Home-made Deodorant Review – Does it Work?

2 out of 5 leaves

2 out of 5 leaves


Homemade deodorant is an expert-level green idea.  Made of only good and natural ingredients from your own kitchen, you can feel proud that you are not spreading cancer-causing chemicals on your delicate skin each morning.  But does it work?

The Good

  • Better for the Earth — not made in a factory
  • Better for you — no sketchy chemicals soaking into your skin
  • Saves money — cost is about $2 a “stick”

The Bad

  • Messy – can get on hands, bathroom shelf, etc and can be hard to clean
  • Requires a couple of minutes of undressed time to dry after application
  • May not be ideal for hot weather climates — product can get melty
  • Not an antiperspirant — wet armpits are a common occurrence
  • Odor protection for roughly 8 hours — BO starts around 3 PM

My Experience

I mixed up a bowl of this after realizing that I had all the necessary ingredients in my kitchen cupboards.  While it was still a little soft, I filled it into an old deodorant canister in hopes I could phase into using it with no big changes to my morning routine.  Others have put it into a jar to scoop it out with their finger, but I didn’t really want to get it under my long fingernails if I didn’t have to.

The first couple of days using it went smoothly.  I propelled a bit up in the stick, let it sit against my armpit to soften for a second, and then smoothed it over.  The product itself felt oily and a little gritty as the coconut oil and cornstarch never really formed a smooth texture.  After a couple of minutes it dried and I finished getting dressed.

The biggest difference I noticed was that my armpits always seemed to be a bit damp.  I accepted this as normal and expected as I had previously been using a name brand antiperspirant.  I smell-checked often in those first days and noted mostly a faint scent of coconut and lavender (I had added a few drop to the batch).  There was a limit though, and BO started faintly coming through after about 8 hours.  By the next morning, before my shower, the smell of moldy stinky cheese burgers had taken up residence under my arms.  Yikes!  I do not recommend using homemade deodorant when you sleep over at a friend’s, if you know what I mean!

The showstopper for me on this was the increasing mess it made in my bathroom.  Each morning as I showered and my bathroom got warm and steamy, the deodorant would soften a bit causing the oil parts to rise, and the powder parts to sink a little in the stick canister.  Soon the top layer of the stick was mostly oil with none of the starchy phase in it.  I started having to dig into the stick with my fingers for a chunk, then hold that chunk against my pit to soften, and smooth it around bare handed.  Then I had a leftover chuck and very greasy fingers to clean up.  Yuck.  The product in the stick also melted and leaked out the bottom, leaving a not-so-nice oil stain on the bathroom shelf.  (Sorry landlord!)

Overall this was a fun little idea, but with the bathroom mess and potential for BO before the end of the workday, I could not bring myself to finish the batch.

Have you tried making home-made deodorant?  Did it work for you?  Did I do something wrong?  Please share your thoughts and ideas below!


Shared at Sunday School, Homestead Barn Hop, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wildcrafting WednesdaysSimple Lives Thursday,  Rural Thursday and Your Green Resource
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33 Responses to Home-made Deodorant Review – Does it Work?

  1. Jacque says:

    I haven’t tried mixing something up because I felt suspicious about a hassle in application. I’ve heard, though, that a simple dusting of baking soda works more effectively, anyway, and I guess it should because (theoretically) the smell is only a product of bacteria. Right now I’m pre go and, so, foregoing any deodorant just in case, and it’s okay because I live in a cold climate and it’s still deep winter here, so I am more often cold than hot. But I am concerned about what to do when summer finally arrives! Has anyone tried the baking soda option?

    • Victoria says:

      Jacque, I’ve found another natural solution that is much less messy and effective for odor control. Stay tuned!

      • Carrie says:

        I have been using Granny’s Natural Deodorant for nearly 6 months now with no problem. I especially love the peppermint and also lavender.

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi. I’ve been using a pea-sized smear of coconut oil then a dusting of baking powder for over a year now, it has worked great for me. Believe me, my husband & son would let me know if it didn’t! Rarely have I had to reapply during the day, and I’m outside busy all day gardening, riding horses, hiking, etc. Might be worth a try.

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks for the idea Lisa! I’m glad it works for you. As I’ve talked to other women, I’m coming to the realization that body chemistry might play a big role in whether this works for you or not. I’m glad to report I’ve found a different natural product that has great odor control and isn’t messy at all. Stay tuned….!

  3. I’ve never made it but I don’t think I’ll try it now, LOL!

  4. Nancy says:

    I’ve thought about trying this recipe, but I knew it wouldn’t work as well as the commercial products. I guess it all depends on how committed one is to living the green lifestyle. There will always be some drawbacks.

    Great review and thank you for sharing at Rural Thursday. 🙂

  5. I just use a sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda in place of deodorant and it works brilliantly. I have found a little at a time is best as if you put too much on it can rub a bit under your arm.

  6. Jo says:

    I’m also an advocate of a little bicarb. The other thing I’d suggest is giving it time, and considering wool (not thick wool, but Icebreaker and smart wool, for example) as a really good clothing option. I forget to use bicarb and haven’t had a problem- even though I’m 7 months pregnant and it’s summer. I think your body weans itself off deodorant, much as it does shampoo.

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks for sharing Jo. I used this for about a month and my body never really “got used to it”. Maybe I’m just a stinky girl!

  7. Lady Farmer says:

    I’ve made my own deoderant using baking soda and coconut oil. It works for a few hours and I have to wash my armpits before re-applying. But I think I may have to discontinue use ~ the soda is causing a lot of irritation and, on occasion, scalds on the skin. :~{

  8. Vanessa says:

    I’ve made that exact recipe minus the tea tree oil. I think it works wonderfully. I have excessive sweating in my pits (nothing has worked including perscriptions) and this was the only thing that actually did. Mine has never been gritty though. It takes while to mix it an incorporate the ingredients

    It took about a week for my body to get used to it. I had the burning too, as with a previous commenter but it went away. For me it’s the only thing that has worked. I barely sweat now and I don’t stink. lol

    • Victoria says:

      I’m glad it worked for you Vanessa!

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  9. GinnyV says:

    Hi! I just found your site and I like it a lot! Anyway, I wanted to add my 2 cents here…

    I use a similar recipe, but with different application. Since I use coconut oil on my face, lips, body and underarms, I don’t mix it with the powder. I first spread a small amount of CO under my arms, then I take a powder puff and pat a little of the powder on. By the time I’m done with everything else in the bathroom, it’s safe to put on my clothes without any problems. For the powder, I mixed 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 cornstarch and then added some drops of lavender and tea tree oil. For those that are having irritation with just baking soda, the cornstarch may reduce/eliminate the problem.

    I’ve used this for a few years, including when I was student teaching. It does not keep me completely dry, but it does work as a deodorant. Once in a while I still use an antiperspirant, but not often.

  10. That is so interesting to me! That’s the recipe I use, but I don’t use TTO in it. I also don’t try to put into an old store-bought stick applicator thingie (that’s the technical term. ha!) because of the oil issues, I figured it wouldn’t work. I just put it in a little upcycled tin cannister.

    I’ve never had BO issues with it, but it is a messier application to be sure. The main issue for me isn’t even being earth-friendly or body-friendly. I actually switched because my store-bought deo was RUINING my clothes in the underarm area. Stink issues like MAD.

    But yeah, it’s definitely one of those areas where your mileage may vary. Because of the way CO can be firm one day and liquid the next, it can be a pain sometimes.

  11. Pingback: Natural Crystal Stone Deodorant Review – Does it Work? | Green Idea Reviews

  12. Brenda says:

    I make this recipe but with a couple tweeks. I use coconut oil, hemp oil, corn starch, baking soda, tea tree oil and lavender essential oil. My recipe is 2 cups corn starch, 1/2- 3/4 cup baking soda and a mix of hemp oil and coconut oil. Tea tree oil is a essential part of the deodorant recipe for the anti-bacterial, anti- microbial properties in short this keeps you from smelling due to bacteria growth. Lavender essential oil has the same properties so will double the protection. I have very sensitive skin and this does cause irritation to my skin, but it does work really well. I use a different deodorant ,if the irritation gets too bad, its called Lavinden. It’s a cream and you do have break through odor until your body gets used to it. This takes a couple days but does work great.Lavinden is great but costs quite a bit. I agree that body chemistry probably does play a part. But if you use the tea tree and lavender you will have greater success. Since I added the hemp oil I have not had any melt downs on my shelf, just a little softness. Also, you only need one swipe under your arm, if you can see it, its too much. Deodorant tubes are available on the web and are cost effective if you reuse them. I think this is well worth you trying it out.

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks Brenda! I added the tree tea oil and lavender too, but this recipe just didn’t work for me. I’m collecting other recipies and may do a homemade deodorant round two one day!

  13. Robin says:

    I use a similar recipe – coconut oil, cornstarch (to absorb moisture), baking soda (to absorb odors) and some lavender oil for smell! I’ve been using it for about a year and am happy with it. I, too, am outside working in the garden, etc. all day and only occasionally will get a smell breakthrough.

  14. Rebecca says:

    I just started using this recipe (coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, tea tree oil, and lavender oil) for about 2 weeks now, and I have the same odor problems as you Victoria. I’ve read your comments and noticed you said you found a new natural recipe that works for the odor. I was wondering if you could share it.Or if you already have could I get that site from you. Thank You!!

    • Victoria says:

      Hi Rebecca! I’ve been really happy with the Crystal Deodorant. It’s not homemade, but is all natural. (check out the list of most popular posts in the right sidebar).
      There is another homemade deodorant recipe that another commenter mentioned. It has waxes in it, which really changes the consistency. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet.

  15. Cheryl says:

    I just use straight baking soda for a deoderant but I do have to admit that diet plays a big part with odor control. My first attempt with baking soda was pretty much a fail because I was eating a high protein low carb diet and had an odor that was quick to pop up. Then I switched to a very strong plant based diet with low emphasis in meat protein. Wow, that made a huge difference!! I no longer feel self concious about smells now and that’s pretty amazing because I live in Phoenix. 🙂

  16. Lorene Kraft says:

    I am very chemically sensitive after much experimenting I use baking soda boiled in water till it melts and the water is great and does the job. Appr. 1/2 cup to 2cups water. some settles in the bottom but I only use the water.

  17. I did a review of this last month only because my teen son and husband loved it! It hasn’t been messy or given us any problems at all. We use a small pea sized amount and rub it in. My teen uses a deodorant bottle. They tried it first and marveled over it and that’s what impressed me so much. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, but glad you found the crystal to work. I’ve tried those for years, but I don’t like to wait for the wetness to dry and wasn’t impressed with how it worked. However, I’ll keep them on hand for traveling and as a standby…thanks for the review!
    Have a great week!

  18. Pingback: Removing Yellow Armpit Stains from Clothing with Dish Soap, Peroxide and Baking Soda Review – Does it Work? | Green Idea Reviews

  19. Rachel says:

    I made homemade deodorant using coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda and essential oils and my armpits broke out in a terrible red rash and I had a ton of itching….so I went back to my conventional deodorant/anti-perspirant and it totally cleared up. Why does all natural give me a rash and not toxins?

    • Victoria says:

      Not sure, Rachel. I guess everyone’s skin is sensitive to different things. Remember that just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s gentle, or even safe.

  20. Rena says:

    I’ve been using this recipe, actually, for over a year now and have had excellent success. I did find that for a little while (about a week at the most) while my body got used to not having antiperspirant and deodorant there was some odor and I didn’t really want to lift my arms at all. But after my body got used to it, I find it works amazingly. In fact, better than deodorant. I used to always have to keep changing my deodorant out because my body would adjust and then I’d have some funky BO. I went through all the deodorants and antiperspirants out there, including several in the men’s section! I haven’t had to change anything with this recipe. I store mine in an old deodorant container. I put waxed paper at the bottom for when I pour more mixture into the container. I also store mine in the fridge. This has stopped the melting and separating. If I think about it, I take it out of the fridge when I go shower, but usually forget to do that, so it is a little chilly at first, haha! I do notice that I sweat and sometimes a bit more than I am comfortable with, but I figure that at least I don’t have who knows what chemicals essentially clogging my pores so I CAN’T sweat. I love this and as long as it keeps the odor away, which over a year into it works extremely well still, I’ll keep using it, and recommend to anyone who is interested.

  21. Callie Thomas says:

    I have tried nearly every type of homemade deodorant and finally found one that works perfectly called Granny’s Natural Deodorant. Plus, the deodorant is highly organic. They use More arrowroot,less baking soda, less coconut oil. Their deodorant is a solid paste(not too hard nor too soft). They support a high risk youth area non profit organization.