Homemade Deodorant from the pantry

From Kimmykokonut Blog Pictures

I know this isn’t actually “food” but it seems to belong more on the food blog here than the life with baby blog.  The ingredients are edible and from my kitchen at least.  And there’s a recipe involved.  And I thought you’d enjoy this info more than grandma who just wants to see pictures of the little one.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that I live in such a green bubble here in Portland.  Last year I decided to give up on commercially produced deodorant for a few reasons.

  1.  Most deodorants are full of chemicals and toxins.  toxic deodorant has been linked to breast cancer as the skin of the armpit is near breast tissue.  And skin absorbs toxins easily. That’s scary enough for me.
  2. The natural deodorants are *expensive* and don’t work for me.  I’ve tried plenty to no avail.
  3. Deodorants are usually in a plastic container (does anyone recycle them? are they recyclable?) and in a box.  This recipe uses bulk ingredients and is in a small glass jelly jar. Practically no waste.  Smaller footprint.   You get the picture.

A friend led me to this great blog with a deodorant recipe that is easy and quick to whip up at home.  I already had the ingredients on hand, which was a bonus.  Don’t be scared off by the high price of coconut oil.  It goes a long way!  The deodorant I made in February still has at least another month left to it.  You can find coconut oil in bulk at co-ops or health food stores, or if you live in Portland, pretty much everywhere.  If you can’t find it in bulk, check the cooking aisle or the wellness department.

I altered the recipe a little, but the original is here: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/07/homemade-deodor.html

From Kimmykokonut Blog Pictures

This is what was in my 4 oz mason jar:

  • 2 Tbl coconut oil
  • 1 Tbl cocoa butter (you could just do 1 more coconut oil)
  • 2 Tbl baking soda
  • 2 Tbl arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 drops tea tree oil (or more)
  • 8 drops bergamont cardamom essential oil (for a luscious scent) (Note: I am obsessed with cardamom.  The oil I have is Aura Cacia and I LOVE it.)


Mix the oil and butter together (You may need to microwave the coconut oil, as it solidifies at room temperature).  Add the baking soda and arrowroot and mix well with a fork or whisk or whatever you have on hand.  Add tea tree and essential oil of choice (in quantity of choice).  Mix well.  Store at room temperature or the fridge.  I don’t know if it expires.  The batch I made 7 months ago is still going strong.


I love this deodorant because I know what’s in it.  No mysterious ingredients, fillers, preservatives, chemicals or ground up beetles.  Some people just brush baking soda on their pits or rub coconut oil…but this blend has been working for me pretty well.  I learned the hard way to not to put it on right after shaving.  At room temperature it’s soft and if it’s summer it liquifies (some people keep it in the fridge).  I use about a pea sized amount per armpit.  One thing to remember is that this is deodorant, NOT anti-perspirant.  You will still sweat.  Which is important and is part of our human design.  Also it helps to remember to put it on every day; I keep it near the shower so I don’t forget.  But of course that means I only remember when I have time to take a shower.

Here are some helpful facts about the ingredients in my deodorant:

  • Coconut oil is naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and it’s a moisturizer that isn’t too greasy. (I used it on baby if she gets rashy or yeasty as a newborn and it clears it right up). I heard somewhere that coconut oil has a natural uv protection but I have no proof.  We also used it to clear up baby’s cradle cap too.  And you can cook with it! Or use it as a massage oil…or basic moisturizer.  I just started putting it on my face if it feels dry (which is rare now that I’m using my homemade face wash via oil cleansing method…post to follow)
  • Cocoa butter smells fabulous (chocolate!) It can clog pores, fyi.  It is very shelf stable and melts on your skin.
  • Baking soda is the magic ingredient in so many natural cleaning things.  I use it to scour my sinks (then pour a little vinegar over it), clean my water bottles, bake cakes and now for my deodorant.  I was using it to wash my hair but gave up on that malarky.  Baking soda absorbs the sweat and neutralizes odors (unlike the typical deodorants that cover up your stink with frangrances…so you can smell like stinky flowers or cologne and sweat socks…no thanks)  Keep in mind some people are sensitive to baking soda.  If you get rashy, try using less in  your mixture or take it out altogether and add more cornstarch.
  • Arrowroot and cornstarch work to thicken the mixture, as they would thicken your gumbo.
  • Tea tree oil is renowned for it’s natural antibacterial disinfectant properties.  It can fight fungus, bacteria and viruses.  And it’s medicinal (can you tell by the smell?)  But a few drops in the deodorant aren’t really noticeable once it’s absorbed on  your skin.  The goal is to fight the bacteria living in your armpits.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!  I was impressed at how easy it was to make and how effective it is.

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