Homemade All-Natural Deodorant

This is the top homemade recipe posts that I shared here on Passionate Homemaking in the very beginning that has been passed around the internet in incalculable ways, so I thought it was fit to re-share it with you all in our top 10 celebration! Did you get a chance to try it? Our family continues to use this recipe to this day.

Republished from March 21, 2008. Updated to include FAQ’s, photo, and video tutorial.

Did you know that nearly all commercial deodorants contain aluminum salts, usually aluminum chlorohydrate? Manufacturers like aluminum because it effectively suppresses perspiration but the metal has a dark side once it makes its way into our body. Aluminum toxicity It has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other health issues. It is especially important for women to take thought to the harmful aluminum materials in deodorant as it has been linked to breast cancer, being that the breast tissue extends up into the armpits.

Most commercial deodorants also contain parabens, which act as preservatives and stabilizers, but which like aluminum can be absorbed into the skin. Parabens mimic estrogen, and though the amounts we absorb on a daily basis might be small, over time, the accumulation can be significant.

Did you know you can make your own wonderful effective deodorant with just a few completely natural ingredients? This recipe is awesome! It’s even edible! It is frugal and very effective! Aaron & I have been using it for over two years now, and it has worked wonders. It smells wonderful, but very faint. For years I tried every natural alternative on the market without much success. It has been successfully tried by hundreds of readers! Coconut oil is an all natural oil that has wonderful anti-bacterial and immune boosting qualities. It can effectively nourish and moisturize the skin. This recipe is also very frugal, costing less than a dollar per batch.

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder/cornstarch.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

For a picture tutorial placing this recipe in an old deodorant container, visit here.

UPDATE (5/17/12): Today I tried using a immersion hand blender to make the deodorant, and it worked surprisingly well. It took maybe 10 seconds to combine the ingredients without a mess or heating and melting the ingredients too much, which is the main concern when using a electric mixing alternative. If it becomes too liquidy, it is difficult to apply, so limit your mixing to no more than 5-10 seconds for best results. It firmed right up when I let it sit for a bit in the storage container. Great option to simplify the process! 

Check out my video tutorial for a visual guide through this recipe. Excuse my nervousness….yes, this is the first time I have gotten behind the camera for this site!

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the original publication of this post, I have received numerous repeated questions. I have compiled them all here.

1. I am having issues with an itchy rash under my armpits. Any solutions?

Baking soda can be an irritant for some people. Sometimes this may be a detoxing method of the body to remove impurities in your skin from previous standard deodorants. If you wait it out a few weeks, it may disappear altogether, as it happened with me. If not, try decreasing the baking soda by 1 Tbsp and replacing with more cornstarch/arrowroot powder. Itchiness can also often be related to applying this too soon after shaving. Wait an hour or two after shaving to apply. Add 1/4 cup shea butter or cocoa butter to the recipe for its healing benefits is another alternative. You also can try using arrowroot powder as it is more natural on the skin or make sure to choose a talc-free cornstarch. The final option is to apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel/juice to your skin for its healing benefits before applying the deodorant. It will help cool, refresh, and prevent irritations to the skin.

2. Can you use any other oils for this recipe?

It is possible to use other oils on this recipe, such as sweet apricot oil, but we do not recommend other oils simply because they are not as effective as coconut oil with its anti-bacterial benefits. Apricot or olive oil also remain liquid in form, and thus make this messy to apply. Coconut oil remains solid under 76 degrees, so it is perfect for deodorant. You can use palm oil as it is another natural oil that is solid at room temperature, but again not as effective as coconut oil.

3. Will this deodorant stain my clothes?

Not likely or not any more than a standard deodorant or antiperspirant. I have only noticed slight staining on white garments, but this can be avoided by soaking with soap after wearing and before washing. Dishwashing soap and hot water are very effective stain removers.

4. What kind of coconut oil can I use? Is there a recommended brand?

It is recommended to use a high quality coconut oil purchased from a health food store, if possible. I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs coconut oil for its superior quality and benefits. Other recommended brands include Nutiva, Tropical Traditions, and Wilderness Family Naturals. You can also use refined coconut oil, as that version is suitable for the skin but not recommended for consumption. Refined coconut oil will be cheaper in price.

5. Can I add essential oils to this recipe?

Yes, feel free to add various essential oils for the added scent, but beware that essential oils can cause irritations. Start with making a small batch to make sure you do not react. Tea tree oil is an excellent oil to add for its pleasant scent (men and women alike enjoy it), and it has great antibacterial qualities.

6. Is there any solution for preventing this from melting? (Note: coconut oil melts at 76 degrees).

If you live in a particularly warm climate, add a little melted candelilla wax or beeswax to the mixture. Store in your fridge, if necessary. For summer travel, I recommend storing in a cooler. Remove from cooler or refrigerator 10 minutes before use to allow it to soften slightly for application.

