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Zero Waste, All Natural Deodorant

Zero Waste, All Natural Deodorant

Beauty

Last Updated on April 3, 2020

So, back in May I wrote about my deodorant. It worked SO well, until the full heat of summer hit in July. 

If you’re new to to world of natural deodorant, you’ll have to detox first.

Your skin is so used to relying on unnatural chemicals that block your pores and the natural process – your body needs to purge.

After using these products for years there is build up and residue under the skin that takes time to pull out. 

With conventional deodorant your armpits are most likely accoustomed to: 

  • Phthalates – a hormone disruptor and linked to infertility
  • Aluminum – linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Parabens – a hormone disruptor and can found in breast cancer tissue
    • ethyl, methyl, propyl, butyl, isobutyl, benzyl
  • Formaldehyde – a known carcinogen
  • Antibacterial – a hormone disruptor and adversely effects the immune system
  • Propylene glycol – an antifreeze agent 

It will take several weeks for a complete detox. During that time, it’s suggested not to wear any deodorant. 

If you try to skip the detoxing phase and immediately switch to a natural deodorant you will most likely experience noticeable irritability and more sweating with a stronger smell.

With such chilly weather, doing a detox now is ideal. 

After your detox, you’ll notice less sweating, less stink, and less irritation without using deodorant. My detox lasted around three weeks.

PRO TIP: If you want to speed up the process mix some bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar. Apply with a rag on your armpits after a shower.

In July, when things were getting bad, I tried to use some of the conventional deodorant (Secret) that I had leftover.

And, it was a disaster! My body had already detoxed, and I had lost all of the build up.

It completely prevented it from working. (But, after reading that ingredient list – it’s a good thing!) 

Then I tried several other homemade deodorants. Most called for the use of coconut oil.

Now, I’m about to commit wellness heresy. But….. I don’t like coconut oil. I think it’s just OK.

Also, the major problem with an oil base is if you sweat AT ALL. You have oil stains on the pit of your clothes.

One day of oil stains was enough for me – NEVER AGAIN. Then I looked into getting a crystal deodorant.

But, the solid crystal came in plastic #6 and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Then I noticed the store also sold a crystal deodorant spray. I read the ingredients:

Water, Natural Mineral Salts, Alum

Ammonium ALUM to be exact. Do you know what that is short for/contains? Aluminum.

Exactly what I was trying to avoid in my deodorant. And, it’s used only for molecule distribution. So you don’t have to shake it up before using it. 

Well, I have natural mineral salt and water in my kitchen and I don’t mind giving my deodorant a little shake before I use it. Do you? Thus a new recipe was born. 

I still use baking soda, but if you’re sensitive you could try and swap it for bentonite clay. 

All Natural Zero Waste Deodorant

Makes 2 oz

2 oz of Water

1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

  • Absorbs moisture
  • Natural deodorizer that helps neutralize odor
  • Is alkaline and helps prevent excess sweating
  • Lowers your pH level to counteract the acids in sweat.
  • further reading

1 Teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt

  • Provides essential minerals and trace elements
  • Helps eliminate toxins
  • Balances the bodies pH
  • Helps to increase blood circulation

Heat 2 oz of water in a double broiler. Bring the water to a boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

While it’s still very, very warm, add the baking soda and salt. It should mostly dissolve in the warm water.

There will be some particles left over and you’ll have to shake before using. Pour into a spray bottle. 

If you would like to add some scent you can use 2-3 drops of essential oil. I recommend tea tree because of the antibacterial properties. But, I’m not a huge fan of the scent. 

And, just to prove that my deodorant works I went 10 days (YES, 10 DAYS) without showering.

On day 10 I went to a party and hugged all my friends who are honest enough to tell me if I stink.

And, I asked them to smell my pits; what are friends for!? The verdict is in – NO SMELL. 

I spritz before bed and in the morning. Have you tried any natural deodorants? What are some of your successes or failures? 

*UPDATE*

Some people have had difficulty with the spray nozzle clogging. Please make sure you’re using fine salt.

Also, I have tested this in a roll on bottle and it works great! You can skip the spray bottle all together and use a roll on bottle.

The recipe is too large for this. So, I would keep a small mason jar in the bathroom and refill it.

The deodorant will last a long time. With application twice a day most days – it should last 5 months and is shelf stable.

