Give it a Try: Let’s Talk About My Armpits

Posted on May 8, 2008 by Allie


A few weeks ago we talked about deodorant. Lots of people feel let down by natural deodorants, but the health risks associated with antiperspirants make it hard to feel okay about using them. Since our discussion, I’ve been trying something new, and it’s been working wonderfully.  Gray Matters just blogged about natural deodorants not working well enough, and it reminded me to write a post about it.

Yup, it’s me and my baking soda again. Since I wash my face with baking soda, I keep a mug full of it on the bathroom counter.  I remember reading that Fake Plastic Fish uses baking soda as deodorantLife Less Plastic does too.  And since it was right there on the counter, I decided I’d give it a try.

My friend, Sarah, sent me some awesome essential oil spray for my birthday.  It’s a blend of bergamot,  lavender, and ylang ylang and it smells like heaven.  I’d been using it as a body spray, but instead of using water to get the baking soda to stick, I’ve been spraying my armpits, and then taking a little (like 1/2 a teaspoon) of baking soda and rubbing it into my pit.  Classy, huh?

I like using baking soda better than any other deodorant I’ve tried.  I haven’t had any irritation or issues with getting white lines on my clothes.  My shirts stay drier and I don’t get stinky unless I’ve been running or doing something that would make me sweaty and smelly even if I were wearing commercial antiperspirant (and even then, it’s not nearly as bad as it would be if I weren’t using baking soda).  Plus, it’s dirt cheap and low on packaging.

If your friend Sarah didn’t send you heavenly essential oil spray for your birthday, check out these from Erbaviva.   But water works fine too.


  1. I used to use Arm and Hammer antipersperant, so I guess this is the same concept minus maybe a few chemicals?

    May 8th, 2008 at 7:43 pm
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  2. Just a note, bergamot essential oil is photosensitive. I use oils as my deodorant and that one is a favorite. I must have accidentally used it one day when I was wearing a tank top and ended up with some odd brown marks behind my arms that lasted a couple of weeks. So just be careful in the sun!

    May 8th, 2008 at 7:47 pm
    Comment by Rachel
  3. MG — I think it is pretty much the same concept.

    Rachel — Thank you for the warning on that!

    May 8th, 2008 at 7:57 pm
    Comment by Allie
  4. That’s an interesting note. Now, I’ve got the devil’s advocate question. I know just a little bit about baking soda from reading the book “Twinkie: reconstructed” which outlines how all the ingredients of a Twinkie are created, and I highly recommend it.

    So is baking soda always harvested in an environmentally friendly way? Are some brands better than others? Now that we learned that vinegar isn’t always pure, I’m curious about the other things we automatically think of as “better” or “more pure.”

    Apologies if you covered this before. I was curious, but not curious enough to search your archives before I started typing away.

    May 8th, 2008 at 8:29 pm
    Comment by Noelle
  5. Noelle — I wondered the same thing myself. I was going to do a post about it — but this post — — pretty much says it all. Is it a perfect option? Not really. Is it better than most other options out there (other than just letting yourself sweat naturally)? Absolutely.

    May 8th, 2008 at 8:48 pm
    Comment by Allie
  6. Thanks, Allie. I’ve tried baking soda for everything else, so I might as well try it on my pits! I’ll also check out the essential oils!

    May 8th, 2008 at 10:36 pm
    Comment by Alana
  7. I’m a little skeptical, but ONLY because I live in Florida. :) None of those “natural” deodorants work for me, though, so I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thanks!

    May 9th, 2008 at 1:33 pm
    Comment by Amy
  8. [...] Lots of people feel let down by natural deodorants, but the health risks associated with antiperspirants make it hard to feel okay about using them. Since our discussion, I’ve been trying something new, and it’s been working wonderfully. Yup, it’s me and my baking soda again. [...]

    May 9th, 2008 at 2:03 pm
    Pingback by Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume Sixty Four. | The Good Human
  9. “Let’s Talk About My Armpits” = post title of the week.

    May 9th, 2008 at 3:55 pm
    Comment by Aaron
  10. Thanks, Aaron!

    May 9th, 2008 at 4:09 pm
    Comment by Allie
  11. I cannot wait to try this! Btw- did your friend make the spray? Just curious because I wanna make some and would love some suggestions…

    May 9th, 2008 at 4:32 pm
    Comment by Nicole
  12. I think Sarah picked the blend of oils at a store that makes essential oil bath and body stuff. I’ll have to ask her though.

