Introduction: Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Picture of Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Since showering 5 times a day isn't practical for most, the rest of us rely on underarm deodorant to keep us feeling fresh and clean...and frankly, not smelly. Well, who would have guessed that you can make your own deodorant with only THREE ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! Here's a quick and effective how-to, and best of all, its aluminum free!

Interestingly enough sweat, itself, does not cause any sort of smell. It is the bacteria on the underarm skin that may contain bacteria, that is your smelly culprit! And our armpits, which are usually covered by clothing, are consistently the warmest places on our bodies. Coupled with the dampness of perpiration that bacteria thrive on, and you got yourself quite an unpleasant odor!

So whats all this buzz about aluminum in our anti-perspiration deodorants? Different forms of aluminum salts are the main ingredients in anti-perspirants, which believe it or not, the FDA considers a Drug (albeit, over the counter.) The aluminum salts coupled with enzymes in our sweat create a physical barrier in the form of gel plug within the pours, which then, of course, cannot excrete any liquid, thus preventing any sweat reaching your skin's surface.

Many people have begun to find aluminum-free cosmetic alternatives, as it can be a skin irritant and debatable carcinogen (although the FDA and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have not found a direct link between anti-perpirants and cancer)

Whatever your opinion about the dangers of aluminum present in underarm cosmetics may be, aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, is the proven cause of armpit stains on many of your favorite shirts!

So without further delay, lets get this party started!

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

Picture of Gather the Ingredients

1/4 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup Corn starch (plus a couple extra tsp's if needed to solidify end product)
6 tbsp coconut oil (room temp, solid form)

this will yield about 8 ounces of glorious underarm deodorant

You're probably thinking putting coconut oil on your armpits will definitely leave a weird stain on your shirts, but that coupled with your sweat is no obstacle for the ultra- absorbent powers of baking-soda! So why even use coconut oil? Because the lauric acid in coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. This will help eliminate any smell that may come from bacteria.

Step 2: Mix It All Up

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Throw all of your ingredients into a bowl, and mix until a deodorant-type texture is achieved. I ended up adding about 2 extra teaspoons of cornstarch to get the texture I wanted.

Step 3: Put Into Containers

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This mix will yield about 8 ounces of deodorant.

Option 1: I put 4 ounces into 2 small mason jars. For application, I use small popsicle sticks .These can be bought at any craft store.

Option 2: I put 4 ounces into a cleaned-out preexisting deodorant applicator. This gets a bit messy, but makes applying really easy.

Et voila! You're ready to enjoy your new homemade aluminum-free deodorant!

Step 4: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!


Ashy600 (author)2016-02-28

I made a few changes as baking soda can be irritating. I cut the amount of baking soda in half, and added more starch to compensate. I also added about 10 capsules of Full Spectrum Plant Enzymes, from the brand Organika, to help fight odours. I added Rosewood essential oils, and now it smells really good! Thanks for the Instructable!

Gilly (author)2014-11-23

This is really helpful - thank you. I stopped using anti-perspirant and 'mainstream' soaps, shower gels and cosmetics years ago when I learned about the possible health risks of them all. I never thought about making my own deodorant until I saw this and will now try it. I buy whatever niche products I can find aimed at us 'weirdos' who want to avoid harsh chemicals as much as possible. It gets expensive and you can never find really simple products with minimal ingredients like this.

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-19

Thank you for your Instructable

Nice job.


rhinodogz (author)2014-07-03

I've been using a homemade deodorant with the similar ingredients for over a year with great results. I use arrowroot instead of corn starch and add a small amount, prob less than 1/2 tsp, of color- and odor-free beeswax (to prevent it from separating) and a couple of drops tea tree oil (because I like the scent and it's supposed to have antibacterial properties). Even on hot days when I sweat a lot, it's controls odor better than store bought products. It seems to be effective even if I skip a day. It does leave stains or residue at all.

stubbsonic (author)2013-12-10

Have you used this formula for a while and can confirm the oil doesn't stain the shirts? That's always been the thing that concerned me about these natural formulas. If you say the baking soda absorbs the oil, I wonder what that means. Does it emulsify the oil? I mean the oil doesn't go away, right?

I'm also thinking about what kinds of spices to add to make me smell like a freshly baked cookie.

astral_mage (author)stubbsonic2013-12-11

try out tom's of maine alumium free deoderant.

stubbsonic (author)astral_mage2013-12-11

I've tried Tom's but it doesn't conquer the stink as much as I'd like. My favorite is Now Long-Lasting Lavendar. But it's got propylene glycol in it. Doesn't bother my skin though.

astral_mage (author)stubbsonic2013-12-11

its a food grade anti freeze.

stubbsonic (author)astral_mage2013-12-13

Just read the wikipedia page on propylene glycol. Yup, food-grade anti-freeze. It describes it as having very low toxicity and requiring large quantities to cause health consequences. In a way, it is good to know that this fluid that will spill onto the roads is not super toxic. There are a number of substances that lower the freezing point of water- this is apparently a good one for that.

