How to Heal a Belly Button Infection: The Most Effective Natural Cures (Backed by Science)

How to Heal a Belly Button Infection: The Most Effective Natural Cures

Belly button infections are usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection and can affect anyone. It isn’t just belly button piercings that can be the reason for your navel to become infected. The belly button has the ideal environment for infections to develop. Your belly button is a dark, damp place with many tiny crevices which are difficult to clean. So, sweat, soap, bacteria, and other germs can accumulate there and infect the skin inside and around your navel.

Very often, other factors can increase the risk of belly button infections. For example, injury to the belly button, a belly button piercing that’s not properly cared for, poor hygiene, being overweight, and diabetes can all contribute to the infection in your belly button. Also, the shape of your belly button may make you more prone to infections if it is difficult to clean your navel thoroughly.

The symptoms of an infected belly button are usually redness around the navel area, itchiness, swelling, tenderness to touch, and discharge. If the belly button infection is severe you may notice bleeding or a foul-smelling discharge.

There are many effective natural remedies to treat belly button infections. Some home remedies include tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, or coconut oil which help to get rid of bacterial or fungal infections. Other natural cures use the soothing properties of aloe vera, calendula, or honey to help relieve discomfort around the navel and at the same time kill off infection-causing germs.

The Most Effective Natural Cures for Infected Belly Button

Belly button infections are very common. According to researchers from the North Carolina State University, the average belly button contains a diverse number of bacterial strains and yeast fungi, all of which can cause infection.1

Here are some of the best ways to treat an infected belly button naturally and help prevent further infections from occurring.

Warm saline solution

One of the easiest ways to treat a belly button infection naturally is to apply a warm salt water solution to the infected navel area. The salt acts as an antibacterial agent to kill off bacteria, and the heat from the water increases blood flow to the navel to help speed up recovery and soothe pain.

A warm saline solution is also the recommended treatment to prevent a belly button piercing infection. Doctors from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom say that you should keep the belly button piercing germ-free by gently cleaning it with a salt water solution 2-3 times a day.2

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, a saline solution is an effective way to cure a skin wound infection. They found that gently rinsing the infected skin area with a saline solution was more effective than using soap to disinfect wounds.3

To use a saline solution to help treat an infection in your belly button. This is what you should do:

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small cup of warm water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the saline solution and apply to the infected navel area.
  • Hold the cotton ball on the belly button for about 10 minutes to allow the remedy to kill off the infection.
  • Using a clean paper towel, pat the belly button area dry and make sure that there is no moisture left in the navel.
  • Repeat the remedy 2 times a day until you no longer have any signs of an infection around your navel.

The saline solution helps to destroy germs in the belly button and soften any discharge from the wound.

Tea tree oil

To combat a belly button infection and reduce signs of redness and swelling around the navel, use some tea tree oil. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil make it one of the best remedies to treat many skin infections such as belly button infection.

The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews published information on the effectiveness of tea tree oil as an antiseptic to clean wound infections. They found that tea tree oil is just as effective as pharmaceutical antibacterial creams and antifungal preparations. Tea tree oil is effective against many strains of bacteria like staphylococcus and also helps to eliminate Candida fungal infections.4

Use tea tree together with virgin coconut oil to make an antibacterial ointment to heal your belly button yeast infection or bacterial infection. Coconut oil is also antibacterial and antifungal and will help boost the potency of tea tree oil in getting rid of skin infections.5, 6 It also contains anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce redness and swelling around the belly button.7

Mix 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil with 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Apply the home remedy to the infected skin around your belly button 2-3 times a day. Continue applying the treatment until all signs of the infection around the navel area have gone. Regular application of the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix will help to soothe the infected skin and reduce swelling and redness.

Apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar has many health benefits for your skin and it is an effective remedy to treat an infected belly button that is caused by a bacterial or yeast infection. Apple cider vinegar contains a high amount of acetic acid which is a natural antiseptic and it can prevent the infection from getting worse.

The journal Burns found that acetic acid is a natural agent for disinfecting wounds and preventing infections from spreading. The researchers found that acetic acid is effective against many strains of bacteria that are found in the belly button. They concluded that even a low acetic acid content “has excellent bactericidal effect” and is a suitable local antiseptic agent.8

To make an antiseptic apple cider rinse to help heal a belly button infection, it’s very important to dilute the vinegar with water. Mix equal part of raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar and water and apply to the infected area around your navel by using a clean cotton ball. Use the natural remedy 2-3 times a day to get rid of the infection quickly.

Aloe vera

To help soothe an irritated belly button infection and reduce inflammation, you can use the healing properties of aloe vera. Aloe vera is an amazing remedy for many skin complaints and it can help to effectively heal infections. It will also help relieve pain and redness around the infected belly button area.

Scientists have found that aloe vera contains compounds and vitamins which speed up wound healing and boost skin growth. In one study, researchers showed that aloe vera helps prevent scars from forming because it boosts collagen production in the skin.9 A study from 2012 showed that aloe vera also inhibits bacterial and fungal growth and is an effective antimicrobial treatment.10

To help quickly get rid of a belly button infection, apply some pure aloe vera gel to the affected area. Repeat the aloe vera remedy 2-3 times a day until the belly button looks healthy with no redness, swelling, or discharge. Alternatively, you can also use my special healing mixture of aloe vera and coconut oil.

