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Best DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits (4 Recipes)

DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits

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Are you looking for a natural DIY deodorant for smelly armpits? 

In this article, you can find a step-by-step tutorial for 4 of the best DIY deodorant recipes. 

The first is a regular one, the second is for sensitive skin (without baking soda), the third is without coconut oil, and the last is a homemade deodorant spray.

Here’s a quick preview of the contents of this article:

  1. How to make natural deodorant for smelly armpits?
  2. DIY deodorant for smelly armpits
  3. A natural deodorant recipe without baking soda 
  4. DIY deodorant without coconut oil
  5. DIY deodorant spray 
  6. Side effects & cons of DIY deodorants
  7. Important notes
  8. FAQ
  9. Conclusion
DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits (4 Recipes) - Almost Zero Waste

How to make natural deodorant for smelly armpits?

It’s quite simple to build a DIY deodorant for smelly armpits.

You will need ingredients that have:

  • Antibacterial properties – like coconut oil, shea butter, or tea tree oil 
  • Naturally absorbent ingredients – like baking soda, arrowroot, or cornstarch 
  • Pleasant scents – essential oils such as orange, lavender, sandalwood, etc.

It is essential to mention that natural deodorants won’t plug the sweat glands. That means you may still sweat.

However, there won’t be an unpleasant smell. 

The natural deodorant combats with the bacteria that appears on your armpits (which creates a bad smell).

To find out more about that, read the FAQ section. 

A quick overview of the ingredients for the DIY deodorant recipes:

Coconut oil: Antimicrobial properties that kill fungi, yeast, and bacteria (1) (2) (3), while hydrating your skin (1). You can get plastic-free coconut oil from here.

Arrowroot powder: Moisture and oil absorbent, with healing properties. Good thickening agent and an excellent option for a base for body care DIYs. Some people substitute the arrowroot powder with corn starch and are happy with the results. I’ve tried it, too, and I think it works great.

Baking soda: Odor-absorbing, helping to neutralize the smell of sweat by making the odors less acidic. Not the best for very sensitive skin. You can get plastic-free baking soda from Amazon.

Shea butter: Antibacterial properties, moisturizing, and helps to reduce inflammation. You can find plastic-free shea butter here (it is the exact one I’ve used for the recipes below).

Bentonite clay: It has highly adsorptive properties. It can absorb odors, oils, and bacteria, and acts as a physical protective action on the skin.

Ethanol alcohol: 60% ethanol alcohol effectively kills bacteria and germs. It is an effective and safe alternative that keeps bad odors away. It can be quite drying for sensitive skin, so keep that in mind. Topically applied ethanol on healthy human skin will not cause acute or systemic toxic effects.

Apple cider vinegar: Naturally kills bacteria & non-toxic. 

Essential oils: Antibacterial properties while adding a fresh scent. Just make sure you get high-quality, natural, therapeutic-grade essential oils, that are safe to use on the skin. 

Good options are –

Now, let’s jump directly to four different DIY deodorant recipes for smelly armpits! 

You can watch my Youtube video if you want to see how exactly I make the deodorants, step-by-step!

I also tested each deodorant, so you can check that too if you are interested.

4 DIY Deodorant Recipes (Step-By-Step Tutorial)

1: DIY deodorant for smelly armpits (Basic recipe)

The most common recipe includes coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and essential oil.

It needs a bit longer to absorb, and it is possible to leave a bit of stain on your shirt due to the coconut oil.

DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits

Ingredients:

2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (34G)

2 1/2 tbsp shea butter (34G)

1 1/2 tbsp baking soda (22G) 

1/4 cup arrowroot starch (33G) or cornstarch (33G)

10 – 15 drops of essential oils

Instructions:

Step 1: Add coconut oil and shea butter to a bowl. 

DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits

Step 2: Then, melt in a double boiler.

DIY deodorant recipe

Step 3: After that, mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder in a small jar/cup.

DIY deodorant recipe

Step 4: Add to the melted mixture.

DIY deodorant

Step 5: Combine well until there are no clumps. 

DIY deodorant recipe

Step 6: In the end, once it’s cool down, add essential oil, if you wish. 

DIY deodorant recipe

Step 7: Transfer it to a jar. 

DIY deodorant recipe

Step 8: Keep in the fridge or freezer for a couple of hours, until it gets solid. 

