How to Detox Your Armpits

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

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

Servings

Ingredients

Ingredients

Instructions

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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. WellnessMama.com 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.

Comments

690 responses to “How to Detox Your Armpits”

  1. Pat Avatar

    For how many days did you use the detox before switching to your DIY deodorant?

  2. lettey Avatar

    This is for Leslie who asked about the metal smell in her armpit.
    Aside from drinking water and juicing with veggies and greens powder, try eating salads and juice with Clantro, I’ve read ionline info about using Cilantro to rid your body from metals. I juice with it because I unfortunately have mercury fillings in my mouth, so I tend to use cilantro as a buffer to prevent or rid my body of any mercury toxins.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Betty Avatar

    5 stars
    Wow! What a great idea, we already use this on our faces. My hubby has been suffering with excess sweat and oder since we switched to natural deodorant. We are going to try this today!!

  4. Pat Avatar

    Here’s something to try… Milk of Magnesia! Heard about it a while ago and decided to try it. It works REALLY well. I worked out today…no shower (I know…eww!, right), STILL no stink. I have tried baking soda… burns and itches like the devil after a day or so as excellent as it works. This Milk of Magnesia is the final step for me using any chemicals on my body! YEEEAAAA!! I was excited about it.

  5. Quimby Avatar

    5 stars
    Katie, your magnesium oil post changed my life. The stuff is GOLDEN!! You were right – not only does it control odor immediately, but quite quickly, YOU STOP HAVING ANY ODOR AT ALL. I add a bit of lavender oil and a bit of pink Himalayan salt, throw it in a spray bottle, and it’s happiness in a bottle. I also use it on my 10yr old son, who, like a couple other kids mentioned above, has always suffered from chronic constipation (ongoing, winning mission) as well as body odor. It works a treat, but stings a bit if we forget to apply for a couple of days. I also rub it on his feet, which he LOVES. Thank you for sharing all of your great ideas. It’s made such a difference to our lives!!

  6. Heather Braglia Avatar
    Heather Braglia

    This sounds like it would be a great alternative to deodorant. I’m wondering though how bentonite can be for you. If you look up the particular one you have posted it says it contains lead. I also noticed someone comment saying her husband a chemist says it has aluminum in it. Has anyone researched bentonite? When I notice I smell more than normal I use parsley in my diet. Shakes or regular meals. Parsley is supposed to help with odor and I feel it does for me.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’m working on a full post on this, but from my understanding, the trace amounts of lead and aluminum are bound within the bentonite molecule and do not release into the body.

      1. Claire Avatar

        I have hesitated to use benetonite clay over the years because of lead concerns as well. Thanks Katie for doing research on such important topics! My family and community truly appreciate your dedication!

      2. Lisa Avatar

        The only articles I can find are written by those who stand to gain from clay sales. I couldn’t find studies on bentonite clay (aluminium phyllosilicate), however when there is an absences of unbiased scientific evidence, in my view it’s safer to abstain, not fall for the hype, and find safer ways to detox. Just because it’s absorbent and comes from the earth doesn’t mean it’s not harmful to human bodies.

        I was able to find this article which talks about the lead and other stuff, however it’s about eating it. But the same may apply to absorption through skin too.

        I look forward to your article, Wellness Mama. 🙂

        https://www.huffpost.com/entry/shailene-woodley-eat-clay_n_5030570

  7. Erica Avatar

    I’m trying to get my husband to switch to a natural deodorant but being a chemistry major he finds many flaws with the reasoning. He told me be bentonite clay has aluminum in it…

  8. Alex Avatar

    YES YES YES!! I am totally ready to try an armpit detox. I already use natural deodorant, and it does not irritate my skin, but I love the idea of trying this to reduce odor and sweat once after transitioning back to the natural deodorant. Thank you for such a simple recipe. I can’t wait to try this. Side note: it is quite scary what they are allowed to put in our beauty products these days. I hope that overtime, more people complain and stand up to these big companies and demand change.

  9. Jewelz Avatar

    5 stars
    I’m doing this arm pit detox right now! It feels tingly and refreshing! Katie-I LOVE your site! Thank you for creating it! I thoroughly enjoy the information and the recipes, I have been looking for a site like this for years, so glad I stumbled upon it! Blessings!

  10. Lisa Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi Katie!!
    1st Question: I have been using your deodorant recipe for a couple of weeks with great results, but now the moment it touches my armpits I am fiery itchy until I wash it off. I started with half the amount of Baking Soda right off the bat because I have sensitive skin, and it worked amazing until a week ago. I’m afraid to use it because of the severe irritation and using plain coconut oil while moisturizing my whole body, I get mild odor the minute I do anything action packed. What would you suggest I do from this point in my next batch?