Chamomile compress

If the belly button infection has become red and there is discharge, you should use some chamomile to help cure the infection and drain the discharge. Chamomile is a wonderful soothing herb that is well-known for relaxing the mind. You can also use chamomile to soothe the skin irritation caused by an infected belly button.

Research into chamomile shows that it can help to destroy infection-causing germs and bacteria. The journal Molecular Medicine Reports found that in trials, chamomile extracts helped wounds to heal quicker than corticosteroids – medicated creams which are used to reduce inflammation. Chamomile helps to drain discharge from wounds and has antimicrobial activity against a variety of germs.11

To make your own healing chamomile compress, all you need is a chamomile tea bag and some boiling water. Dip the chamomile tea bag in a cup of hot water. Squeeze out excess liquid and apply the warm compress to the infected area around your navel. Leave the remedy for 5-10 minutes. Repeat 1-2 times a day to help speed up the healing process and reduce pain and inflammation.


Calendula (often called pot marigold) is a natural and safe home remedy to heal belly button infections. Calendula is especially useful to relieve pain, swelling, irritation, and discharge around the navel infection. Applying calendula cream can also help prevent scars from forming.

Many studies have found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of calendula are effective for wound healing. Extracts from pot marigold can help to reduce inflammation naturally and kill off bacteria that cause infection. After a review of many studies into the healing effect of calendula, the researchers found that it is effective for wound healing and can reduce the number of germs in wounds.12

If you want to make your own healing calendula salve, you can add 2-3 drops of calendula oil to 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Apply the healing remedy 2-3 times a day directly onto the infected belly button to heal the infection and get relief from any pain and itching. Continue to apply the calendula salve until there are no more signs of infection.

Coconut oil

To help reduce any irritation and redness around your infected belly button, apply some virgin coconut oil around your navel. The fatty acid content of the coconut oil acts to soothe the inflamed skin and its antibacterial properties fight the infection.

I’ve already mentioned that coconut oil is a great natural antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent, especially when used together with other oils. However, studies have also shown that coconut oil on its own is great for healing wound infections. A study in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology showed that the antioxidant activities of coconut oil helped wounds heal faster.13

All you have to do is apply a little virgin coconut oil to the infected area around your navel. This is best done after you have cleaned and disinfected the wound. Continue applying the remedy to the infected belly button 2-3 times a day until the infection has gone.

Wound healing is one of the many reasons to keep coconut oil in your bathroom.


To quickly reduce the infection around your belly button, use crushed garlic to kill off any harmful bacteria. Garlic is a natural antibiotic which is great at treating any kind of skin infection. The antibacterial activities of garlic are due to allicin.

According to the European Medical Journal, garlic is a powerful all rounded treatment for wound infections, the common cold, hypertension, and many other diseases. The healing properties of garlic can kill off strains of Staphylococcus and E. coli as well as many other bacterial and fungal germs. The researchers concluded that garlic can be used as an effective antibacterial agent.17

Garlic is too powerful to apply directly to the skin. To use garlic safely to get rid of any bacterial or fungal infection in your belly button, please do the following:

  • Crush up 2-3 cloves of garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes. This allows the allicin to form properly.
  • Mix the crushed garlic with some coconut oil, aloe vera, or Manuka honey.
  • Apply the garlic mixture to your belly button 1-2 times a day. If you feel a burning sensation, reduce the amount of garlic in the mixture.
  • Continue applying the natural treatment to your belly button until your skin is free from any signs of infection.

So, if your belly button infection is caused by a yeast infection or a buildup of harmful bacteria, apply a garlic salve regularly to kill off any germs.

Manuka honey

Manuka honey can help to alleviate the discomfort and pain from an inflamed belly button and clear up an infection faster. Manuka honey promotes healing in wound infections and soothes painful, inflamed skin. Manuka honey is a great healer for many ailments such as belly button infection and can be used directly in and around your belly button area to cure infections.

An article published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine reported on the effectiveness of honey in wound healing. The article said that the low pH level of honey and its antimicrobial agents hinder the growth of germs.14

Scientific research into the healing properties of Manuka honey has established that it certainly is a powerful antibacterial agent. For example, Manuka honey has been shown to have 100 times more antibacterial activity than other conventional honeys15, and effective against 60 species of bacteria.16

Apply Manuka honey directly to the sore belly button to help the infection heal faster. If you have broken skin around the infection or crusty sores, Manuka honey will help to soothe the damaged skin.

How to Prevent Belly Button Infections

There are a few simple ways to help you prevent a belly button infection. This is especially important If you’ve just had a belly button piercing or if you are at any other risk of developing skin infection.

  • Wash your hands with soap thoroughly before handling belly button piercing. Hand washing removes germs and helps prevent infections.
  • Don’t play with a new belly button piercing and don’t pull on it.
  • Rinsing the navel area with a saline solution (even when you’re healthy) can prevent bacterial overgrowth.
  • Opt for loose garments made of natural fabrics like cotton to keep your skin dry to prevent bacterial overgrowth.
  • Don’t use public swimming pools after getting your belly button pierced.
  • Watch out for warning signs of infected belly button piercing and treat it quickly.

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  8. Burns. 2009 Aug;35(5):695-700.
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  10. J Conserv Dent. 2012 Jul-Sep; 15(3): 246–248.
  11. Mol Med Report. 2010 Nov 1; 3(6): 895–901.
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  13. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010;23(6):290-7
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