DIY deodorant recipe for smelly armpits

UPDATE:

This one is a real winner!

My mum made the recipe, and she was so happy that she started making it for other family members and friends.

It works well, and if you don’t have any problems with baking soda, I recommend trying it out! It tends to melt if it’s too hot outside, so if you live in a tropical climate, it’s a good idea to store it in the fridge.


2: DIY deodorant without baking soda (for sensitive skin) 

This recipe is specifically for sensitive skin. It is without baking soda, as it can irritate gentle skin.

This deodorant doesn’t leave an oily sensation, too (unless you don’t apply A LOT of it at once).

DIY deodorant without baking soda

Ingredients:

¾  cup arrowroot powder (96G) or cornstarch

¼ cup coconut oil (54G)   

¼ cup shea butter (53G)  

1/2 tbsp bentonite clay (you can add more, but know that more clay can leave stains)

10-15 drops of essential oil 

Instructions:

Step 1: Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a double-boiler.

DIY deodorant without baking soda

Step 2: Then, add arrowroot powder and bentonite clay (with a wooden spoon), and mix well.

NOTE: USE non-metallic utensils when working with bentonite clay. 

DIY deodorant without baking soda

Step 3: Once the mixture is well-combined and cold, add 10-15 essential oil drops.

DIY deodorant without baking soda

Step 4: Transfer the deodorant to a jar.

DIY deodorant without baking soda

Step 5: Keep in the fridge or freezer for a couple of hours, until it gets solid. 

DIY deodorant without baking soda

UPDATE:

I’ve been using this one for the last couple of months, and I’m SUPER satisfied with it.

At first, I noticed that when the weather is hot, I get a bit smelly at the end of the day.  

But then I found that if I re-apply it (on dry skin!) one or two times, it works perfectly fine, and I don’t get smelly at all. 

Note that if you add too much, too often, it can leave marks or stains.


3: DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Not a fan of the possibly oily sensation that coconut oil leaves?

Then check the following recipe with shea butter, which doesn’t leave almost any oily feeling.

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Ingredients:

⅓ cup arrowroot powder (45G) or cornstarch

¼ shea butter (53G) 

10-15 drops essential oil 

OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp baking soda (recommended, if you don’t have too high sensitivity)

Instructions:

Step 1: Melt shea butter in a double boiler.

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Step 2: Then add arrowroot powder and mix well. Make sure there aren’t any clumps.

NOTE: If your skin isn’t sensitive, you can add 1 tbsp of baking soda, but you can completely omit it.

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Step 3: Once it cools down, add essential oil if you wish.

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Step 4: Transfer the deodorant to a jar. 

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

Step 5: Keep in the fridge or freezer for a couple of hours, until it gets solid. 

DIY deodorant without coconut oil

UPDATE:

I gave this one to a friend, and she is delighted with the deodorant.

She had some issues with zero waste deodorants with baking soda (too harsh for her sensitive skin).

However, this one wasn’t causing any reactions, even though there is one tablespoon of baking soda. 

She told me that sometimes, she re-applies it, but that it works really well in general!


4: DIY deodorant spray:

This spray recipe is ideal for hot weather since the rest of the deodorant creams will melt entirely in hot climates.

The spray is simple to make and very effective for most people.

The smell of vinegar can be unpleasant for many people, but know that it will go away as soon as it dries. 

DIY deodorant spray

Ingredients:

30 ml (~2 tbsp) ethanol alcohol (vodka or gin) – It needs to be at least 50% ABV (100 proof)

15 ml (~1 tsp) apple cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar, for a less vinegary smell!)

10 – 15 drops of essential oil 

Instructions:

Step 1: In a small spray bottle, add 30 ml of ethanol alcohol, such as vodka. 

DIY deodorant spray

Step 2: After that, add 15 ml of apple cider vinegar.

DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits (4 Recipes) - Almost Zero Waste

Step 3: Next, add 5-15 drops of essential oil.

Essential oils that can eliminate the vinegary smell are – lemon essential oil, lavender essential oil, and tea tree essential oil.

DIY deodorant spray

Step 4: Close the spray bottle, and shake.  

DIY deodorant spray

Step 5: After that, the deodorant is ready for use!