I've noticed it is even included in eye-drop lubricants!

kmoran626 (author)stubbsonic2014-02-07

Also the main ingredient in E-Cigs

lnxusr (author)stubbsonic2013-12-13

Have you tried Kiss My Face? Tom's didn't last a whole day for me but KMF does. I'm still "fresh" in the morning before my shower, something Tom's never did even if I showered and applied it at the end of the day. I like the sport sent

stubbsonic (author)lnxusr2013-12-13

Thanks, I will try that. They make good products. But my pits also produce a very powerful product as well. (Sorry, that was disgusting.)

astral_mage (author)stubbsonic2013-12-11

its a food grade anti freeze.

ac-dc (author)astral_mage2013-12-12

Practically aLL deodorants are aluminum free. Once you add the aluminum then the deodorant becomes antiperspirant instead of deodorant (as a product name).

kmoran626 (author)2014-02-07

I add a couple drops of Lime Essential Oil to make it smell fresher

zhogan2 (author)2014-02-05

This works great! Have used it for 2 ACTIVE days without any odor or excessive sweating.

maxikat (author)2013-12-31

nice nice nice!!!!

izsbjornen (author)2013-12-11

bakingsoda is not aluminum free

otosan_04 (author)izsbjornen2013-12-25

your confuse w/ baking powder some product contain w/ aluminum but not on baking soda

amalkhan (author)izsbjornen2013-12-11

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. It does not contain Al, aluminum.

tresink (author)2013-12-21

i made this a couple days ago and I'm amazed how well this keeps my armpits from smelling. i didn't like the smell of this deodorant so I added a little cinnamon wich is also anti bacterial! thanks for this instrucrible, it will save me a lot of money and it's fun to make!

stakerjack (author)2013-12-14

Nicely done- straight forward-just enough background info to maintain interest but not enough to disconnect.
The visuals are clear- understandable-pertinent .
An example of excellence through simplicity .

Soose (author)2013-12-14

I can confirm that this works well, and doesn't stain. We've been using it for several months. Both men and women. A little goes a long way. A half cup or less lasted a month for 3 adults using daily. If you have access to a Sam's Club, ours has recently started carrying a very large tub of organic coconut oil for a good price. Arrowroot is a better substitute for the cornstarch (or just leave that out) as corn products in the US at least are genetically modified. We are looking for a better source of arrowroot.

gardoglee (author)2013-12-14

Thanks! My doctor has repeatedly recommended that I not use aluminum based anti-persperants, as I am diabetic and the "plug the pores" anti-persperants promote yeast infections (a recurring problem for many diabetics).

sdhardie (author)2013-12-13

I've used this formula for years without any staining. I have to lessen the amount of baking soda, though, because too much irritates my skin. But it's great stuff! Coconut oil does melt at body temp, so if you put this in something other than a jar with a lid, don't let it get warm.

sdhardie (author)sdhardie2013-12-13

Oh and you can add a few drops of witch hazel to make it smell good, too.

nevils-station (author)2013-12-13

If you have an unusually stressful day & deodorant isn't holding up - slip into the bathroom & wipe your pits with an antibacterial wipe. The smell is mostly bacteria & the antibacterial agent will kill it.
Keep a pump bottle of antibacterial wash in the shower & use it on pits vs plain soap or shampoo - which may leave a starter-residue of bacteria for the day.

getoffamycloud (author)2013-12-13

"Pores" NOT "pours" !!!

Kwanitt (author)2013-12-13

I found this formula several months ago and have been using it at least three months.

1. It is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant; so, it will not prevent you from sweat.
2. You will need very little of the deodorant mixture (the oil at the end of your finger tip and the other two parts with the approximate size of a match head or a bit more) to apply on each side under your armpits. Your skin will absorb the coconut oil in a short time. I apply it right after getting out of shower and my armpits still a bit damp. Then put my shirt on without waiting it to dry up.
3. For people who sweat a lot may need to apply more than once a day (I need only once.)
4. There is no stain on my clothes so far since I have started using it.
5. Baking soda and coconut oil are mild antiseptic which keep you from being stink.
6. Baking soda is not oil soluble. After leaving the mixer in your bottle for a while, the oil will stay afloat. Simply mix them up again you will be good to go.
7. The smell of coconut oil is very mild. You can add basically anything to make you smell just what you put in. 
8. Yes, you can add beeswax and make it a stick. I use it as is.

onemoroni1 (author)2013-12-12

This is very interesting and practical. Let me share my deodorant substitute. I got this from another old man. Rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle. Spritz under arms. Then powder puff baby talc to dry and fragrance. I've been doing this for a few years and had no complaints.

static (author)2013-12-12

I'm confused; wouldn't the ultra- absorbent powers of baking-soda, be immediately spent when the baking soda is mixed with coconut oil? Thereby eliminating the baking soda's capacity to absorb sweat?

lapsmith (author)2013-12-12

Cool. I eliminated the staining problem as soon as I switched from antiperspirant to deodorant (which doesn't have the aluminum). Though I'm sure it has many other undesirable ingredients.

Raitis (author)2013-12-11

I have actually seen this somewhere a while ago and after reading some positive comments decided that the deodorant I was and still am using would be the last one. There is a ton of nasty stuff, not just Aluminum in all kinds of cosmetics and I'm glad to find, that there is a proper alternative. :)

HollyMann (author)2013-12-10

This is great- you can also add some beeswax to solidify it too - just not too much of it.

Raitis (author)HollyMann2013-12-11

Now that might leave stains...

gluvit (author)2013-12-11

Like ot

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