Have you ever taken off your shirt after a hard day’s work only to notice a vexing blob of cotton-textured muck sticking out from your belly button? Well, congratulations! That just proves you’re a normal human being. 

The irksome blob is known as navel fluff/lint. After research that entailed 3 years of, well, ogling at the navel/belly button, Georg Steinhauser, an Austrian chemist has finally come to the conclusion that navel fluff collects because there’s a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel. 


After going through a whopping 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button, Dr. Steinhauser can proudly say that he has finally come up with a scientific reason that explains why the muck collects inside the belly button. 

His chemical analysis revealed that the pieces of fluff found weren’t only made up of cotton from clothing (that scrapes and collects in the button), it also had flecks of dead skin, sweat, dust and fat!

Further, Dr. Steinhauser stated in his journal Medical Hypotheses that ‘small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day.’


“The hair’s scaly structure acts like a barbed hook. Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel. The scaly structure of the hair directs the lint towards the belly button,” he said.

Research also points to a conclusion that states the typical carrier of navel fluff is often a ‘slightly over-weight middle-aged man who has a hairy abdomen.’


How can one keep belly button fluff at bay?

Steinhauser established that shaving one’s belly will result in a fluff-free navel, but only till the hair grows back.


Other suggestions include wearing old clothes as they shed less lint than relatively new garments. 

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Alternatively, a body piercing could also be used as it is particularly effective at sweeping away all the fibres before they collect. 


While most information has frothed to the top and been picked up, there still lies some mystery in the murky depths of the belly button. Like they say:

“The belly button is one of the habitats closest to us, and yet it remains relatively unexplored.”