My homemade natural deodorant recipe is several years old and is one of the most popular on my site with almost 800 comments. I still use it and it is really effective, but some people don’t react well to the baking soda and are looking for another option.
It seems that baking soda gives some people an itchy, red rash when used on the underarms. It works incredibly well in deodorant recipes, but some people just can’t tolerate it and I definitely don’t recommend continuing to try a recipe that is causing a rash or pain.
One solution here is to just remove the baking soda from the original recipe, and use equal parts of shea butter, coconut oil and arrowroot powder with essential oils for scent, though some people find this isn’t as effective as the recipe with baking soda.
I found out recently when I packed the wrong glass jar for a trip that my magnesium body butter works really well as a deodorant. In fact, if you react to baking soda, I’d recommend trying the magnesium body butter as an alternative.
My accidental mix up made me wonder if there was another good natural deodorant solution besides the recipes with baking soda, and maybe one that was more convenient as well. One complaint with oil based recipes is that they can stain clothing if you don’t wait for it to dry before getting dressed.
I wanted a quick dry option that wasn’t oil based, didn’t have baking soda and that actually worked.
I also loved the idea of using something with magnesium like the magnesium body butter but didn’t want something that thick. Then, I found a perfect solution that I’ve sweat tested in a hot southern summer while running outside and it works.
I still love the original recipes, but I’ve been using this one too and even tested them both side by side and this recipe seems to be equally effective.
So what’s in it? Great question. The secret ingredient is….
It’s actually a misnomer, since magnesium oil just feels oily but doesn’t contain any actual oil, but it is incredibly effective at preventing underarm odor, plus you get a boost of magnesium. Add some essential oils and it is a great smell- good deodorant.
You can make magnesium oil yourself (this is the recipe I use) or buy the pre-made version here.
NOTE: Some people experience a tingling sensation when they first start using magnesium oil. This is considered a normal reaction, especially for those who are low on magnesium and it should fade in a couple of days.
TIP: To make this even more effective, mix 3/4 cup water with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and apply to underarms after showering and let dry before applying this. This helps remove any natural bacteria in the underarm and makes this spray deodorant last even longer.
Spray Deodorant Ingredients
- 4 ounces magnesium oil
- 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oils or a mixture
- A 4 ounce or larger glass spray bottle (I use this one but replaced the top because my kids dropped the bottle and the original top broke)
Spray Deodorant Instructions
- Make the magnesium oil if using homemade magnesium oil.
- Pour in to glass spray bottle and add any essential oils if using.
- To use: spray a small amount on underarms and rub in gently. Let dry for about 5 seconds.
Note: Stinging can sometimes occur if used right after shaving or if you are low on magnesium. This should subside after a few days.
Ever made deodorant? How did it go? Share your experience below!
Discussion (329 Comments)
You can buy a dry powder ‘milk of magnesia’–magnesium hydroxide.
Works perfectly as a deodorant. Since it’s a powder, you can get dressed without having to let it dry and when you travel take it on the airlines without a hassle from TSA.
how do you apply it dry? Just by itself?
You can get a large makeup brush for applying this!
Would a powder puff work? My mom used to have a puff for baby powder for her body.
Does she have any trouble with the white powder showing on her clothes?
I can’t wait to try this! My Liquid Rock deodorant is almost out and never worked that great anyway. Magnesium oil is so strange, it often tingles if it gets anywhere BUT my underarms and sides of my torso. I put it on the sides of my torso every day with no feeling, but if it gets anywhere else it burrrrrnnnnsss! I had no idea it would work as an antiperspirant. Thanks Katie!!
I can’t wait to try this! My homemade with baking soda has given me rashes so that stopped it. So I’ve been using the natural crystal deoderant but I’m really not a fan
Have been doing this for a while now, with the magnesium oil from Health and Wisdom. I just rub it in my pits. Recently started using their mag oil/aloe vera combo which is gentler. Good idea about adding essential oils, will do that!
I like this idea of combining the Magnesium Oil with aloe. How exactly do you do this? Do you just add the aloe and shake it up? How much aloe to Magnesium do you use? Thanks!
Actually, I had thought the magnesium gel I was using from Health and Wisdom already contained aloe, but when I checked the label I saw I was mistaken. It does have seaweed extract. I had used about a quarter of the 12 oz bottle so I thought i might as well add some aloe vera juice I had in the fridge. So that was about 3 oz. aloe vera to 9 oz magnesium gel. btw, the gel is weaker than the oil, so it is already gentler on the skin.
oh, and yes, I just shake it up. 🙂
Awesome!!! Thank you so much! I’ll give it a try! 🙂
I tried using it once and it left white marks all over my clothes, is there a way to prevent this?
Make sure you use a high quality essential oil that is truly pure…many say they are, but aren’t..
Do research on your oil of choice.
If they say it’s pure how do u find out it’s really not
You can test the purity of essential oils that aren’t super heavy (like sandalwood) by putting a drop of essential oil onto a piece of paper. If there is an oily ring left behind, it’s not pure or is a heavier eo like sandalwood. If there is no ring, it’s a pure essential oil.
