DIY deodorant

Three classic base recipes, tested out by “Review: Three Homemade Deodorant Recioes”, GNOWFGLINS: Raise, save and prep God’s natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season (2013-08)

Another sorta-meta-approach: “All Roads Lead To The Pits: Homemade Deodorant”, Crunchy Betty (2010-09)

Sources for the first and simplest classic recipe, which may be found all over the interverse, and looks like the basis to many a deodorant sold by Etsy people, people on market-stalls, other indie etailers, etc.:

This is the most basic recipe: coconut oil, baking soda / bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot or cornstarch powder (and optional useful bactericidal fungicidal essential oil, e.g. tea tree).

The blog is one that’s full of sensible stuff; I am an avowed atheist but happy to reference, link, and support blogs of a religious persuasion if (as here) they also encourage being a good person and support old-fashioned practical stuff, common sense, and generally say and do the kinds of things my granny would have done.

This is another Godbothering but usually otherwise sensible and good blog, whom I’ve linked before for being and doing good. Another blog which I’m happy to sort of support as best I am able. As an act of toleration, as I think it’s important to show solidarity with other people who aren’t necessarily exactly the same as you, and to be allies with them and support their rights to existence. That goes for many (but by no means all) differences (obviously I’m not going to support lunatic anti-feminist right-wing totalitarian patriarchist abusive evil incarnate: and do let me know if I accidentally support any such persons and groups when blinded by love for all humanity…). In the spirit of tolerance, common humanity, respecting other people who believe in doing good unto others and acknowledging that good and their goodness.

All of the above use essential oils, but could in theory be adapted not to. Some deodorants of this sort sold online manage that successfully. If DIYing, one could of course add whatever one liked.

  • See, for an example of the basic recipes’ adaptation for more purely commercial use, but still sharing the recipe openly and for free, which is a good thing to do in my book and praiseworthy, therefore mentioned:
    Lemon & Clove Homemade Deodorant Recipe,” Live Whole Be Free (2012). They sell this, other scents, and an unscented version on Etsy.
  • See also the very similar-looking but older Bubble & Bee Lemon & Clove Pit Putty

Variations on a theme: seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, and seen all the usual classic scent combinations. The pair above, lemon and clove, are thousands of years old. Other ingredients used for deodorizing over at least the last several hundred years: orange and other citrus, and herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, and coriander.

  • And now for a fresh (but also venerable and time-tested) set of ingredients to combine: rosemary, peppermint, lavender, and/or tea tree. Used for example in the more famous Soapwalla deodorant cream, as seen in Elle and the NYT etc.

Nice packaging and a good publicist I guess. Or maybe just good word of mouth, knowing the right people, saying that right word in the right ear at the right time: all of which are factors at least as much of skill and judgement as they are of luck. To be fair.

But a fact’s a fact: this is not rocket-science. Most of these baking-soda + starch + coconut oil concoctions are not particularly exciting or original. They are not worth the high prices that many of them ask. They can be made at home for much less money (allegedly, as reported and documented by others: not yet tried this out myself). And the money saved can be put to other, better use.

Selected highlights from what probably now counts as a canonical, historic, heritage part of the internet: Homemade All-Natural Deodorant,” Passionate Homemaking, 2013-01:

Homemade All-Natural Deodorant

By  on January 18, 2013 in natural & green

This is the top homemade recipe posts that I shared here on Passionate Homemaking in the very beginning that has been passed around the internet in incalculable ways, so I thought it was fit to re-share it with you all in our top 10 celebration! Did you get a chance to try it? Our family continues to use this recipe to this day.

Did you know you can make your own wonderful effective deodorant with just a few completely natural ingredients? This recipe is awesome! It’s even edible! It is frugal and very effective! Aaron & I have been using it for over two years now, and it has worked wonders. It smells wonderful, but very faint. For years I tried every natural alternative on the market without much success. It has been successfully tried by hundreds of readers! Coconut oil is an all natural oil that has wonderful anti-bacterial and immune boosting qualities. It can effectively nourish and moisturize the skin. This recipe is also very frugal, costing less than a dollar per batch.


6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state) [Ed. the original recipe and most online versions use 5 tbsp.]
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)


  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder/cornstarch.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

Read the rest of that post here.

This is what I’ve been using, currently using on its own:

chagrin valley deodorant

It’s an OK sort of price, around about the middle of the market (that is, of similarly-formulated deodorants with no added scent). But it’s a lot more than it would cost to make the stuff yourself. And it’s lots and lots more when you factor in postage to Canada: the cheapest rate is $19.95 for a flat-rate envelope (for up to $70 of purchases). Which is why I order in bulk every six months or so. And, with a comfortable two tins left from my last order, I’m now considering DIYing. If the DIY experiments fail, I haven’t spent much money on them and I’ve still got deodorant. If they succeed, I use up the current deodorant supplies then start the fresh DIYed ones. This looks to me like a game-theoretically tolerable situation.

Here are all their scents (click image for link):

chagrin valley deodorant

And now for something not vastly dissimilar, the Sensitive ORIGINAL deodorant from the aforementioned Live Whole Be Free, c/o Etsy:

live whole be free deodorant

INGREDIENTS: Organic coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot powder and sunflower oil.
PRICE: $4.38 / 1 oz or $13.14 / 4 oz

With shipping added, it’s cheaper than Chagrin Valley; but shipping to Canada is still approximately double the cost of each item: a little more with the 1 oz size, less with the 4 oz.

A quick comparison:

  • Live Whole Be Free unscented 4 oz = CAD$13.14 + 10.95 shipping = CAD$24.09
  • Chagrin Valley 2 x 2 oz unscented = $15.50 + 19.95 shipping = $35.45 = CAD$38.92

Here’s all the LWBF deodorants (click images below for link): note that their Sensitive ADVANCE one has no baking soda, useful to know for people who can’t use the stuff. My skin is pretty sensitive in many ways, but not that one.

live whole be free deodorant live whole be free deodorant


This is probably how I’ll tweak the recipe, as a variation on Classic Recipe #3, “Wardee’s Natural Homemade Deodorant”:


coconut oil (using up old gigantic jar that I’d bought for using on hair and lately have mostly used for eating: this stuff is damn fine spread on toast; sorry, weird British/Irish thing, North Americans in my experience don’t usually get the fine art and fussy gastronomic delight that is perfect toast)
stable oil (jojoba, meadowfoam, whtvr)
beeswax (market: this’ll be one of the pricier ingredients)
kaolin / clay (online, Mountain Rose Herbs or similar)
baking soda (easily obtained in shops for cheap; tip: leave an open packet in your fridge to deodorize; can also be tipped straight into smelly trainers/sneakers/sports-shoes to deodorize)
arrowroot powder (in most food shops, baking aisle; I often use this in summer as body powder and/or on face to set sunscreen, if very hot and sweaty)

Having said that, version/batch 1 will be:


6-8 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder

love thy pits

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