7. What’s the benefit of using arrowroot powder over cornstarch?

You are free to use cornstarch or arrowroot powder as desired. Arrowroot is a more natural thickening agent alternative. I use arrowroot powder as an alternative to cornstarch in all my cooking. Arrowroot powder is available through your local health food store, Whole Foods, Azure Standard, or Bob’s Red Mill.

8. I am allergic to coconut oil, is there any alternatives?

I have heard people experiencing success by replacing coconut oil with equal quantities of shea butter and cocoa butter. You can also use palm oil because it remains solid like coconut oil. Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil for the antibacterial properties.

9. I am heavy sweater? Is this an antiperspirant?

No, this is not an antiperspirant, so you will sweat but it will definitely be decreased quantities. Sweating is a natural bodily process that is necessary for health in removing toxins from your body. I am definitely a heavy sweater myself, but this deodorant works to remove the smells like nothing else I have ever tried. I do recommend multiple applications if you are doing strenuous work or exercise for it to be effective.

Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil and all its wonderful uses here.

To read all the reviews on this recipe, check out the original post here.

Please note: Passionate Homemaking is an affiliate of Mountain Rose Herbs (my coconut oil source) and receives a small percentage of each sale purchased through my links. I only recommend products that I have successfully use and can highly recommend.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

415 Responses to Homemade All-Natural Deodorant

  1. Katie January 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Can I point out that arrowroot powder can be an abortificant? I wouldn’t touch it pregnant…

  2. Angie December 12, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I will definitely experiment with this recipe! I prefer making my own foot and underarm deodorants, but my husband has a preference for the ready-made products. He’s been using a brand called Lavilin, for both his underarms and feet. He’s said great things and I doubt I can get him to switch, but will try with this recipe!

  3. Aubrie November 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    I love this deodorant and have used it off and on for several years. It was always difficult finding a container that wouldn’t leak if I was in a warmer place, however. On this last batch I put the deodorant in a mini mason jar and BAM! Perfect! It’s airtight and doesn’t leak. :)

  4. z.lynn November 27, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I have a newborn and was concerned about breastfeeding and all the chemicals in traditional deodorants so decided to go natural (along with other diet changes too). But the “natural” store bought ones just didn’t work for me. I made this recipe two days ago and am totally in love!! It keeps me dry and stink free! May have to adjust for more cornstarch in warmer months because I sweat a lot but Thank you so much! I love your site!

  5. April November 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    I made this today using my kitchen aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Seemed much easier than doing it by hand. I just mixed it until it was the consistency I wanted and put it in a jar. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  6. alyssa October 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    This is a great post for natural deodorants! I recently made my own: http://theactivefeed.com/2013/09/26/homemade-deodorant/ I noticed most recipes call for arrowhead root, is this just to thicken it up? Or does it help with the BO?

  7. L.N. Gravely September 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    If underarms become irritated wash area with one tablespoon apple cider vinegar mixed in cup of water before going to bed or 30 minutes prior to applying deordorant. Be sure to allow underarms to dry before applying deordant. Rash and itching will clear up!

  8. donna September 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    I made this yesterday and used this morning. I love it! It’s the perfect time of the year with the weather cooling down to switch to all natural. I have been using a crystal for a few weeks and really was not that impressed. This is wonderful! Thank you for a great recipe.

  9. Annie September 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    This is a fantastic recipe! At least, it got me started. When I first made this according to the directions, it was a bit too soft and “liquidy” for my taste. I added equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch until it was harder….but then when I used it, I found that the baking soda was WAYYYYY too irritating and even caused some raised rash! I was devastated because I loved the idea of this…so, I began using MORE cornstarch. I find that if I use 2/3 cornstarch to 1/3 baking soda with the coconut oil and essential oils, I’m able to get a very thick consistency. Now I’m jumping for joy because I use a thin film….it leaves NO white marks, and I stay dry and stink free ALL day with just one application!!! I didn’t get this lucky with the store bought “natural” deodorants, they never worked! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I’m set for life now!!! LOL

    • donna September 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      I used arrowroot starch instead of corn starch – it is very silky. And remember, you can totally omit the baking soda. Just use the starch and coconut oil.

  10. Vicki September 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Hi, I’ve been wanting to use this (just waiting for my other one to die), and wondered about baby powder. I love the smell of it and it’s the only kind I ever buy. I know you can add essential oils but what about baby powder and how much of it?

    • D November 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Corn starch is the main ingredient in baby powder. :)

  11. Courtney September 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Have you ever come across Lavilin? It’s aluminum-free and I’m totally obsessed with it! I really think it’s one of the best out there. What are your thoughts?

    Courtney

  12. Marika September 2, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Ok so I made this today (I chucked away all commercial deodorants since I’m going natural and I’m on a iodine protocol as well), but something must have gone wrong. I first made it to a heavier consistency like in your video, but when I applied it, it’s very visible on my armpit, it’s basically small pieces that come off when I lightly rub the area.

    I then tried to make it softer, more like a cream, by adding more coconut oil (in liquid form), and that was ok when applying, but later on again, when I brushed my fingers on the armpits, the pieces were coming off from there as well, just as before.

    I used cornstarch, baking soda and coconut oil (plus essential oils).

