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How To Make Your Own Deodorant (A Very Simple Recipe)

 

Baking Soda

Since I learned about aluminum in normal antiperspirant about 19 years ago, I have been searching for the best non-toxic deodorant. For whatever reason, most “natural” deodorants don’t work for me – they don’t deodorize my underarms (how unladylike!).  


But several years ago I found Alvera Aloe & Almond Deodorant.  It works and smells beautifully.  It’s not tested on animals and it has ingredients I can pronounce.  The problem:  not very many stores carry it.  So over the years I’ve gone from natural store to natural store looking for it, I’ve stocked up from time to time, I’ve had stores order it, and I’ve ordered it online, but all that is time consuming, frustrating, and resource-depleting.  I did this for years!

[UPDATE October 2012: due to several comments about Alvera, I no longer recommend that deodorant. It contains "alcloxa": here's what Wikipedia says about alcloxa, or allantoin. And Cosmeticsinfo.org has this to say: "Alcloxa is a heterocyclic organic compound that contains aluminum. In cosmetics and personal care products, Alcloxa functions as a cosmetic astringent. Alcloxa, the aluminium salt of allantoin, combines the astringent and mild antimicrobial properties of aluminium with the anti-irritant, soothing, healing properties of allantoin." Thank you, readers, for looking into it!]


That is, until the week Matt went to the hospital when I brought him a bag from home that included a brush, shaving supplies, and… yep – our only stick of deodorant.  So, after stepping out of a nice clean shower at home, I desperately searched for an alternative.  I reasoned to myself that if baking soda works on my hair, why not try it on my underarms?  Afterall, it’s an ingredient in many deodorants….


So I used it like baby powder, just a splash.  And it was the best deodorant I’ve ever used.  No kidding.


The following day, I didn’t need to re-apply.  Amazing!!


But then… on day 3, I realized my left underarm was itching a bit.  So I did some online research, and found that straight baking soda might be too strong. Apparently, you need just a tiny bit.  In my various hours of research, I came upon a solution:  mixing baking soda with cornstarch.  The cornstarch actually works as a light antiperspirant, and the baking soda deodorizes.


I’ve been using it for two weeks now, and I love it.  Absolutely love it.

Antique Powder Jar

Instructions.

  1. In a reusable and resealable container, mix 1 part baking soda with 6 parts cornstarch.
  2. Close the container and shake vigorously for about a minute, to thoroughly mix the two powders.
  3. Then dab a small amount to the skin of your armpits with a soft cotton cloth, cotton ball, or cosmetic applicator.  Apply as if you were lightly applying baby powder or cosmetic powder.

Notes:

  • The application should last at least a day – for me it lasts at least 2 days!
  • This method hasn’t left any stains or residues on my white or black clothing.  It seems to do better than normal deodorant in that regard! (Still, of course use caution with expensive and/or hard-to-clean items, as you would with any deodorant.)
  • A nice way to store your deodorant powder is in an antique cosmetic jar (above), which you can pick up at a garage sale or thrift store.


More Information


  1. Aluminum is a neurotoxin, and is found in most antiperspirants.  It has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, respiratory illnesses, reduced renal function, and DNA damage. Find out more here, here and here.  You should be able to find aluminum-free baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) in your local health food store. Note at 7pm:  After receiving a few notes from readers, I’ve done some extensive research, and found that aluminum is used to make baking powder, but not baking soda. … So it looks like any old baking soda will do!
  2. The parabens in many antiperspirants may be linked to breast cancer, and there are possible complications associated with SLS in deodorants.
  3. Curious how conventional antiperspirants work?  Find out here.
  4. If you decide that straight baking soda isn’t right for you, you might try “The Rock” or use one of the recipes here or here for homemade deodorant.

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305 comments to How To Make Your Own Deodorant (A Very Simple Recipe)

  • Judy

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one Crystal Rock didn’t work on. Research and trial and error are the only way to learn what works for you. But one must also have patience because nothing will work overnight. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • When I tried the crystal, even the deodorant rock started to smell like BO!

  • Aj

    Thanks guys. I think i am making a little bit of progress concerning my armpit, but the groin is not responding to the recipe.
    Pls help make some research on the best solution for groin odor for my sake and the sake of others having the same problem.

    • Huni Harper

      I am assuming you are a male? I keep hearing that drinking A mixture of Apple Cider Vinagar, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, and Distilled water literally eliminate B.O….

      If you are a female, it’s about balancing the PH…if it is out of wack and NOT leaving it could be BV…if it’s BV then you could dilute ACV with distilled water, mixed with Boric Acid, freeze and use as a suppository over night for 3-5 nights is supposed to ELIMINATE BV! U can use a mini ice cube tray and they fit easily…but DO NOT do FULL STRENGH undiluted! ACV IS TOOOO STRONG! Will burn! (Tried that…..TEARS!)lol

  • Judy

    Have you tried a bath of epsom salt and baking soda. Soak in this for 20 minutes, wipe yourself well and wear breathable underware. Other than that, Google your question as there may be a lot of info available on the internet reguarding your issue.

