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How to Make Deodorant

How to Make Deodorant

Over the past few years I’ve made a lot of deodorants: sprays, sticks, creams, powders…  And there are two ingredients that consistently stand out as the best all natural odor fighters – coconut oil and baking soda.  These two simple ingredients provide excellent odor protection, especially in combination.  However, there are pros and cons to each:

  • Coconut oil is a great deodorant base because it’s a stable oil that’s naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.  It nourishes your skin and helps fight the bacteria that causes odor. However, coconut oil has a melting point of just 76 degrees and deodorants made with this oil become soft when it’s hot and hard when it’s cold.  This is particularly challenging with stick deodorants that depend on a consistent, spreadable texture.
  • Baking soda is a great deodorizer that helps neutralize odor and absorb moisture. However, it is very alkaline.  Some people, especially those with sensitive skin, experience itching or burning if baking soda is used in excess.

Last fall I started using a stick deodorant recipe that I love (see notes for recipe).  It works really well but in our hot, rarely air-conditioned house, it gets a little too soft.  So I’ve been playing around with the formula.  I removed the beeswax to make a lotion style deodorant that will better accommodate the oil’s melting point.  I also replaced half of the baking soda with zinc oxide powder to make it gentler on your skin.  The resulting formula is easy on your skin but tough on odor.  I think you’re gonna like it!

Homemade Deodorant Lotion


  • ½ cup coconut oil (organic, unrefined)
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons zinc oxide powder (see Notes for substitutions and where to find)


  • If your coconut oil is solid, place it in a small saucepan and warm it over medium-low heat until it melts.  If it’s already liquid, skip to the next step.
  • Pour your coconut oil into a small bowl and gently add the remaining ingredients (zinc oxide powder can be harmful if breathed into your lungs so add this ingredient gently so as not to create dust, some people wear a mask for this step)
  • Stir and press the mixture with the back of a spoon until it’s smooth and lump free
  • Transfer your deodorant into an airtight container – a small mason jar, baby food jar or plastic tub works well.
  • Apply a thin layer to your underarms and enjoy your all natural smell protection!


  • UPDATE: In our warm house this deodorant has a creamy consistency like thick lotion.  However, I recently brought it on vacation where they kept the house at 70 degrees and it solidified to the point that it could be used as a stick deodorant.  If your house is consistently cooler than 76 (or if you store it in the fridge), this is a viable option.  Otherwise a jar is a cleaner option.  If it does solidify, don’t worry – it melts very quickly.  Just scoop some out with your finger and let it warm up for a couple seconds before applying.
  • Zinc oxide powder: This recipe originally contained just baking soda which worked great but was too strong for some people’s skin.  So I replaced half of the baking soda with zinc oxide, another good odor controller that’s much gentler.  The problem with zinc oxide is that it’s hard to find and often comes in bulk.  I buy mine on Amazon:  It’s a big bag so I also use it to make homemade sunscreen and diaper rash cream.  Hope this helps!
  • Arrowroot powder – this is sold in natural grocery stores and often in the natural foods section of normal grocery stores.  It’s usually shelved with the flours, grains or baking supplies and is sometimes listed as Arrowroot Flour.
  • Helpful tip – This deodorant works by combating the bacteria that cause odor.  Therefore, it is most effective when applied to clean skin.  If you’re already a little smelly it helps to wipe your armpits with a moist paper towel before applying.  This isn’t necessary but definitely helps!
  • Additional deodorant recipes:

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