Homemade Non-Toxic Citrus Deodorant

Those thick pasty deodorants actually can block your sweat glands...not a good thing. So instead, make your own non-toxic citrus deodorant.

Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant | Real Food RN

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 itโ€™s not fully investigated for carcinogenic potential. 

After all that toxic mess, I decided to just make my own Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant. But, I wanted it to smell good. I looked through my essential oils and chose lemon oil because it’s touted for its uplifting properties. 

Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant


  • 6 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup baking soda —ย where to find
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder —ย where to find
  • 15-20 drops lemon essential oil


  • 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 preference
  • Scoop into jar
  • I used these jelly jars for mine because they are so cute! (you can also find some really cute bottles and jars HERE)
  • Use Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant as needed. The smell is very refreshing and I can honestly say that I have never had a better working deodorant!

I also have heard great results from adding Petitgrain Essential Oil to help with perspiration. See the graphic below for more information on the usage of this oil.

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Non-toxic Citrus Homemade Deodorant | Real Food RN
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169 Replies to “Homemade Non-Toxic Citrus Deodorant”

  1. 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.

    1. It does get soft in the old deodorant container when the weather is warm. Works here in Minnesota in the winter because the cool weather keeps the coconut oil solid. I mostly keep it in the jelly jars. Plus, I think the jars are much cuter!

      1. I believe the deodorant will work fine in the fridge. It will work as a solid deodorant and the cold temperature from the fridge will be refreshing.

      1. are you able double boil the baking soda arrow root powder & ccoconut oil along with the beeswax to put into deodorant containers?

  2. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. HI Kate,

        Thank you for this amazing concoction. I just made some, but realized that it can be a little lumpy when applied. Is that natural. I used corn starch instead of arrowroot.

        1. It can be lumpy if you live in a cooler climate, the coconut oil turns more solid. You can always rewarm it and stir it really well, but as the weather warms up it gets smoother

          1. Okay, I did apply some last night and over a 12 hour period the fragrance remains. So, thanks a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

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

      1. Thanks for the tip on nixing the baking soda! I tried this & was THRILLED to find it works…like…literally for days! However, after a couple days, my underarms get all red! I’m going to go buy some arrowroot & try that instead! Thanks!

        I had to stop regular antiperspirant a few years ago after forming a cyst under my arm! Whenever I use it, the cyst forms & until it “pops” it is very painful! I’ve tried deodorants but guess what? THEY DON’T WORK! Best one I could find was Arm & Hammer deodorant I have to reapply about 1/2 way through the day! Not always convenient! Tried Tom’s…yeah…within an hour, I stank!!!!

        I tried this rather reluctantly on a day I was going to be home all day…I mean, why would it work? If BIG named companies can’t figure it out why would something this simply work? OMG! I am beyond thrilled! Thank you SO much!

        1. I think it’s the lemon juice. I have been using lemon juice (mixed w/ vanilla) for almost 2 years now. It’s the best deodorant I have ever used, and it does work all day long. I used to work in a factory and I would put some on before an 8-hour shift, and come home smelling the exact same. It’s amazing! But after a week or two of this I developed this red, incredibly painful rash under both arms. Lemon juice does not go well with your skin, so I had to stop for a bit. For some reason I decided to start up again after it went away, and I’m glad I did. I don’t have the rash issue unless I apply the lemon somewhere where I hadn’t previously, but where my skin is used to the lemon juice (which is over about 90% of the surface area of my armpit now) I have no problems. I smell great all day, and I couldn’t be happier. I am looking for another recipe that incorporates other ingredients though to help keep me dry, because although the lemon does brilliantly with the smell (which never was my big issue, it was always staying dry) I have wet patches all the time because I sweat so much due to the fact that my body temperature is always freakishly high and I overheat hella easily. I’m going to give this one a go, and we’ll see how it works for me. If not, it’s fine, I’ll stick with my lemon juice mixture. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I add in my recipe a tablespoon of aloe and a tablespoon of magnesium oil and Shea butter and use 1/2 c arrowroot powder and 3 tbls baking soda. Since I added those it works just as great but I have yet to get the rash

    1. 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.

    2. I can’t speak to Shaklee but I tried Tom’s & after an hour, I had to reapply. Thought maybe I just “fogot” & washed & put it on…hour later? I smelled! I’m sorry…but a deodorant that I have to reapply every hour? That doesn’t work…it is literally no better than not using anything! My experience for what it’s worth…

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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!

      2. 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!

      3. I sweat A LOT, but since I started making my own deodorant I don’t sweat as much. I mean I drip sweat, but now only off my face, my underarms still sweat a little but nothing like they use to. I’ve been off the store bought stuff for 5 or so years and will never go back. I also have problems with the baking soda making me rashy and initially left it out completely and used only arrow root powder but have since added about a table spoon back in and not a rash ever.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Thank you for taking the time to reply to people! I had some questions that were answered just by reading your replies. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s one I didn’t see though; does the baking soda show up when you wear black?

