Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant

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Homemade Deodorant

Non-toxic citrus homemade deodorant? Sounds pretty granola right? Well, I used to love using my thick paste deodorant, it made me feel like I was assured not to smell ever! Raise your hand if you’re Sure! I also did not like to sweat much, my deodorant had me covered there too. Well, then I learned just how toxic that deodorant was. The fact that it was blocking my sweat glands was a bad thing! What’s a girl to do? Somedays at work I can put on up to 12 miles in a shift, so I need deodorant. Period! I tried the “natural” deodorants from the health food store and they didn’t work for me. I decided to try making my own.

First, here is a break down of a couple of the most common harmful chemicals in the typical store brand deodorant:

  • Aluminum: clogs up those sweat glands so we dont perspire. Well it turns out that we actually want to sweat, it cools down and detoxifies our body. Aluminum also builds up in the body and has been implicated in Alzheimers disease. Here is how it works as an antiperspirant:

“The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. When the aluminum ions are drawn into the cells, water passes in with them. As more water flows in, the cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat can’t get out”           ~Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dermatology.

  • Parabens: Used as a preservative to give cosmetics and the like a longer shelf life. They are a toxic petrochemical derivative that are toxic if swallowed or inhaled and is also harmful in contact with the skin. Hmmm, let’s slather some of that on our armpits every day for years and see what happens. Let’s not! They are also implicated as endocrine disruptors because they act like estrogens. Check your personal care products people, parabens are in everything!
  • Talc: It is used as an anti-caking agent. Talc is classified as a carcinogen because it contains asbestiform fibers. If talc is listed on the label, there is no way of knowing whether or not it contains asbestiform fibers.  Although asbestos-free talc has been widely used since the ’70’s it is not well regulated so it’s best to stay away
  • Propylene Glycol: Gives deodorant that glide when you apply it. It is also known as Antifreeze! NIOSH says it is a neurotoxin and may cause kidney or liver damage. The EPA says it’s not fully investigated for carcinogenic potential. 

After all that toxic mess, I decided to just make my own. But, I wanted it to smell good. I looked through my essential oils and chose lemon oil because it’s touted for its revitalizing and uplifting properties. Lemon oil also drains out nervous tension, anxiety, exhaustion, and fatigue. 

According to this source, lemon oil opens the throat and heart centers. That sounds great too.

According to this source:

“Lemon oil is calming in nature and therefore helps in removing mental fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness and nervous tension. It has to ability to refresh the mind by creating a positive mind-frame and removing negative emotions. It is also believed that inhaling lemon oil helps in increasing concentration and alertness. It can therefore be used as a room freshener in offices to increase the efficiency of the employees”.

So this will also make you popular at the office!



  • Combine baking soda and arrowroot powder in a bowl and mix with a fork
  • Mash in the coconut oil until a nice paste forms
  • Add in essential oil to your scent level prference
  • Scoop into jar
  • I used these jelly jars for mine because they are so cute!
  • Use as needed. The smell is very refreshing and I can honestly say that I have never had a better working deodorant!

If you would like to purchase some homemade deodorant, I sell it in my Etsy store. CLICK HERE to check it out.

Are you ready to jump in to this wonderful world of caring for yourself and your family naturally with essential oils?? The time is now! Click HERE to learn more or join my Real Food RN Facebook Page HERE, where we talk everything essential oils! 

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  1. Leah says

    Does this stay solid enough for the old deodorant container? I made some similar deodorant in a jar and it is too runny about half the time. I have it in a jar, and it separates when liquefied.

  2. Kristen says

    This might be a goofy question, but if you’re storing it in the jelly jar, how do you actually apply it? With your hand like a lotion?

    • says

      Not a goofy question, I had the same question too. Just grab a little with your finger, maybe large pea sized and smooth on to your pits. Add more as needed. It seriously lasts all day!

  3. Iris Murasaki says

    Keep it in the fridge during the summer–it’ll stay solid, and cool off your pits when you apply, LOL.

    • says

      Depends how much you want. I added oil until it was nice and lemony, but some people might want to be more subtle. That’s why I did not list an amount.

  4. Em says

    I’m guessing other essential oils would work too, right? I love lavender; might try making this with another scent.

    Also, does the baking soda make your armpits burn after shaving? Maybe TMI, lol, but sometimes the “natural” deodorant I’ve been using from Trader Joe’s really burns after shaving, and someone said they thought it might be the baking soda… thoughts?

    • says

      Ye, I have made it with lavender too. Nope, no pit burn. I was nervous about that and so happy when it didn’t happen. I think the coconut oil helps soothe.

