Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Why do we get belly button lint? © Getty Images

Why do we get belly button lint?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Navel fluff, otherwise called lint, is both mysterious and disgusting in equal measures.

Asked by: Geoff Graves, Manchester


Navel lint, or belly button fluff, is mostly made from your underwear. The majority of clothing fibres just contribute to house dust, but underwear fibres get caught by the hairs below your belly button, which points upward and towards your mid-line. As your underclothes rub against your skin, the fluff ratchets its way up to your navel. Men get more fluff because they have more body hair.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.


luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


Sponsored content