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Effective Homemade Deodorant: My Baby Steps Story

Facebook Homemade Deodorant Update

I never thought I would make homemade deodorant, believe me, but as I told you when we talked about the hazards of antiperspirants, I wanted to take a baby step away from antiperspirant. I had used Degree for years because many other name brands didn’t work for me. I’m not a dainty little lady who doesn’t sweat!

It was Christmas break, and I’m an at-home-mom, so I don’t have a lot of people around to offend with my body odor. I grabbed that baking soda from under my sink and stuck it in the bathroom as a rinky-dink homemade deodorant. After my next shower, I remembered to put it on my still-moist underarms. I thought nothing of it that day. Pleased that I didn’t stink out the family, I tried the same thing again after the next shower. My baking soda was caked in little balls from being exposed to moisture as I used it as a cleaner, so it was actually really easy to apply it to my armpits by grabbing a chunk and (gently!) rubbing it in over the sink.

Added bonus: I could use the baking soda that drifted down into the sink as a scouring mini-clean for the sink-bowl the next time I washed my hands! (Check out my other simple, natural green cleaners and natural body product easy list.)

Baking Soda as Deodorant

Testing the Baking Soda

You might be thinking that I didn’t sweat much because it was winter, and I live in Michigan. With the house at 64 degrees, this is probably true. That second day however, I thought the baking soda “homemade deodorant” was doomed for sure. I went out shoveling after a massive snowfall, and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back under my work coat that totally doesn’t “breathe.” I could feel that nagging perception of wetness under my armpits, too, that I wasn’t accustomed to anymore after using anti-persperant for years. I could almost smell my B.O. in the ol’ imagination, certain that I had come to the end of an interesting experiment.

Much to my great surprise, I did not stink. Unpleasant wetness, sure, but no negative odor. The only time I really noticed body odor with plain baking soda was when I was due for a shower and wore synthetic silky PJs at nighttime. Most antiperspirant, in my experience, is wearing off by bedtime anyway, and from what I read, synthetic materials cause our B.O. to be worse. Weird, but definitely true. (And yes, I buy baking soda in bulk, since I use it for cleaning, too.)

Adding Cornstarch

I continued using baking soda exclusively for a month or two until my mom gave me a gorgeous powder puff container that she had sitting in her cupboard. It was begging to be used.

I decided I’d mix an equal part of cornstarch in with the baking soda, for dryness. This took all of 2 minutes to complete, and again – no commitment, no up-front cost. Again, all was well.  I began to worry about summer and sleeveless shirts, however.

I’ve since learned that many people have trouble with cornstarch irritating their skin. A company that makes a natural deodorant emailed me this: “Cornstarch can contain many chemicals and alum salts from the soil.”  I use arrowroot powder now.

Adding Coconut Oil

I’d had this post at Passionate Homemaking bookmarked for several month, but I didn’t have bulk coconut oil until I found this deal at Soaper’s Choice. At that point, it was time to make a real mimicked deodorant by adding coconut oil to the baking soda and cornstarch mixture. I used a fork in a little plastic dish that I’m not using much for food anymore. It made enough that I was still using the first batch 6 months later.

Natural Homemade Deodorant

Step by Step Instructions for Homemade Deodorant

  1. Mix about 1/4 c. baking soda and 1/4 c. arrowroot starch in a small bowl.
  2. Add unrefined coconut oil, not melted, about a Tablespoon at a time, mashing with a fork until all the dry ingredients have been mixed in. I find it takes 4-6 Tablespoons.
  3. Optional: If you’d like a scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil at this time.
  4. You could use this mixture as is and apply with your fingertips, but it’s pretty messy. Best option: use an old deodorant container.

Coconut oil has antibacterial properties and a nice, light coconutty scent, so it’s really the ideal medium for the baking soda (for odor) and cornstarch (for dryness). It goes on easy and dries clear – sleeveless shirts, here I come!

Homemade Deodorant Recipe Alternatives

Helpful folks have shared alternatives to this recipe, which is handy in a pinch or if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients:

  • Dab rubbing alcohol on your ‘pits (warning: see comments for a note about alcohol!)
  • Just coconut oil works for some
  • Rub in a squirt of aloe vera gel and allow to dry
  • Some omit the baking soda (it can cause a rash)
  • Some find a “better” brand of baking soda
  • Some omit the cornstarch
  • Many find it important to have a well-sourced coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off) .
  • When I didn’t want my deodorant to melt all over my bag in the summer and didn’t have access to a fridge, I tried my MadeOn lotion bar – I figured with coconut oil in it, it had to be better than nothing. It was! In a pinch, the lotion bar did a decent job, and paired with a dabbing of baking soda it was just about right.

Is Homemade Deodorant Working for Me?

Friends and family, here’s your chance! Please comment if I’m wrong about this, but I don’t think I’ve been stinking it up this summer at all! Even if the risks of aluminum/antiperspirant are overblown or minimal at best, I’m still going to stick with ingredients that are so safe I could eat them with no harm done. It’s a simple step to take, very frugal, and exceptionally safe.

Besides all that, the natural solution is working.

There are plenty of benefits I’ve found so far:

  • No sting on newly-shaven pits!
  • Pleasant smell
  • Avoid risk of parabens, aluminum, and other unnatural stuff
  • For nursing mothers, there’s a serious change in my peace of mind now that I don’t cringe when baby’s hand works its way up into my armpit. Well…I still cringe, but I’m not worrying about toxic chemicals finding their way into her mouth!

You Can Smell Good

A fun option that I didn’t try right at first is mixing a few drops of any essential oil into your deodorant mixture. I’ve used jasmine, and my husband likes that I smell more feminine (especially since my “shampoo” doesn’t smell so sweet anymore).