    May 9th, 2008 at 5:23 pm
    Comment by Allie
  13. Nicole – when I make sprays with essential oils I blend the oils with witch hazel in a 50/50 mix for deodorant, but that was before adding the baking powder on top of it, so you might be able to get away with less essential oils. The oils are antibacterial too, but absorb quickly so don’t last as long.

    May 9th, 2008 at 9:49 pm
    Comment by Rachel
  14. I’ve been using baking soda as deodorant for several months now and LOVE it. It keeps me dry and odorless like nothing else has. I don’t get my pits wet at all, just rub the dry soda into my dry pits, and it works just fine. Although it does sound nice to smell like lavender…

    May 10th, 2008 at 4:19 am
    Comment by Jessica
  15. Great ideas all around. There are a couple in here I’d like to try. For the time being, I’m pretty stuck on my Tom’s deodorant, although definitely looking for ways to minimize impact (while keeping that oh-so fresh smell!).

    May 10th, 2008 at 5:56 am
    Comment by matt
  16. I use Weleda or nothing. At first I was really hesitant to go without deodorant and antipersperant but I don’t sweat all that much since I spend most of my day in a climate controlled office. The weleda has a great smell that isn’t to strong or cloying and lasts all day.

    May 11th, 2008 at 12:56 am
    Comment by N. & J.
  17. i use arm and hammer essentials natural deodorant , and i spritz on some burts bee’s herbal deodorant . this combination works better for me than anything i’ve ever used .

    May 12th, 2008 at 2:33 pm
    Comment by shannon
  18. LOVE LOVE LOVE baking soda on the pits!!! I can go for days w/o stinkiness, and even if I work outside or get really hot and sweaty, I’m still odorless! I can hardly believe it myself sometimes!

    July 28th, 2008 at 9:47 pm
    Comment by Kim
  19. Found out about your blog from The Good Human – fantastic information here! I recently switched to homemade deodorant that’s composed of shea butter, cocoa butter, cornstarch and baking soda (the recipe is here). It’s pretty amazing, although I’m pretty sure the baking soda is what’s doing all the heavy lifting!

    I’m going to keep reading through your beauty posts for some more good information! Thanks for the help in trying to ‘go green’ in a healthy way.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 7:33 pm
    Comment by Elizabeth
  20. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! Another tip I was totally skeptical about but it has ended up being THE BEST deodorant I have ever used hands down! And cheap to boot! Those herbal deodorants can get pretty pricey. I have told as many people as I can think of about this, they probably think I’m insane.

    December 13th, 2008 at 1:29 pm
    Comment by Care
  21. I’ve been using the baking soda- and LOVE it!
    I use a big blush brush to powder myself… so easy!

    October 11th, 2009 at 3:33 am
    Comment by Elise
  22. Fantastic Idea! I have been looking for something like this. My DD just started to need deoderant and is EXTREMELY sensitive and DH needs a deoderant option that is safe for more than just armpits as he works in a place that keeps in 100 plus temps all day so I hope this is the soloution for us!

    October 18th, 2009 at 2:33 pm
    Comment by Munchkin_momma
  23. Hi! Yes, you have found the secret. After wasting about 25 dollars on different useless health food stores deodorants I went online to ehow and they have a recipe right there. I’ve been useing it for a year now, I would say it’s even a 2 hour deodorant. 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup of starch (corn/tapioca) 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or to desired moisture, 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of your choice essential oil. I re-use and fill an empty store bought deodorant stick. That way I can put it on easily, you can also use a powder puff and leave out the coconut oil. I LOVE BAKING SODA TOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! So easy to be green :)

    August 11th, 2010 at 11:54 pm
    Comment by Monica
  24. correction: 24 hour deodorant

    August 11th, 2010 at 11:54 pm
    Comment by Monica
  25. I love knowing that people have been interested in finding new alternatives to the old antiperspirant deodorant. Everytime I used to use my antiperspirant I would feel guilty about the harmful effects that it was having on my body. About 2 months ago I set out to try to find the perfect, healthy solution to my problems. I have been using a salt stick deodorant for days when i am not sweating of working out, and I would suggest it to anyone! I am looking forward to trying this baking soda solution, so thanks for all of the great tips!

    May 9th, 2011 at 10:22 pm
    Comment by jane
  26. I mix baking soda with corn starch and it takes me through the day. I workout at the gym and don’t need to re-apply it. Be sure to use baking soda without aluminum in it.

    February 1st, 2012 at 4:59 pm
    Comment by Patricia in Denver

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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