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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.

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

  1. I have been using the liquid crystal for over a year and I love it. No smell (I do notice one if I forget to use it) and I don’t really sweat at all, even while working. Anyone who does not want to use the icky chemical-laden deodorants should think about using those. I have thought about making my own deodorant. If I were to make a recipe I think I would reuse one of the roll-on containers. Salt, baking soda, coconut oil, essential oils and maybe some water to thin it out a little. I’ve heard a lot of references to the arrowroot powder for deodorant, if I stumble across some I would probably put that in, too. They say the salt crystals work to eliminate bacteria so it seems it would work great in a DIY recipe.

    Thanks so much for all the time you devote to this site. I LOVE seeing all your posts. I just stumbled upon this tonight. I am from Burnips so it is really nice to know there are fellow natural people out there. Kudos!! 🙂

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  5. If you are trying to avoid aluminum, another option is to try Lavilin –

    Fantastic, reputable all-natural deodorant that is highly effective! It lasts almost a week for me and keeps me fresh. Most importantly, it’s aluminum-free so I feel great using it. I’ve stocked up for my whole family!

  6. Thanks for posting this. You know we all see those ‘Pins’ on Pinterest and wonder if it really works. I’m so glad you are being honest with us about your experiments and your personal results with different products. Since we’re on a honesty streak here, I’ll be honest. I have to use Old Spice…. yeah I have manly sweat and odor. I’ve used those girly kinds and they just don’t cut it. I’ve also used brands like Lush. They try their darnedest to use natural products. They have a coconut deodorant powder that smells like heaven (granted it has some weird sounding stuff on the label that I need to research what they actually are, some I’ve heard of in soap making.) They also sell a solid ‘rock’ like deodorant that they cut off a block by the ounce or inch. It’s got a nice patchouli scent. But sometimes these products don’t last long enough for my pits. I’m thinking I need to switch to your method just to detox my pits. Thanks for this!!!!

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    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Taylor, You’d want to search the web, but there are others with shea butter, beeswax, etc.
      🙂 Katie

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  14. Hi, Katie!
    I know I’m reading this post WAAAYY after it was written, but I’ve only just recently found your blog, and have been enjoying cruising around on it and checking out all of your great suggestions and tips for going green. I LOVE IT!!! Just wanted to add my voice to this discussion about natural deodorants – I’ve read some of the comments but not all, and wasn’t sure if anyone had posted yet about tea tree oil yet as an additive. If they haven’t, I sure will! It works really great in natural deodorants for several reasons: It has a powerful scent – this is good for those first transitioning from synthetic deodorants because it may alleviate some of the fear of encroaching BO; also, the tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent, and the reason our perspiration gets stinky in our pits is because of bacteria growth. Tea tree oil will help with that. As far as absorbency goes, you can’t beat charcoal powder! I use a store-bought organic deodorant powder that has charcoal powder as one of its main ingredients, and I’ve never looked back! Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re going to use charcoal powder, you should be mindful of how it’s produced and where the trees used are harvested from – so important to find someone who produces it in a natural and sustainable way!

    Anyhow, thanks so much for this site, for your transparency in your posts, and just for making these resources available! It’s so encouraging that you really take the time to do this and to seek out ways to make it affordable – you really are a role model for someone who’s been wanting to go entirely green for a long time but has been timid about it for fear that it will cost so much more than just picking up something at the store. I love it that for you, this is a matter of stewardship – of caring for God’s creation and really using well everything that He’s provided us with. You are such a blessing, and I’m so thankful I’ve found your blog!

    1. How much charcoal are you using? Are you replacing the starch with it? Isn’t charcoal black?

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Great advice! I considered tea tree oil on my latest batch and used a brand name blend meant to be antibacterial instead, but hopefully it does the same thing generally. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

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  17. I recently tried using witch hazel in a little spray bottle. It seems to be working! It is still winter here, though, so the true test will be in a couple months!

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  20. Hi,
    I’ve tried using coconut oil,baking soda,corn starch and essential oil as ingredients to my homemade deodorant.. but the end product is somewhat “grainy” altho the texture looks smooth when grainy I mean when u apply it on my armpits,it’s. not the usual creamy smooth texture like store bought tis normal?one of the drawback of DIY deo perhaps?

    1. Samantha,
      Yes, it’s a bit grainy, but perhaps you have too much powder? There’s always a compromise when DIY is involved, isn’t there? 🙂 Katie

  21. Thanks so much for sharing so openly and candidly about a potentially embarassing subject – I have been thinking about making a change to a more natural option, and you have given me the courage to try. Thanks!