There have been just a few disadvantages:

  • Coconut oil has a 76-degree melt-point, which means it turns to liquid in the summer. I store mine in the fridge, but it’s hard(er) to remember to go out there and put it on in the mornings! It is easy to apply, even when cold. Just touch your skin for a second and it already starts to soften.
  • Travel is tricky. Even in temperate climates, a warm car will cause the coconut oil to liquefy and you’ve got a mess in your toiletries kit. I either travel with the deo in a cooler, upright and in a plastic bag in a side pocket of my luggage, OR I just use my MadeOn lotion bar and a bit of baking soda patted on manually. It’s worth it to avoid the mess. Some people melt a bit of beeswax and add it to the homemade deodorant recipe to help it remain solid above 76 degrees.
  • It takes 5 minutes or so to mix up a batch, although I’ve only done that once and just refill as needed. Of course, I bet I spent more than 5 minutes per stick of antiperspirant cutting and organizing coupons and matching with the best deals, then standing in my pharmacy trying to find the exact version on sale.

Yes, It Can Stain Clothing

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that on tighter fitting shirts, bold colors, and silky materials (like perhaps a red dress shirt you might wear at Christmastime), there’s a definite risk of an oil stain.

Oil stains on clothes are my absolute number one laundry nemesis. Somehow our family is constantly getting little (or large) grease spots on our shirts. It’s so bad that this week I put on a new, solid-colored shirt and at breakfast joked that we should lay odds on how long it would take me to get a grease spot on the shirt. I was as careful as could be, but by the end of the meal there were four little spots on my belly. Aughhhhhhhh!

So often I don’t catch them to pretreat at all until the shirt has already been through the wash, and then it’s nearly a hopeless cause. It doesn’t help that my favorite color scheme seems to be solid and bold. Please excuse my ranting – surely I am digressing from the point – but I want to make it clear that these oil stains on the armpits are no small matter to me.

It hasn’t been enough to get me to stop using the homemade deodorant, but sometimes I question it! I have two methods of attack, one preventive and one combative.

  1. It helps to try to let the deodorant sink into your skin. When I remember, I try to put it on right away after getting out of the shower, then put my shirt on last to give the oil as much time as I can. Of course, this doesn’t help on the “every other” shower days or when I forget to do it.
  2. I try to be on top of the stains. If I wear a shirt that is a likely culprit, I check the pits before tossing in the hamper. I find that a good dishwashing soap (also Shaklee H2) and hot water cut the grease, so I’ll scrub the problem area and hang to dry before laundering. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time.

The reason I don’t give up on this deodorant is that I know commercial antiperspirants will stain my clothes, too. The homemade stuff attacks mostly darks, the commercial, aluminum-laden stuff gets the whites. Nobody wins!

Homemade Deodorant

Other Options for Non-Toxic Deodorant

My mother, who listens to my stories of all the things I’ve been trying, is on the walk to more natural living alongside me. She chose to find a natural deodorant (not antiperspirant) to avoid aluminum. There are some name brand ones out there (Arm and Hammer) and things like Tom’s of Maine. They’re working for her, but she also said she saw in the ingredients triclosan, the FDA banned ingredient in antibacterial soaps. You just can’t win! Others have luck with a crystal deodorant that you can find at health food stores.

Crystal Deodorants

A lot of people looking for a natural alternative to antiperspirants turn to a crystal deodorant, often sold at health food stores but becoming more mainstream. I never tried it, but it’s often recommended.

I’ve learned recently that you have to be careful even there: many crystals include aluminum as well. It doesn’t do much good to stop wearing antiperspirant so you’re not exposed to as much aluminum and then purchase a new product with a different kind of aluminum in it. Check the ingredients for anything with “alum” in it.

Herbalix Deodorants

Herbalix Restoratives contacted me about their line of deodorants that are all-natural and even include a detox deodorant, to be used at night for the first 30 days to cleanse your body of toxins and make it so that you don’t have as much body odor to combat after that.

I’ve been impressed with the company and their commitment to sourcing quality ingredients, avoiding chemicals, doing their research and talking to consumers. However, I’ve put off writing this because I hate saying bad things.

Herbalix Restoratives Deodorant

The nighttime deodorant, as it promised it would, truly made my armpits stink. I can’t even tell you what a new magnitude of stench came from my body. It was hard to believe.

Now this is exactly what the deodorant was supposed to do – get out the toxins, which will stink. I just couldn’t stick with it. I would forget, I would skip the part about rinsing my ‘pits before applying (or was it in the morning to get rid of the stink? I can’t even remember…), and I hated that the stench would carry with me throughout the day since I don’t typically shower daily.

Their daytime deodorant, geranium scented, made me smell like an old lady with BO. The tropical scented smelled better, in my opinion, but it still couldn’t cover the body odor, and I kept coming back to the fact that with my homemade deodorant, I had been getting much better results.

I’m sure I didn’t complete the full 30 days, so this isn’t really a fair review. I’m just a wimp!

I can’t say I enjoyed trying the Herbalix products. I hate to do it, but it’s the truth (and what my dear readers deserve and expect!).

However, here’s what the company claims the nighttime deodorant can do, that I have no way of commenting on one way or the other:

  • Dilates sweat ducts to enhance flow of waste fluids
  • Removes all types of aluminums
  • Alkalizes underarm pH
  • Promotes a healthier lymphatic system
  • Encourages a reduction in daytime odors

If that sounds like something you’re looking for, and you’re ready to be stinky or wash your ‘pits every morning, you might be interested in giving Herbalix a go. The ingredients are solidly in the “natural” category – I can pronounce everything and recognize all the parts as plant-based. It goes on fine and doesn’t melt in the summer (one reason I was so excited to try it out!).

