Navel lint

accumulation of fibers in the navel cavity

Navel lint, also called belly button lint, belly button fluff or navel fluff, is a collection of fluffy fibres in one's navel.

Green navel lint.
A jar of navel lint balls

Many people find that, at the beginning and end of the day, a small lump of fluff has appeared in the navel cavity. People have wondered why this happens for many years. In 2001, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki of the University of Sydney, Australia, did a survey to find out why this happens. This is what he found out:[1]

  • Navel lint is mostly stray fibers from one's clothing, mixed with some dead skin cells, and body hair.
  • The lint comes from a person's shirt or top. The fibers move there from friction of body hair.
  • Women have less navel lint because of their finer and shorter body hair. Older men have it more because they have more hair and it is thicker.
  • Navel lint's color is usually blue-gray. The color is most likely an average of all clothing colors worn.[2]
  • Navel lint is entirely harmless and does not need to be corrected.

Dr. Kruszelnicki was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in 2002.[3] The Ig Nobel Prize is given for "achievements that cannot or should not be repeated".

Austrian scientist Georg Steinhauser has also done research on the navel lint.[4][5]


  1. "Fluff gazing". BBC News. 2001-12-11. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  2. Graham Barker. "The Incredible World of Navel Fluff". Graham's Paddock. Archived from the original on 2004-10-09. Retrieved 2009-04-21. – Barker is the Guinness world record holder for collecting Belly Button Fluff.
  3. Richard Macey (2002-10-05). "Not noble, but navel fluff study wins prize". Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. Sawer, Patrick (2009-03-01). "Revealed: The secrets of belly button fluff". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  5. Steinhauser, Georg (24 February 2009). "The nature of navel fluff". Medical Hypotheses. 72 (6): 623–625. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.01.015. PMID 19231087.

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