DIY deodorant spray
DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits (4 Recipes) - Almost Zero Waste

DIY deodorant for smelly armpits (4 Recipes)

Yield: 1 small jar
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Extremely efficient DIY deodorant recipes, with coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and essential oil! Coconut oil-free & baking soda-free options.

Ingredients

DIY deodorant for smelly armpits:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (34G)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp shea butter (34G)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda (22G)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (33G) (or cornstarch)
  • 10 – 15 drops of essential oils

DIY deodorant without baking soda (for sensitive skin):

  • ¾ cup arrowroot powder (96G) or cornstarch
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (54G)
  • ¼ cup shea butter (53G)
  • 1/2 tbsp bentonite clay 
  • 10-15 drops essential oil

DIY deodorant without coconut oil:

  • ⅓ cup arrowroot powder (45G) or cornstarch 
  • ¼ shea butter (53G) 
  • 10-15 drops essential oil
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp baking soda (recommended, if you don’t have too high sensitivity)

DIY deodorant spray:

  • 30 ml (~2 tbsp) ethanol alcohol (vodka or gin) – It needs to be at least 50% ABV (100 proof)
  •  15 ml (~1 tsp) apple cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar, for a less vinegary smell!)
  • 10 – 15 drops essential oil

Instructions

  1. Add coconut oil and shea butter to a bowl, and melt in a double boiler.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in another bowl. After that, add the dry ingredients to the melted oil & butter, and mix well, until there are no clumps.
  3. Once the mixture cools down, add essential oil, if you wish.
  4. Transfer it to a jar. Keep in the fridge or freezer for a couple of hours, until it gets solid.
  5. For the deodorant spray, mix everything in a spray bottle, shake & use.

Notes

Make the first one if you don't have any problems with baking soda.

Make the 2nd if your skin is sensitive, and the 3rd one if you want almost no oily sensation from the deodorant.

The deodorants tend to melt if it’s too hot outside, so if you live in a tropical climate, it’s a good idea to store them in the fridge.


Side effects & cons of DIY deodorants:

Coconut oil:

Deodorants using too much coconut oil can be high on the comedogenic scale. It is possible to clog your pores and cause ingrown hairs to develop.

Baking soda:

When you use baking soda as a deodorant, a chemical reaction occurs between your slightly acidic skin and the very alkaline baking soda.

During this reaction, the natural acid mantle and moisture barrier can be damaged.

Also, if your skin is sensitive, it’s better to avoid using baking soda. You can make the second or the third deodorant from this list.

Ethanol alcohol:

It can cause dryness or irritation to the skin. If it reaches your eyes, for some reason, it causes tearing, burning, and stinging.

Also, avoid applying immediately after shaving, as it may cause stinging.

Acute or systemic toxic effects can only occur if used on damaged skin, especially in children. (1)

Essential oils:

They are great, however, using undiluted essential oils on sensitive skin can irritate or burn, and you might even have an allergic reaction or a skin rash.

If your skin is sensitive, it might be better to leave out the essential oils.

Additionally, I wanted to mention again that you should use essential oils that are therapeutic grade.

Find the ones that are pure, and safe to use on the skin.

All in all, if you experience any of these adverse reactions, stop using the DIY deodorant immediately. 

DIY deodorant recipes

Important notes

Consistency:

These deodorant creams change consistency depending on the temperature. In cold climates, they will stay solid.

In warm climates, the deodorants can become too liquidy. In that case, you can store it in a cool cupboard, or in the fridge, to thicken it up.

Grainy feel:

A grainy feel can occur, depending on how the deodorant hardens. When the temperature cools down too slowly, it can create a bumpy or grainy texture.

This can also happen if the deodorant changes its consistency too often, and it melts due to too hot temperatures.

To make it smooth again, add a bit of water to a saucepan, and put it on low heat. Once the water gets hot enough, add the jar with deodorant inside, and stir the mixture for a few minutes, until it melts.

Don’t boil the water – it just needs to get hot. Remove the deodorant from the saucepan once melted, and place it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until set and smooth.

Essential oils:

Always add the essential oil once the mixture cools down. If you add it while it is still hot, the fragrance will evaporate, and the smell of the essential oil will disappear. 

Detoxify your armpits:

Bentonite clay is perfect if you want to do that, as it is a great way to switch to a natural deodorant. Find out how to do it in the FAQ section below! 