Other Natural Deodorants

  • I tested Primal Pit Paste and wrote about it a bit in a great post on armpit healing that is a must-read.
  • Life Without Plastic now carries Hoda’s Herbals cream deodorant. I haven’t tried it yet, but it only has five ingredients!
  • Also visit Real Food, My Way for a recipe with essential oils included.
  • Lindsay has published a fabulous update on her deodorant recipe detailing some common FAQs.
  • I also got a Miessence gift certificate in a blog giveaway, and I decided to try their deodorant (again seeking a non-melting stick for summer travels). I was totally nonplussed and walked around many days thinking, “Mine is better.” To their credit, I did order a scent that ended up being sort of manly, which didn’t help! The ingredients are ultra-pure and very safe, but it just didn’t work and was very pricey.

A Side-by-Side Deodorant Comparison

When I traveled to my parents’ for 10 days this August, I knew I had to pack my homemade deo in the cooler so it wouldn’t melt all over my toothbrush in the hot van. I had my conventional stuff with me, too, in case I forgot to pack it. I did, and was quite content with the fact that I’d get to do a real comparison. I figured I might find better results from the old antiperspirant on hot days, but I was also not looking forward to that old stinging sensation of antiperspirant on nicked-up underarms.

I was quite surprised to find that I stunk more with the “real” stuff.

My clothing had a more unpleasant scent after a long day. I can only imagine that it’s the chemicals in the antiperspirant mixing with the sweat and odor that does get through. I was quite happy to get back home and break out the cold coconut oil from my fridge.

I have a theory, too:  I think my body is used to its sweat glands being left alone, not bothered by chemicals fighting them closed. I’m guessing they just “work” better naturally and aren’t trying to overdo it. Plus, when I learn about how bacteria works, I probably have more natural body bacteria rather than the super-strong ones that would be left after chemical deodorants (sometimes containing triclosan!). They’re just milder.

Jen (formerly of Mommy’s Soapbox) has another very intriguing theory. She told us that when she started eating traditional foods, she noticed a decrease in her body odor. That’s one I’m going to ponder for a while!

Even More Armpit Advice from the KS Community

The women and men in the KS Facebook community are amazingly full of wisdom and experience. They shared a bunch of ideas for fighting armpit problems. Here are some for you to consider if you’re not ready for full blown homemade deodorant or don’t think it will be strong enough for you:

  • “Body odor is definitely related to diet. If you’ve been eating less green foods or more “mainstream” foods, that could do it. Chlorophyll reduces body odor, so eating lots and lots of green veggies can help. Zinc also helps eliminate body odor. Also, making sure you get your probiotics in can really help.”
  • “I have to second the mention about chlorophyll as well. I noticed a definite improvement in all body odors (breath & armpits especially) when I was taking chlorella.”
  • “Maybe take a good B-Complex with folate like Thorne Research, and some milk thistle.”
  • “Try washing your pits with hydrogen peroxide.”
  • “Drink more water.”
  • Tea tree oil cut with olive oil…..a little dab will do it….”
    • Note from Katie: I tried tea tree oil in a bit of unrefined coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off) , and I’m telling you, it really did help on really stinky days. I don’t think it was a 100% fix, but I’m adding a few drops tea tree oil to my homemade deodorant from now on!
  • “I’ve used a Kiss My Face deodorant that claimed to have enzymes that ‘controlled’ the odor-causing bacteria…?”
  • “I know you hated the Herbalix deodorant, but it may have been what your body needed. After reading your post about it, I contacted Herbalix, and have been using the product for over two months now. Two months? Yep. So far it’s help clear up two separate rashes, and I believe it’s got a better than 50/50 chance of helping my clear up my bursitis (in combination with their Smart Salve) and some other health issues. I know it removes toxins, because early on when I was using it, I had to eat out at a really nasty restaurant for a family gathering. I put the deodorant on that night, and the next morning I stunk like I have never stunk before or since. Better out than in. If you still have some of the deodorant left, I’d give it another shot to see if it can help your system clear out faster.”
    • Note from Katie: This is so fascinating to me…if I could have put my hands on the Herbalix, I would have tried it in a heartbeat, but like most of my life, it’s “all packed up.” I love that my honest yet overall negative product review ended up getting them a new customer! Sometimes I give up too fast, especially on herxing sorts of things that get worse before they get better.
  • “The best natural deodorant I’ve been able to find is a spray-on by Herbaria.”
  • Wellness Mama’s homemade deodorant is hands down the most effective one I’ve ever used, secret clinical strength included.”
  • “My husband was leery of natural deodorants because he gets pretty stinky so I made him a combination 2-step deodorant that he has been using for several months. He says it’s better than any store-bought regular deo/anti-perspirant he’s ever used. It’s not an antiperspirant, so he still sweats, but not profusely, and he never stinks. Don’t know if it will work for you or not, but the first step is a liquid: 2 tsp. zinc-oxide powder, 2/3 cup witch-hazel extract, 2 tbsp. aloe-vera juice (I used gel), 30-40 drops essential oil(s)–rose geranium, calendula or lavender oil is recommended as they are potent odor bacteria fighters. Mix these together and put in a roll-on bottle to apply or dab some on with a cottonball. Let it dry. Then use this mixture: 1/2 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder and 1/2 cup baking soda (you can also add 10 drops of essential oils to this also). Pat on with a powder puff. Good luck!”
  • Yellow Dock, Liquid Chlorophyll, and lots of water helped me :)”
  • “Essential oils that help are tea tree and lemon, don’t know if you should mix them though.”
  • “Give Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar a try. I found that it works so well for me. After I shower / shaved my armpits, rinse my washcloth of soap, fold it in quarters and apply about 2 tblsp or less to the wet cloth and rub both arm pits well, then with the rag and under the shower keep rubbing and rinsing with the shower on. Dry off and let arm pits dry well before applying the deodorant you use. What this has done for me is given me extra deodorizing protection, I think the vinegar balances your ph ??. Any how it’s been working very well for me and my deodorant works all the better.”
    • I had apple cider vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle from my no ‘poo shampoo method, so I squirted a bit of that on after a shower. I think it’s something you’d have to do multiple times during the day, but it may have made a positive difference.

