DIY Deodorant

Unlike my other recipes, you don’t actually eat this one. But because I make my deodorant (mostly) out of food ingredients and several people have asked me how I do it, I thought I would go ahead and post the recipe on this food blog.

This stuff works. When I first decided to attempt to live plastic free, I had the most trouble replacing conventional shampoo and deodorant. I tried to solve these problems simultaneously. I was a mess. The bar shampoo I bought left my hair dull and matted to my head. I found Lush’s deodorant bar difficult to apply. Rock crystal deodorant did not work. Using no deodorant did not work. I looked bad and smelled worse.

Thank goodness for baking soda. I wash my hair with it—followed by a cider vinegar rinse—and use it as a base for deodorant.



  • 1/4 cup baking soda (purchased in bulk)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (purchased in bulk)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (I’ll reuse the jar and add it to my collection)
  • Optional: 10 drops of essential oil (I’ll reuse this little bottle for something)


dry ingredients in jar

1. Combine baking soda and cornstarch in a small, wide-mouth jar.

2. Stir in coconut oil and essential oil. If the coconut oil is solid, melt it over a low flame for easier mixing.

3. Pat yourself on the back for your self-reliance.

A few notes

The jar. I prefer to use a shallow jar for this, preferably with a wide mouth. Because I apply this deodorant with my fingers, I need to easily retrieve it from the container.

The cornstarch. I have seen recipes that call for arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch, but I don’t have any of this on hand. At least, I don’t think I do. (The lesson: Label your jars from the bulk aisles!)

The coconut oil. I used two tablespoons. You can actually make this deodorant without the coconut oil, but I like the easy-to-apply cream that coconut oil renders. Adjust the amount of coconut oil you add to the dry ingredients until you have a consistency you like. I prefer mine very thick and creamy, not runny.

The essential oil. Apparently essential oils have antibacterial properties. Although I can’t find a reliable source to back up this claim, even if the essential oil does nothing to fight odor, it does make the deodorant smell nice. I have also used lavender oil and peppermint oil. I have also made deodorant without using any essential oil—it works well either way. For this batch, I used lemon (it’s what I had).

Warning. This deodorant may sting a little on freshly shaved underarms. I think that goes for many commercial deodorants too though. You may want to wait a little while before applying.

Update 01/18/20: Occasionally, someone will tell me the baking soda in this deodorant stings (whether they have shaved recently or not). Stop using this if it stings.

dap o deodorant

The application. Dip a finger in the jar, pull out a pea-size amount of deodorant and apply. You need only a very small amount.

I find this deodorant works well even on the second day, which makes me happy because I’m currently on a red-eye flight and don’t want to reek when I land. (I know flying is bad. I will have to stop. No flying in 2015.)

Of everything I make in my attempt to reduce my waste, homemade deodorant is one of my favorite recipes. It contains no crud, costs little to make and does not come packaged in a giant hunk of plastic. I hope you’ll try it! I think you’ll be impressed with how well it works.

93 Replies to “DIY Deodorant”

  1. I made this on Friday and have been asking my husband to smell my armpits all weekend just to make sure I’m not crazy and that this is working. I love it! He said I smell clean and believe me when I tell you I can smell like an old onion in a heartbeat normally, without strong deodorant. I am so excited to have this alternative that I made in an old glass moisturizer container that I saved. No more plastic deodorant bottles for me. One more waste stream annihilated in our household.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Anne Marie,
    I just made this brilliant deodorant (which is more solid than yours looks, which could be the weather and could be the fact that I am pretty approximate at measuring…) and my daughter is worried about the coconut oil staining her clothes at the armpits. You know how oily residues leave permanent stains on some types of fabrics? Might this happen? We could experiment with silk and coconut oil but I don’t really want to do that. I thought you might know??
    This is not something that worries me in my old age, but, though my daughter’s clothes all come from thrift shops, she wants them unmarred by her own interventions. And she says this is why “normal” deodorants are alcohol and not fat based (but I don’t know about stick deodorants).
    Any wisdom to share on this? Any experience with armpits (is that too personal of a question?)?

    1. Hi Jacqui,
      I would avoid silk. I don’t know if it will stain but that would be awful if it did. The baking soda is the active ingredient. Your daughter could mix that with the cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) and apply a very small amount directly to her underarms. Baking soda can be a little harsh and I think the coconut oil helps with that but I have tried applying just the dry ingredients when I’ve run out of this and have been in a rush. That does work. I hope that helps.
      ~ Anne-Marie

Leave a Reply