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How to Make Homemade Deodorant

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Miss me? It’s only been hours since my last post went live. It’s all part of my scheme to have an editorial schedule with topics and stuff. I’m excited.

Welcome to DIY Saturday! Saturday is the perfect day to inspire you with a DIY project because it’s the weekend. Hooray! Between being outside and binge watching House of Cards or Mad Men you can squeeze in some productivity.

Today’s DIY is homemade deodorant. I made mine this week and have been using it every day.

I’ve been a plain ole deodorant user since probably 2006, which means I haven’t worn an antiperspirant or anything loaded with chemicals since I quit Secret’s Powder Fresh. Check the score of your antiperspirant or deodorant on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic database. Become informed about what is being absorbed into your body.

You can read all about how the aluminum compounds in antiperspirant work once they’re absorbed into the skin and have interacted with sweat. A PH change happens causing the compound to exude back out and create a block in your glandular system (read: sweat glands) preventing sweat. Gross. While you may not be comfortable with sweat it is a completely natural process that helps the body eliminate toxins and waste out of the body—just like pee and poop.

I honestly don’t remember the transition period back then besides probably smelling my pits frequently to make sure things weren’t reaching zombie status.

I’ve since learned that the cleaner you eat, the less ‘fragrant’ you will be. I actually know a few people that don’t wear anything in their pits. Crazy? Not really, although some of that may be genetics too.

When I first transitioned I remember buying Tom’s of Maine before they were bought by that bigger corporation. In the beginning I liked the deodorant but that only lasted about 2 weeks. What happened?

I began developing red murderous looking pits. It was the pits and painful too. I’ve since found a lot of brands I like but nothing that I want to keep using obsessively.

Natural deodorants can also be hard to find, especially if you are a woman. In the men’s section—of a standard grocery store or ‘everything’ store like Target—Jeremy can routinely find at least 6 different scents of  deodorant from Degree, Axe, and now Dove for Men.

The women’s section? Not so much.

Last year in Canada I stockpiled a few because they had significantly more deodorant. Lucky Canadians!

I know that people make their own so I wanted to try that out. The formula is pretty simple: 2 parts coconut oil to 1 part starch and 1 part baking soda with essential oils to preference.

Here’s the breakdown. Coconut oil is the smooth base and is also antimicrobial. Baking soda helps eliminate odors and stave off bacteria which also create stink. Tapioca or corn starch help give it a smooth thickened texture.


DIY Saturday: Homemade Deodorant

  • Yield: 2 batches of deodorant

This recipe will make two batches of deodorant. If you just want one to start, don't divide the mixture and double the essential oil.


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (a little soft or partially melted is perfect)
  • heaping 1/4 cup tapioca starch or corn starch
  • a little bit less than 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 10-12 drops/squirts of essential oil per 'batch' of deodorant (lavender, ylang-ylang, lemongrass, grapefruit, lemon and the list goes on)


  1. Mix coconut oil, starch, and baking soda in a small bowl with a whisk making sure there aren't any clumps. Depending on the temperature of the coconut oil it should look like thick runny frosting.
  2. Divide mixture evenly into two small ball jars or plastic containers with a lid.
  3. Add 10-12 essential oils to each container with your chosen scent and mix well until oil is incorporated.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Apply a pea-sized glob to your armpit with 2 fingers.
  6. Smell yourself and keep smelling yourself because you will be amazed.


*Feel free to make scent combinations too! Just hold them together at your nose to get an idea of how it will come together.



Benefits of Homemade Deodorant:

  1. Natural
  2. Super cheap
  3. 4 ingredients
  4. All of the ingredients can be eaten
  5. Didn’t stain my clothing
  6. No weird clumps falling out of my pits when I wear a tank top
  7. Easy application
  8. Fantastic and customizable scents
  9. Strong lasting power
  10. Doesn’t burn my pits (If yours does, reduce the baking soda even more or if it’s already made, melt it a little and mix in more starch and a little more coconut oil)
  11. Will keep on the counter
  12. Customizable quantity based on what you need

Natural deodorant update.

What is your favorite natural deodorant? Pros Cons?