    2nd Question: I have this clay sample for detoxing my scalp but I just can’t get myself to use it on my scalp. It is a mixture of Kaolin and Montmorillonite clays, both of which are highly adsorbent and it also says in the description they draw out toxins from the skin like a magnet. So my question is, can I use this instead of buying bentonite clay for the purposes of using it up for detoxing my pits? Could it help with the deodorant issue or do you suggest taking out the arrowroot & baking soda and replacing them with the clay?
    This is my first time ever writing on something like this so I hope I’m not pestering too much.
    Thank you very much for your time!!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      You could definitely use those clays and see how they do. They work slightly differently but should still be effective. This might help the problem with the itchy rash as well, as sometimes this seems to be a reaction of the very alkaline baking soda with remaining acidic chemicals in the skin from past products.

  11. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    Thank for the great suggestions! I’m always looking for ways to make DIY deodorant easier. I so far have only had luck with baking soda keeping the stink away so this will be an interesting experiment 🙂

  12. Catherine Avatar
    Catherine

    Hi Katie, can you tell me why you shouldn’t use a metal spoon with clay? Thanks!

  13. Tiffany Avatar

    Katie, I have kaolin clay on hand, but not bentonite clay. Is this a good alternative?

    Thanks, by the way, for sharing your successes with the rest of us. It has literally changed my life, and the life of my newborn baby!

    Tiffany

  14. Nadia Avatar

    I was curious if you had any idea what could cause a person to have one very good armpit (as in, I could put my soda deo on once a week and be fine) and one that is out of control sweaty and stinky no matter what I do. Could it have to do with lymphatic drainage? I tried the magnesium spray suggestion and it was the closest thing to success I’ve ever tried but, within a few days my armpits were so red and inflamed they burned and broke out terribly. Thank you, for all you do to help educate us about wellness. You are a precious resource.

    1. Ginny Avatar

      As a massage therapist who also does lymphatic therapy, I was told that most breast cancers are on the non-dominant side and the theory was that you use your dominant arm more and in effect massage, or “pump” your axillary lymph nodes more than the non-dominant side and so I wonder if this is the case with those who have trouble with one armpit more than the other. I would be interested to know if those who have posted about this, have the trouble on the non-dominant side? I found in the past that when I was eating mostly raw vegan, I stopped having to use deodorant and have no smell. Even now, that I eat meat again, I still don’t use deodorant and do not smell. but I think I will use this clay detox and see what happens! Thanks, Katie

      1. Rita Avatar

        When I used to wear conventional antiperspirant, I would always stink and sweat worse from my dominant side… I always thought that was because I moved that arm more.

      2. Jenna Avatar

        5 stars
        I recently switched deo’s for a day, and it was my dominant side. I emmediatly thought about lymphatic drainage and actually gave myself a full body massage, (as best as I could) I woke up feeling wonderful. I have been feeling really sick, fatigued lately. I have immunes and I was surprised by how much better I felt just rubbing out a few places like my legs, and my arms. Everytime I get a smell though its on my dominant side. I also have breast implants. I now worry about this, if its making me sick and want them out. I’m sure a big piece of rubber can stop of lymphatic drainage more then any anti perspirserant 🙁 Sucks I have to live with my vain mistakes …

        Also I just bought european clay powder I wonder if it can be used in this recipe?

  15. Kristy Avatar

    Thanks for posting this. I am definitely going to try it just for the fun of it 🙂 I use the Crystal roll on and wanted to let you know that if you are having trouble with smell a really great way to kick the smell is from the inside. Chlorophyll is a “natural deodorant” it naturally increases blood flow and oxygenates the blood. Here is a great article from natural news

    https://www.naturalnews.com/032913_bad_breath_chlorophyll.html

    Thanks for your site. You are fabulous!

  16. Steffi Avatar

    Thank you very much for this article! I’ve been going around without natural deodorant for about half a year now and have to admit that it was quite a struggle in the beginning. I sometimes still have the feeling that I stink, so I will definitely try this detox.

    One thing I would like to share for days when is the use of plain lemon juice as deodorant. That works best for me, smells good and is always available in our home 🙂

  17. Sharon Avatar

    Can i use this if my puts are currently red/burning/itchy from natural deodorant or should I wait until they no longer are?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating