraging drainage.

When Can I Stop Cleaning My Belly Button Piercing?

When you can stop cleaning your belly button piercing depends partly upon how well it appears to be healing. Belly button piercings can take months to heal, and in some cases, it can even take a full year.

If your belly button piercing appears to be healing well and shows no signs of complications, you should continue to clean it for about four weeks.

However, if you develop an infection, you’ll be stuck cleaning your piercing much longer than that. How long will depend upon what your doctor tells you, but you’ll definitely want to keep going for three or four weeks after the infection appears to have cleared up.

You don’t want to cut corners by ditching your cleaning sessions too early. You could be setting the stage for a re-infection, and the only thing that’s worse than having an infected belly button piercing is having the whole situation reoccur.

There are other times when you will want to continue cleaning the area, such as if your belly button begins to reject your piercing. If this happens, you will want to ensure you keep the area as free from bacteria as possible.

How To Clean Your Belly Button Piercing Jewelry

Before you touch your belly button bling, guess what you’re going to have to do? If you said wash your hands, you get a gold star. Handwashing is as important when handling your jewelry as it is when touching your piercing site.

After you take your jewelry out, use a warm, wet paper towel to dislodge any crust on the jewelry.

Once you no longer see any crust on your jewelry, take another fresh paper towel and spray some saline solution on it. Make sure it’s thoroughly wet. Then you’ll place your jewelry inside the paper towel and cover it up for 10 or 15 minutes, making sure that the moisture from the saline is in contact with the jewelry.

After the jewelry has had time to sit with the saline solution or sea salt mixture, you’ll take another paper towel, soak it with warm water and wipe the jewelry down. Make sure you never use a cloth towel for the cleaning because they may be hanging onto bacteria. If that happens, your cleaning session may do you more harm than good.

One thing you should never assume is that cleaning your jewelry like this makes it safe enough to share with other people because it doesn’t.

Your jewelry may have nicks and scratches on the surface that are impossible for you to see with your naked eye. Those imperfections make it hard to fully sterilize your jewelry.

That’s not a huge deal when you’re the only one who plans to wear the jewelry. On the other hand, if you’re sharing it with someone else, it’s very unsanitary and may lead to complications.


Cleaning a belly button piercing isn’t rocket science. It’s easy to do. The key to your safety is that you need to do it consistently. Regularly practicing good piercing aftercare is a top priority.

Knowing how to clean a belly button piercing properly will help to cut down on your risk of infections, and if you dodge those infections, your new piercing will be healed in no time and ready to show off.

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