If you’re like the nearly two out of three Americans who shower daily (via Harvard Health), you probably keep yourself extremely clean. Because you wash regularly, you might think you know which part of your body needs the most cleaning, but it might not be what you think it is.
You could think your hands are the dirtiest, since they touch everything wherever you go throughout the day. While it’s vitally important to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water (via the CDC), there is at least one other area of your body that harbors more germs than your hands. Because you use your hands for so much, The Healthy advises that you shouldn’t ever touch some parts of your body. The dirtiest part is included, along with the obvious suspects, like your backside, nose, and feet. A surprising study from the Public Library of Science revealed the unexpected culprit.
Here's why your belly button is the dirtiest area on your body
The dirtiest part of your body is your belly button (via Public Library of Science). People with innie belly buttons instead of outies tend to harbor more germs in the dimple in their midsection. Reader’s Digest Canada explained that part of the reason is that water runs over it during a shower because of its location and position. Because it’s more challenging to clean, your belly button hosts a variety of bacteria, making it your least clean area. Glenner Richardson, MD, director of microbiology and analytical chemistry laboratories at Microban, told The Healthy, “The belly button harbors a high population of bacteria. It is largely inaccessible, so it remains dirty even after showering.”
Dr. Richardson noted that sometimes the mix of germs like staph, strep, and others in your belly button could emit a noxious odor. Reader’s Digest suggested you regularly clean your navel using a cotton swab with warm water and soap, especially if you notice a smell. If you have more issues with your belly button, be sure to bring it up to your doctor.
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