Non-toxic Deodorant


Non-toxic deodorant (that really works!) by onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers


What if I told you that I knew how to make a non-toxic deodorant, that is easy to make, that doesn’t leave white marks on your clothes, and that actually works?!?

Well, I do!

And I will share… because I’m nice like that.

I think we can all agree that no one likes to be stinky, and no one really likes that soggy arm pit feeling, either. So we put on deodorant and antiperspirant, right?

Which is fine and reasonable–except for the fact that most deodorants and antiperspirants have some pretty scary and toxic stuff in them.

Toxic stuff like… 

Aluminum–Abundant in nature, it can be toxic in large amounts. It can be found in aluminum cookware, antacids, and antiperspirants, and competes with calcium for absorption in the body. It can be deposited in the bones and central nervous system, particularly in people with decreased renal function. It is linked to breast (and maybe prostate) cancer, and and increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Parabens–A class of chemicals used as a preservative in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, they are found in a wide range of personal care products. The are also used as food additives. They are easily absorbed through the skin and are a hormone disruptor. They have also been linked to breast cancer.

Propylene Glycol–Used in products to keep them at a consistency where they are easily applicable to the skin, it is toxic in large amounts, and known to cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and heart. It is unknown what a “safe” does might be.

Phthalates–Used in plastics, they are included in a wide range of products from electronics, to medical care items. They are also found in many personal care items, often labeled merely as “fragrance.” They are hormone disruptors and can cause birth defects. They are implicated in breast cancer, and may contribute to a wide range of problems, including obesity, premature delivery, asthma, and ADHD in children.

Triclosan–Antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral, it is found in many personal care items, antibacterial soap, and in things like certain toys, furniture, and kitchen utensils. It penetrates the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream. It is a hormone disruptor, harmful to the liver, and linked to allergies, asthma, and eczema. It is a possible carcinogen, and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.


[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]While no one has yet been able to prove that deodorant is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, sixty percent of breast cancer tumors are found in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast–the part of the breast nearest the arm pit and your deodorant. [/pullquote]




All that time I spend seeking out healthy food choices and natural products… and I’m spreading poison under my arms once, maybe twice, a day? Hardly ideal.

But let’s be honest. I’ve tried those all-natural deodorants. And They. Do. Not. Work. And if I’m stinky in November… let’s not even talk about July!

I was beginning to think that I was doomed to keep wearing my Secret non-whitening, “lavender” smelling, chemical-laden deodorant… and showering before bed in the hopes of washing off at least some of the scary chemicals before sleeping.

Which, by the way, is what I recommend that you do, but only until you get a chance to make this fabulous deodorant. And since it takes less than 10 minutes and you probably already have all the ingredients in your house anyway…

Just make it already, and toss the toxic stuff!




Non-Toxic Deodorant

Non-toxic deodorant


1/4c  baking soda

1/4 c arrowroot powder or corn starch (like this)

1/3 c coconut oil (like this)

15-20 drops essential oil (Get high quality lavender oil here, and tea tree oil here.)








Non-toxic deodorant


Mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder (or corn starch) together. I was moved by this article to start removing corn starch from my life, but the first time I made the deodorant I used corn starch and it worked just fine. Now I use arrowroot powder.










Non-toxic deodorant


I actually don’t like the smell of coconut oil (shhh… don’t tell, I’ll lose my “crunchy” credentials) so I use the expeller pressed, refined coconut oil for this. I have also used extra-virgin coconut oil and it works well… but I smell like coconut oil.










Non-toxic deodorant


It’s best to use coconut oil that is solid. Just mix it in like you’re making biscuits or a pie crust. You certainty don’t need to melt the coconut oil; many essential oils are heat sensitive and might be damaged by the hot oil. However, if your kitchen is a balmy 86 degrees (as mine is right now), your coconut oil will be melted. Just stir it in.









Non-toxic doedorant


I have used both lavender and tea tree oils with great success. They are both non- irritating, antibacterial oils and I like the way they smell. Currently I am using tea tree oil because my husband strongly prefers it to lavender, and I strongly prefer having only one jar of deodorant in the bathroom at a time. (My bathroom is teeny-tiny!)









Non-toxic deodorant


Other thoughts to consider on your choice of essential oils… Do you shave your arm pits? My husband asked if I would give rosemary a try, but I declined. Rosemary just smells sharp to me and I didn’t want to find out if it really is sharp some freshly-shaved morning, if you know what I mean?

             (UPDATE: After enough begging, I did try the rosemary and it was fine!)