Get in on the conversation or read the rest right here.

In general, the homemade deodorant has worked great for me. Now if I could only find time for showers more often…

I know forfeiting your deodorant or antiperspirant is not for everyone. That’s ok. It’s something to think about, a little piece of my story that you may or may not want to try.

Is homemade or natural deodorant a baby step you’ve taken?

Here’s the list of all natural body products I rely upon.

Effective Natural Homemade Deodorant

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. See my full disclosure statement here.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

94 thoughts on “Effective Homemade Deodorant: My Baby Steps Story”

  1. Pingback: All Roads Lead to the Pits : Homemade Deodorant | Crunchy Betty

  2. Just a heads up you guys: Try to use a Baking Soda that does not contain aluminum, as the major brands out there contain the very ingredient you are trying to avoid, albeit in small amounts, but some won’t even list it as an ingredient! I use Bob’s Red Mill baking soda that very clearly marks it on the package “aluminum free” ! This link clarifies it more :

    I love your recipe and will give it a go!

  3. I tried this ‘recipe’ a few days ago. It works wonderful! I am in love!. I usually use the Degree Clinical and I still smell pit-y by the end of the day. That slightly stinky B.O./deo smell. On the first day I tried this I didn’t stink at all! But I didn’t really do much except normal housework. The next day, I wore it to the park in the morning then for an evening run and still didn’t stink!! This morning I took a brisk walk with the stroller and then did housework stuff and it is now 8pm and I don’t stink!!! I still smell slightly coconutty and fresh. Thank you Thank you!!!

    1. Mary,
      What an awesome testimony! Way to go out on a limb and try something different! 🙂 Katie

  4. I found this great (cheap from…like $2.80-ish) roll on deoderent that works awesome! I had to use degree or prescription strength deoderent to keep the smell away and am delighted to find that this stuff works SO great!! It’s made mainly from aloe vera juice. Haven’t had a problem since! I may have to give your homemade deoderent a go just for fun if i can find an old stick deoderent somewhere around here, but this stuff doesn’t contain any yucky ingredients and it WORKS (and it’s cheap!)

  5. I really want to try this, not so much because of the health reasons, but since i have a medical problem with bo i have to use guy deoderants and the smell isnt always flatering….plus alchohol based deoderant is really anoying when its cold inside >_< (husband keeps it at 60 in the house cause hes got asthma)

    See, I have hyperhydrosis. It means i swet alot and the smell is naturaly worse than average. the only thing that really works for me is stuff like gillete sport or speed stick maximum strength. i often go without because im forgetfull and sweating doesnt bother me. I live in texas so its like a way of life.

    I wonder if i would be able to switch to something like this…i dont shave my armpits either because i get big dips in them when i raise my arms and cannot shave close enough to be comfortable without bad cuts, so that doesnt help things. I have a guy friend who uses a similar recipie to this, but he uses pachouli oils as a scent and while it would be strong enough to cover my stink (trust me, im nose deaf and i can smell me), im not wild about how it smells.

    any tips?

    1. Sara,
      I can’t be sure of course, but adding an essential oil like lavender, jasmine, or tea tree oil would be a good start for experimenting!
      🙂 Katie

    2. I agree…you could definitely add some essential oils to the mix and that will help with the bacteria that causes the smell…tea tree would probably be the strongest but lavender or jasmine would definitely smell more feminine. Let us know how it turns out!

  6. I made my first batch of deodorant! Looking forward to testing it out tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!

  7. An even easier “homemade deodorant ” is to simply use milk of magnesia. You have to wait a few seconds for it to dry but, it doesn’t flake or stain and works fantastically well. The People’s Pharmacy web sit was my source for this and I no longer bother with the crystals ( highly breakable and of questionable composition.

    Baking soda in water water is a great shampoo .
    it take a little getting used to since there is absolutely no lather but, it is safe, cheap, and comes in a box rather than plastic. I have been using it for more than 1 year and it leaves the hair clean, soft, and shiny.

    1. Fran,
      Thank you, I’ve never heard of MOM as deo! I do use the baking soda on my hair, with ACV as a detangler.

      Thanks for sharing!
      🙂 Katie

  8. I tried baking soda about a year ago and it was wonderful! I live in a very hot country, and I tried it in the spring, so it was a good test. It felt better than regular deodorant, as I could sweat (and let my skin breath) without smelling – even when I did heavy housework like repainting a dresser. The only problem is that I developed a painful rash after about a week. I tried mixing with cornstarch and water, but that was too messy. I’ve read about coconut oil before and now that I’ve finally got some, I’m going to try again! I’m sure it will be wonderful and I’m really glad to give up the chemical stuff.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Choosing freedom and a tip for celiacs =-.

  9. Pingback: Homemade All-Natural Deodorant – Passionate Homemaking

  10. Hi! I have been trying many different recipes for natural recipes over the past couple of years with varying degrees of success. I find vinegar does an excellent job of killing the bacteria (and thins my underarm hair), but it’s really difficult to get the ratio right so that the vinegar is not overpowering.