    • Sarah says

      My original recipe uses corn starch instead of arrowroot powder, which is not implicated (on me…) as causing breakouts and pit burn. I mixed up a small amount with arrowroot powder…and have seen a MAJOR reduction in the breakout area and pit burn is gone…so…from someone with SUPER sensitive skin…you’re probably safe with this. If you’re not ready to make the whole amount, I use 1 TB coconut oil, and about 2.5 tsp of both baking soda and arrowroot to make a mini-batch. Sometimes I up the amount of baking soda and/or arrowroot to closer to 3 tsp each, but not often.

    • Teresa says

      I hear of pit burn with this recipe but you can reduce the baking soda and sub for more arrowroot. I also add probiotic capsule contents and a couple drops of vitamin e and tea tree oil to mine.

  5. Jessica says

    I normally use the Thai crystal salt spray but I’m out at the moment and would lik to try this. But I’m curious, wouldn’t the coconut oil leave oil stains on your clothing??

    • says

      Shaklee and Tom’s both have their good points and are far superior to most of the toxic crap at the store. However, some still contain risky ingredients. Example: baby shampoo still containing SLS and toothpaste still containing fluoride. You just have to read your ingredient labels.

  6. says

    I sweat a lot during the summer, so I am worried about this mixture leaving my armpits even wetter! Do you find that it adds a lot of moisture?

    • says

      No, I have not had that experience. But, I also don’t sweat all that much. Please let me know how it works for you. I always appreciate the feedback.

    • Sarah says

      Ash – I have found that I actually don’t sweat as much as I did when using the store-bought brands. Your body will adjust once it’s not overcompensating for blocked glands. I live in Central FL (and work primarily outside in not-so-cool temperature clothing) and have very little problems with sweating compared to the last time I worked this particular place (outdoors, Central FL) while still using the store bought.

      • says

        Sarah, thanks for the feedback on the sweat issue. I don’t sweat much and I live in the Arctic Minnesota, so I am not the authority on how well it works in heat!

      • Courtney says

        I made this stuff yesterday morning and I am so happy to say it actually DOES work! I applied it after making it, and I still feel fresh almost 24 hours later. I live in AZ and switched to natural deodorants a few months ago. I have used Tom’s and Crystal and although I found Tom’s to work a little better than Crystal, it did not last and I would need to reapply midday. I had to reapply Crystal about every 4 hours. Also, I felt like I was sweating more than I used to (I’m not a heavy sweater to begin with, but that doesn’t stop me from stinking, unfortunately). I would still use the “bad” stuff when I had important things to attend, like a job interview, etc. because I didn’t feel confident. I felt dry at work all day yesterday and it was hot – my boss hasn’t decided to turn the AC on yet. Also, didn’t experience any oily or white mess as of yet. I think the coconut oil just absorbs right into the skin, rather than just laying on the surface. (LOVE LOVE LOVE Coconut oil!)
        I emptied an old deodorant this morning and filled it with this stuff. I will keep it in the refrigerator to keep it solid, but after this batch, I think I’ll just keep it in the jar I started with.
        Thank you so much for the recipe!

  7. Sunny says

    Ethylene glycol is antifreeze and is poisonous. Propylene glycol is a common food additive and is safe except when consumed at ridiculously high concentrations. They are two different molecules with two very different toxicities in humans.

  8. says

    Kate – thanks so much for this! I can’t wait to try it out! i’m currently using Tom’s of Maine, but if I can make it myself and have a good result I feel better about that! I read through all these comments and really appreciate how nice you are! Good information! Thanks!

  9. madel says

    i cant find here at my place” lemon oil”.please feed back if i can use other types of oil or lemon juice..sound goofy..

  10. jaclyn says

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to people! I had some questions that were answered just by reading your replies. :) There’s one I didn’t see though; does the baking soda show up when you wear black?

  11. tammy bruce says

    essential oils(esp. citrus) can and will burn on sensitive people , but usually w/that much coconut oil there should be no problem. Keep the EO’s down to 5-10 dros max. and you should not have a burning problem

  12. jen crawford says

    I posted a comment but I don’t see it now, so if this is a repeat, sorry! I have made this 3 times, 1st with cinnamon based oil (had a reaction) 2nd with lavender oil (still had a reaction) 3rd without the arrowroot and with organic corn starch (still having a reaction), the oils don’t bother me anywhere else, and I LOVE the deoderant, it works better than store bought (not stinky at all :) and I live in central florida) but I don’t like the itchy rash. any suggestions?