 Illustration by Meggie Ramm check out her blog  here .

Illustration by Meggie Ramm check out her blog here .

92 Comments
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  1. I tried to transition to natural clay deo without detoxing first. I thought my mother was going to disown me. I believe I am mostly through transition but I still plan to do a detox! I’m intrigued by your recipe…I imagine it would be in a tin if I used clay?

    Also, my mother is trying so hard to be supportive of me going natural…but then she forgets I’m also plastic free. She surprised me with a Tom’s Aluminum-free stick deo because she can’t handle my deo looking like play dough.

    Thing is, since she bought it I feel compelled to use it so the plastic casing doesn’t go to waste. However, I’m very suspicious by how well it works compared to my completely natural clay deo. I wonder if Tom’s snuck something in the ingredients that I shouldn’t be using!

  2. How amazingly dedicated you are to go 10 days without showing to prove that the deodorant works! That’s awesome!

    You know I have been trying to switch to a natural deodorant for a while but always go back to a conventional brand because I always felt like I needed to. I never knew about the detox period.

    I really like your recipe, I will definitely give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing!

    best,
    maria
    http://www.breadandbutterjournal.com/

  3. How amazingly dedicated you are to go 10 days without showing to prove that the deodorant works! That’s awesome!

    You know I have been trying to switch to a natural deodorant for a while but always go back to a conventional brand because I always felt like I needed to. I never knew about the detox period.

    I really like your recipe, I will definitely give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing!

    best,
    maria
    http://www.breadandbutterjournal.com/

  4. Cool, I didn’t know about the detox thing. But it seems kinda obvious when you think about it. It’s just like getting rid of traditional shampoos I guess. Nice blog you have here, will start to follow! πŸ™‚

  5. Nice recipe! Might try that, I’m still using up my aluminium-free ‘conventional’ deodorant from ages ago (I think I’ve had it well over a year now and still not gone!). Is there any substitute in terms of minerals? I don’t have Himalayan salt (even though I would consider getting some in this case), so I’m curious if any other ‘minerals’ would work.

  6. Thanks for sharing this – this will be my next venture once my current roll-on Dove runs out! I think I will try a natural deodorant whilst experimenting with recipes.

    I am so impressed by your dedication too! Something I hope to acquire soon re: zero-waste. So inspirational.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience with homemade deodorants. I’m using cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and lavender essential oil, which has been working quite well for me living in a tropical climate such as Thailand. My husband on the other hand suffered the problem with the oil leaking into his clothing, so I’m experimenting using beeswax and all the other ingredients as listed above. Lets see what will happen.

  8. Thanks for the recipe!
    I’m pretty new to this so not sure if I did something wrong but I can’t seem to get anything to spray out!
    I followed your steps but the particles still seem to be blocking the tube!
    any help??

      1. Did y’all ever get this sorted? I just had the same problem – and I’m pretty sure I’m even using the same small blue glass bottle from your pictures. πŸ™ I used fine salt & even crushed it a bit more with a mortar and pestle before adding it into the hot water. It allowed me to spray 1.5 armpits before clogging. Thanks for your help!

    1. I’m not sure why? Did the particles dissolve in the hot water? Did you use large salt crystals or fine salt? If your salt was too chunky that could be blocking it. My spray bottle is very small and didn’t run into this.

  9. How do you detox and not completely stink. I workout 6 days a week and I’ll be starting a new job. I just bought a new vegan deodorant from meow meow tweet and it’s not working well and I never considered detoxing. I don’t want to be super stinky at work.

    1. It does take time, but if you want your natural deodorant to work you need to detox. You should probably shower after you work out and if you feel sweaty in between use a rag to stimulate the skin area and wipe of any dampness. The acv and bentonite clay will help a lot! You can probably get the detox time down to a week or two. The clay and vinegar will kill any bacteria so you shouldn’t run into too much of a stink issue. Bacteria is what makes you sweat smell. Doing that morning and night will speed your detox and hopefully keep the smell at bay.

      1. Thank you! I thought about purchasing Pacifica underarm wipes to freshen up with do you think that’d affect the detox or should I just do the bentonite clay and acv?

