How to Detox Your Armpits

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How to detox your armpits, and why you should
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » How to Detox Your Armpits

So, in case the title didn’t give it away, today’s post is on an interesting topic, but hear me out before judging!

I get a lot of questions from people who try my homemade deodorant and have issues with rashes or odor or excessive sweat. I’ve found that magnesium spray deodorant can be a good alternative, but wanted to find a way to help those who were still having trouble.

After much experimentation, research, and help from a few brave friends, I found an unusual solution that works really well!

Detoxifying Armpits: Yes, It’s a Thing

It occurred to me as I sat researching the sebaceous glands one night with a bentonite clay face mask on that perhaps my face mask was the answer to the armpit question as well.

After all, I’d used bentonite clay to detox my hair before (and use it in my shampoo now) and in natural detox baths and it worked incredibly well… perhaps it would speed up the adjustment period to natural deodorant as well.

Why detox your armpits at all? Why not just keep using regular deodorant and avoid the whole problem? Glad you asked…

Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something unnatural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat, and the chemical list in some deodorants is impressive:

  • Aluminum– Some evidence links aluminum to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors often also found in plastic that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility (especially in men)
  • Propylene glycol– Common name: antifreeze. It is a hotly debated additive in personal care products but the Environmental Working Group reports that it carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies
  • Formaldehyde-  A known carcinogen… guess it kills the germs though
  • Parabens- Another hormone disruptor and parabens have been found in biopsied tissue with breast cancer
  • Antibacterial Substances- I talked about these before but they are endocrine disruptors and can negatively affect the immune system

Why is this a big deal? Ever gotten sick and had a lump in your neck or armpit? That is a lymph node and they are a major part of your immune system. Putting endocrine disruption chemicals directly on top of them is a great way to screw up your hormones and suppress immune function.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and what touches our skin can easily enter our bloodstream. With skyrocketing rates of breast cancer, it would seem prudent to avoid these chemicals until further research is done.

A great advantage to doing an armpit detox, besides that it helps speed up the natural deodorant adjustment period, is that it might help pull some of these chemicals out of the skin and tissue of the armpits. This can be especially helpful after years of conventional deodorant use.How to detox your armpits- and why you should

Does Armpit Detoxification Work?

I tried it personally and had several friends who hadn’t yet made the switch to natural deodorant try it as well and then switch. Here are the results:

  • We all noticed less odor, even without wearing any deodorant afterward
  • Nobody who tried the detox noticed a rash when using the natural deodorant
  • All but one person said they noticed less sweat
  • Everyone said they would recommend it to a friend

Completely un-scientific trial but practically applicable and the results seem promising!

How to Detox Your Arm Pits

Don’t you love when something is so easy that it almost doesn’t need instructions?

You might already have the ingredients on hand. You’ll just need bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water.

How to detox your armpits, and why you should

Detoxifying Armpit Clay Mask Recipe

Reset your armpits to their natural working order with this simple clay mask.
Author Katie Wells






  • Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.
  • Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes. I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
  • This may cause some redness as it will increase blood flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
  • Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
  • Repeat daily or as needed until underarm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.


I’ve found that I don’t even need the baking soda in my natural deodorant after doing this.

Additional Armpit Tricks to Try

If you are still struggling with odor or have itching or lumps in your armpits, consider dry brushing, which is said to help improve lymph circulation.

Also, make sure to drink a lot of water any time you stimulate lymph flow (dry brushing, massage, detox, etc) to help flush the body and avoid getting dehydrated.

Transitioning to Natural Deodorant

After detoxifying, keep armpits functioning properly by letting them sweat! I know this isn’t the most socially acceptable (or the most pleasant at times), but I find that I experience less sweat the longer I use a natural approach.

DIY Armpit Care

If you have some coconut oil, shea butter, and a few essential oils on hand, you can probably make your own natural deodorant! It costs a lot less than natural deodorant in the store and works just as well. I’ve been experimenting with recipes for years and perfected a few different kinds:

I make up several jars (or bars) at a time since they keep for up to a year or more. That way I always have some on hand. These are great too for teens who are just starting out on the journey!

Where to Buy Deodorant

I’ve also found my favorite brands to buy over the years (because life gets busy!). Here are our favorites:

  • Wellnesse Mineral Deodorant – Part of my personal care line, we created our natural deodorant off of my tried and true DIY recipe. We formulated it with those in mind who are sensitive to baking soda and it has rave reviews from both men and women.
  • Crunchy Betty’s Kokomo Cream – This deodorant has been a great standby for years. It smells lightly tropical and reminds me of vacation and the beach!
  • Schmidt’s (any scent, but this one is great) – goes on smooth, and slightly more affordable than other natural options

That’s it! Enjoy your new stink-free armpits!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shippy, who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a certified Functional Medicine physician with a thriving practice in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Your turn. Ready to try an armpit detox? Think it’s too weird? Share below!

Find out how to detox your armpits and why you'd want to. Deodorant often contains chemicals like parabens, propylene glycol and other harmful chemicals.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


691 responses to “How to Detox Your Armpits”

  1. Carl John Avatar
    Carl John

    Grow out the natural underarm hair and let nature take care of the body.

  2. Annie sporer Avatar
    Annie sporer

    Hi there! I tried the armpit detox and really liked it, but it’s so messy I can’t see doing it more than now and then. I recently switched to natural deodorant and I feel like my body is adjusting but when I shower it doesn’t take all the stink away : (. Maybe the soap I am using is too gentle? It got me wondering if there was maybe a daily armpit wash recipe that would help, especially during the transition period. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

  3. Amber Avatar

    Is this safe to do while breastfeeding? Since giving birth I want to use more natural products, but find the natural deodorants I am trying are not working well for me (could also be related to my hormones, but I have always struggled to find deodorants that work well for me). Previously I was using clinical deodorants which were the only thing that kept me feeling fresh for a whole day, detoxing sounds like it is the right next step if it is safe for my baby.

  4. Tracey Jennings Avatar
    Tracey Jennings


    When I click on the link for the Bentonite Clay the one that comes up on Amazon shows that it has aluminum 61,900 ppm, in it and I am wondering why this is ok, if I am switching to natural deodorant to avoid aluminum?

  5. Natlie Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi, I just began to detox my pits for the first time in my 40 years with shaved pits. I must say my underarms smell and they are pretty sweaty. Do I keep washing them to keep the smell away? Or is that messing up the detox? Also, how many times in a day do I use the diy detox cream? How many times in a week do I use the cream? I’ve only used it once, (it’s day 1)so I want to be sure I’m doing this process correctly. I’ve started my children on the diy deodorant even though they’ve been using the regular deodorants only for a short period of time. Am I supposed to be having them detox their pits too?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      Washing them removes the odor causing bacteria so that shouldn’t mess anything up. Once a day should be enough and the detox can be used as long as you need to see results, then repeat every so often. It doesn’t have to be used every week but you can do so if you feel like it helps. Because the lymph nodes are right in the armpit area it can be helpful to detox them even if someone has only used conventional deodorant for a short time. I use natural deodorant and still do an armpit detox every so often to give my lymphatic system a boost.

  6. Pat Avatar

    If you are sensitive to salicylates — can you recommend something else that ACV? Thanks.

  7. Faith Hutto Avatar
    Faith Hutto

    If I wear any kind of store bought deodorant I get huge sore knots under my arms and a good bit of natural deodorants break me out except for a couple brands, so I do this detox And the smell is gone ! I used to smell SO bad but now I don’t even wear deodorant I just use the detox mask from time to time but I mix up enough to make half a cup of the mask , , I smear it thick under my arms, and sometimes boobs then put on an old T-shirt And leave it for an hour ! I don’t have any Oder for days !

    1. Brenda Popp Avatar
      Brenda Popp

      I love this idea! I have been using the mask whenever I notice an odor when I wake up but this is a great idea to just do it regularly. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Madeleine Sanford Avatar
    Madeleine Sanford

    Hi! I have a question. Does this work without the clay or with a substitute? Thanks!

  9. Kara Avatar

    1 star
    Propylene glycol IS NOT ANTIFREEZE! Shame on you for spreading such blatant misinformation!

  10. Darcy Avatar

    Is this safe during nursing? Wondering if it would do anything to my milk supply?

  11. May Avatar

    Thank you for the great article.
    I’m a little confused,
    I know that bentonite clay has aluminum in it, isn’t that problematic?

  12. Lindsey Avatar

    Just curious- I made the switch to natural deodorant about 3 or 4 months ago. I haven’t had any issues with stinking, but I do sweat more than I did with the anti-perspirant (naturally). Do you suggest doing a detox, or should I be good by now? Also, is it safe to do during pregnancy?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      I’d clear any kind of detox with a doc or midwife during pregnancy, but sweating is normal and healthy (especially during pregnancy!) so if that is your only concern, you should be good to wait to detox.

  13. Jill Avatar

    Hi! I am wondering if you recommend any other types of the bentonite clay? Thanks!

  14. Credence Bishop Avatar
    Credence Bishop

    1 star
    I was upset by something that is inaccurate but want to point it out in case you were unaware. Propelyne glycol is NOT antifreeze. It is an ingredient in antifreeze, sure, but so is water… Propelyne glycol is used for many things and can even be food grade as it is mostly used as a solvent when making flavor extracts, in some cases as an alternative to alcohol. It also has anti bacterial properties. Please always do your research, you have a lot of people that look to you for guidance.

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