FAQ:

Why do our pits smell, and how does deodorant work?

Sweating is natural, and it is not smelly. However, the armpit bacteria create an unpleasant smell. These bacteria convert your sweat into acidic waste products that give sweat its odor. (1)(2)

Natural deodorants will fight the smelly armpits without stopping the sweat or plugging sweat glands like traditional antiperspirants. 

On the other hand, antiperspirants prevent sweat in the first place – they plug the sweat glands. Additionally, they often contain aluminum, talc, parabens, triclosan, Propylene glycol, and artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin. 

A study from 2016 found that antiperspirants can alter the bacteria’s natural ecosystem, making your body odor worse while reducing your immune system. 

Additionally, there’s been a debate over if antiperspirants are linked to breast cancer.

Some studies suggest that underarm shaving with antiperspirant/deodorant use may play a role in breast cancer. Nevertheless, more research is needed. 

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

The DIY deodorants will naturally fight bacterias that are on our armpits and are causing the bad smell, without plugging sweat glands. 

Antiperspirants prevent sweat in the first place – they plug the sweat glands. They often contain aluminum, talc, parabens, triclosan, Propylene glycol, and artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin. 

testing DIY deodorant
Deodorant 2 (without baking soda)
testing DIY deodorant

Why do my armpits smell with natural deodorant?

Switching from an aluminum-based deodorant to a more natural one will possibly require a bit of adjusting period for your body.

That means you might be smelly at first. 

It can be that your body is detoxing from the mainstream products you were using before.  

None of these natural deodorants will make you smell worse. The bacteria under your arms will start changing, and it can take up to 30 days for your body to get used to the natural DIY deodorant. 

If you want to help your body to get used to the natural deodorant faster, you can detoxify your armpits (find out how below).

How do I stop my armpits from smelling without deodorant?

You can try to detoxify your armpits.

Armpit detox is supposed to increase natural deodorants’ effectiveness, remove the buildup of antiperspirant, and eliminate odor.

To do it, follow one of the two mixtures: 

Mixture 1:

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (unfiltered works best) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water

Mixture 2 (more soothing & hydrating recipe):

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl with a non-metal utensil. It shouldn’t be too liquid; the thickness should be something like yogurt. Spread the mixture in an even layer under each armpit. 

Leave the mixture on for 5-15 minutes. Wash off the armpits with warm water.

A bit of redness is normal as the blood flow is increased. However, if you feel any pain, immediately remove the mix from your armpits.

What deodorant works best for smelly armpits? 

There isn’t one deodorant that will work best. Our bodies are different, and a deodorant that works perfectly for me might not work as well for you.

That’s why you need to experiment, and try out different deodorants, to find the best one for YOU.

When I switched to a natural deodorant, I needed to try three different deodorants until I found the one that worked best for my skin. 

DIY Deodorant recipe
Deodorant 1

Conclusion

There you have it – 4 DIY deodorants that will combat smelly armpits naturally!

Let’s quickly sum up the key points of this article: 

  • Natural deodorant combats with the bacteria that appears on your armpits without clogging your sweat glands. 
  • The DIY natural deodorants are harmless and contain a lot of beneficial properties. 
  • However, there is a slight chance it cause unwanted reactions and irritate your skin – in that case, you should stop using them. 
  • The deodorants are easy to make, and you will need a couple of ingredients. 
  • Since our bodies are different, you might need to experiment until you find the best deodorant for your skin.
  • You can detoxify your armpits when switching to a more natural deodorant.

I hope these DIY deodorants will work great for you.

If you have any questions or additional tips, write them down in the comment section.

Which of these deodorants do you plan to try first? 

DIY Deodorant For Smelly Armpits

5 Comments

  1. Everything I was looking for I found in this wonderful recipe for dry deodorant. It hydrates the skin, the aroma is great (I used lemongrass essential oil), and it leaves no bad odor for the whole day. Love it!
    Score 10/10 ♥️ ️

  2. Hello Marilin. For the spray version can I use rubbing alcohol instead of ethanol and if so what percent do you recommend? Thanks

    1. Hi Lina. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is an irritant of the skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and upper respiratory tract. It is also not intended for long-term use on the skin. I’m not sure if is a good option, so I can’t recommend it. Sorry!

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