Magnesium seems to be a miracle worker! I started using it when I was having morning sickness and it completely got rid of it….. Can’t wait to try this as a deodorant thanks katie!!! I absolutely loooooove your blog. I look for new posts everyday 🙂
Hi, how did you use magnesium for morning sickness? Just curious. Did you use the oil?
Katie - Wellness Mama
I used the oil and internally.
This might be a silly question, but is magnesium pregnancy and breast feeding safe?
Yes, I use them when pregnant and breastfeeding.
Magnesium is safe. I’m a mother baby nurse and we use large doses of magnesium during pregnancy and after for different reasons. It’s a neuro protectant for the baby during pregnancy and can stop labor. We also use it to prevent seizures during pregnancy and after delivery for preeclampsia.
Very cool! I wonder if this would work in an old roll on deodorant container…?
I use small essential oil roller bottles. That way I can keep one in my purse and one in my gym bag. They work great!
Oh nice idea with the little rollerballs. I’m going to try that. I have been using Magnesium as a deodorant for months now and it works great! You have to use it every day. One morning I forgot to put some on, started to smell, then sprayed the magnesium and the odor went away. I love that I get benefits from it as well. I sleep better and I have good energy throughout the day.
Lulu, what type of magnesium composition are you using? There are so many!
I use magnesium oil on occasion, but warn that for me, it stings for hours if I apply it after shaving or if there is any irritation already in the area. Otherwise, it works like a charm. And I also do the ACV on my armpits, and on the bottoms of my feet. That is a great tip.
I’ve had that same dilemma! It feels almost like it’s “burning” my skin after having shaved. Is that burning sensation supposed to go away as well over time after the body has replenished its magnesium stores? Love the blog, btw. Thanks for all you do!
Usually it does go away, yes.
I have the same problem with stinging and also noticed a little bit of irritation even after two weeks of using. When should the burning sensation go away? I’ve rubbed a home made coconut oil lotion under my armpits in between as that helps with the burning and skin irritations. Also, is there any particular reason why you use a glass bottle to store this?
Thank you Katie! I am one who’s skin itches and turns red with the baking soda. I will look forward to try this one out.
Hi Erick, Do you have any essential oils that are man friendly. I made the homemade stick deodorant for myself but am trying to figure out what scents to use for the bf. He doesnt want to smell like coconut oil or shea butter lol
Cedarwood & sandalwood are good man scents 🙂
So is patchouli 🙂
I use a mint and beurgomont mix for my husband.
I use Cypress with Sweet Orange or White Fir for my husband. They all smell very masculine. Cypress has the added bonus of being a natural antiperspirant.
Tea Tree Oil is a favorite, its a good man scent!
Does this help in keeping your armpits dry as well?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Yes, but works cumulatively over time, so it will reduce more and more over time.
I can’t wait to try this as the other recipe has left my underarms with a rash, cracked and almost bleeding. My local health store seems to only sell magnesium gel and I am wondering if you think it would work as a deodorant?
Sorry to hear about that! What recipe gave you a rash? I’m glad it’s not this one!
Amazing! I was just wondering about deodorant for my 8 year old. I just noticed she has B.O. 8 seems early but it is there. I have used Magnesium oil before putting on deodorant when it is especially hot out. Just today as I told her to remember her deodorant I wondered about using my magnesium oil. We’ll give it a try. Thanks for an excellent blog and excellent resource.
What EO do you recommend? I know you said favorite..but what work best..
Thank You Love this site i’m searching everyday Thanks
I love a combo of lemongrass, tea tree, and geranium
Rubbing alcohol can be used in replace of the vinegar mixture. It kills the bacteria, and it doesn’t require any mixing.
Please do not use rubbing alcohol. It is absorbed through the skin, and is toxic! Can cause liver damage, brain damage, seizure, blindness and death! Ingestion is worse, but absorbtion through skin has been proven medically to be very dangerous. Thank you.
Would you publish your references for the assertion that spritzing one’s armpits with rubbing alcohol would “cause liver damage, brain damage, seizure, blindness and death?” These are scary statements. After I read it, I looked, and so far have found nothing to backup this assertion, but I am sure you would not say it if you could not back it up, and I would like to read the references for myself.
On the same topic of using a natural deodorant, why would a person just finishing a shower need to do ANYthing (whether vinegar or alcohol) to remove bacteria that would already have been removed by a good thorough shower with shower cleanser of some sort?
As for rating the recipe, I haven’t tried it yet, since I am waiting the arrival of an order of magnesium oil. I use the magnesium lotion on other body parts, so I did not have any of the magnesium oil on hand, but I look forward to trying the recipe. Hm-m-m … when I tied to give the recipe 3 stars (because it reads OK, but I haven’t tried making or using it) your website only allows 5 stars, no matter what one clicks on … NOT cool!