  22. I made this using 1:4 cornstarch/baking soda, and aloe butter with a bit of coconut oil. I added a few drops of tea tree oil as an antibacterial. let me tell you, i have never tried such an effective deodorant before! I am a chef. In my work, i don’t perspire, I SWEAT! And, I smell. After 2 days of using this, During the heat of the hottest August we’ve had in years, I can sense absolutely NO odor at all, even at the end of a hard, sweaty day. Boy oh boy, the “personal hygiene” companies have had us all bamboozled! I’m going to give everyone in my family a jar of this for Christmas!

  23. Carey Jane Clark

    This is a wonderful article. I’d like to note, though, that I buy my baking soda at a health food store in order to get the aluminum-free kind. If you look on the label of your traditional baking soda, you’ll find it actually does contain aluminum, as does baking powder. If you’re really trying to stay away from aluminum, better to buy an organic or specifically aluminum-free variety.

  24. Jessica Leminger

    FYI, I’ve been wanting to try the Tom’s of Maine deodorant; in fact, I’ve got a coupon right now! I was a little bit surprised when you said something about triclosan being in the ingredients…I looked it up and couldn’t find anything of concern.

    thanks for all your good ideas!

  25. Hey, great idea re the coconut oil. 🙂 I will try it!

    Just a heads up to those using the ‘crystal sold at health food stores’: it is, in fact, simply pure aluminum salts. Just look on the ingredient list: pure alum. Yep, it’s the same ingredient that is in regular store deodorants. And it’s terrible for you. So, if you’re looking for something natural b/c you don’t want the alum in your system. Avoid this ‘crystal’ like the plague. It is simple, and ‘natural’ (so is arsenic), but definitely not healthy.

  26. To hear so many non-dainty, sweaty ladies testify that this worked has insipred me to try. I already have all the ingredients on hand! Thank you so much for posting this!!!

  27. Vivienne Grainger

    I was using baking soda and glycerin, with a little clary sage essential oil to retard sweat, which works quite well. I’m now adding some arrowroot to the mix, as the straight baking soda seems to abrade the skin under my arms.

    A combination of witch hazel and clary sage, applied with a cotton ball, works to keep my sweaty feet less so!

  28. Hello miss Katie,
    I’m 14 years old and a girl scout. I’m working on a project to create a guide about natural cleaning (personal hygiene included), to donate to libraries in my area. May I use your deodorant recipe in my guide? I absolutely loved it when I tried it! Though I used an equal amount of each ingredient. I keep mine in the fridge. When I traveled, I stored it in a container, with ice packs around it. It still melted however. The place that I stayed, had a fridge, so I left it in there, upside down so it would harden in the correct end.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. My dear Samantha,
      I hope I’m not too late in answering! Comments went by the wayside when we moved houses, and I’m just catching up. You may certainly use this recipe in your guide. What a lovely idea! (And I loved being called Miss Katie; I taught daycare years ago and was called that.) 🙂 Miss Katie!

  29. It sounds like a great idea. I’d be interested in knowing where you could find containers online.

    Lavender essential oil is by far the best at reducing the bacteria that cause smell. You could use arrowroot powder and some white clay in the mixture as well.

  30. Hey! I’ve been using natural deod.since March and didn’t have much trouble with the sweat part of it until summer hit. I am a heavy sweater, and I’m still “pitting” big time. Does this ever get better? Or is this something I’ll just have to deal with…(sucking up my pride at having wet pit marks on my shirts all summer)?

    1. Sarah,
      I’m not exactly sure! Over time, I feel like I sweat and stink less, but it could be as much diet related at deo related… ??? Katie

  31. Hi, thanks for the great blog.
    Thought you might be interested in my discovery – I also had problems with very strong BO, stained clothes etc, for years, and wanted to avoid aluminum based products.

    I happened upon ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar), and have found it way more effective than any commercial deodorant.

    The recommended way to use it I found online was:
    Apply 2 minutes before shower with a cotton bud. Shower, rinse off, do not use soap.

    After some experimentation I adjusted it to:
    Put it in a mini spray-bottle. Apply either before, after shower, or at other times during the day.

    I now swear by this and have also converted my husband who also feels it works better than the commercial ones.
    This one takes almost no preparation and is very travel friendly.
    The vinegar smell goes away once it has dried.