    In terms of the coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch–I have read in a few places that cornstarch can clog pores and should be avoided for skin application. Any thoughts or ideas?

    1. Maggie,
      I do have some evidence that some people have trouble with the cornstarch. I got an email from a company that makes a natural deo saying, ” Corn starch can contain many chemicals and alum salts from the soil. ” ?? You could easily skip that part and I think it would still be effective. Maybe an organic cornstarch would work better, OR I often use arrowroot starch now. I wonder if that has any of the same risks.

      🙂 Katie

  11. I tried putting it into a gel deoderant dispensor, you know the one with the little holes in the top, and I don’t recommend that! It worked very well the first day but the coconut oil hardened more than I expected and it wouldn’t come out the next day. Other than that, this has been wonderful.

  12. I LOVE this idea! We use the crystal deoderant but I can’t wait to try this. My friend uses a glycerin and essential oil mix, but this sounds even better. I have all the ingredients, I’d better get started before it gets too hot here in east Texas!

  13. Simple in France

    Oooh, I’ve been looking for more ideas on deodorant. By the way, your idea of putting it into the used roll on is fantastic–I bet I could get my husband to use it if I did that. . .maybe.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..6 ways to keep a job you hate from ruining your life! =-.

  14. Pingback: Effective Natural Deodorant « The Simple Life « At Home With KARE

  15. I printed this recipe out and I’m gonna try it. For years I tried several “Natural Deo” on the market and none of them worked, except the ‘Crystal deodorant’, it comes in a stick form, wet it and apply. We really do like it, except that you do sweat (which is a good thing) but there is no odor when applied after each shower (clean pits only). Its inexpensive and lasts for 1-2 years.
    I do like the idea of making things myself, so thank you for the recipe.

  16. I’ve been using deodorant like this for a while now — with the coconut oil and everything. Over this past summer, I stopped because I was living with a roommate who wasn’t into having my stick in the fridge and then it melted all over the place… I just went back to it and I forgot how much I missed it. I used Alba Botanica Lavender and Lichen and it worked ok, but the smell was not nearly as nice as the straight up coconut oil with some lavender essential oil in it.

    My only complaint is that mine tends to shed little bits all over the floor, so now that my current stick is just about dead, I’m looking for a new recipe to try.

    Keep it up– I love your site so far (just found it!). I’ve been trying for the past year or so to take my own small steps, and your site is inspiring me further!

    1. Allison,
      Glad to have you here! Try different amounts of the baking soda/cornstarch, or maybe just let it sit on your ‘pit a moment before moving it to avoid the little sheds. 🙂 Katie

  17. so, anyone had any luck converting their husbands to this??? Will it work for our men? Any men out there willing to try?
    .-= Trina´s last blog ..Buffet Display =-.

    1. Trina,
      My source’s hubs uses it, and I think if you scan the comments, Vin @ Natural Bias tried it too!

      1. Do you have any ideas for creating a more masculine scent? My boy thinks the coconut oil is too girly, but he’d like to try it. I wasn’t sure if there were any essential oils or other methods I could use to make it smell more manly?

        1. Sustainable Eats

          Becky – try lime or some conifer. Good post Katie, I’ve been making mine with vodka but I like the coconut oil idea. I’ll have to give it a try. One other thing that works but not local so I scrapped was rubbing with a cut lemon. Changing the ph manages everything amazingly enough.
          .-= Sustainable Eats´s last blog ..Do it Yourself Cleaners – for the house and for you =-.

  18. A little update on the FAQ: “Does it stain your clothes?” I did get a stain on a Christmas blouse made of synthetic silky material, but that’s the first one I’ve noticed. I would recommend taking care with such materials and maybe other bold, solid colors. I will now get in the habit of putting the deo on before the shirt and making sure it’s soaked in better before letting the shirt touch my skin. Ultimately, it’s not much different than the yellow antiperspirant stains on white shirts or the powdery deo marks on black shirts!
    🙂 Katie

  19. Hello! I’m reading some of your blog & have a few ideas to share. You can buy empty deodorant tubes then you don’t have to worry ‘bout the toxins from the original deod/antiperspirant. Another thing is the cornstarch. There’s now 5 items that are GM (genetically modified)- canola, soy, cotton, corn (CORNstarch), & now beet sugar. Best to get organic & be sure it says No GMO’s.
    I’m on the Midwest side of Michigan btw.

  20. How much coconut oil are you mixing in as compared to the equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch?

      1. So just to clarify:
        5 to 6 tbsp of coconut oil
        1/4 cup baking soda
        1/4 cup corn starch

        Is this correct?

  21. I started using this bakingsoda/cornstarch mixture 2 months ago. I noticed that I also sweated less after about a week of use. I think its along the same thinking as the No-Poo theory. That if you leave your oil glands/sweat glands alone they work just fine on their own. I may try the coconut oil in the summer for extra anti-bacterial properties.

  22. Roland Shanklin

    Thanks. Cornstarch/baking soda works for me. I also use baking soda to wash the squashed (yuk) bugs off the front grill of my car (also takes off tar, etc).

    Any tips for itching scalp? I tried a vinager rinse but dosn’t work. Dr gave me strong shampoo which doesn’t work. Dr said it was “psoriasis” (he said he had it also … so much for modern medicine).