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  1. Evie Dawson says:

    Commercial deodorants contain many harmful ingredients which can be absorbed through your skin. These include parabens, triclosan, TEA & DEA, aluminum, etc. These chemicals are particularly harmful in the case of deodorant as many shave right before applying deodorant. It is always advisable to ask a doctor for more healthy alternatives online with Online USA Doctors.

  2. Andi says:

    Do you happen to know what I coild substitute for the coconut oil? I am allergic to coconut but I am in need of a deodorant that doesn’t cause a reaction like store brought.

    • michellelfelt says:

      Hi Andi, that’s a bummer about your allergy! Coconut oil is nice because it semi-hardens at room temperature. With a quick google search I think the only other oil that does that is palm oil. Aside from that I don’t see why you couldn’t use any oil (almond, jojoba, castor) it would most likely need to be stirred before each application and applied with a few dabs from your finger tips but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just as well. Please write back with any tips. I bet this would be helpful for many. xo

  3. Carroll Ann Prashanti Friedman says:

    there is a deodorant on Etsy that is FABULOUS and has a lot of these same ingredients but includes Neem. There is a recipe in the box in case you want to make your own! It is called Kokomo. Check it out. I am so devoted to it that I paid to have it shipped to me in India!

  4. Nati Eckersley says:

    I absolutely love this deodorant, thanks for posting the recipe! I did however notice my deodorant turned beige/brown when I was halfway done with it, is this normal?

    • Hi Nati! Thank you 🙂 Did you make yours with ylang-ylang or lemongrass? Mine did turn the lightest of tans over time – the lavender stays white though…funny! It must be something inherent in the oil – it still works great though 🙂

  5. cbmp says:

    I truly cannot express how overly joyed I am at finding this recipe and how amazed I am at how GREAT it works! I have tried so many deodorants and this one takes the cake…hands down! It kept me odor free and dry ALL DAY in 90 degree weather running after my toddler outside. I love this….I will never go back to store-bought deodorant again!

    • Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that! I feel the same way. It’s so hard to believe how many unused natural deodorants I was fed up with to have such a simple solution come to the rescue. 😀

  6. Lauren says:

    I can’t wait to try out this recipe, as I too have struggled with finding a store bought natural deodorant that actually works! I apologize if this has been answered somewhere, but did you use refined or unrefined Coconut oil? I’m kind-of new to all of this and not sure if it’s important to choose one over the other. Thank you!

    • Hi Lauren! I used Nutivia’s unrefined, but if refined is all that’s available in your area – that one would be okay to use too. Best of luck, I hope this works for you! 🙂

  7. Janelle Marshall says:

    Would the recipe change if the essential oils were left out? I don’t have any on hand, but want to make this recipe tonight. Thanks!

  8. Anne M says:

    I love this deodorant and can’t believe how well it works! Any suggestions to keep it from melting in hot weather and while traveling? Add more corn starch perhaps?

    • Hi Anne,
      I’m so happy to hear you are loving the deodorant!! I have found that a few tablespoons of shea butter keep it more stable, but it still softens-though not completely in 95-100 degree weather. I usually put it in a little ziplock baggie for travel and if it’s liquid give it a little stir with my finger before applying. 🙂 I hope that helps. xo

  9. millyonline says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing your recipe for home-made deodorant! I have a question. The oil I bought smells strongly of coconut. I tried to double the amount of essential oil (one batch lemon, the other lavender) but all I smell is still coconut. Did I get the wrong coconut oil? Thanks.

    • Hi Milly! Unrefined coconut oil does smell of coconut more so than the refined version, but also packs the valuable antimicrobial properties. I think you did everything right, perhaps the brand you purchased is stronger. Does the deodorant smell more of the essential oils when applied?

      • millyonline says:

        When applied, at first it smells far more like the essential oil, but after half an hours or so the coconut overwhelms it. It is, however, a delicate scent that one can perceive only when going looking for it, and not at all unpleasant in the end.

        I must tell you, I used to use straight baking soda as a deodorant, applied on damp skin, but traveling a great deal it was not always a good thing to be carrying around a small container full of white powder. It never occurred to me to find a medium for it. So, coconut or not, this is what I will use from now on. Thank again.