        1. i know this is an extremely old comment, but i would avoid pacifica underarm wipes if you’re transitioning to a zero waste life style. πŸ˜‰ maybe consider making your own deodorant wipes!
          ox

  10. hi! alum & aluminum are actually different substances — not aluminum at all! I use Meow Meow Tweet’s natural deodorant — highly recommend.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, but I’m very happy with the package-free deodorant I make myself. Yes ammonium alum is different substance from the known harmful substances like Aluminium Chloride/Chlorohydrate/Zirconium, but it is still derived from aluminum. The difference is the alum molecules are too big to pass through the barrier of the skin so they’re considered harmless. Instead they just sit on the outside of the skin – which honestly isn’t good enough for me. If you read my story "Why I Really Started Going Zero Waste," you’ll know why I’d rather not have any aluminum or alum in my deodorant at all. Plus, it’s only used for molecule distribution, so I feel it’s still entirely unnecessary.

  11. Gosh, this makes so much sense. I changed to an all natural deodorant about a month ago, and I had the strangest smell. It wasn’t awful, and no one else could smell it, but it made me super uncomfortable. It had to have been from not detoxing. Thanks for the advice! PS I miss you! (:

  12. I’ve been detoxing and still stunk horrible so I started applying natural deodorant and my armpits like burn while I was applying. Is this normal?

    1. I don’t know what type of natural deo you’re using, but you might be having a reaction to it. If you just shaved there may be some sensitivity, but you shouldn’t be hurting. Some people are sensitive to baking soda.

  13. I love reading your blog. As a health care professional, I am always concerned where people get health information. It is not a consensus that these products lead towards cancer or alzheimer’s and reliable information can be found at Cancer.gov. It is also helpful to use the Household Products Database to look up your products. I have become very skeptical of all packaged products, but we have to ensure that the facts remain claims about aluminum have not been substantiated in medical studies.

    1. Yes, this comes from my personal experience. I have stated many times I have no scientific evidence to back up my claim. But, I had abnormal tumor growth in my breast and extreme pain to the point I couldn’t lift my arms. My pain subsided when I started using a natural deodorant. It is strongly my belief they are connected. (And I’m not alone in this experience) But, I’m obviously not a doctor or anyone’s health care provider. Everyone’s body is different. This is just what works for me. πŸ˜‰

      1. No offense, Kathryn, but there has been zero conclusive scientific proof that aluminum is linked to alzheimers, breast cancer, etc. It’s great to want to be healthy and ‘natural’ but I think it’s important to research such claims before spreading them around as it can be detrimental. Let’s encourage critical thinking and due diligence rather than folklore and old wives’ tales.

  14. This is amazing! I had switched to using Tom’s of Maine awhile ago and absolutely couldn’t stand it. I smelled and felt sweaty and sticky all the time and had to constantly reapply to smell alright. I finally said forget it and tried your deodorant recipe (with a fair bit of skepticism but a willingness to try!) with bulk bought sea salt and baking soda in cardboard.
    It. TOTALLY. Works! As soon as I sprayed it on, I didn’t smell and the freshness lasts almost all day. I am blown away. Thank you for sharing this! This is for sure my go to now.

  15. Hi, I’ve been starting my transition into reducing my plastic waste, and deodorant was my first challenge. I’ve been binge reading your blog for ideas and am excited to make more changes! I made the typical recipe with coconut oil, and really love it except for same problem you stated – soupy deodorant! I definitely want to give this one a shot, but had a question! I want to add essential oil to add scent, but have read not to use them in plastics. Would the straw/pump part of the bottle be an issue with the oils?

    Thanks!

    1. Citrus oils break down plastics…so, if you are using something else, that is not an issue. If you are using citrus oils..or blends with citrus, the issue depends on how diluted your mixture is. πŸ™‚

    2. Interesting, I didn’t know that. I’m really not sure… You could put it in a roll on bottle! I know a lot of people use those for essential oils. The roller is still plastic though?

      1. Thanks for replying! After posting, I read somewhere it wasn’t an issue when the essential oils are diluted with other stuff, so problem solved πŸ™‚ I ended up making mine with half distilled water and half vodka and it’s been great!

  16. I can’t wait to try this recipe, thank you for sharing! I love that I already have all the ingredients too! I just need to get a glass spray bottle or roller. One question, why the double broiler? Since you take it off the heat before adding the ingredients, couldn’t it just be done in a pot?