  • PitStik

    My hubby and I have been using Colorado PitStik. It works great and smells wonderful. Made with 5 natural ingredients. You can even customize the scent with your favorite perfume. We Love It!

  • Aj

    Is it save to drink acv n baking soda?

    • Huni Harper

      Yes, it is safe to drink it diluted with distilled water 10 – 12oz …I add a little lemon or lime juice to mine…but, it totally doesn’t eliminate my B.O… It does eliminate pain when I exercise, and it does alkalize your body the cheap way…AND when I “GO” to the bathroom there is virtually NO odor…HOWEVER, my B.O. is still there….:( SUCKS for me…still looking for a solution…

      So, did soaking in the bathtub work for you? Just curious…I’m thinking of trying it… So, Judy, is there a number of times I must do this or how frequently? Is it a regular treatment? Just curious… I’m really struggling here b/c I have eliminated traditional soaps and deodorant…And for some reason I just don’t feel clean or fresh…I HATE smelling even the slightest bit off…and I work in CLOSE proximity to people in the beauty industry…so I am in need of something that will allow me to stay fresh like Dove soap & deodorant used to…ijs…:( #MUSTYisNOTsexy!

  • Judy

    Not together, but separately yes. In fact, Alka Seltzer for upset stomach is nothing by baking soda and aspirin.

    I’ve been drinking a glass of warm water with one teaspon of lemon juice every morning before eating, and I’ve no noticable body odor at all. I’m not sure I would try the recommendations of the previous commentor, because it sounds rather harsh and “unnatural” to me, but good luck if you do try it. I prefer a soaking bath of epsom salt and baking soda in equal portions dissolved in the bath water. All you need is a 15 – 20 min. soaking.

  • Aj

    Is d lemon juice liquid (processed one found in supermarket counter) or powder or d one u have to squeeze by urself?

  • Judy

    AJ – real lemon juice does not come in powder form!!! You either squeeze it from real lemons or buy it bottled in the grocery store. Many times, you can also find little plastic squeeze containers that look like real lemons and yes, they contain real lemon juice.

  • Aj

    Judy-Thanks so much for d info. I will try all ur suggestions and get back @ u. The lemon juice i see here is bottled for cooking, can i use it? Also concerning d epsom salt bath, is it warm or cold water?

  • Judy

    I’ve never heard of bottled lemon juice just for cooking, so I would think what you have is fine. As for the epson salt bath, it should be in warm water (as warm as you can stand) because the salt needs to dissolve to penetrate into your skin/body.

  • ruth

    I didn’t go way back in the comments, so this may have been mentioned. Using the mix mentioned in the blog with cornstarch and baking soda, I also mix in a few drops of lavender and sometimes some tea tree essential oils. This kills many microbes that can cause bad orders, and it smells fresh and nice(not flowery). I use only organic. For those with chronic order problems I would use equal drops of each, but only a few, say a total of 3-5 drops in the container then add about half cup of the mixed cornstarch and baking soda to it, so it doesn’t clump. Shake and let sit overnight in a sealed container.(can put the drops on a tissue or small cotton piece and seal and shake instead)
    Adding these drops to the Epsom salt bath will help as well.

  • Katrin (Australia)

    I’m from Australia; does anyone know where to buy good essential oils online – preferably organic? I’d like to get some nice oils to try in the deodorant mixtures – like lavender, tea tree, lemon balm etc. – just some nice smelling and ones with anti-microbial properties. Thanks for any feedback.
    PS: I’ve been mixing in tea leaves with my corn starch and baking soda mix and it works quite well. I’ve done a chai blend, lavender tea blend, and the other day I did a Lady Grey. THe smell doesn’t last that long but it’s lovely for the first few weeks. It doesn’t stay under the pits, rather the smell is more for the senses when opening up the container before putting it on. I’d like to use oils instead to hopefully allow the smell to last. I love this new approach to deodorant and it actually works!! Most of my friends just can’t get their heads around it and think I’m totally off the show. I just can’t get my head around how someone could willingly apply freakin’ toxic chemicals to glands near their lymph nodes – and on your skin in general which is the biggest living and most absorbent organ of the body. beats me…sigh. :) Have a great toxic free day!!

  • joshua James

    Thanks for taking the time to put this page together. I am going to try some of these today. Thanks again. Josh

  • AJ
    As to the lemon juice – there is an organic all real squeezed lemons lemon juice in the little lemon shaped bottles at natural food stores – the bottled stuff is from concentrate and not organic and is not as good as fresh or the organic lemon squeeze bottles – I started with 1/2 lemon in hot water each morning – then added more each week until I was at one whole lemon in hot water each a.m. upon awakening – wait 30 mins to 1 hour before anything else – clears digestion, odors all of it and is awesome – really has made a huge difference. DO remember to swish with clean fresh water after drinking to clean your teeth of the lemon – I do three good swishes with clean water and swallow – to make sure I get all that citric acid off my teeth. :)

  • GardenGal

    The lemon shaped Real Lemon Juice in squeeze bottles are nothing but chemicals in it. Ingredients
    Lemon Juice From Concentrate (Water, Concentrated Lemon Juice), Sodium Metabisulfite, and Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Lemon Oil, Sodium Sulfite (Preservative). So unless the bottled juice carries the USDA Organic symbol, it is not organic. The little lemon shaped squeeze containters are not.