    • says

      Maybe its the oils that you are sensitive too and I have heard of people having reactions to corn starch as well (GMO corn?). Try making it with just arrowroot, baking soda, and coconut oil. Pretty hypo-allergenic this way.

      • jen crawford says

        Thanks, I will try that when this clears up. I really want this to work because I did like it, I guess I don’t NEED to have a scent in it

          • jen crawford says

            Thanks, I will try that because I made it without the baking soda just to see if that was the problem and it was, I didn’t have a reaction to it at all (just coconut oil, arrowroot and cornstarch) but it does not work at all!!!! I was stinky, very early in the day

    • Gwyn says

      I know this is an old discussion but just in case you haven’t found a way to resolve your issues…you might check the quality of essential oils you are using. Anything that isn’t high quality 100% pure “pharmaceutical” grade (basicly from a high quality producing reputable company) may be causing your reaction. Some people, especially sensitive people, react that way to the additives lesser quality oils have in them. Also depending on your climate citrus oils can make you more sensitive to the sun.

  13. says

    This is very informative. I have two tweens that reek when they sweat. One has adhd and the other has aspergers so I’m always looking for less harmful products for them.

  14. Linda says

    I made mine and have been using it for the past four days. I didn’t have the EO but it works very good for me without it. My daughter told me with the lemon oil it’s an extra anti-bacterial and anti-fungal fighting agent. I’m 66 and am just now getting into all this good stuff. Better late then never I guess. Thanks so much.

  15. says

    This might be the best deodorant I have ever used. Not sure if anyone answered the essential oil question. I used 20 firm shakes from the essential lemon oil bottle (small drip opening). Thank you for the recipe!

  16. says

    I live in AZ and currently use primal pit paste. It stays in paste form (not runny at all) and our house is about 78 degrees. I really want to make my own and will give this a try. I just really want to make something with the consistency of the primal pit paste!

  17. says

    super excited to try this, all I need is the essential oil! Have you played with other scents? My dh has finally wanted to join me in my natural life style.. I don’t think he wants to smell like a lemon lol.

    • Linda says

      Jessica I didn’t have any EO’s so I made it anyways and it still works great without the oil. I love mine. This is my first try with a homemade deodorant. I always used anti.. I’m 66 and ready for a healthy change. Good luck..

  18. Marcy says

    Any thoughts on maybe going with some lime juice and some finely crushed rosemary instead of lemon?

  19. Therese says

    Happy to tell u that your recipe have reached Sweden!
    One of the members in a “natural hair & skincare group” on Facebook shared this blog post on our site and after I’ve read your post and the recipe I really need to try this! Looks promising after I’ve read the comments too… :) Thank’s for sharing your recipe!

    Therese, Sweden

      • Therese says

        Really? Amazing. I’ve stumbled upon so many “halfswedes” and ppl with Swedish roots the last few months that I almost starts to believe that every person has a little Swede in them :D

  20. Bianca says

    Thanks Kate, I have been looking for a long time to find something natural…home made…thanks, I will try this, surely will work! God bless you!

  21. Linda says

    I’m half Finnish. I am using the citrus deodorant and the baking soda shampoo now. I used the shampoo yesterday and absolutely love it. I have fine hair and always have to wash my hair everyday to get it to do something. This morning all I had to do was wet my hair a little and it looks beautiful/ My hair color (no dyes) looks great and the little gray I have is so shiny. Thank you so much for all these wonderful organic and clean living ideas. I am 66 and doing my best to live a healthier life then I have ever before.

  22. ashley says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I made this homemade deodorant and added rosemary oil and I absolutely LOVE it! I put the concoction in a empty glass jar and plan to use my hands to put it on but its gonna get messy… I just need a better way to apply it so I think im going to invest a few dollars in buying empty deodorant sticks from amazon for $5 so its easy to apply it.

    thanks again and i love your blog!!! everybody deserves to try this recipe!



  23. Christina says

    Hi Kate,
    Can you clarify for me what type of coconut oil you use? I purchased a liquid form (like baby oil consistency) from the natural section of my grocery store…but then at another store I saw a jar of it that was more of a solid.
    Thanks for all the great information you provide here!
    I look forward to your reply,

    • says

      Coconut oil is liquid at temps above 72*F. So, if you warm it you will get liquid coconut oil and in the colder times of the year it turns solid. It’s all the same thing, unless it has been processed in some way or has additives.

    • Gwyn says

      You might also have gotten fractionated coconut oil which basically has the fats removed so it stays in liquid form (mostly in case someone new like me is reading this and has the same question) ;)

  24. Cindy says

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. I developed an allergic reaction to ALL solid and spray deodorant and have since been using the all natural ones that do not last thru the day.