    1. It was to avoid too much evaporation. You can boil it in a pot if you want! Just make sure to measure out two ounces before adding in your salt and baking soda. I come up with all sorts of kooky ways to try and avoid doing extra dishes… because I’m er… saving water…. πŸ˜‰

  17. Hi, I just found your blog and it’s amazing! I just have a question about the detoxing. Is it just not using deodorant for a couple of weeks or are there other things you need to do (or not do)? And how do you know you are fully detoxed?
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you! Yes, you shouldn’t wear deodorant during that time. It shouldn’t take too long. Anywhere from a week to three weeks. You can speed up detoxing by using a bentonite clay and acv mixture under the arm. Then wipe it away.

  18. This is amazing! Thank you so much for a oil-free alternative and an explanation to why my natural deodorant didn’t work. I had a question about the detox – how will you know when the detox is finished and can start using the natural deodorant?
    Thanks!

    1. It’s not a concrete answer since everyone’s detox is different. I’d try after two weeks. That should be plenty of time. If the natural deodorant isn’t working after about a week, you may not have a good one for your body chemistry.

  19. I love how simple this is and I hope it will work. I’m so excited about ditching the industrial deodorant. I just have one questions. What do you think could this work without baking soda since I’m afraid it would irritate my sensitive skin?
    Thanks for sharing your ideas with us πŸ™‚

  20. Do you think I can just reuse old spray bottles for leave in hairconditioner for this? I am unsure if there wouldnt be any residue even if i really washed the bottles, but i still have them from when i used this suff excessively and i dont want to buy new spray bottles.

  21. Hi. I did the detox for 4 weeks. Today is my last day. I was so horribly stinky, and now when I sweat it is not so bad. But in the beginning was awful. Thanks so much for this advice!
    I DIYed this deodorant but I am not sure if I got the measurements correctly because I had a ton of particles extra.
    2 fl oz is very little water, and teaspoon – is it smaller than coffee spoon.

    1. Sounds like the detox is really working! Coffee scoops are all different. I have one coffee scoop that’s a teaspoon and I have another that’s a tablespoon. I can’t really say.

  22. Hello Kathryn!
    Just want to ask if rock salt /table salt will do?
    I just don’t have any idea on where I could find Himalayan salt.
    Thanks!
    Thanks!

  23. As much as I love the idea of natural deodorant, none of them actually make a difference for me. Especially during the summer months, my sweat is out of control. I’ve always had issues with over-sweating my entire life. A few months ago I read an article about different deodorants and junglejuice was listed on there. I was hesitant to stray away from the all-natural but I knew I needed a deodorant with an extra kick to it. I’ll tell you this stuff is amazing. It stays on even after my outdoor workouts in the summer heat! Now I can work all day and then run to happy hour with the girls without feeling self-conscious the entire time. It’s worth a look into for sure: https://www.junglemannaturals.com

  24. What are your ratio recommendations for the bentonite clay and ACV for speeding up the detox? And do you rinse it off after you apply it or leave it?
    Thanks!

  25. Hi, Kathryn! I had been buying mineral salt deodorant for $8/6oz. It was just mineral salt and purified water. I decided to give making my own a try. I opted to leave out the baking soda because I’ve heard of it causing irritation. My problem is that it isn’t working. I may as well just be spraying water. I used fine pink salt and it completely dissolved in the heated water so I don’t know what the problem is. Do you have any advice?

  26. HELP!
    Ok so I just tried this and I don’t know why but it clogged the top of the spay bottle. At first, I though maybe the spay bottle was broken but I tested with one top of an other bottle and it did the same thing. Now the two of them dosen’t work anymore!
    What did I did wrong?
    Am I the only one that the spray bottles option didin’t work?!

    1. It might have something to do with the calcium content in the water (hard water), if it isn’t the salt clogging it up. Try using distilled water instead. (I realize this is an old comment, but perhaps you or someone else can still benefit from my response).

  27. When detoxing or if you’re worried about natural deodorant not lasting, sometimes a midday wipe with a bar of soap and a wet cloth will solve your problem. You don’t need to wash your whole body in the shower to get rid of smell! I read a blogger suggesting it some time ago. Great simple advice, especially useful on hot summer days.

  28. Hello, I have used chemical deodorants for years and the moment I learned about natural deodorants I have switched over quickly without any space in between for a detox. I do feel that my armpits still smell strongly somtimes. Do you recommend I do a detox still even after using a natural deodorant for about 1 year? What should I do?