    1. Josie – that’s awesome! I already have diluted ACV in a spray bottle in the shower for my no ‘poo routine. Do you use full strength? I wonder if diluted and just a few more squirts would work. Hmmm…

      Thank you!!! 🙂 Katie

      1. Oh you’re brave with the no shampoo! I tried that once and thought I was doing well until my hairdresser was horrified at the scaly stuff that was appearing on my scalp (which I couldn’t see!). But I didn’t use vinegar back then…I’ll have to give it another go.
        As for whether it would work diluted – not sure. Sometimes I have to reapply during the day, although not very often. So my guess is that maybe diluted wouldn’t be strong enough? Also, I already do a few squirts and sometimes it gets a bit drippy, so I wouldn’t be too keen on more drips!
        I think the theory behind it is that the smell comes from bacteria, and the acid environment prevents the bacteria from growing.
        I will look at your no shampoo section one day!

  32. I’ve been using warm water and a bar of Burt’s Bees garden tomato soap and moisturizing with coconut oil. My skin is clearer than its been in a looooong time!

  33. Hi I made this deodorant and was so exicted about it. It really did work. But after a couple of days I noticed a rash in my under arm 🙁 . One side worse than the other. I did have the coxsackie virus at the time so I was hoping that was what it was. I stopped using it though and used regular until it cleared. A few days ago I started the homemade again and once again the rash appeared. So not happy. I tried both arrowroot and cornstarch in 2 separate batches so I am thinking the coconut I am allergic to weird. Anyways do you reccommend a natural one? Has anyone had success with any or does anyone have any suggestions on homemade I might try?

    1. Deanna,
      I wish I had a natural deo that worked well – you can try this link for two I tested, but aren’t awesome:

      Could it have been the baking soda? Many people are irritated by that ingredient. They often still have luck leaving it out. good luck! 🙂 Katie

  34. I read this when it originally came out and tried the coconut oil and baking soda. It seemed to work great for odor until my pits got itchy and it got worse. I read online that some people have a reaction to baking soda. So I switched to arrowroot powder and it isn’t working. I stink. Don’t want to go back to “natural” store bought because it has alum and I’m not sure that isn’t aluminum in disguise. So I just wondered what you are using now and how it is working. Or if you have other home recipes I could try?

    1. Theresa,
      I’m still using this recipe, coconut oil with baking soda and arrowroot. The arrowroot is for dryness, baking soda for odor. Some people do have a reaction to the baking soda…but I’m not exactly sure what a good substitute would be. Maybe tea tree oil? It’s lightly antibacterial, and it’s one’s bacteria that makes the “stink” happen. Good luck! 🙂 Katie

      1. I’m an AIPer, so cornstarch is out for me. I use the arrowroot powder b/c I tend to have reactions to just about anything, so I have never even tried the baking soda. I figure I’ll give it a try once the rest of my health garbage settles down. I’ve noticed that my stinky pits come when I’m either detoxing (other symptoms give it away when I am) or too stressed out. Otherwise, I smell essential oil fresh.

  35. Hallo, i don’t see if you have already written this recipe. You can use this mix:
    karité butter melted (2tablesp)
    1 tablesp of oil (almond or olive).
    After add a mixture made up of 1,5 tablesp of baking soda + 1 tablesp of maize starch.
    If you like .. you can add 2\3 drops tea tree oil.

  36. This is my first time to this sight… well I came quite a while back but I’ve had this link open in my browser forever because I wanted to try it and was just waiting on finding a big thing of coconut oil. We’ve been using baking soda for quite a while now after using the crystal that worked off an on and loved using the soda. This will be a lot better with helping with the sweating and not having the powder mess everywhere. It’s great for cleaning the sink and such but I just have to get around to it after I use it and after my husband uses it. Thanks for the post. I look forward to reading more.

  37. Alex at a moderate life!

    Hi Katie, this is so awesome! I do baby steps too and i want to link to this amazing tip in my baby steps to a rockin’ life this wednesday because I really think making your own skin care and home care products is such a step in the right direction! Thanks for sharing this with us! All the best! alex

  38. I am a soap maker as well as other natural products. I am going to give this recipe a try. As for the melting issue – try a coconut oil with a 92 degree melting point.

    1. Christine,
      Never heard of 92 degree coconut oil? How does that work? Do you know if it’s more refined then? Thanks! 🙂 Katie

      1. Coconut oil comes in two melting degrees. 92 degree is hydrogenated. there is also fractionated which is used as a massage oil and is the purest form of coconut oil. The following is from wikipedia. I use 76 degree to make soap, the 92 degree for lotion bars and the fractionated for bath oil or massage oil.