I have to use baking soda on my armpits after I wash them with soap. No matter how many times I wash them in the shower and no matter what soap I use. For some reason they still smell. If I don’t do the baking soda and wait more than 30 minutes to put on antiperspirant, my armpits become very stinky, sticky and itchy. I just did an arm pit detox and will be trying the spray. I am hoping it helps. I have been like this for years 🙁
@SueEllen I don’t think it’s “cool” to rate the recipe until you’ve tried it 🙂
@ Nikki, I use bentonite clay from Mountain Rose Herbs. If you detox with that at least once a week, it will take care of the smell. When I use it I use a few drops of Organic Lavender Oil in the bath and just soak for a while to let it absorb in. I know Katie-Wellness Mama has a article about it somewhere, she could probably help you more in that area. ?
In 2002, 8,998 people were exposed to isopropanol, according to the US poison centers. Fifty-nine people suffered a life-threatening toxic exposure that caused them to be disabled or have serious medical complications, and of these 59, three died …http://www.mdguidelines.com/toxic-effects-isopropyl-alcohol
Very valid point! I have heard many of the same things about rubbing alcohol and the damage it does. I was diagnosed with a severe allergy to all types of alcohols and rubbing alcohol being fatal. I have seen many doctors in my lifetime and I have heard a lot about rubbing alcohol and the consequences. I have not read such statements any where that I can recall, but I have heard bits and pieces from doctors far and wide.
My husband and I use ethyl alcohol for armpits. I wonder if this is as harmful as the rubbing and isopropyl.
Hydrogen peroxide cleans the underarm area very well and requires no mixing. It will also clean up any organic stains in the house from kids or pets. Helps clean the insides of shoes as well and no smell like vinegar.
What about alcohol. I use a cotton ball and clean first then put on deodorant. Do you think that will work too.
Alcohol is rather harsh, and may dry out and irritate your skin quite badly. Try to find other solutions. I am looking forward to trying the magnesium oil myself.
Ok I started using vinegar but the magnesium oil itches and kinda burns. It’s getting better for my pits but if I put it amy where else it burns and itches.
A simply and easy way to rid bacteria from underarms is : make a cup of tea, let it cool. Then soak cotton ball in tea, apply to under arm , let it stay on for about for about 5 minutes. Then rinse off. If it stings dilute tea. I have used this all summer, with no problem. The reason we have body odor is bacteria on skin ( corn starch, arrow root talc powder) Sweat does not smell,
I have found the most amazing body odor fighter of all. I use pure xylitol as a body scrub in the shower, leave on for a few, then go over with unscented body wash with a little essential oil mixed in on a loofa. Xylitol is the only thing that actually breaks down biofilm. I use it in my shampoo and as a facial scrub and it instantly cured my rosacea. I started using it for teeth and gums and it has markedly reversed my perio disease. As for the pits…after xylitol I spray magnesium oil with peppermint essential oil…I stay fresh all day. This works even for my very hormonal teenage son too, who used to have pits of death.
Lol, “pits of death”… what a phrase! Thanks for sharing!
Veronica, im interested in your comment about the xylotil for Rosecea. Whar format does it come in and where can one get it?
Hi Jackie, I have two types of xylitol that I use. The first is just the raw xylitol- I buy Epic xylitol in a 5lb bag for $22.00 from luckyvitamin (dot) com. I LOVE it. For rosacea I use the raw xylitol as a scrub everywhere on my face and neck and then rinse off after a few minutes. I use it as a body scrub on a loofah, and I put it in my shampoo and in non-flouride toothpaste. Great for pedicures, pretty much great for everything!
And the second xylitol type is actually a group of products by the company med-actil (dot) com. I use Klearactil and/or Polyactil for rosacea after the xylitol scrub. They are both for skin regeneration but one is more for acne prone skin, so I alternate depending upon need. I use their Periactil Precondition Kit after I brush/floss my teeth, and this has reversed my gum recession.
The only negative that I can see is that anything with xylitol in it must absolutely be kept away from pets because it is poisonous to them. Can’t leave it out ever, but other than that it has been a game changer.
My 11 year old lately had BO from hitting puberty and I wanted something organic to help her. I came up with my own home made recipe which has helped greatly and she smells fresh too. I combined Witch Hazel, organic Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon, tea tree and Ylang-ylang essential oils and voila! Fresh odour killing deodorant spray. I hope this helps.
Please tell me how you work with the xylitol! Do you buy it as a sweetener??? I’m so interested in this. I recently learned about using a xylitol nasal spray to break down biofilms in the nose…so that my natural remedies are more effective.
Did you make the xylitol products ? If so, will you please share the recipe ? If not what are the names of the products. Thank you
Did you ever find an essential oil deodorant recipe for kids? I’m searching the web for one but not having much luck.
I use vodka, and essential oil in a spray bottle. Works awesome… you can use cheap vodka, lol save grey goose for you cocktail.
Even thirteen hours after having shaved, magnesium oil burned when I applied it to my armpits.
April, mag oil does that to me after shaving also, so I mixed up mag oil, aloe gel, and 10 drops each of lavender, lemon, and tea tree essential oils. I put it into a deodorant roller bottle and shook it all up, and used it this morning after shaving. It only stung a little bit initially and then quit. I think the aloe helps blunt the stinging.