    1. Roland,
      My kids have really sensitive skin, too. I don’t know if this would work, but I think the first thing I would try without doing much research into the subject of psoriasis on the scalp would be a bit of coconut oil. Couldn’t hurt!
      Best of luck, Katie

    2. I”ve had psoriasis…on my face and in my scalp for 50 years…last year I was tested for food allergies and discovered a sensitivity to wheat…I do not have Celiac but the sensitivity caused serious GI problems AND apparently the psoriasis because it seldom raises its ugly head…only if I skip washing my face for a couple of days…it didn’t happen over night but it did start getting better fairly soon…
      Hope it works for you…I’d be interested in hearing if it works for you…
      Good luck Roland…


    3. Maybe look up turmeric. I had eczema on my hand; it drove me crazy and kept spreading. I read that turmeric was good for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, so I tried a supplement and it went away and hasn’t returned. Worth a shot. You want to get the turmeric with black pepper. I bought Vitacost Turmeric Extract Curcumin C3 Complex® with Bioperine® — 1160 mg per serving – 120 Capsules. Not pushing any particular product, it just had the highest mg for the money and it worked for me. Good luck.

  23. This is great, thanks!! My Soft & Dri seems to be giving out on me suddenly but I hadn’t embraced making my own because of time costs. This is easy enough, and I have the ingredients anyway! I guess in winter when my pits will be covered, I could even just powder on the baking soda/cornstarch.

    Also, I know “real” deodorant can definitely make me smell worse! I used Secret Platinum for a while and the B.O. I had was awful and unlike odor I’d ever had at any other time.

    1. Amy, I worried about that, too. I am famous for wrecking solid colored shirts by getting mysterious grease stains on them. The short of it is – it just doesn’t happen. I have no idea why (but I’m not complaining!). I am careful not to get the oil directly on a shirt, so maybe it just soaks into the skin quickly. Definitely no more risk of staining than regular antiperspirant, which does a fine job making white shirts yellow, you know?
      Thanks for the question, Katie

  24. Pingback: Natural Deodorant « A Green Spell

  25. Pingback: Homemade Deodorant « A Green Spell

  26. This is to Becca– I’ve never had good luck with other natural deodorants; they really didn’t work at all for me, but this recipe really did; so far, without fail.

  27. Just coming over from the MIFS carnival–amazing article and love the recipe. Couple of questions: where can a regular person get this coconut oil? You say you sweat–I just about drip!! None of the natural deodorants work for me. Have you had any other people try this? Finally, Florida heat. Any thoughts on that?

    Again, loved this article. I finally broke down and bought a new stick of deodorant this week but I really want to try your recipe!

    1. You can often find coconut oil at a regular (large) grocery store like a Walmart or Publix, either with the oils in a jar like peanut butter or sometimes in the vitamins section. (?) Definitely would find it in a health foods store.

      The site I got the recipe from has over 140 comments at the page, so definitely people are trying it!

      re: Florida heat…Michigan’s weather hasn’t exactly been sweltering this summer, so I guess the only way to tell is to try it. Sorry I’m no help on that one!

      Glad you stumbled on this post – thank you for the kind comments!
      🙂 Katie

  28. What is the cornstarch for, dryness? How did you come to that conclusion? I found another recipe for homemade deodorant that worked fairly well for me, just no cornstarch –

    1. Yes, dryness. I can’t even remember my source for that, I just know my mom and I were talking it over before I started mixing. The recipe I found uses both, but it’s so interesting that Cheeseslave uses only cornstarch and your recipe here only baking soda. Just goes to show that our make-ups are all unique, eh? Thanks for visiting!


        I did this recipe you have listed but I added just enough beeswax and cocoa butter to get a solid. I have been using it and so far so good.

        My liver is probably lovin it.

  29. Sara Tyndall

    This is my first time to your blog and I just have to comment…. I LOVE this post. I am going to try this myself. I make my own laundry detergent but never thought about this!! 🙂 My husband is going to roll his eyes at me. hehehe


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  32. I was just reading my weekly e-mail from the World’s Healthiest Foods organization, and the question of the day was about the relationship between diet and body odor! Here is the article:
    Is there a link between diet and body odor?

    All bodies naturally have odors. A wide variety of factors contribute to these odors, including genetic predispositions, lifestyle, hygiene, and overall state of health. Additionally, several research studies suggest that overactive sweat glands may be responsible for unwanted body odors in some individuals. Diet is definitely an additional factor that can contribute to body odors. There are very few research studies, however, that have examined the impact of diet on body odor from a science-based perspective.

    An area of research you’re sure to be reading more about in the future involves the role of high-methyl foods and body odor. High-methyl foods (those that support the metabolism of methyl-group containing compounds) can be broken down in the digestive tract to create a compound called TMA (trimethylamine). This compound can be excreted through the breath, urine, and sweat and is associated with a problem called “fish odor syndrome.” Soy foods, beets, and spinach would all be considered “high-methyl” foods since they are rich in methyl-containing nutrients like choline, betaine, and lecithin. I cannot imagine, however, trying to solve any body odor problems related to high-methyl foods by removing those foods from your diet! Methyl-containing foods are critical for your health and especially important in your body’s ability to detoxify unwanted substances like heavy metals, pesticide residues, or synthetic food additives. Instead, if you suspect that a potential connection between your consumption of high-methyl foods and any body odor issues (specifically those that may be described as having a “fish odor”), I recommend that you let a healthcare professional evaluate the health of your digestive tract and other body systems and try to determine whether you might benefit from dietary changes or other steps.

    In principle, the most natural body odor should come from a body that is in its optimally healthy and most natural state. I believe that a whole, natural foods diet consisting of minimally processed, organically-grown foods produces optimal nourishment. I also believe that each person’s Healthiest Way of Eating should be individualized. A person’s health history and current health status are important considerations in this regard as is a way of eating that produces no adverse food reactions. If foods are not matched to a person’s metabolism, it’s unreasonable to expect those foods to support vitality and good health. Without vitality and good health, it seems equally unreasonable to expect natural body odor.