        RBD(refinded, bleached and deodorized) coconut oil can be processed further into partially or fully hydrogenated oil to increase its melting point. Since virgin and RBD coconut oils melt at 76 °F (24 °C), foods containing coconut oil tend to melt in warm climates. A higher melting point is desirable in these warm climates so the oil is hydrogenated. The melting point of hydrogenated coconut oil is 97–104 °F (36–40 °C).
        In the process of hydrogenation, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) are combined with hydrogen in a catalytic process to make them more saturated. Coconut oil contains only 6% monounsaturated and 2% polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this process some of these are transformed into trans fatty acids.
        Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the whole oil, in which the different medium chain fatty acids are separated for specific uses. Lauric acid, a 12 carbon chain fatty acid, is often removed because of its high value for industrial and medical purposes. Fractionated coconut oil may also be referred to as caprylic/capric triglyceride oil or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil because it is primarily the medium chain caprylic (8 carbons) and capric (10 carbons) acids that make up the bulk of the oil. MCT oil is most frequently used for medical applications and special diets

  39. I made my own with about 3 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons arrowroot, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. I also added lavender and rosemary essential oils. It works wonderfully– better than anything else I have ever tried. For that reason alone I’d use it! But of course, I love that it is also frugal and natural.

  40. I have been using Tom’s of Maine unscented deoderant…and I just checked the ingredients and there is no triclosan!!! Yippee…just wanted your readers to know this store bought option works and appears to be free from bad stuff.

  41. First I tried commercial deodorant and got used to being slightly wet. I found I sweat less when I ate well, but hormones seem to be an issue with odor. Next I tried a “natural” deodorant. It worked ok, but not great. Then I finally tried just coconut oil. Nothing else. The first day I tried it I had to go work in a windowless barn in 105 degree weather. It must have been WAY hotter in that metal barn. No fans, no nothing. I was sweating a LOT. I remember thinking this was a completely unfair trial of my new “deodorant.” BUT IT WORKED!! No odor at all.

    I love it in the summer. It is liquid and I just dip my finger in, rub it together with the first two fingers on both hands, then rub it under my arms. It soaks right in and works better on odor control than ANYTHING else I have ever tried. I now add a drop of lavender oil and a drop of orange oil just because I think it smells good, but they don’t hurt anything either.

    But now it is cold and it’s more difficult to apply. I don’t have any old deodorant containers, but I’m thinking about mixing it with beeswax to try a bar similar to the Hard Lotion Bar by MadeOn. We’ll see how that goes. I haven’t added any cornstarch or baking soda although I did try baking soda for a while. It worked okay, but was messy to apply.

    1. Melissa,
      I’ve actually used the MadeOn lotion bars in a pinch – and they worked too! 😉 Katie

  42. I’ll remember the coconut oil — I’m actually a big fan of ‘sachet powder’ which is a fragrances all-over-the-body powder. I make mine from 2 parts cornstarch and 1 part baking soda, plus whatever essential oils or powdered herbs/spices (up to 50% can be powdered herbs and spices, though be careful with spices like cinnamon that can be a bit irritating to the skin!)
    It’s actually great stuff if you don’t have time to shower, it freshens you right up and gets rid of that sticky feeling you often get if you skip a shower.

  43. Pingback: Homemade Deodorant | Tenderherb's Blog

  44. Love this recipe. Just saw this post from your Monday Mission. I am a HEAVY sweater (as in sweats a lot, not cable-knit 🙂 ) and didn’t make this until it started to cool down here in Indiana. I used arrow root powder for the cornstarch and added a couple drops of orange essential oil and a couple tablespoons of cocoa butter and it smelled like an orange-chocolate bar and works awesome!

  45. I started putting rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and putting that on my armpits whenever I got smelly. It works great!

  46. Pingback: My Frugal Fun Life » Blog Archive » Making Deodorant

  47. I read about a new product called pit putty that is just coconut oil, arrowroot, and a bit of essential oils for fragrance.
    I’ve been on and off “real” deoderant for years because I never found it worked that well, but natural stuff wasn’t doing it either.
    So mid August, I put a bit of coconut oil in a babyfood jar and set it by my bathroom sink, with no arrowroot on hand I opted for cornstarch baby powder that I never used on either baby. All I do is dip into the coconut oil with my finger and put it on like lotion. Then I pat on a bit of the cornstarch. If it ever gets on my clothes it’s just the powder and it wipes off easily with a damp cloth. It has held up to many 100+ days and I could not say that about the name brand deoderants! I have found what I was looking for all this time.
    It works, it’s safe, it doesn’t mark up my clothes, and it actually makes my pits feel nice and moisturized instead of weird and filmy.

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