  25. says

    I use some coconut oil, lavender oil, baking soda and add some shea butter, which for some reason, even in 80 heat in our home, does not turn to oil. I did take it on a trip to the desert, and it turned to oil, but then firmed up again…feels wonderful, takes care of deodorant problems, and is easy to make. Great idea to give as gifts in those wee jars. I should try the lemon idea next time :)

  26. Pea Green says

    Unfortunately, I came out in a rash like a blowtorch burn from the baking soda, so I am now using coconut oil with either lemon or lavender essential oils. So soothing and it works like a charm. I have also rubbed a slice of lemon under my arms and been truly gobsmacked at how long it lasts – from 9am to around 8 am the next morning before I got any odour; and I was bone dry too. Wow, nature is amazing. I have been told that a swipe of apple cider vinegar on a cotton swab will do the same. We have 30′ Celsius here in Queensland at the moment, so I am never going back to store bought deodorant after such a great test result. Is it wrong that I keep sniffing my own under arms?? Hahahhaha.

  27. Gwyn says

    As long as you are using high quality pure oils adding Frankincense to the mix isn’t a bad idea, especially for women, as studies have shown it has cancer fighting abilities. Also they say citrus EO’s can make you more sensitive to sun so while I love the scent and uplifting effects I might not use lemon in the really hot weather. Someone mentioned Rosemary and I think because of it’s properties I might try a combo of Rosemary and Frankincense…maybe some lavender for brightness…hmmmm Thanks for this Kate love the idea and the possibilities seem endless!

  28. Madi says

    Hey Kate! Love your website. :) If I don’t have lemon essential oil, is it OK if I use lemon juice instead, or would that not work?

    • says

      Thanks Madi! Lemon juice is not as concentrated as lemon EO so it will not give it much of a scent and might make it watery. You could surely give it a try though!

  29. says

    I really like homemade deodorants. They work wonderfully. Unfortunately, I cannot use them without my poor pits becoming red, swollen and painful due to the the baking soda…in any amount. By any chance, have you tried your hand at an all natural deodorant without baking soda that would be just as effective as the ones with baking soda?

    • says

      I have not made any without the baking soda. But I know there are recipes out there. Just do a search for homemade deodorant for sensitive skin :)

  30. says

    Hi Kate,
    I bought your deodorant from you last summer at the farmer’s market. I ran out in March or April so I tried making my own with your recipe. It did not make a paste at all despite the cool temps here in MN. Is it really 6 tablespoons or should it be 6 teaspoons of coconut oil? I’ve added more baking soda and arrowroot powder (twice) and it still isn’t the consistency of yours. What brand of coconut oil are you using? Also, mine turned out a bit gritty and I’m wondering how best to avoid this. Thanks!

  31. Taryn says

    I love Lavilin and can’t see myself ever switching to another brand! Lasts 5 days for me. Smells good – the scent isn’t too strong, just perfect. And natural!!

  32. says

    I make a similar deodorant with coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, beeswax, vita E, drop or two of castor oil (for glide) tea tree oil, clary Sage, lime oil. I make it for resale, most people are not sensitive to it but I have had some that break out from the PH level in their bodies and the baking soda, I did some online research and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will help neutralize your PH just mix either with distilled water and spritz your pits before applying deodorant , I don't have time for that, do you think you could add a some Apple cider vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice to the deodorant if it would be effective? I worry about the lemon juice going bad unless it acts as a natural preservative, I don't think their would be any trouble with the vinegar. I also thought about lemon essential oil to neutralize the ph of your body and baking soda. Any input?

    • says

      I think that sounds like a great idea. Try the vinegar in the deodorant. I already use the lemon oil. Let me know how it all works out :)

    • Gwyn says

      I don’t know for sure if it makes a difference but some of the things ACV is used for work much better when using the ACV “wih the mother” and if that’s the case here you would need to be sure not to boil it or heat it too much so that live “mother’ is killed or minimized. I would certainly think adding adding the lemon EO (high quality of course) would be helpful.

  33. Kathy Boucher says

    I'm interested in making this deodorant but I'm uncertain about the amount of coconut oil. Is it supposed to be 6 teaspoons or tablespoon? Thanks

  34. Lacey Owens says

    Mine isn't pasty and I followed the recipe as stated. I really have to rub it on my finger and almost pick a chunk of it up to use. What did I do wrong?

    • says

      Depending on the time of year (if its hot or cold out) you can add more coconut oil to make it more pasty. I find that when the weather is cooler it more solid and I add a little bit more coconut oil. Play around with it until you get the texture you like.

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