I have a lovely rose, though, that I would love to try. But I expect my husband wants to walk around smelling like roses even less than he wants to smell like a lavender blossom.

If you come up with a good combination, please let me know!





non-toxic deodorant


I keep my deodorant in a jar in the bathroom. In cooler weather, it is solid and you just scrape up a bit with your finger and rub it into your armpit. However, coconut oil melts at approximately 76 degrees… so, yes, today my deodorant is quite liquid. I spread it on with a flat wooden craft stick and all is well. I always give it a minute or two to dry before getting dressed.

You could keep the deodorant in the refrigerator, and then it would be solid all the time.


(If you are looking for a deodorant that stays solid all summer long, you could check out this recipe, which uses beeswax, and you pour it into a deodorant container. I haven’t tried it personally, but it looks good.)




Both my husband and I really like this deodorant and actually think it works better than the store-bought, chemical-laden varieties.

As proof, I offer the fact that it has been above 90 all week… and neither of us are stinky.

Have you tried this? Let me know what you think!

This post has been shared at Thank Your Body Thursday.

This post has also been shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday — Hygiene Edition.

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13 Responses to Non-toxic Deodorant

  1. ShanShan says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I have been considering making my own for a while. Most days, rubbing a little alcohol or hand sanitizer under my arms after my shower works well enough, and I don’t need deodorant. This looks good, though. Just FYI – the smell of rosemary softens on most people. It has a gentle, sweet smell on me. I’m totally going to try it. Gary might like rosemary and citrus, like lemon or grapefruit. =) Thanks again!

    • Thank you! It really is an easy recipe, and it WORKS. Better than “regular” deodorant, I think!
      I have done the alcohol thing, especially when I’m going camping or will be away from a shower for a few days! But, personally, I would skip the hand sanitizer… many of them contain the same scary chemicals that are in deodorant!
      And, hmmm… maybe Gary will get his rosemary after all!

  2. Thanks for the recipe, I think the only thing I’d add is make sure that you use aluminum free baking soda:-)

  3. Elise says:

    My concern with the arrowroot poweder is how decidedly un-local it can be. Do you know of any “local” arrowroot suppliers?

    • christine says:

      I’m afraid I don’t know of any local arrowroot powder… but if you find some, please let me know! The kind of arrowroot powder I use is (now correctly) linked in the article, and quite possibly available at your favorite grocery store, too.
      Another option would be cornstarch, which might be more local. I have made it with both arrowroot powder and cornstarch and it worked great both times!

  4. Pingback: 7 Gift Ideas for the Real Food Person in Your Life » Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

  5. Sharon says:

    I am wondering if the coconut oil stains your clothing when you apply it or when you sweat?

    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      I have been using this exact recipe for months now, and haven’t noticed any staining.
      In fact I only very rarely even get that “deodorant” mark… you know the white mark you get on the bottom of dark shirts… usually when you’re running late? And I wear a LOT of dark shirts. 😉
      I don’t have any nice silk shirts, though… which is the only time I can think of that it *might* cause a problem.

  6. Fayne says:

    Think I’m going to try making this. Would love lavender, but don’t have any off hand so might need to order some. I wonder how patchouli would be? I have some patchouli oil and some rose oil I have gotten over the years at old fashioned hippie shops. I love the smell of patchouli.

  7. onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

    You should! It’s easy! 🙂
    You can usually get Aura Cacia lavender essential oil at Wegmans, if you don’t feel like making an order.
    It’s funny that you should mention patchouli! I just added some (with rose, no less!) to coconut oil to work into the ends of my hair… and it completely overpowered the rose, but still smelled fabulous. I’m sure you already know this, but with patchouli, a little goes a long way, so I might go only with 15 drops, or even 10!
    I *almost* made my most recent batch of deodorant with patchouli… and then chickened out and stuck with lavender! If you do use it, you’ll have to let me know how it goes! 🙂

  8. moondaisy says:

    I also recently became very wary of using chemical-laden deodorants, and to be honest they don’t always work very well for me anyway. So I’ve been using a few drops of tea tree oil under my arms each day, and (surprisingly) that works really well. Although the smell is a bit strong… I really like the idea of still using tea tree oil, but not being quite so pungent, so I’d like to try your recipe!

    What I wanted to check, not being American, is what does the ‘c’, mean in measurements? Is it short for cups? Or some other measurement?


    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      Yes, the ‘c’ is short for cup!
      After you’ve tried the recipe, I would love to know what you think of it. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!
      ~ Christine

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