    I’ve been asked about the possibility of body odor problems due to high dairy intake. If there was scientific research on dairy products and body odor (there isn’t any), I would not expect that research to show that dairy products produced unwanted body odor. Instead, I would expect a mixture of findings. For individuals well-matched to dairy products, with no allergic reactions or lactose intolerance, who consumed moderate dairy intake, I would expect perfectly acceptable body odor provided that the overall diet were balanced and nourishing. For individuals poorly matched to dairy products, including those who have lactose intolerance or allergic reactions (or those who have excessive dairy intake), I would expect a much more common finding of unwanted body odor. Individuals falling somewhere in between would be expected to have unwanted body odors some of the time, but in a less predictable way.

    Remember that your body is always striving for optimal health and trying to eliminate all substances that might compromise your wellness. For this reason, unwanted body odors can sometimes be regarded as a natural process in your body’s elimination process, and not a reason for dietary, behavioral, or lifestyle change. However, routine body odors that seem offensive are most likely pointing in the direction of a needed change. If the needed change is dietary, I recommend consideration of your overall way of eating, with an emphasis on possible adverse food reactions, allergies, and intolerances. There should also be a focus on overall dietary balance, including food excesses, macronutrient excesses (such as too much fat or too many simple sugars), caloric excesses, and nutrient deficiencies

    1. Fascinating! I like the WHF updates; they seem fairly balanced. Thanks for sharing (I hadn’t read this one). 🙂 Katie

  33. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    I’m very intrigued by this! Just wanted to let you know I included it in my weekly roundup – link is under my name. Thanks!

  34. I’ve been using this recipe for about a month now and I LOVE it! I experience very little sweating and no odor. I think it works better than commercial deodorant– with the store bought stuff, I could always smell something by the end of the day. With this recipe, I wake up the morning after applying (so we’re talking approx. 24 hours) and I still don’t smell anything! It’s just great stuff (I keep mine in a jar, in the bathroom so I don’t have to worry about refrigeration).

  35. Hmm…I formulated another theory as I was working. Maybe some of our armpits need an adjustment period after making the switch, as they try to eliminate yuckies that have built up while the sweat glands were blocked. (Kind of like it takes a while for those who switch to non-shampoo methods for their hair take a while to strip all the old buildup off, and it’s ickier in the meantime.) So maybe I need to give the homemade options a couple of weeks.

    Do I dare try? lol

    1. Way to be thoughtful (and brave? Are you going to be brave?)! That would fit a bit with the whole “b.o. changed with eating style theory” too. Best of luck! Maybe wait for winter… 🙂

    2. I switched to full baking soda during a very hot season in spring 2008; I had wanted to do it for a while, but was using up the last of my regular deodorant and all-natural wasn’t working at all for me (it all made me stink worse!). I was prompted to a quick change due to an additional new lump in one breast. Once I dropped the deodorant, I sweat on that side profusely for a week and it stunk when I didn’t have the baking soda on. The new lump went away; and I’ve not had any problems since (it’s been almost 2 years). Definitely an adjustment period!

  36. I’ve used this idea, on and off, for the past few months. I apply a thin layer of coconut oil, first, then my mixture of cornstarch, baking soda and tea tree oil. I used it a lot at first, but now that I started my student teaching, I wasn’t sure if it would be enough. I’m going to give it another try, though. Hopefully it will work, even with trying to keep up with a class of 1st graders for 8 hours, each day!!

    1. Ginny,

      I bet you’ll be fine – just watch out for those synthetic silky dress shirts. That would be a stink problem for sure! I hope you enjoy your student teaching – it’s a GREAT time, and first graders are such a ball.

  37. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Effective Homemade Deodorant: My Baby Steps Story [] on

  38. I’m going to have to try adding cornstarch to the coconut oil I’ve been using, with just lavender and tea tree oil. The only problem with that is I started putting the same stuff on my face, just a bit. Not sure that will work with the cornstarch, lol.

    I live in Texas and mine is liquid half the time even with the a/c running, so I’m not going to try using the old container (not that I have one). Hmmm, DH uses a roll-on – wonder if that would work?

    1. If your deodorant is too soft in a warm climate, you may want to try adding a teaspoon or two of beeswax to it (melt it first and then mix in the coconut oil, baking soda, and starch). I make mine with beeswax and I like the consistency so much better. Hope this helps!

      1. Any tips on melting the beeswax? I shaved off 2 teaspoons and have been trying to melt it in the microwave, but it is taking forever to liquefy!

        1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

          I’ve never done it, but a double boiler (or a pot inside another pot that has water in it) is surely the safest.
          🙂 Katie

  39. I haven’t used real deodorant/antiperspirant in three years, and last year, I started using this very recipe for my deodorant. I LOVE it, and have only had a few problems with it. I have been planning to post on this for a while, and will definitely link back to your post!

  40. WOW that is soooo cool!

    I have been using coconut oil and cornstarch for months now. It works so well. I was surprised. I think it actually works better than regular deodorant to tell you the truth.

    I’m not fond of baking soda though — I think it burns a little. I get good results w/ just the coconut oil and the cornstarch.

    I love the idea of putting it in a stick. It gets too hot here for half of the year to leave it out — we don’t have A/C. But I like the idea of storing it in the fridge. That actually sounds sort of refreshing on a hot day.

    Interestingly, I just bought my husband some Burts Bees deodorant to see if he will use it. Guess what the top 2 ingredients are? Yep! Coconut oil & cornstarch.

  41. First time here–LOVE this idea! I’ve been doing just baking soda but was no enjoying the wetness. I have coconut oil and cornstarch and a stick of deodorant I’m not using anymore–I am SO trying this! Thank you!!!