    The other thing is, no matter what and how much essential oils I use, the only smell I feel is coconut, nothing else.

    Any idea?

    • Mel September 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Use Less. Try using a very thin layer. I apply with a popsicle stick.

    • donna September 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      What about your coconut oil? I use all natural and cold pressed I found at Sam’s. I barely smell any coconut…..and I didn’t use any essential oils as I am still trying to figure out my personal favorite scent.

  13. Helen August 27, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I also had itching on my armpits so I read somewhere to add Shea butter (the best mositure ever!!) so I added 2 tablespoons and reduced the baking soda to 1/8 cup and I haven’t had any problems since. I add tea tree oil as well. I also rub a little shea butter over my armpits before I use the deodorantand I haven’t had any problems! I love this deodorant

  14. lena gohlke August 12, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    I WANT to make this for my son, wondering if it would hurt to add a fragrance oil to it or can u only add essential oil?

    • Michelle August 14, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      I would stick to essential oils, the point being to eliminate any artificial ingredients. The oils in the candle isle are most definitely not safe for skin, but there are some “masculine” smelling oils out there for fragrance (i.e tea tree, eucalyptus, grapefruit).

  15. Angelica July 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    HI! I just made your deodorant but am wondering: what happens when you put the deodorant on? Will it dissolve or do you just put on a small amount and then you can’t see it? I’m just worried if it’s visible on your underarms. Thank you for the amazing recipe. I’m sure it’ll work wonders!

  16. Kelly July 22, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    I have been using this for over a year and love it!! I will never go back to traditional deodorant! I do have one question, though. I finally got my husband to try it, but the two times he used it, his sweat ran down his sides and left what looks like baking soda deposits on his shirt and skin. Has this happened to anyone else? I wasn’t sure if it would get better with use or if this is just how his body reacts to it. Thanks!

  17. Cindy July 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    One word: Lavilin!!

    The BEST all-natural deodorant I have ever come across! And I have tried them all!

    Find it here: http://www.microbalanced.com

    • L.n. Gravely October 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Thank you for posting the info on Lavilin! It is great! No more baking soda and homemade remedies for me. Put some on Friday night, today is Tuesday, no smell whatsoever….awesome product!

  18. Mo July 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I’ve made this homemade deodorant and have been using it for about four days I smell my arm pits all day just to make sure its working, and it actually works better than my regular deodorant, no sweating, the only thing that I have noticed is a little itchiness and by the end of the day an odd smell, I thinking from the baking soda and my body chemicals. Still not a stinky or musty smell and you will have to be right up under my arm to smell it. I may try to add essential oils later. So I will continue to use this ! Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Donna July 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    This works great. It does tend to melt a little in the warm/hot weather so I pop it in the fridge. I add about ten drops of grapefruit essential oil to it and it smells very clean and fresh. I notice that it does stain dark clothing under the arms, but it washes out with mild soap and water. I prefer to roll with the occasional stain to avoid putting toxic chemicals under my arms that may be absorbed into my body. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  20. RC planes July 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Lindsay’s method works great, i use to just simply use coconut oil and nothing else, but with the 2 powders mixed in, you get better results.
    just a note, its good to sweat, its actually natural for humans to sweat from our glands as this is a way to release unwanted liquids form body, so go with the flow and live your life with a more natural outlook :)

  21. stace July 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    the itchy rash might be a fungal infection. I am diabetic and made this with a refuced amount of cornstarch and worked great, till about two days later.im very prone to fungal infections and since cornstarch is still a sugar im sure this is the culprit. id advise diabetics to find a substitute for corn/arrowroot starch and use tea tree essential oil as its an antifungal.

    • Maggie July 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Hm..well I was getting the rash- but while I was using the Tea Tree oil in the deodorant, actually. So for me, that probably wasn’t it. (I’m also not diabetic.) But when I would be sure to scrub my pits at night before I went to bed, I had no rash. So there are several solutions to this, it seems.

  22. Beky July 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I’ve noticed that NO deodorant has worked for me since i have become pregnant. Definitely going to try this hopefully with success! No one wants a stinky massage therapist

  23. none July 1, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    I’ve been using this for a few months with pretty much perfect success. I’m amazed that even in really hot humid weather I still don’t smell. But I think due to the coconut oil (and forgetting to wash it off one night), I developed 2 ingrown pimples that hurt. Might have clogged my pores.

    • Anita July 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      I use coconut oil as my moisturizer and its great, but also noticed that it cloggs my pores especially on the chin area. So I use apple cider vinegar as a microdermabrasion effect or soda with water :) clears it all right.

      • Beky July 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

        do you mix anything with the apple cider vinegar?

        • Anita July 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

          no, I don’t dillute it. just pour it over your cotton petal and straight on your face.
          just I have to rinse it quite well with soap as I hate the after smell :) of vinegar.

      • jenny August 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

        do u mean you mix it with bake soda and water it just said apple cider vinegar or soda with water so is it bake soda and water or bake soda and apple cider vinegar thanks jenny