  • Smarti

    Deodorant is just something that masks the smell associated with perspiration. What is required is anti-perspirant, to stop what causes the odor. My mother used to tell us that they would wash their underarms, then use alcohol to close the pores, then the baking soda and cornstarch. She never ever used deodorant or anti-perspirant that came from a store. And she never had perspiration issues either.

  • Sarah

    Rock crystal never felt like it dried for me. I am now trying your recipe, but since I don’t have cornstarch at the moment, I am using arrowroot powder as a replacement in the recipe. So far, it feels great, dried quickly, and doesn’t smell bad. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this body odor management alternative.

  • Carol

    What I find surprising is that no one mentioned that the underarm smell is actually caused by bacteria. Which is why those using things like coconut oil, lemon juice and ACV are getting good results. Kill the bacteria, kill the smell. Sweat on it’s own does not smell. I personally have been using lemon juice for over a year now. It seems to be working great. Only problem is on freshly shaved/waxed underarms. But when I forget and put it on then, I have found a baking soda/cornstarch powder eases the sting. Just thought I’d put my thoughts in on this.

  • Zoila

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance
    (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!

  • [...] A very simple recipe: http://1greengeneration.elementsintime.com/?p=596 [...]

  • [...] A very simple recipe: http://1greengeneration.elementsintime.com/?p=596 [...]

  • Cara

    Do NOT use anti-perspirant! It is bad, bad news! Go with a natural alternative, like Lavilin. This product has been around for a long time and has awesome reviews!

  • thanks for sharing your secrets ! I am tempted to try this, and the no ‘poo idea!

  • [...] went back to some products. I still make my own deodorant. A little different from that recipe – I’ll have to post it. But I use packaged shampoo [...]

  • Healing_Ways

    The best deodorant is several drops of 3% or 7% Lugols Iodine on a cotton wool ball applied under your armpit after your bath or shower. I practically guarantee nothing else will work better than this. A friend of mine just reported back to me after I asked them to try it too and they said even in the hot weather and lots of sweat, there was no odor at all, period. They said they had only applied about 3 drops to the cotton wool ball too. I usually apply a bit more. Another user said it lasted 19 hours after he sprayed Iodine mixed with water and that was just a few drops Vs the more powerful method I mentioned.

    If you are concerned about staining, clear Iodide will probably work too. Someone said they just purchase Iodine spray (Povidone)and used that too.

  • [...] I was cruising the net for homemade deodorant recipes, and ran across so many. I finally settled on this one, simply because it seemed super easy and I had all the ingredients I needed to make it. I used that [...]

  • [...] contain proplene glycol, which I also try to stay away from. So yesterday I was reading online, and found a recipe I’m going to give a try. I figure with all the detoxing, etc. that it should really put it to [...]

  • Donna

    Great recipe Melinda, Thank you!

    My husband and i have tried your recipe for two days now, and YES it works. Wow, wish I knew this a decade ago, all those plastic tubes of deodorant….so wasteful.

    I used your ratio of 1:6, BS to Cornstarch, for about a 1/4c total, then added two drops tea tree oil, and 5-6 drops tangerine essential oil. It smells so good, (a little tea tree goes a loooong way). And there are a few clumps, not bad, but the whole container (glass jar) smells great. I love Monoi de Tahiti gardenia scented coconut oil, and use a couple of drops on the pits, let it air dry a few minutes, then add the powder mix with my finger tips. Just a small amount.

    I used to sweat even with Regular deodorant and was just used to it, no smell, just perspiration. Now with this simple recipe…two days….no sweat! Not even a little, and absolutely no smell! Just fresh. And it is July…in Texas! So amazed. This is also so much easier than other recipes you read about with oils, shea butter, forming a “stick” of deodorant. Only two days, but I am excited.

    I have really been trying to go green, and get rid of all beauty products. Just started the no-poo for a week now, so far so good. And I only wash my face with honey and coconut oil (50/50) for the last two months…perfect! I add a little raw sugar for exfoliation 2x/week.

    Thanks!

  • I have heard of the ingredients in deodorant that caused cancer yet I have not started making myself since some of the DIY deodorant recipes I found online are troublesome to make. Plus I saw some people mentioned the burning sensation and rash etc. using baking soda which stopped me in trying because I have sensitive skin.

    After reading your experience on baking soda, I will try this simple recipe since I have both baking soda and cornstarch in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing this simple recipe, hopefully it works for me too.

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