  42. Vin - NaturalBias

    I can’t wait to try this, thanks for sharing it! I’m skeptical of most “natural” brands and use crystal salt which isn’t very effective. I’ve also tried going without any deodorant at all which I can usually get away with but occasionally proves to be a bad idea. 🙂

    In regard to having less body odor after following a cleaner diet, I’ve experienced this too. I’ve read that body odor is a sign of toxicity, so perhaps it is a result of eating food that supports your detoxification system and contains fewer toxins itself.

      1. Lauren @ Just Add Lauren

        Thank you so much for the post! I am really interested in trying this, and I am also interested in how it works for guys. The idea that your diet may influence your body odor is very interesting – although it makes perfect sense! Thank you for the info!

  43. Great post! I’ve been looking for this type of thing – so glad I found your blog. 🙂 I’ve been using the crystal deodorant with decent results, but I’m trying to do as much as I can DIY. I love coconut oil for skin care, and am planning to use a mix similar to this for toothpaste (coconut oil, baking soda and flavoring). It’s harvest time right now so there’s not much time for experimenting, but once the snow flies I’ll be trying more.

    You wouldn’t happen to have a good recipe for a gentle face wash that can be stored unrefrigerated and used over time?

    1. For natural face wash you might try the oil cleansing method. Combine olive oil (or other carrier oil of choice, but I find extra virgin olive oil to work well and I always have it around the house anyway) and castor oil. I have average skin and use approximately 20% castor oil to 80% EVOO, and I store it in a small tupperware container by the sink. Works wonderfully for me.
      To use, just apply to DRY face, massage into your skin for a bit, then take a wash rag, run it under hot water and squeeze out what you can then cover your face in it until it cools to room temperature (the steam helps open pores and bring dirt to the surface). You might do this again if you feel you need to. Then wipe your face off with the wash rag, gently scrubbing away the dirt.
      If you find it too drying, reduce the castor oil, and vice versa. You can also add EOs such as tea tree oil or lavender for acne.

      Despite what your sense may tell you, it actually doesn’t clog your pore. It leaves my face clear and moisturized with no harsh chemicals or toxins 🙂

      1. Becky,
        I’m getting lower on my natural-already face wash and may just try this! Thanks for the added info!
        🙂 Katie

    2. I know it’s WAYY after the fact. I read recently that you can mix a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of baking soda, and use it as a facial scrub. Works like a charm!!

      1. lol – better late than never. I’ve actually started simply using coconut oil to clean and moisturize my face. It works pretty well.

      2. That’s awesome! My face is one area I could use improvement; maybe I’ll try it and blog about it! 🙂 Katie

  44. I also use the baking soda/cornstarch with a couple of drops of tea tree oil. I apply the coconut oil on first and then dab/sprinkle on the dry mixture. It works very well. I am eager to try your applicator method.

  45. This is the latest recipe that I tried (several times). It still broke out my armpits in a rash. I wish it didn’t. I would really love to be able to find something natural that works for me and be able to stop using Degree.

    P.S. I grew up in MI. All of my family is still there.

    1. Pam,

      Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking says that different brands of deodorant can make a difference with the irritation, too.

      “I buy a natural baking soda from Azure Standard(my whole food co-op). Walgreens sells a brand called Deerfield Farms that claims to be all natural, but I have not tried it. Bob’s Red Mill would be another excellent choice.”

      You can see all the comments at her post by clicking that link in my post above. There are a bunch of them! Some people also use LESS baking soda than cornstarch with better results.

      1. Hi – chiming in late here, but I’m a big fan of homemade natural deodorant. I’m one of those who gets a rash, too, with store-bought natural deodorants or with a homemade recipe with equal parts baking soda/cornstarch. (Interesting – I’ve read that the 3-week mark is usually when people will get the allergic rash or not when trying a new deodorant, and that is my experience, too. I’ve heard it termed “getting firepits”…couldn’t be more accurate!)

        So, just wanted to share that making the baking soda to cornstarch ratio 1:6 has worked for me. I’ve been using my coconut oil deodorant for months now, and no firepits! 🙂

        I’m a very sweaty girl as well, and the only drawback I would say has been that I need to frequently reapply, all day long, if I don’t want to end up stinking. I carry my container in my purse with me. The odor problem could be a combination of the synthetic materials I’m wearing and my diet – I wouldn’t be surprised. But I will say that my skin has not had a bad reaction to multiple daily applications, and I’ve noticed when I do have odor, it’s different and much easier to wash out of my clothes than when I use antiperspirants. So I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂

        Loved reading all the tips here!

    2. Ashley Riane

      I read on another mommy site (cant remember where…funny how that goes! Haha), that if you make sure you wash your arm pits really well every day, that helps. And also, swipe your pits with apple cider vinegar first, air dry, than apply. Ive found swiping with this has helped me a ton!! (I have crazy sensitive skin)

      Hope this helps you!!!

  46. Wow! My mom had a puff container just like yours for her baking soda and cornstarch mix! She used it for years more because she wanted to save a few pennies than anything–and this was easy for her to do. I love the coconut oil thing so that you can put it back in an old container! What a great idea!

  47. Amy @ Finer Things

    You know how I feel about long posts, Katie. 🙂 So you will be happy to know that I read EVERY word. Fascinating! Change is hard for me… baby steps… so much to think about.

    1. Tee hee hee…I’m tickled you took the time to read a long post in its entirety about my armpits! (Bad pun, Katie!) Change is hard for me, too. That’s why I have to think about big changes for a few weeks/months before jumping into them.

      1. Here’s another big change for stinky pits…
        Pour Milk of Magnesia into a roll-on deodorant bottle (an old empty one or a newly bought one) and roll it on! Seriously, it not only stops pit odor in its tracks, it’s actually GOOD for you!

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