    I have been useing Smidt’s deodorants by the way.
    And I can’t wait to try this deodorant!

  29. I have Done this natural deo now and I put the liquid in a reused glass deodorant bottle and then put on the plastic fitting Rolling ball at the top! I guess this is the beginning of an enormous change in my life if I can do my own deo and det schampoo etcetera ???❀️!
    It is fantastic?!

  30. Hey,
    I’ve just come across this, I converted US Fl OZ to millilitres and it comes up with just 60, which doesnt seem like much at all. At that rate you would be making it every week or something, is this right?

  31. Safety suggestion about essential oil:
    If you are going to use tea tree essential oil (I will); from what I read it would be suggested to add 1 tsp of grapeseed oil (or safflower, sweet almond, or other light one) for 2 drops of E. O. They need to be used with a carrying oil to be safe πŸ™‚

  32. I made this this morning and so far so good. No stinging which is good. I may have overloaded on the EO – I added 2 tea tree and one lavender to each 10ml bottle but like I said – so far so good πŸ™‚

  33. Hey,

    I was checking out some of the articles on your site & found your post about Men’s deep anti perspirant spray.

    Great Stuff!

  34. OMG! Thank you so much for this recipe. Nobody ever talks about those oil stains… Will definitely try your recipe.

  35. Sorry, I do not speak English very well and I’m translating it into Google’s translator, so excuse me if I put some nonsense. In the recipe, could you use iodized sea salt?
    Β  I just do not have anything else nearby.

  36. Thank you for all of the resources, information, recipes, and sharing all of your research and lessons learned! On your recommended products page there aren’t any spray or roll on bottles present. Do you have any recommendations on bottles that might be less clog prone with the salt? Or honestly glass bottles for any zero waste product beyond deodorant?

    TMI – I’m detoxing now and while it’s not pleasant all I can smell is victory and excitement of continuing my zero waste life and taking my health and well being into my own hands. Thank you for helping my on my journey!

  37. "Provides essential minerals and trace elements" I don’t think these are absorbed by your armpits.

    1. Hey I was wondering if you’ve tried other types of salt for this recipe or if it’s only good with pink himilayan salt?

  38. I’ve struggled to get the Himalayan salt to dissolve (the only available is what I describe as "standard"). Today I tried using a coffee grinder to make it finer and it worked well. I also tried adding the salt while it was boiling and that helped too. I’ve been using this recipe for several months and am extremely happy with it. I chose cypress, frankincense, and sweet orange due to various properties of each and I honestly never smell them when I sweat. As a guy living in the DC area who walks 3/4 mile to metro in 90 degree heat with humidity no matter how much I sweat, I don’t smell with this recipe. It really does work well and am so happy I tried this recipe. Thank you!

  39. How long do you leave the bentonite clay/apple cider vinegar mixture on before washing it off? Or do you not wash it off? Also, how many subsequent night would you need to do this to detox?

  40. Pro Tip: avoid using Himalayan Salt. It is a mined product and unsustainable. If you’re trying to be zero waist, think about using sea salt that is harvest sustainably. Can’t wait to try the recipe however.

  41. I’m curious why you put it on before bed? Also, does it do anything to absorb any wetness? I sweat under the arms, all the time… even in winter and I live in Michigan. I’m not “hot natured” but my pits just seem to always sweat. I constantly have wet spots on my shirts. It’s embarrassing. I’ve been using natural deodorant for many years but nothing has helped with wetness but I refuse to use antiperspirant. I just deal with constant wetness and make sure the essential oils in my deodorant kill the odor causing bacteria. I’ve been on the hunt for a deodorant that will also help with the wetness.

  42. It doesn’t work because you missed to put the key element that actually prevent the bad smell by killing/preventing the bacteries that are cause for the bad odor-baking soda and, I hear for the first time in my life that it causes irritation, as I know it is completely safe for eating/ drinking, puting on skin, hear, cleaning the surfaces in your house with it etc. I’d reather suspect for other ingredients to cause irritation like salt,essential oils esspecialy the three oil which must be used with some extravergin natural oil and not more than 2,3 drops on some 100ML, maybe rosmary ,lavander or other( luckily I am not alergic at all, but I felt some burning if I apply this with essential oil in it after I’ve just removed the hear before, and it is not dangerous, it stops in seconds, or apply a couple drops of water on it to help yourself.