  8. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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..

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

  13. Hi!
    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… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank’s for sharing your recipe!

    Therese, Sweden

    1. Hi Therese, glad to hear it! I am half Swedish so I love to have a Swedish audience ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoy the deodorant.

      1. 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!



  17. 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,

    1. 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.

    2. 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) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. 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.

  19. Hey Kate! Love your website. ๐Ÿ™‚ If I don’t have lemon essential oil, is it OK if I use lemon juice instead, or would that not work?

    1. 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!

  20. 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?

    1. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. 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!

    1. Hello Kate,
      Wow you are right, my recipe was wrong. I never noticed the typo because I seriously have it memorized. Funny that no-one has said anything! I changed it. It is 6tsp of coconut oil, not 6T! Thanks for catching that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. 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!!

  23. 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?

    1. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. 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

  25. 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?

    1. 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.

  26. Why do you specify aluminum free baking soda? Isn’t all baking soda aluminum free? Baking powder may have aluminum in it, but not baking soda. Am I wrong?

  27. Hi there! Just made this deodorant after trying so many different kinds – from the name brand deodorants with all of the chemicals (which now I will never buy again!) and also the more “natural” deodorants such as Tom’s of Maine in all different scents and also the unscented (all which gave my boyfriend and I rashes on our armpits!). This is the first DIY deodorant I’ve ever made and it’s the only one I will continue to make! It is amazing! And way better than the name brand deodorant even. So happy I found this recipe and thank you Kate for sharing it!

  28. How many drops of lemon oil did you use? I’m worried that during the process of making this I’ll go nose blind and end up using too much.

  29. I usually make this deodorant w/o EO, however I’m interested to try adding the lemon! Is adding the EO safe during pregnancy do you know? Or, have you used it during pregnancy?

  30. Let me tell you this is the bomb! I added a little clay for detoxing and 1 tsp extra coconut oil. I have it in a tin, well today my 14 yearold wanted to try it. He went to the river to play in the HOT Missouri summer and when he came home, nothing…. I usually have to fend off a stinky hug and send him to the shower but not today! I also love this recipe myself and am genuinely surprised that I have no oder under my arms at all when I go to bed at night. I used to put a second coat of the nasty stuff on just so I wouldn’t stink my hubby out at night.

  31. I am allergic to coconut so I am trying to avoid ‘knowingly’ using soaps, lotions, shampoos, deodorant, etc that contain coconut of any form. (When you travel or use a public restroom, you have no idea if their soaps contain coconut oil or not.) Do you have any idea what could be substituted for the coconut oil in this?

    1. I have never tried it with anything but coconut oil. Any saturated fat that would be solid above 74* like coconut oil is. Maybe tallow?

  32. I made this been using 2weeks now. It works. It solidified and now having issues getting it out of container?. But I love it. One application can last two days with normal activity. But if under stress I can tell I’ll have to reapply on second day.

  33. How do you remelt it? Microwave or in boiling water? When I out the baking soda it fizzles alot..and clumps up…what am I doing wrong?

  34. The first time I made this it was doing fine for the first week or so then suddenly my armpits had a bright red rash so I had to stop using until it went away which was a good week or so, Thinking it was the lemon oil, I made a batch and reduced the lemon, but eventually still broke out.

    After researching I thought it could be the A&H baking soda I reduced the soda in a recipe but it wasn’t as effective at odor control. So I ordered Bobs Red Mill baking soda (apparently this is in a natural state, no chemical processing like the other brand) online, made a batch including the full amount of lemon oil and it doesn’t irritate my skin at all!

    I love it and am making a new batch nowโค๏ธ Thanks for the recipe!

  35. I live in Melbourne Australia where it will be 41C tomorrow so it will be test time for this deodorant. Iโ€™ve been using it for a week and itโ€™s worked a treat. Reading that some peopleโ€™s is runny is weird because mine is totally solid and I wonder whether itโ€™s meant to be like that? I scrape a bit off to use each day but feel it would be easier to use being s little softer. Maybe I didnโ€™t put enough coconut oil? Or too much dry ingredients. But hey- it works! Happy.

    1. Hello Glenda! Glad to hear that it is working for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah mine turns liquid in the summer months and hardens in the winter months. The coconut oil does that. Still works just the same though ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. I have had issues with sensitivity to most brands and so I tried this and it seems to be working. I had to use more coconut oil than was called for but that’s okay, will let you know if after a few weeks there is a change in my sensitivity issues.

  37. Hello there! Thanks for the recipe.
    I made this deodorant the other day and the end result was very gritty and grainy, and was a bit painful to apply. Was the 6 tsp of coconut oil suppose to be 6 tbsp by chance?

  38. Hi I just want to say .. that today I did this deodorant and it just works amaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!! Never knew that these simple ingredients work this good!!!
    I have waited way too long too do this:// !!!!! Wish I did it earlier!!!!
    Thank you so so much for the recipe!!!!!

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